Adjusting the way you sleep may be one of the most effective changes you can make in your life to stop neck pain. Oftentimes, we sleep with too many pillows underneath our heads, which can lead to stiff muscles the next morning. Although each person is different, you should ideally be sleeping with one pillow that provides the proper combination of support and malleability.
If you suffer from chronic neck pain, then you may want to consider putting a pillow or rolled towel underneath your neck in addition to one underneath your head. This will help straighten your neck and keep your spine level.
Additionally, sleeping on your back or side is the preferred position when trying to avoid neck pain. Sleeping on your stomach can cause stress on your neck, as you will be forced to keep your head bent one way or the other.
Although it may not seem like it, your posture may have a lot to do with your neck pain. If you are walking around all day with your shoulders pushed forward, or you’re constantly hunched over your desk, then all of the muscles in your back and neck will become tightened.
The key to good posture is to walk with your head held high and your shoulders back. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but over time your muscles will get used to it and you will notice an immediate decline in muscle pain. There are also a number of exercises and stretches that can help promote good posture and build up the muscles in your upper back.
While sitting at a desk, the most important thing to do is keep your back straight and your feet flat on the floor. You may need to invest in some ergonomic desk supplies, such as a cushion for your chair that conforms to your lower back, but maintaining good posture while sitting is vital.
You may also want to start some stretches that promote flexibility and range of motion in your upper body, particularly your shoulders and neck. These movements are easy to do and take very little time, but the neck pain relief you will experience will be monumental.
One example of a mobility exercise is called a neck retraction. Essentially, you will need to keep your eyes and head straight, while placing two fingers on your chin and pushing back as hard as possible. You should begin to feel a stretch in your neck, and continue to hold this position for at least 3 seconds. Repeat this movement throughout the day and continue to practice additional exercises that will collectively improve your neck pain.