Whether you have chronic neck pain or your discomfort is caused by an acute injury, one fact remains—sleeping in the wrong position is sure to make it worse. One way to help heal a sore neck is to sleep in a position that best supports the spine’s natural alignment. An ergonomically designed pillow and mattress can get you on the right track (the idea is to keep the spine straight), but your actual sleeping position is the other piece of the puzzle.

Try these neck-friendly sleep positions:

On Your Back

When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, crashing out on your stomach can do a number on your neck. This is because when you’re positioned face down, you have to turn the head to one side in order to breathe. This puts the neck in an unnatural position that may lead to neck pain the next day. Try sleeping on your back with your spine straight and aligned. Again, the right pillow will go a long way here.

On Your Side

When sleeping in any position, the most important thing is to maintain proper alignment. If on your side, WebMD suggests getting yourself settled in a way that your nose is in line with the center of your body, which should help keep neck pain at bay. Harvard Medical School adds that side-sleepers can also maintain a straight spine by opting for a pillow that’s higher under the neck than the head.

If You Have to Sit Up, Use a Neck Pillow

Dozing off in an airplane seat isn’t exactly comfortable. What’s worse, it’s likely that your neck will find its way into an unnatural position. To help keep up proper alignment while on the go, pack a small neck pillow in your carry-on.

Stretch Your Neck Before Getting Into Bed

Sleep positions aside, stretching your neck before jumping into bed could help relieve persistent pain. Loosening tight muscles is the name of the game. The experts over at Self offer up a number of easy stretches to get the job done, including everything from behind-the-back neck stretches to what’s known as “heart openers.”

If you’re currently suffering from persistent neck pain, it could be a warning sign of a problem that runs deeper than muscle tension. This is why getting evaluated by a pain management expert can make all the difference. Health Star Clinic should be your go-to source for neck pain relief in Montgomery or Prattville. Here you’ll find cutting-edge diagnostics and a highly experienced staff made up of chiropractors, medical doctors, nurses, physical therapists and more. Click here to take the first step toward healing your neck pain.