If you have neck problems, it may be because of how you sleep. Find out the best techniques to relieve your nagging neck pains!
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Natalia: Hi, doctors! For the last few months I have been starting to get a lot of neck pain, and it's not going away. I have to twist myself around until it pops. I am specially having a lot of pain at night. I can't seem to figure out how to sleep, so that I am comfortable. I end up having to roll towel to under my neck, other nights I sleep on the crook of my boyfriend's neck. It's driving me insane, what can I do. Male Speaker: To answer Natalia's question we have Dr. Kate Savage, she is an orthopedic surgeon from the Los Angeles Orthopedic Surgery Specialists Group. So, Natalia you are laying down right now. And you are thinking of specific things you may do in your life that causes neck pain right? Natalia: Correct. Male Speaker: Kate what can we do to prevent this from coming on in the first place? Dr. Kate Savage: Well, I think Natalia has two of the most common causes of chronic neck pain, the way she sleeps, and the way she sits at work. The number two reason to go to a doctor is neck and back pain. Male Speaker: So, what can Natalia do when she sleeping at the night, other than probably not best to spend the entire night sleeping on your boyfriend's shoulder? Dr. Kate Savage: Exactly, exactly. Although it looked very romantic, it's probably not going to do her well during the day time, as we see when Natalia is laying down right now her head is crooked forward. The neck has a normal curvature in it, that we want to maintain in every resting position. So, this pillow is up too high and it's causing her head to go forward. If you are a back sleeper you definitely want to have some support in your neck to recreate that curve. There are ergonomic pillows out there that definitely can recreate that curve for you. You can do this with the normal pillow at homes. We are going to change this on Natalia. And this one recreates the neck support. So, you want the little bit of a lift underneath your neck and your head to actually go into the crook of the pillow. If you are a side sleeper, you want to maintain the neck in a neutral position all the way down through your pillow, it might need to be a little bit higher. If you lay on your belly, when you sleep, no pillow at all. Any pillow is going to hyperextend the neck and you are going to lose that curve and put too much strain on your muscles. Male Speaker: What is the best position to prevent neck pain, is it backside, obviously not your stomach? Dr. Kate Savage: The stomach is one of the hardest ones to keep, because you have to put your head to the side and you are not going to breathe. The stomach is a hard one. The back is good if you have one of these pillows, but most humans and most of us are side sleepers. So, side sleepers just have to be really cognizant of their pillow in keeping their head up neutral, not one way or the other. And pillows do wear out, so you need to change your pillows. So, you may start with one that's great and it wears out after a while, you have got to get a new one every couple of years. Male Speaker: And the other place where we spend most of out time, Natalia do you sit at a desk? Natalia:Yes. Male Speaker: So, a lot of us do, and typical posture I have. Dr. Kate Savage: Yes, and you can see, he is doing all the same things wrong. This is one of the typical ones or the leaning forward into your computer. Again, you want to maintain the whole entire spine in its normal curve. The lower spine has to have a frontward curve, as does your neck. Male Speaker: I understand, this isn't the normal curve -- Dr. Kate Savage: No this is not the normal curve. Male Speaker: But it is comfortable. Dr. Kate Savage: It would be comfortable for about 15 minutes and then if you had to sit there -- Male Speaker: So what should I do? Dr. Kate Savage: The best way to do it is actually start at the lower part of your spine, by putting a rolled up towel, that's going to create the lower curvature in your spine and that's going to make you have to stay up