Quality sleep is essential for health, well-being, and resilience in the face of chronic illness or pain. Lack of restorative sleep contributes to problems such as poor mental health, nutritional deficiencies, cognitive impairment, and depression.
Chronic conditions like cervical radiculopathy present many difficulties, and impaired sleep only compounds suffering by influencing hormones, focus, decision-making, and the ability to manage health with compassion. In this article, let’s learn how to live with the condition while ensuring a good night’s sleep.
What Is Cervical Radiculopathy?
Cervical radiculopathy, also known as a pinched nerve, occurs when nerves in the neck become inflamed or damaged. As the condition progresses, symptoms tend to worsen. The most common causes are aging and spinal degeneration. You should see a doctor of radiculopathy if you experience neck pain for an extended period.
Some common symptoms of cervical radiculopathy include:
- Numbness, tingling, or a pins and needles sensation in the hands, fingers, arms, shoulders, or neck. This indicates nerve compression and impaired sensory feedback.
- Weakness or pain in the arms, shoulders, hands, or neck. Damaged nerve roots have difficulty conducting signals from the brain to muscles and joints. This can lead to loss of strength, coordination, and range of motion.
- Muscle atrophy or wasting away of muscles in the hands and arms. Prolonged nerve compression prevents muscles from getting proper signals and nutrition, causing them to decrease in size and tone.
- Pain, aching, or tenderness in the neck, shoulders, or arms. Inflammation and pressure on nerve roots result in discomfort, especially with certain head or neck movements.
- Difficulty performing fine motor skills or grasping objects. Limited sensation, strength, and mobility impact abilities like buttoning shirts, writing, holding items, etc.
- Loss of reflexes. Compromised nerve roots cannot properly stimulate reflexive muscle contractions and movements. Deep tendon reflexes may be diminished or absent.
How To Sleep With Cervical Radiculopathy?
Living with chronic neck pain or conditions like cervical radiculopathy can make sleeping comfortably nearly impossible. Sleeping in any natural position may seem difficult and unnatural sleeping positions for extended periods often lead to additional muscle strain, pains, and general discomfort. However, sleep is important, so, let’s look at some positions that can help you in getting a good night’s sleep.
Sleep On Your Back
Sleeping on your back is the optimal position for cervical radiculopathy. Use a supportive pillow that keeps your neck stable and aligned. However, do not sleep on your back if you have been drinking or vomiting.
Sleep On Your Side
Sleeping on your side can be better than sleeping on your stomach, but it is not ideal. Use a pregnancy pillow or extra pillows to keep your neck and back properly supported and aligned.
Avoid Sleeping On Your Stomach
Sleeping on your stomach should be avoided. It twists the neck and back, causing pain and discomfort. If you can only sleep on your stomach, use a very thin pillow or no pillow at all.
Sleeping in an upright or slightly elevated position can help reduce pain from cervical radiculopathy. Special U-shaped pregnancy pillows provide support for the head and neck in an upright sleeping position. It may take time to get used to but can be very effective.
To Wrap Up
Cervical radiculopathy can significantly impact the quality of life, but the condition does not have to define you. Seek treatment from a doctor for ways to relieve symptoms. Getting good sleep by using proper positions and pillow support is one of the best ways to manage discomfort from cervical radiculopathy. With the right adjustments, you can sleep comfortably again.