As you head into this fantastic Holiday week of Thanksgiving, you might just find yourself with more time to sleep in than your usual. I already have, and in doing so, re-visited that soreness that I am not so familiar with.
Many of you know what I am talking about, some of you have yet to experience this (under 35 you probably haven’t had much of this yet). I am referring to that soreness that accompanies a long night of sleep. You wake up, realize almost immediately that you slept too long, and everything is sore because of it.
First off, why? Second… what to change?
Well, it happens to many people who have never had an injury before. Actually, from my estimation based solely on the conversations over 250,000 adjustments in the last decade, more shoulder injuries happen in my “Masters” population, FROM sleep than any other cause. See, the “why” is really based on the long term damage that comes from sleeping in the same position. Why damage? Because as we age, we become more prone to inflammation, and our tissues become more prone to degradation.
Impingement and micro tears can happen from these positions. When the spine is put in a place of impingement, then the tissues beyond the nerves under duress will become more likely to injure. This combined situation makes it easy for damage to set in. If you have already suffered injuries in your shoulders, neck, scapula areas, or lumbar spine, you are that much more apt to hurt worse after a long night in bed.
The big problem of course, is that a good nights sleep is good for you. So what to do?
Well, there are a few things that you can do to assist. First, bring pillows to bed. Multiple pillows stacked up around you can allow you to become better at sub-consciously supporting yourself by using pillows to support your shoulders, upper back and neck appropriately. Which basically means keep the shoulders rounded as you “hug” the pillow, and be sure the spine is neutral, or in a straight line.
Next, having pillows provides something to spur you into action. Meaning, you shouldn’t just sit still the entire time. But this should give you the just enough of a kick to move around some and re-position. Getting up to use the bathroom, though bad in a short night, can actually be good for your inflammation in a longer night of sleep. But disturbing too much sleep is of course, no good.
Lastly, if you tend to wake up sore, going to bed on an ice pack, or with a good anti-inflammatory supplement like juice plus, or Go Yin. For now, identify if you normally get sore, and work towards stopping it. Enjoy this week, no matter what.
Be well and Be Blessed. Dr. E