I have experienced this condition several times in my life (thanks to yoga practice I don’t have it anymore). It is very unpleasant and the worst thing about it, in my opinion, is that it won’t go away so easily. As far as I remember there is a name for this condition – Torticollis.
If You Have a Severe Neck Pain in the Morning
First of all don’t do any sharp movements with your head because it will produce even more pain. Even if you only have got a stiff neck, it still can be pretty painful, once you try turning it to a side or tilt the head.
The best course of action for you will be making a gentle massage of the painful side of the neck. If you happen to have an ointment with warming properties, then use it on the aching area. The idea behind it is to let your neck muscles relax, releasing the joints and nerves.
When Will My Neck Pain Go Away?
From what I know it may take from 1 to 5 days. Sometimes it may take the whole week to get rid of this pain.
Causes of Neck Pain in the Morning
- Sleeping in an awkward position – this was the #1 cause of morning neck pain in my case! I mean I used to turn around while sleeping I guess, hence my head would end up being in a strange position, making it bad for the neck. You can add here sleeping on the stomach and having your head turned 90 degrees towards one side. Sleeping without a pillow or sleeping with an uncomfortable or shallow pillow may cause the pain. By the way, I have been sleeping without any pillow for more than 10 years, and have no problems with my neck – again, thanks to my yoga routine. Of course I also try to avoid sleeping in an awkward position.
Why bad sleeping pose causes the neck pain? Well, in such position your neck joints get compressed, and the intervertebral discs pinch the nerves in the neck. The nerves send signals to the brain that they got pinched and the swelling started. The response from the brain leads to more muscle strain in order to protect the damaged area. And we have a vicious circle, which results in inflammation.
Since the tense muscles, along with the vertebrae, compress the neck blood vessels, the circulation brakes, the swelling occurs. The pinched nerves cannot transfer signals to the brain to release muscle tension. So this is basically what causes pain in neck in the morning.
- Now, sometimes you may have an upper back and neck pain in the morning; this may be caused by sleeping next to the open window. I also used to have a pain due to this cause in my childhood. The most common situation looks like this: the weather is warm (it is likely summer), you don’t want to sleep in a room with stale air, and you want to have some air circulation during night. But the problem is that few hours before the morning (around 4 am), the temperature drops, and the air flow becomes cooler, the muscles in the neck stiffen and cramp, which remains till the awakening, thus later leading to the pain in neck.
- Another cause is some excessive physical activity the day before; I remember having helped my parents in their farm, and the next day I had a stiff aching neck, when I woke up. The same refers to physical training or, better to say, over-training, especially, in the evening. Well, it actually can be related to any unusual physical activity you did the day before. This may cause a sudden pain when you try turning you head after waking up. But also, sometimes this pain is dull and remains for the whole day or even for a couple of days.
What If I Have A Chronic Neck Pain In The Morning?
Waking up with neck pain is not uncommon, but having a chronic pain is not good; I mean it is not very bad, but you definitely have to do something about it. There may be some inflammation processes going on in your neck muscles or vertebrae. Of you simply need to adopt an exercise routine to tone your neck and back muscles. In any case it is recommended to visit a doctor to have diagnosed and prescribed a proper treatment if necessary.
There are over the counter drugs (acetaminophen, ibuprofen) that bring a temporary relief for the pain and swelling, but if the pain is severe, and stays for long time, don’t delay with a doctor visit.
Can Chiropractic Be Used For Neck Pain?
Chiropractic it not only helps to deal with the muscular spasm and reflex, but also works on the neck joints. However, the physiotherapy is preliminary used to reset the muscle reflexes.
If the pain is too subtle, the condition may resolve on its own within one or several days. But if the stiffness continues and there are lightning shock-like pains down the spine, don’t delay with medical attention to avoid the worsening of the condition or transforming it into some more serious disease.