Cervical Spine: Sleeping Tips



Dr. Ronald Tolchin, Medical Director of the Baptist Health Center for Spine Care, says if you sleep on your back, it is better to have a small pillow, a cervical pillow with a curve that bends like your neck should bend.

He explains if you are laying on your side, try to make the spine neutral and put a pillow between your legs. It works for back pain and your entire spine. He recommends doing stretches when you first wake up, such as pulling your neck to one side and the other, bringing it forward and back just to get the muscles into motion and stretched out.

Transcript
So let me ask you dr. Tolkien sometimes you may wake up with stiff neck and it hurts is that related to maybe like a nerve injury in the cervical spine not usually a nerve injury but soreness tightness of the muscles you know how we sleep depends on that very very much so so if people prop their head up on one or two pillows that’s and it’s flexed forward all night they’re gonna wake up with maybe some stiffness there’s a better way to sleep if you’re sleeping on your back a small pillow they even make pillows that are cervical pillows that have a little curve in it that been like you’re been like your neck should Bend okay okay if they have a soft pillow and they’re comfortable or if they’re laying on their side you want to try to make all the spine neutral when you lay on your side I usually recommend it for people to put a pillow between their legs so their spine is neutral all the way through if they’re side sleeper it does it works not only for back pain but it works for your entire spine but if you sleep for six or eight hours or however long you sleep your muscles get tight so when you first wake up they’re sore and achy and so I recommend and I give people some stretches to do when they first wake up it could be something very simple like pulling their neck to one side pulling it to the other side bringing it forward and bringing it backward just to get the muscles back into motion and stretched out again after a long night’s sleep okay I’m gonna move on to common conditions but first I want to see if I’m gonna win this argument at home neck pillows my husband says it works for neck pain this does it really helped us think the cervical spine it can they’re very popular they can work they make them out of memory foam now right and they make him again curved towards your neck and there’s different curves there subtle curves there’s more significant curves you have to check them out I tell people it’s a very individual thing you have to look at the pillow try it out if you can in the store and some people tolerate them well especially if they lay on their back but if they lay on their side those neck pillows the curve feels a little awkward so I tell people if you’re a side sleeper just get down pillow if you’re not allergic to feathers or a soft memory foam pillow or a soft foam pillow but something that’s soft that contours well that they can sleep with and it feels comfortable but not a really high pillow does that puts another curve in your neck when you’re sleeping for that many hours you
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