One of the first questions I often ask a new client with neck pain: what is your sleeping position and what kind of pillow are you using?
The importance of pillows was confirmed for me when I recently spend a week sleeping on a firm foam pillow while a guest at someone’s home. It reminded me why I usually take my pillow when on a car trip. Not only was it much harder to fall asleep, I woke with a stiff neck every morning.
While I’m not insisting that one type of pillow is right for everyone, there are a few things I can say.
1) Sleeping on your stomach is not good for your neck. Sorry, I too sometimes enjoy the comforting feeling, but after a few minutes I have to change or risk crippling pain. They say that moms of a certain era always put their babies face down so we came to associate that position with being taken care of.
2) Pillows that are too high put your neck in an unnatural position.
3) Firmness is not for everyone. Some people like a firm pillow but it has to be just the right height for you. This includes memory foam pillows.
4) At some point your pillow wears out and you should invest in a new one.
My favorite pillow type is down, because it can be shaped to the contours of your head and neck, and the height that you need based on whether you are sleeping on your side or on your back.
No matter what type of pillow you prefer, your sleeping posture is just as important as your working and leisure posture in keeping you happy and pain free. Whether you prefer side-lying or supine, make sure you are supporting your knees, shoulders, and neck and using a good quality mattress with no sagging. Start the day with a bounce instead of a limp.
I love to work with people who
are have a pain in the neck. Why? Because I have a lot of massage techniques that are very effective in discovering and relieving the exact sources of your stiffness and pain. I also love to help you figure out and change what you are doing to cause your discomfort.
Some of the main causes of neck pain are:
- Sleeping on your stomach. I know you got away with this when you were younger, but now’s the time to make a change!
- Habitual shoulder hunching, especially when stressed.
- Poor work station ergonomics – is your head often tilted or neck turned or head forward while working?
- Unresolved injuries such as whiplash.
- Cradling a phone with your chin or neck.
- Prolonged staring down at your electronic device of choice.
The first step in prevention and recovery is awareness. Notice when you are doing one of these hurtful activities.
The second step is action: getting massage and doing simple stretches and exercises.
Schedule an appointment to learn more!
Pain in the Neck?
I was sitting in a waiting room recently and noticed how many people were bent over their mobile devices. With the popularity of these addictive gadgets we have added yet another cause of neck pain to our modern lifestyle. Working at a computer is probably number one, contributing to the nearly universal habit of forward head posture.
Another common cause is whiplash – usually acquired in that other modern convenience, the automobile. And then there is “sleeping wrong” – it’s not that we suddenly forgot how to sleep. More likely we did something else to stress the neck, and then slept on it and awoke to stiffness and pain.
That’s where you come in – to get a massage. Working on the neck is one of my favorite techniques because so many people suffer from tight and stiff and injured necks, and massage can give so much relief. In fact, I think the neck work is so important that I am currently doing a 35 CEU study of the neck with 3 fellow therapists, using the Dr. Ben Benjamin orthopedic training DVDs.
I hope your neck is pain free, but if it’s not, give me a call!
Of course, there are other things you can do for your neck pain, but seeing your PCP is probably not the most helpful. You may get muscle relaxers – a not too great way to attack the symptoms without addressing the cause of your pain.
Chiropractic and physical therapy are much better. I have had great experiences with both. Some people have had not so good experiences with practitioners. Make sure you get a good recommendation. Make sure your practitioner is listening to you and not having you do anything that you are not ready to do.
Special Offer from Chiropractor Dr. Chris Powell
I have recently started a partnership with Dr. Chris Powell of Wellness Pittsburgh in Regent Square where we offer discounts to each other’s clients. Just mention me and receive $50 off a new patient visit. Dr. Chris is skilled in a variety of techniques to address the needs of a variety of patients, and he is a great listener.
Like massage, chiropractic is a great tool for wellness. By preventing and correcting interference to the spinal nerves, chiropractic helps keep ALL of our body systems functioning at their best.