Morning aches and pains? Check your pillow

Many people wake up with neck pain, tingling in their arms or hands, or headaches.


Most people blame their stress level on this type of problem—-specifically on psychological stress.  It may have something to do with stress; however, if it does, it’s probably physical stress.


Take a look at your sleeping position, including the pillow you use.  Do you sleep on your stomach, back or side?


Research shows stomach sleepers have greater incidences of neck pain as well as back pain.  Sleeping on your stomach provides no support for the lower back, and forces the neck into a prolonged extreme range of motion.


Pain developed from years of poor sleeping posture can sometimes be corrected by changing your position.  You can have poor sleeping posture like you can have poor sitting or standing posture.  The best sleeping position is one in which you sleep on you back with a pillow under your knees as well as under the head.  This keeps your head level with your shoulders.


Many people are experimenting with contoured or cervical pillows with various results.  A word of caution if you are considering purchasing one of these pillows—-make sure you get one that fits your neck and body size.  This is not a one-size fits-all item — a 250 pound person will have a much larger neck tha n a 100 pound person.  Many good manufacturers of these pillows make small, medium and large pillows.


The second best sleeping position is sleeping on your side with both knees drawn up in the fetal position .  This will prove comfortable for many low back pain sufferers, and if the neck is supported properly, may also provide some relief for neck pain.


If after trying these changes you are still waking up with unusual symptoms, such as headaches, neck pain, arm and hand tingling, it may be time to get the problem checked out.


Remember, sleep is  also healing time, and if you are not sleeping due to pain or any other unusual symptoms then the healing process is also slowed.

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