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Change your Sleeping habit

Updated: Jul 30, 2022

Do you wake up with stiff neck or shoulders? Are you suffering from nagging elbow, wrist or shoulder pain which comes and goes with no apparent reasons? Or a burning/tingling sensation around your face without any definitive diagnosis.

Recently, I have dealt with few patients who had these symptoms with one particular thing in common. You guessed it right, their sleeping posture. Surprisingly, these symptoms are often neglected at the beginning. But when it gets worse we often start to wonder, what went wrong!

First thing you should be doing is reducing the height or number of pillows, under your head. Ideally 1 pillow, not too thick, is your best option which helps to align your neck properly. Sometimes, using more than 1 or a thicker pillow might be the root cause for pain in and around your neck, shoulders, elbow or wrist.

I have seen patients been sent to X-rays, CT scans or MRI's and ending up been diagnosed with a completely different issue which is not even relevant to the cause of the pain.

Most commonly, a mild to moderate disc degeneration/bulge or the reduction in the curvature of the cervical spine might be something that you find in the report. Patients then start seeking treatment for it and veer off in a totally wrong path.

As a Mckenzie Certified Physiotherapist, the first thing that I ask patients during an Initial Assessment is; how many pillows do they use, or the firmness of the bed. These two points are actually in the Mckenzie Upper Extremity Assessment Form. Surprisingly, most of the patients who have pain on their upper extremities have been using multiple pillows under their head at night.

Sadly, reducing the pillow might not always alleviate the chronic pain. You still need to go through a thorough assessment from a trained professional.

If you are still suffering from upper extremity or neck pain and have exhausted all options with unsatisfactory results, please contact us, we will be happy to help.

As a conclusion, using one pillow under your head at night is a good practice, that helps to lessen the strain around your neck muscles and nerves. But, always follow the instructions given by your physiotherapist for better result. "No one will ever advise you to sleep on 2-3 pillows anyways" 😄


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