Best Sleeping Positions for Neck Pain and Headaches

Headaches and neck pain can severely impact your life. It’s common for an injury or regular aging to cause neck pain and headaches. What many don’t consider is that an improper sleeping position is often a major factor for the pain in the neck area. For those that sleep on your side or even other ways, we have some advice that can help you. There are numerous ways to minimize neck pain and reduce the occurrence of headaches through changes in posture, sleep position, and physical therapy.

The Best Sleeping Positions for Neck Pain

Research has shown that back or side sleeping is the best sleeping position for neck pain. These two positions put less pressure on your spine and allow your neck to rest in a natural position. Practice better sleep habits such as avoiding TV and blue light sources to improve your sleep quality.

When sleeping on your back, be sure to use a pillow with elevated neck support and a cradle for the back of the head. Side sleeping requires a pillow that contours to the neck and head so that the spine remains nice and straight throughout the night. Below you’ll find the best pillows for these sleeping positions.

The Worst Sleeping Position: Sleeping on Your Stomach

Stomach sleeping is the worst position for the neck as there is no support provided to necessary areas and requires you to twist your head for minimal comfort. While getting enough sleep each night is one component of preventing stiff neck aches and pains, a sleeping position like this will negate any prior effort to improve your sleep.

A restful night’s sleep is important for overall health and well-being. Waking up with neck pain or a headache can really put a damper on the day and impact a person’s quality of life. Improve your posture to recover from neck pain and minimize the risk of it arriving or returning.

Good Pillows for Neck Pain

It might be tempting to stock up on pillows when they’re on sale, but regular pillows filled with synthetic fibers provide absolutely no support to the neck while sleeping. While feather pillows conform to the neck, they lose their shape quickly and need to replaced yearly.

Memory-foam pillows are the best pillows for back and side sleeping as they contour to the neck and head and provide the necessary support to prevent neck pain and headaches. Pillows that are too hard or too soft will leave you feeling achy and stiff in the morning.

Pillows for side sleepers

If sleeping on your side is preferable then you will need a pillow with firm support and is able to contour to your body with ease. Consider specialized types of pillows that are larger in size with great ergonomics the reduce your neck pain.

Practicing the best sleeping position for neck pain while traveling is also important. If you frequently fall asleep while traveling, you should always have a travel pillow handy that contours to the shape of the neck and eliminates the possibility of the head falling onto the shoulder when sleeping upright.

Other Causes Of Neck Pain

In addition to improper sleeping positions, there are several things that can contribute to neck pain and headaches. They include:

  • Age
  • Injury
  • Repetitive head and shoulder movements
  • Poor posture
  • Working on the computer for long periods of time

Although the normal wear and tear that comes with age is not preventable, it is possible to improve pain and range-of-motion with a variety of exercises and other treatments.

Avoiding repeated movements of the head and shoulder area can also avoid neck pain and headaches. Improper lifting, reaching above the head, and turning the head from side to side frequently can all contribute to problems with the neck.

Poor posture is a big contributor to neck pain and headaches. When sitting, the feet should be flat on the floor with the back straight and shoulders back. Avoid looking down for long periods of time when performing activities like texting, reading, or typing on the computer.

Cervicogenic Headache

Cervicogenic headache is the most common form of headache resulting from neck pain. The name comes from the cervical spine, or neck since this is where the pain radiates from.

Causes can include improper posture, repetitive movements, injury, or overuse of the neck muscles. Symptoms can come on gradually or occur quickly and can lead to problems like muscle soreness, shoulder pain, pain or tingling that radiates down the arm, pain on one or both sides of the head, nausea, dizziness or vertigo, and even fainting. Learn more about cervicogenic dizziness to see if you may need physical therapy.

Treating Neck Pain And Headaches Without Medication

Physical therapy is an effective solution to combat the causes of your neck pain and headaches. Through physical therapy techniques, our staff can help you every step of the way as you recover with their knowledge and experience.

Here at Biomotion Physical Therapy, we’ll develop a treatment plan to help alleviate your symptoms and prevent them from coming back again. Avoid the side effects of pharmaceutical medication and naturally improve your physical wellness through evidence-based medicine and physical therapy. Contact us online or call us at 210-880-3522 and get your life back on track with no referral required today!