Answers to today's medical questions through blogs and articles

How To Eliminate Pain From Incorrect Sleeping

Correct SleepingIf you have ever woken up with a really stiff neck, you know just how annoying and frustrating it can be.  You can hardly align your head correctly, let alone get out of bed or do much of anything else for that matter.  This is actually a condition called Torticollis.  One type of Torticollis is called Congenital Torticollis and it mainly happens in young infants and kids.  But, it can also happen in adults and it’s called Adult or Acquired Torticollis.  This condition is the same as it is in children, but it’s sort of like the adult version.  The main symptoms of this annoying condition include a stiff or painful neck when you wake up in the morning or even a sharp pain on either side of your neck when you try to turn over or get up.  If you’ve had this condition, you know it by the pain alone, but also by the crookedness of your head – it seems to tilt either to the left or right.  Unfortunately, this type of condition can happen because of no specific cause, however, there are factors that can be related to it.  Check out the article below to find out more about this condition, what you can do to fix it and newer/better ways to sleep at night to keep this from happening again.


Causes of Torticollis in Adults

As mentioned above, there is no real reason for Torticollis to happen, however, there are factors you might want to consider if you are getting this more than once a week, or worse, every single day!  These causes could be:

– Sleeping with the window open or with a fan on:  This happens a lot of the summertime when people leave their windows open or their fans on to get some fresh air into the room.  Unfortunately, it’s also a good way to get Torticollis.  This happens because when the temperature drops too much it makes the neck muscles and flexors stiff and cramp up and then makes it harder to loosen the tight muscles later – like when getting up or switching positions.  It’s sort of like having a frozen shoulder, but in this case, it’s your neck and man, it can be really painful.  But, if you can manage to keep the windows closed, turn the fan down or just use a thinner blanket, you’ll be in a lot better shape!

– Sleeping in weird positions:  Sometimes when people lay down to sleep they end up in these really odd positions.  Maybe you stayed up too late and are really tired.  Maybe you had a few drinks.  Maybe you have another ache or pain and you lay an odd way to relieve that pain.  Whatever the case may be, sleeping in awkward or odd positions can lead to Torticollis.  Other factors you should consider; sleeping with too big of a pillow, too small or flat of a pillow or sleeping on your stomach with your head to one side or the other can all cause Torticollis as well.  These “causes” of Torticollis are one of the biggest reasons people go to see a chiropractor in Clifton believe it or not!  There are ways in which you can sleep; certain positions that can keep this pain in the neck (pun intended) from happening.  Consider these options:

1- Sleeping on your side:  If you sleep on your side or you want to prevent neck pain, try sleeping on your side and draw your legs upwards slightly towards your chest.  You can also increase the support by placing a pillow between your legs, right at the knee section of your legs.

2- Sleeping on your back:  Some people just can’t do this no matter what, but if you do like sleeping on your back but still wake up with aches and pains sometimes, try placing a pillow under your knees.  This creates a natural curve that compliments the natural curve of your spine.  If you don’t have an extra pillow, you can always roll up a towel and try that until you can buy another pillow.  Make sure you keep your head on another pillow for extra support.

3- Sleeping on your stomach:  This is actually NOT a good way to sleep, however, if it’s the only way you can sleep, make sure you place a pillow under your pelvic area.  This will reduce the strain and pressure on your back.  Try to use a pillow under your head when possible, but if this causes too much discomfort, just lay your head on the bed, sleepy head!


Strenuous Activity the Day Before

If you are feeling neck pain and you are sleeping right, you don’t have the windows open, and you aren’t sleeping in some strange position; think back to what you did the day before.  Did you do any new exercises, sports or were you perhaps sitting too long?  If any of these activities occurred the day before, it may have strained your neck.  Make sure that in order to stop this from happening you take note on what those exercises were, sports were or how you were sitting so you can do it differently next time.

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