ZocdocAnswersIs my neck pain due to not using a pillow?

Question

Is my neck pain due to not using a pillow?

I stopped using a pillow when I sleep this year. Been about 4 months now. I have developed neck pain in the last month. Is it because I'm not using a pillow. Do you have to use a pillow or your neck will get screwed up?

Answer

Neck pain is a relatively common condition. There are many causes of this pain - some of which are minor and some of which are significant. I would recommend that you discuss this with your primary care doctor. Hopefully, he or she should be able to diagnose the cause of your pain and (just as importantly) help you treat it. To answer your question, yes - it is possible that not using a pillow is causing this neck pain. In general there are a few possible causes of neck pain. Primary among them is muscle spasm or inflammation. This can happen when muscles are overused, stretched or otherwise injured. It is possible that the new sleeping position for your neck is causing strain on the neck muscles and thereby causing your pain. Trying a comfortable position or different pillow may help relieve this pain. There are other causes of neck pain to consider. Often the bone itself is the cause of symptoms. The neck bones, like any other joint, can develop arthritis (formally osteoarthritis) which can cause these symptoms. Often the nerves are also effected which can cause this pain. Other cause of neck pain are more rare - but include problems in the larynx, esophagus and even heart/lungs. Please discuss with your doctor, who can examine you and give you more information. Good luck!

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