Health blog

Why do I always have a stiff neck from sleeping?

June 3rd, 2020
Stiff Neck From Sleeping

It hardly ever fails. You wake up in the morning, and your neck is stiff and painful. Usually, the symptoms fade during the day — but you know that they’ll be back the next morning. 

This scenario is far too common. However, you aren’t alone in having to deal with a stiff neck from sleeping. It’s estimated that about 80% of Americans deal with neck pain annually. Research also shows that between 5% and 7% of new cases of chronic pain can be linked to sleeping problems. People who wake up with a stiff neck from sleeping could be dealing with several issues. There are four sleep issues in particular that commonly lead to neck problems. 

Four issues that could be causing your stiff neck from sleeping

A physical therapist can help you determine why you have a stiff neck from sleeping. They’ll ask you questions about your sleep habits, and they might also test your neck range of motion and flexibility. In many cases, your therapist is likely to find that one of four issues is causing your neck trouble. These four issues are: 

  1. Poor sleeping position — Most people are comfortable sleeping in a specific position. However, some positions can be very hard on your neck. This is especially true of sleeping on your stomach, since it typically causes you to twist your head to one side. Sound sleepers often remain in this position for hours at a time. Doing so can stress neck muscles and cause them to stiffen up. 
  1. Unsupportive pillows — The purpose of a pillow is to support your head and neck. Pillows that fail to do this can easily be a source of neck stiffness and pain. When choosing a pillow, you want to choose one that holds your head and neck in a neutral position. This will make developing neck symptoms less likely. 
  1. Moving around while you sleep — Sudden, violent movements during your sleep cycle can easily strain a neck muscle. People who often move about while sleeping may want to get checked for a sleep disorder. Disorders that can cause movement include restless leg syndrome and rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder.
  1. Previously unnoticed injury — Neck injuries caused by issues like whiplash can appear gradually. This means that you might go to bed fine, but you could wake up with a stiff, painful neck. 


Frequently have a stiff neck from sleeping? Rehab Access can help you

Do you frequently wake up from sleeping with a stiff, sore neck? Our team of therapy specialists at Rehab Access is ready and willing to help you. Our complimentary screening service can help reveal the source of your neck symptoms. Then, our team can build you a personalized therapy plan intended to reduce and prevent neck pain and stiffness. Our team offers virtual care appointments and at-home therapy sessions in addition to in-clinic appointments, and you don’t need a physician’s referral to use these services. 

Take the next step toward getting our help and reducing your neck pain. Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.