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Does this sound familiar, you wake up go to get out of bed and your neck feels like it has been glued into position and any attempt to move creates unbelievable pain?. What causes a stiff neck in the morning after you sleep varies from person to person and can include both serious conditions and just passing pain.
Stiff necks, soreness and difficulty when trying to move the neck, are rather common problems. A lot of adults have a stiff neck when they wake up on the morning, and sometimes it might also be accompanied by a headache, or by pain in the shoulder or the arm. Sometimes, the pain can be so bad that they struggle to turn around, bend or look side to side.
I have been unfortunate enough to be in this position on more than one occasion and it’s not fun. For me, not being able to turn my head the slightest causes me to panic. Similar to times when I have locked my jaw into position. I felt very vulnerable and thought I was ‘stuck’ like this forever. So I believe having a mini panic attack is not that out of the ordinary. But it’s important to remember that you are just in the moment. Once it passes you will come to terms with your stiff neck.
Start to treat the stiffness in the neck and ring the Boss to take the day off work. While some people may think calling in sick for a stiff neck is a tad bit extreme. I think it’s best to be safe than sorry. One day I drove to work with a pinched nerve and almost crashed due to the overwhelming pain from having to turn my neck to look for traffic. Never again will I attempt this and put my life in danger over a stiff neck.
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Cant Turn My Neck After Sleeping?
A stiff neck from sleeping is called acute torticollis, and it can be caused by poor posture, or by sleeping with inadequate neck support. If you have a pillow that is too small or too soft, then you could be spending a lot of time sleeping in an awkward position. The best way to fix this kind of problem is to invest in a specific orthopedic neck pillow that supports your head, spine, shoulders and neck properly. I can’t emphasize how important a quality pillow really is. A bad mattress could also put stress on your spine and your neck.
Some, but not all, mattresses are designed to be rotated regularly to keep them in good condition. This is especially true with older spring based mattresses. They should be moved and rotated every few months so that the springs don’t wear out as quickly. If your mattress is sagging or worn, then it won’t support your spine properly, and that will throw everything else out of alignment.
Funnily enough, the brain doesn’t recognize that you are causing damage or pinching a nerve in the neck while you are fast asleep. So early detection is not always applicable unless you are a restless sleeper and discover the early stages of a stiff neck developing. But for the most part, it’s not until the morning when you wake up and realize you have a terribly painful stiff neck.
Usually, neck pain that is caused by awkward loads or stresses on the neck will get better quite quickly with simple gentle neck massages. Shiatsu neck massagers are extremely good for relieving tension form the neck and are an affordable option to take when compared to visiting a Massage Therapist. If you don’t notice improvement within a few days after just resting, then it is a good idea to talk to a doctor. It is possible to suffer from serious, lasting damage to the discs in your neck, and that kind of wear and tear needs closer attention.
One of the more common affected neck muscles is the Levator scapulae which can cause headaches, stiffness and pain. Treating the Levator Scapulae muscle can be done at home by yourself, with a device or by another person relatively easy.
When A Stiff Neck Requires A Trip To The Doctors
You should definitely speak to a doctor if your neck pain is accompanied by muscle weakness, numbness or tingling in your extremities or if the pain is very severe and lasts for more than a few days.
Older people are more likely to suffer from neck damage than younger people, and to experience things like pinched nerves. This is because the spinal cord has a lot of water in it, and it loses some of that water as you age. The reduced water content makes the discs less flexible, and means that they are more likely to suffer from damage when under stress. If a disc starts to bulge it can pinch the nerves in the spinal cord, and this can be incredibly painful.
While treatment from osteopaths and chiropractors can be an option, your first port of call should be a qualified medical professional. Massage and similar therapies can provide relief, but it’s very important that you narrow down what is causing the pain in the first place, otherwise you could end up making things a lot worse with well-meaning but misguided treatment methods.
Preparing For A Stiff Neck When You First Wake Up
Sometimes the only option is rest and anti-inflammatory painkillers. Sometimes, a neck brace or a specially designed mattress or pillow will make all the difference. For other people, the cause of the problem is something to do with their job (for example RSI) and they may need to get their employer to make provisions to help them cope with the issue.
As I spend a lot of time looking up at ceilings to paint them and hovered over my computer during the night, I feel that I experience more stiff necks in the morning than the regular person. To counteract the heavy load I put on my neck, I often give myself a shiatsu massage to relieve built up stress from the days work. I feel this helps to prevent stiff necks occurring as regular event after sleeping.
Finally it’s very important that you don’t ignore neck pain, especially if you get it regularly after sleeping. As a one-off, it’s nothing to worry about and it could be that you just slept as an awkward angle. But if you find that a stiff neck is occurring more often than not in the mornings, it’s probably a good time to speak to a professional about treatments.