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Why Did You Wake Up With a Stiff Neck?

There’s no worse feeling than waking up in the morning with a stiff neck. You felt fine when you went to sleep, but something happened while you were snoozing.

There are many reasons why a stiff neck may develop while sleeping. These three are among the most common:

·      Awkward sleeping angle: For example, if your neck is propped up by too many pillows for an extended period of time, it can stress and strain your muscles, joints, and ligaments.

·      Preexisting injury: Maybe you suffered an injury while you were awake, such as whiplash as the result of a motor vehicle accident. The pain didn’t set in right away, but when you woke up you realized something was wrong. This is more common than most people believe.

·      Sudden movement: You never know exactly what you’re doing when sleeping. Maybe you have a sudden movement as a reaction to a nightmare. Or maybe you spent the entire night tossing and turning. The more you move while sleeping the greater chance there is of spraining or straining your neck.

If you wake up with a stiff neck, don’t immediately jump into your normal routine. Instead, slowly get out of bed and attempt to loosen your neck with the help of a few gentle stretches. A warm shower and massage can also do wonders for reducing your pain and discomfort.

Jennifer Ferdinand, owner of Serendipity Wellness Studio in Burke, VA, has been practicing massage therapy and esthetics since 2006. She is nationally certified through NCBTMB, and licensed in Virginia for both Massage Therapy and Esthetics.

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