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2023 Author: Alfred Shackley | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 13:14
Osteochondrosis of the cervical spine is an unpleasant, difficult to correct and, unfortunately, an extremely common chronic disease today, in which degenerative-dystrophic disorders appear in the most mobile part of the spinal column (C1-C7 vertebrae).
A weak muscle corset in the neck area and constant stress lead to the development of irreversible changes, manifested by a whole bunch of different symptoms:
- limited neck mobility;
- dizziness and lightheadedness;
- frequent headaches and ringing in the ears;
- impaired coordination of movements, instability when walking;
- hearing loss;
- deterioration of the condition of the teeth;
- decreased vision;
- numbness of the fingers, weakness in the hands.
Patients diagnosed with cervical osteochondrosis have to radically revise their lifestyle, giving up bad habits and accustoming themselves to useful ones.
Since there are no methods to cure the disease today, it is better to direct all efforts to prevent it from progressing. Massage, acupuncture, physical therapy, yoga, Pilates and swimming - in this daily fight against insidious ailment, everything matters, even the quality and quantity of sleep.
Unfortunately, degenerative changes in the spine associated with osteochondrosis often make people forget about full sleep: the neck hurts both day and night, and an improperly selected pillow or attempts to sleep in the wrong position contribute to compression of the vertebral arteries.
As a result, a person wakes up with a sore head, swollen face, numb hands - in general, nothing good. Therefore, it is so important to learn how to sleep properly with osteochondrosis.
How to sleep properly with osteochondrosis?
Normal sleep takes place in a state of maximum relaxation and provides the body with proper rest. A slept person feels better, more cheerful. But not every position allows you to relax during a night's rest and prevent disruptions in the functioning of the central nervous system caused by insufficient blood supply to the brain (a common problem in cervical osteochondrosis).
Therefore, it is better to sleep in one of the three most suitable and safe positions:
- on the back, bending the knees so that the back relaxes, and each vertebra takes the correct anatomical position (if you sleep with straight legs, the muscles of the lower back will not relax);
- in the so-called "fetal position", which is considered the most suitable for relaxing and deep sleep - on the side, with legs pulled up to the chest, knees bent;
- flat on your side, resting your head on a low pillow, and resting your shoulder against the mattress.
But you will have to refuse to sleep on your back in the pose of a "soldier" or on your side without a pillow. Sleeping on the stomach is also considered not the best option: despite the fact that there is minimal pressure on the spinal column in this position, it is highly discouraged to sleep with the head turned to the side for people with cervical osteochondrosis. Therefore, try first to train yourself to fall asleep while lying on your back, and if it does not work out, practice sleeping on your side (this position is universal and promotes instant relaxation).
What to sleep on with osteochondrosis of the cervical spine?
It is not only the posture in which a person sleeps that matters, but also the quality of the surface on which he spends the whole night. A properly selected mattress and pillow will provide comfort when falling asleep and prevent undesirable phenomena - neck muscle strain, circulatory problems, insomnia.
After all, in a dream we spend about a third of our entire life, so why not provide the body with normal conditions for rest? You should give up tall and soft pillows, even if love for them has been preserved since childhood.
The oversized down pillows feel comfortable, but cause serious damage to the neck.
It is much better to sleep on a compact, medium-height orthopedic pillow with a special support cushion. By lying down with the bolster at neck level, you support the natural curve of the neck (lordosis) both when lying down and while sleeping on your side.
At the same time, the pillow should not reach shoulder level (the more compact its size, the better) and be too soft - optimally, when the head slightly presses the surface of the pillow, and does not push it by almost two-thirds.
If cerebrovascular accidents are severe, during periods of exacerbation of osteochondrosis, you can use a pillow higher (up to 8-9 cm instead of the standard 5-6), but at the same time it should remain moderately rigid. A square or rectangular shape is preferable, since bolster or horseshoe-shaped pillows are less comfortable and more suitable for short naps, for example, if you need to take an hour's nap or during a transport trip.
As for the filler, here you need to focus on individual preferences: someone is ideally suited for sleeping accessories based on foam latex or bamboo fiber, while someone loves more pillows filled with buckwheat husk or cooling gel. In case of frequent exacerbations of diseases of the musculoskeletal system, be sure to consult with your doctor before buying a pillow and mattress.
Is it useful to sleep on the floor with osteochondrosis?
Sometimes one hears unreasonable from the anatomical point of view, the advice of "experts" who claim that with osteochondrosis of the spine (including the cervical spine), you need to sleep on a perfectly flat and hard surface - for example, on the floor.
By listening to such recommendations, you are more likely to worsen the quality of your night's sleep for obvious reasons (it is difficult to fall asleep on the floor, and any roll over in a dream threatens to immediately wake up) than to help your back and neck.
Laying on the floor for neck problems is no less dangerous than sleeping on a soft feather bed all the time.
The only acceptable option is considered to be an orthopedic mattress, everything else is “from the evil one”.
Detailed descriptions in catalogs and consultations of specialists - an orthopedic surgeon, employees of companies involved in the production and supply of products of this kind will help you to choose the right mattress model.
Too soft a surface allows the back to bend, like in a hammock, because it does not provide adequate support, and an overly firm mattress increases pain (especially during an exacerbation of the disease).
Doctors recommend medium-firm mattresses with an independent spring block that allows the spine to remain level regardless of the position taken by the sleeping person.
Springless models with a filling of coconut coir and natural or artificial latex have proven themselves quite well.