Dealing with Morning Neck Pain

“I Can’t Turn My Head” — Dealing with Morning Neck Pain 

Have you ever woken up in the morning and thought you must have slept wrong? If you know the feeling of barely being able to turn your head in the morning due to neck pain, then you have experienced what is clinically called torticollis. What causes this condition and how is it treated? Read on to learn more about torticollis. 

Why Neck Pain Occurs

The sternocleidomastoid or SCM muscles are what allow a person to turn his or her head from side to side as well as tilting the head back. Even when not being used in this way, these muscles pull the head forward allowing it to stay naturally upright instead of falling backward. When these muscles tighten, neck pain results, especially when turning the head. 

Causes of SCM Muscle Tightness 

You may wonder why this condition seems to occur during the night. Is it because of the way you slept? That is one possibility. Sleeping position and the quality of neck support during sleep are both vital for keeping the SCM muscles healthy. 

Temperature can also affect these muscles. If it is too cold in the room, tight muscles can be the result, especially since the neck is not usually under the covers. Sleeping with a window open on a night that gets too cold can be the culprit. 

Treating Morning Neck Pain

If you wake up in the morning with a sore neck, the first thing you may wonder is how you are going to get through the rest of the day. Remember that we are talking about tight muscles causing the pain. With that in mind, there are several solutions that can save your day.

  • Heat – Heat increases blood flow which can loosen up the stiff muscles. Especially if your neck pain was caused by cold temperatures, heat can be beneficial. 
  • Interferential Current Therapy (IFC) – This method involves high-frequency current applied to the skin which penetrates deep tissue and interferes with the body’s ability to transfer pain messages. At the same time, circulation is improved which also benefits tight muscles. This is just one of the many treatment methods offered at Ward Chiropractic & Rehabilitation.
  • Gentle Exercises – Dr. Ward can also help you to know what exercises are best for relieving a stiff neck in the morning. Performing these exercises can often provide some immediate relief by improving blood flow.
  • Chiropractic Adjustments of the Neck and Back – As always, Dr. Ward is available with same day emergency appointments to help you face the day even if you didn’t sleep quite right. Sometimes an adjustment is all it takes to get the blood flowing properly again, and our amazing bodies can take care of the rest.