Have you ever laid awake, tossing and turning, because of that annoying ache in your neck or shoulder? Why is it that you can be busy all day, but when you lay down to sleep, you start to feel more discomfort or pain? The reason for this is that your brain is busy handling a million other tasks during the day, not paying attention to the problem in your neck or shoulder.
When you rest in your bed, your mind becomes more aware of the body, fixating on any dull or throbbing pain. In addition, since you are now in a reclined position, the weight of gravity will pull differently on your neck or shoulder, causing strain. The goal is to support the body correctly so that you can have a restful night’s sleep.
Here are some tips for finding a comfortable way to sleep:
- Use two pillows, with the top pillow staggered slightly back of the bottom pillow.
- Try to lie on your side or back. Have the bottom pillow supporting your shoulders and the top pillow supporting your neck.
- Hug a pillow, as this will put your top shoulder in an open position. Tuck the pillow up high under the arm.
- Use a pillow between your legs when you are on your side, or behind your thighs if lying on your back. This helps take pressure off your whole spine.
- Use gentle deep breathing when you first lie down, to calm your body down and improve the oxygen flow to your muscles, helping them relax.
Getting a good night’s sleep can help you improve your pain and set you up for a good day. When you sleep less than your body needs, it will actually lower your pain tolerance and make your neck or shoulder hurt more.
If your neck or shoulder pain lingers for more than 3 days, then you should see a physical therapist. Our experts evaluate your movement to discover the root cause of your problem and gently treat it with expert, hands on techniques. To learn more about how we can help you live life pain free, call Elliott Physical Therapy today.