“Oh, its a pain in the neck”

When waking up with Neck pain literally becomes a 'pain in the neck'

Neck pain upon waking may have you question "why is my neck sore this morning?"

Have you ever woken up with inexplicable neck pain? You didn’t suddenly develop arthritis overnight, and you didn’t fall down the stairs in your sleep. So what caused it, and what can you do to help it?

Waking with a stiff or sore neck is never pleasant, especially if it comes on for no reason. This can be due to a few things, such as using an unsuitable pillow (see below).

person holding silver and white pen
Acupuncture at Physioflexx can help to improve neck function and reduce or eliminate pain

It may be that you strained your neck the previous day, or held a difficult posture for a long period (such as craning your neck at an air show, or peering at a screen).

Other causes may include pregnancy, being very overweight, whiplash, or longer term issues like arthritis in your spine. If any of these apply, speak to your physiotherapist for specific advice.

So what can you do?

A warm shower, an ice pack or hot water bottle over the painful area, or over the counter medications can offer relief. A massage, and gentle stretches for your spine and shoulders can ease pain and stiffness.

And the night before?

Ideally, your head should rest in the midline of your body for the most comfortable sleep. Make sure your pillow supports your head in a neutral

position. There is no one-size-fits-all for mattresses, but if your mattress is over 8 years old, it may be worth looking into a replacement.

Try some yoga or gentle stretches before you go to bed.

A hot shower, or placing a hot water bottle over your neck and shoulders in the evening can help. And make sure you’ve got your pillow and mattress set up comfortably. If you are in any doubt, or find that your pain has lasted longer than 2-3 days, please click here to arrange an assessment with one of our Physiotherapists.

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