We hear about dental hygiene and how to eat right, but when was the last time you considered if you slept well in a way that does not stress the spine? Most of us know it’s important to avoid head and neck trauma because serious and devastating injuries can occur. Less understood is how minor and cumulative stresses over time can affect the soft tissues in the neck.
If you have never suffered a neck trauma, then maintaining good neck habits is less critical. But most of us have had a few kinks in the neck over the years, and we tend to suffer when problems are not prevented in the first place.
Keeping the neck supple and flexible with daily stretches can help many patients. Others may need to do daily controlled exercises to keep the muscles strong. A doctor can advise you on your specific needs. It’s important to be properly diagnosed before starting any stretching or exercising program.
Ever wonder why your neck might be stiff in the morning? Maintaining good spinal hygiene while sleeping is also important. Eight hours of bad posture can be a significant problem.
Because there is naturally an arch formed in the neck when you lay on your back, it makes sense to use a pillow that supports the middle of your neck. These types of pillows are called cervical pillows or neck support pillows. In 2004, Canadian researchers provided neck pain patients (with or without headache) with either regular or cervical pillows for four weeks. They found the patients who used the cervical pillows experienced both significantly less pain in the morning as well as improved cervical function.