Sleeping with upper back and neck pain can be very uncomfortable and might keep a person awake for the whole night. Waking up with a hurting neck and upper back can ruin the whole day. Peaceful sleep is very important as it slows down blood pressure and boosts the immune system by allowing the body to make more white blood cells.
Whenever we talk about neck and upper back pain through the night or waking up with neck and back pain, the first cause that comes to mind is the sleeping posture and sleeping position. Poor sleeping positions can play a great role in increasing upper back and neck pain.
Sleeping with the right posture is a great way to relieve both upper back and neck pains. However, some people may not find the position the most comfortable. Therefore, it is important to discover a posture that you like to keep your neck and upper back muscles relaxed. Starting to sleep in the right position and even getting 3 – 4 extra hours in a good position before starting tossing and turning helps a lot and can make a really big difference.
Some positions that can help you get a good night sleep can include the following:
Best Sleeping Positions to Relieve Neck Pain
The best sleeping position to relieve neck pain is the one that holds the spine in a neutral position comfortably and is workable for a long period.
Keeping your spine in a neutral position means keeping it straight with the help of a soft pillow underneath your neck that supports your spine. People with neck or upper back pain can also use a customized pillow. You can choose the size of a pillow according to your liking and put more stuff inside to make it nice and soft and more comfortable.
Using two pillows under your head while sleeping may help lower neck pain and keep your spine in the proper shape or position. However, do not keep your shoulders on the pillow as it lifts your upper body and leaves the neck and head unsupported, resulting in stiffness in the neck.
Sleeping on Your Side
People who find it comfortable to sleep on their side aim to achieve a neutral spine position. Using a pillow that is too high can create a curve in the spine. Similarly, using a pillow that is too flat can make your head drop down and create a curve. So, the trick is to use a pillow that is not too stuffed or flat and makes your neck feel at ease.
Best Sleeping Positions to Relieve Upper Back Pain
The best sleeping position to relieve upper back pain is to lay with your back straight. Keeping your back straight while lying down can help reduce tension and pressure in the muscles. This position also keeps your spine neutral and aligned.
One thing that can play a big part in causing upper back pain while sleeping is the mattress you sleep on. In general, there is no specific type of mattress that is better than another. Different people like different mattresses according to their preferences. But, some properties must exist in a mattress to be healthy for your spine, upper back, and neck. A mattress that is too firm won’t make you feel comfortable throughout the night by putting excessive pressure on your joints. On the other hand, a mattress that is too soft can cause your back and legs to sag and doesn’t support your spine, which can lead to pain in the upper back.
The key is to own a mattress that is neither too firm nor too soft and makes you feel relaxed when you lay on it.
Make a routine to perform neck pain relief stretches for 5 to 10 minutes before going to sleep. Doing light stretches before sleeping can help ease the neck and upper back pain and make you fall asleep faster.
Some basic stretches include the following:
1) Chin Tucks
Chin tuck is a very beneficial and effective exercise for neck pain. It plays an important part in strengthening your neck muscles and helps to pull the spine back into alignment.
Lay straight on your back. Tuck down the chin towards the throat and flatten your neck. Hold that position for about 3 – 5 seconds. After doing this, perform it by sitting straight and repeat the process as many times as you like.
2) Upper Trapezius
The upper trapezius helps to stretch your neck and shoulders. It reduces the tightness and tension built up in the neck area.
Sit in a good posture and tilt your right ear towards your right shoulder until you feel a comfortable stretch. To apply a little overpressure, put your right hand on the left side of your head and apply gentle pressure. Hold yourself for 15 – 20 seconds and repeat the process with the other side.
3) Shoulder Raises
Shoulder raises can strengthen the upper back muscles and increase mobility that helps to lower the stress level in the neck and upper back. It also encourages a good posture.
Stand straight with your arms by your side. Start lifting your shoulder slowly towards your ears, then return to the starting position. Repeat the process about 20 times.
Poor Sleeping Postures to Avoid
1) Sleeping with your head raised by too many pillows can bend your neck forward if you are sleeping with your back straight. If the spine remains bent for a long period of time, it can start hurting. Sleeping with more than one pillow can also strain many areas of the body. Stacking multiple pillows underneath your head can also cause snoring.
2) Avoid lying on your stomach while sleeping. Sleeping on your stomach can potentially cause numbness and place a strain on your back and spine. This may cause neck and back pain that can lead to poor sleep and discomfort.
Sleeping on your stomach can strain your spine that can harm the structure, and cause extreme pain. While sleeping on your stomach, you keep your neck to the side. That twists your neck and puts your spine out of alignment. It can also result in a sore neck. Not only it causes neck and upper back pain, but it is also bad for your face and can cause facial distortion.