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Waking up with pain in your neck is an unpleasant way to start the day, but neck pain related to sleep is fairly common.
One study found that around 1 in 20 people with long term neck, shoulder or lower back pain might have it due to sleeping problems.
Most of the time the pain is a result of either the pillow you’re using or the position you’re sleeping in.
But if you’re worried about your pain or it persists for several weeks, you should see a doctor.
If you sleep in an odd position, your neck muscles can become locked, which can lead to pain.
Certain sleeping positions also increase your risk of neck pain, such as sleeping on your tummy, as this makes you more likely to twist your neck to breathe.
Pillows that don’t provide enough support for your neck, or elevate it too much, can also lead to neck pain.
The following tips may improve the quality of your sleep and help to prevent neck pain:
If you have tried the above techniques but still wake up with symptoms there are other things you can do to help relieve the pain:
If you find NSAIDs help with the pain, try to gradually reduce the dose after 1 or 2 weeks. Please check with your doctor if you can take these medications.
If the pain persists and is affecting your everyday life you should see a doctor.
They may order tests to find out the cause of your neck pain, suggest physiotherapy to improve your strength and flexibility, or a muscle relaxant if non-prescription medicine hasn’t been effective.
If you have any of the following symptoms you should see a doctor as soon as possible:
Most neck pain can resolve on its own, but don’t assume it’s due to a bad sleeping position if it happens regularly or is accompanied by other symptoms.
Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.