Is neck pain becoming a constant companion? This condition is known to physicians as cervical spondylosis, and it is so common that an estimated 85 percent of those over the age of 60 have it, though not everybody has symptoms. While some neck pain represents only a minor level of discomfort, for many the pain and stiffness has a significant impact on their quality of life, intruding on their ability to participate in normal daily activities and keeping them from sleeping well.
Cervical spondylosis is a condition that responds well to treatment, and we encourage you to schedule an appointment with our cervical spine specialists to learn about the options available to you. In the meantime, if you are having a hard time sleeping because you can’t find a comfortable position, here are some tips we hope will help.
- The most important thing for you to remember when you lay down to go to sleep is that you want your head and spine to remain in alignment. That means the straight line of your spine needs to include your head, and if your head is tilting either up or down, left or right, you are adding to your discomfort. Whether you sleep on your side or your back, if your pillow is too flat or too high it is going to create a bend in the straight line, and that will lead to pain.
- Do not sleep on your stomach. The easiest way to understand this is to refer back to our first tip and imagine that you have X-ray vision that reveals what your spine looks like while you’re lying on your stomach. Your head is going to be bent upwards and twisted either to the left or the right to accommodate your breathing. This position not only puts stress on your neck, but also on your lower back.
- Choose a pillow that provides relief. This doesn’t mean that you need to spend a lot of money! You just need to find one that is comfortable and can be reshaped to fit your body and support your head in the right position. Down feather pillows work well, and so do memory foam pillows. Make sure that the pillow isn’t too flat – it needs to be able to fill the space between your bed and your ear while supporting your head.
- Consider using a soft collar. Though these are frequently associated with accident and whiplash victims, they are available online for a minimal amount of money and can provide much-needed support.
If you sleep in a position that doesn’t provide support or puts your spine out of alignment, your pain and stiffness could progress to weakness, numbness or tingling in your arms. If you would like to speak with our cervical spine specialist in New Jersey, contact our office today to set up a time for a consultation.