Our bodies’ favorite way of telling us that we’re aging is through pain. There is a specific time of the month or roughly 13 times a year when you wake up like someone French-braided your neck muscles overnight. The pain leaves from the base of your skull, down one side of the neck or the other, and onto the nearby shoulder blade.
This makes the slightest movement and event talking agonizingly. The reason? There are many reasons why someone may wake up one day with such pain. With so many of us starting down at our smartphones or gazing into computers most of the day, it’s no wonder why data from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention reports that almost 20% of us have experienced unbearable neck pain within the past few months.
When people experience neck pain, they often say, “I slept with my neck wrong”, but in reality, primary-care doctors stick with the idea that you slept the wrong way for your neck and most likely on the wrong pillow.
As you probably know, your neck and head spend plenty of hours every night on the same pillow, which is why choosing the right pillow is the key to the pain-free and healthy neck. For instance, a bamboo pillow contains memory foam which allows your head to be cradled at night, supporting a neutral neck and spine. But a pillow that doesn’t support your head properly during the night will create tension in your neck muscles resulting in excruciating neck pain. When you sleep, you want the tip of your nose to remain perpendicular to your chest, pretty much like you’re going down a waterslide a pillow that’s too firm or maybe too high would push your neck way too far.
Sudden-onset or acute Torticollis
Torticollis is one of a broader type of disorder that presents extension, flexion, or twisting of the muscle of your neck outside their normal position. Torticollis, or “twisted neck,” appears when the neck tends to twist to one side, causing your head lean.
In this case, neither your bedding nor your pillow has something to do with your pain. Torticollis can develop slowly if you have a family record of the disorder, a recent trauma, or an adverse effect of medications.
The characteristic Torticollis initially spasmodic (may cause involuntary contraction of the neck, awkward posture of the neck and head, and abnormal movements) and starts around 31-50 years.
Torticollis can be treated, however, if you choose to neglect these symptoms, it likely becomes permanent. Also, twisting or bending your neck too far or for a longer period will lead to acute Torticollis. It shows us with a few symptoms, although you’ll experience discomfort while at the same time, it will hold your head straight or rotate on one side.
Moving or holding your head on the opposite side will also feel extremely discomforting, let alone that you only have a limited range of motion. How to determine acute Torticollis? Place your hand on the affected side to see if the side that hurts often is tender to the touch. A medical expert will check motor and nerve function to prevent spinal cord injury.
What are Torticollis Symptoms and Signs?
- Since Torticollis is an unusual contraction of the muscle in one side of the neck, your head will tend to lean to one side.
- You won’t be able to turn your head to one side or may have your head slightly turned away from the aching side.
- Neck muscle spasms that are jerky(clonic) and sustained(tonic).
Brachial plexus injury
The brachial plexus is known as a network of nerves that conveys signals from your spinal cord up to your shoulder, arm, and hand. This might occur when these nerves are compressed or stretched.
Minor brachial plexus injuries are also known as burners or stinger and are very common in contact sports like soccer. The most severe brachial injuries result from motorcycle or automobile accidents.
If the nerves connecting your spinal cord to the hands are damaged, this might cause your neck pain.
Your Sleeping Position
We all have our favorite sleeping position. But if yours happen to be on the stomach, you’re doing your neck any favor. Sleeping on the stomach keeps your neck twisted to one side for the whole night, which can stretch your neck muscles and make them feel stiff and sore in the morning.
Not only that, but tummy sleeping can also affect the health of your back. It puts a lot of pressure on it, especially if you sleep on a mattress with not enough support. This makes your belly sink into the mattress, putting a lot of pressure and stress on your spine and the rest of your back.
Sleeping on the back using a memory-foam pillow can support your neck while maintaining your nose properly aligned.
Another morning-neck pain culprit is poor sleep, this can happen due to insomnia, anxiety, and too much caffeine and stress. A study of more than 4,000 people found that those with moderate to severe sleep issues were more likely to face chronic musculoskeletal pain than those who slept without problems.
Although it is a common pain experienced by the adult, neck pain can occur at any age. Over three months, around 15% of the American adults experience neck problems that last an entire day. Typically, some of these conditions are less concerning than others and can usually be alleviated with self-care, such as icing the area, enough rest, a better pillow, or improved posture.
But in case of severe conditions like Torticollis, medical treatments are needed, such as medication, injection therapy, or physical therapy. But when the nonsurgical treatments aren’t showing results, surgical options may be considered. As for the rest of you lying in bed in total agony, a one-click order for the right pillow might prove just right.