eli5: Why does a stiff neck persist for days after you slept in a bad position?



Why does the stiffness and the pain stay there for a while? What’s the body trying to achieve when you’ve already woken up and gotten out of that bad position?

In: Biology


Your neck was already bad to start. The poor sleeping position just kicked it up a notch. You probably have a pinched nerve. Sometimes, you just have to wait those out.

A bath or shower helps. A little bit of heat goes a long way. Then go buy a better pillow. Pillows are the best thing. You want one that raises your neck up so that you’re spine is straight from head to coccyx. You might have a bad mattress too. I find that harder mattresses work better than soft ones.

Stretching every morning, the second that you wake up, really helps. Light stretching, nothing too intensive.

Bottom line, your neck or back is misaligned in some way. Sometimes it takes an X-Ray to see where the problem is. I fixed mine with exercises and stretching but everyone is different.

You have joints at the top of your neck spinal column and they can get stuck from the muscle or bones and need to be loosened up to stop the pain (stiffness)