Many people do not realize that their sleeping habits could be one of the primary causes for some of their pain issues. You might occasionally wake up with pain in your shoulders, neck or back and assume that you just slept in the wrong position that night, but a lifetime of sleeping in the wrong position can also cause some significant problems.
For chiropractors, a patient’s sleeping position is often identified as one of the factors that is contributing to chronic and recurring pain in the neck, back and shoulders. When a person sleeps, the position that they are in can put stress on different joints, and this can lead to issues like misalignment of the spine, inflammation of soft tissue, stiffness at the joints, nervous system dysfunction and more.
If you have pain issues that you believe to be related to some of your sleeping habits, a chiropractor should be able to provide treatment and advice that can help to eliminate the pain that comes from sleeping wrong.
If a patient comes to a chiropractor complaining of pain that is associated with sleeping wrong, one of the first things that they are going to want to do is learn about the individual’s sleeping position. This will include questions about the way that the patient positions their body when they sleep and the positioning of pillows.
After the chiropractor knows something about your sleeping position, they may have some recommendations for adjustments that can be made. If you have a tendency to sleep on your stomach, they might recommend that you try switching to sleeping on your back or side. If you can’t make the switch, they might offer some advice for positioning your pillows in a way that will reduce some of the stress on your joints.
Mattress and Pillows
An additional point of concern might be the type of mattress or pillows that you use. Many people believe that the firmer your mattress is the better, but this is not always true. Just as a mattress can be too soft, it can also be too firm.
When your mattress is too soft, it is a problem for support. With a lack of support, you are resting in a position where the joints are not properly aligned. When a mattress is too firm, it puts too much pressure on the joints. The idea is to go with a mattress that is firm enough to support the joints, but not so firm that it placing pressure.
For pillows, the firmness and positioning will also matter. Depending on your sleeping position, you will need pillows of vary firmness, and to use the pillows in a way that will slightly elevate the head, but not elevate it to a point where it is putting stress on the neck.
As an example of how pillows can be used, a person that sleeps on their stomach can place under their body near their hips and waist. This will protect against the stress that comes from the arching of the lower back that occurs when you sleep in this position. In addition to that, the chiropractor might make recommendations for how they position their arms and their neck when they sleep on their stomach.
With a poor sleeping position, the joints and muscles are held in stress position for several hours at a time. This can lead to any number of problems that will cause pain and possibly reduce the range of motion at the joint.
To address some of these issues, chiropractic adjustments are almost certain to be needed. From sleeping in these positions, the joints can go out of line, pressure can build up on nerves and different types of soft tissue at the joint and the person may suffer from inflammation. By restoring the proper alignment of the spine and the joints, much of the pain associated with sleeping wrong can be relieved.
As an additional treatment, the Doctor of Chiropractic may prescribe exercises that the individual can perform first thing in the morning. Stretching exercises can help to loosen up the joints, increase blood flow and it can help to work out any stiffness or soreness. Beyond that, the chiropractor may also use techniques like massage or heat and cold therapy to address the problems that can be caused by sleeping wrong.
When it comes to pain that is related to a person’s sleeping habits, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to eliminating the pain. The chiropractor will need to evaluate the person’s sleep position, perform an examination and consider things like their mattress and pillows. In treating patients with these issues, some relief can be expected from the first visit, but it generally takes many weeks to completely resolve all of these pain issues.