Periodically I injure my neck at night (used to be a stomach sleeper), and usually it takes a bit of babying to heal it. A towel wrapped around my neck, sleeping on my back, no pillow, etc. After 2 or 3 days, it's fine.
However, this time it keeps getting reinjured every night. I've tried sleeping on my side, back, with a pillow, without a pillow, with an actual soft neck brace, without a neck brace, and sitting straight up in a chair. During the day, I can feel it slowly healing, but in the middle of the night I wake up with pain. I have to lift my head up with my hands to get out of bed.
It FEELS like a muscle strain. There's no shooting pain, no numbness, nothing that would indicate anything else. It only hurts when I flex the muscle inside my neck.
Buy a Cervical Roll. It provides proper neck support while sleeping. This will help reduce stiffness and pain. Just slide it into your pillow's case. It's not very expensive either--less than $20. I've been having pain myself to the point of having to see a physical therapist. My physical therapist suggested the roll. Good luck and hope you feel better.
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