Neck pain lying down describes discomfort which begins or worsens when a patient reclines. In the vast majority of affected sufferers, positional exacerbation is cited as a major cause of neck pain symptoms. This means that lying down in some positions is worse than in others. Of course, as in all chronic pain conditions, this may be related to purely anatomical factors or purely psychological conditioning considerations. In many patients, the expression of pain when reclining is likely to be a combination of mind and body contributors working together.
This essay provides some valuable insights on pain which commences or escalates when the patient lies down to rest or sleep.
Spinal Causes of Neck Pain Lying Down
There may be a number of possible anatomical considerations which might be responsible for creating or worsening existing neck pain when reclining:
Herniated discs and osteoarthritic processes in the neck might be positionally-dependent for enacting nerve or spinal cord compression. This means that when the neck is bent or flexed in a particular way, the disc pathology or arthritic debris pressures a cervical spinal nerve root or impinges on the central spinal canal.
In much the same way, cervical spondylolisthesis or irregular cervical spinal curvatures might also affect a nerve, or the spinal cord, when the neck is positioned in a reclining posture.
Muscular Causes of Pain Lying Down
Neck muscle injuries, repetitive strain conditions, muscle imbalances and other soft-tissue pathologies might be worsened when reclining. Once again, position may make matters worse or better, so it is always worth experimenting to see how a change of posture may help or hinder the pain.
It is very common for whiplash patients and those with known cervical traumas to suffer escalated pain during the acute and rehabilitative phases. These symptoms might endure for a long time, but should eventually resolve.
Scar tissue formation, due to serious or repetitive injury, might create lasting pain all the time or only when the neck is placed into certain positions. These problems should always be evaluated by a trained physical therapist or doctor of rehabilitation medicine.
Imbalances may need to be resolved in order to end symptoms in patients with unequal muscular set capacities.
Widespread neck muscle pain may indicate a disease process at work, such as in the case of fibromyalgia sufferers.
Programmed Neck Pain Lying Down
Programming, also called conditioning, is an inherent part of virtually all chronic pain syndromes. In these cases, the actual symptoms may be caused through anatomical structural issues, or through the mindbody process, as psychosomatic expressions. Regardless of the source, programming will occur in virtually every patient and a common expression is positionally-motivated pain.
Reclining to rest is illogical as a cause of symptomatic escalation in most patients from an anatomical point of view. Resting almost always elicits relief. However, if the patient sufferers pain upon lying down, it may be conditioned into their belief system and present itself to be a recurring problem, even if the actual structural cause has since resolved or if an anatomical motivator never existed at all.
Conditioned patients often obsess over the right pillow and mattress, hoping to be proactive in the battle against lying down neck pain. These factors really contribute to the expression, so investing time, energy and money trying to locate the ideal pillow and/or mattress usually yields disappointing results statistically.
Patients with a large number of conditioned responses, which are used to explain when and why they have pain, often benefit from knowledge therapy treatment. This alternative neck pain therapy gets to the emotional source of the programmed responses and eliminates them from the symptomatic equation. Many patients find far less flare-ups and physical restrictions, despite still having the anatomical causes of their pain, once they have been treated with this mindbody approach to care.