A common complaint at our chiropractic clinic is “I slept incorrectly and can’t move my neck”. More often than not, the symptoms felt are ongoing but this one episode is worse than most. Some patients experience neck and shoulder pain after sleeping wrong and others notice tension headaches.

What causes this and what can you do about it?

Believe it or not, the fix for morning neck pain may be simpler than you think.  The first questions your chiropractor will probably ask you are this:

  1. Do you sleep on your belly?
  2. Do you use a cervical pillow when you sleep?

When you sleep on your stomach you need to have your head turned so you can breathe…this means you are sleeping with the spine twisted. Think of wringing out a towel. Twisted the cervical spine is the worst possible thing you can do for your neck. And even worse…most stomach sleepers have been doing this most of their life.

A cervical pillow is designed and created to support the spine in its normal alignment whether you are on your back or on your side. These are the only positions chiropractic-approved to sleep in. The pillow we recommend is the Tri-core Cervical Pillow. However, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. You should try a pillow for 30 days and see if it works well with your body-type.

Your pillow needs a side-kick!

sleeping chiropractic acupuncture

Additionally, You may also need to complement your pillow with chiropractic adjustments or acupuncture care. These therapies paired with some home exercises help restore the curve in your neck that you have may have lost from times of sleeping on your stomach. Your new cervical pillow will help to restore your neck curvature. You should start feeling better right away because there is a high probability that the problem has been resolved. However, there is still ups-and-downs to be had with a new posture device. Stick with it for the month and make a more conclusive decision.

Your provider will also show you proper ergonomics techniques and stretches you can do at your work desk to counteract the external stressors of sitting too damn long. Poor ergonomics can be a contributing factor to neck pain and headaches.

What is the best pillow for neck pain? If you have neck pain from sleeping your first stop should be the chiropractor to get properly diagnosed. Also, if you don’t have a cervical pillow please get one. The best thing to do is to go to a store that has a variety. You may need to be fitted to make sure you get the right size and foam density.


Also published on Medium.