What Causes Neck Pain in the Morning?

neck pain in the morning

So you wake up with neck pain and stiffness; what do you do?

According to some estimates, up to 85% of people will experience back or neck pain. Whether it’s a chronic or temporary problem, widespread or centered on a specific area, neck pain is always something serious to address.

Before proceeding to treat neck pain, you must identify the underlying factor. This way, you can take steps to prevent recurring pain.

So what is the cause of your neck pain in the morning, and how do you address it? Here’s what you need to know.

Poor Sleeping Posture

Poor sleeping posture forces the neck muscles to work too hard to keep your head elevated and aligned. This added strain can cause neck muscles to become overworked and sore over time, resulting in neck pain when you wake up.

To avoid this, maintain a good sleeping position, sit up straight during the day, and use ergonomically correct equipment when necessary. Consider asking for the help of experts, such as chiropractors.

You may want to see this best chiropractor that can help you reduce your neck pain.

Wrong Pillow

The wrong pillow can place excessive strain or pressure on the neck, leading to a feeling of stiffness. A pillow that is too soft can cause the neck to fall into an uncomfortable position, contributing to neck pain in the morning.

Find a pillow that provides the right level of support for the neck and head. Find one that is adjustable and ergonomically designed to suit individual needs.

Lack of Physical Activity

As adults, we often neglect to care for our bodies with simple exercise and movement. This lack of physical activity can lead to chronic neck pain in the morning due to an accumulation of tension through the muscles and tendons in the neck and shoulders. Insufficient physical activity can lead to your neck and shoulder muscles overstretching or tightening.

Stretching and strengthening exercises make the muscles and ligaments around the neck more flexible. This can help prevent and reduce neck pain.

Excessive Weightlifting

Lifting weights that are too heavy can cause muscle strain and tightness in the upper back and neck muscles. Over time, the tightness will increase until they cause pain in the neck and back.

Improper technique, poor posture, and repetitive movement can all cause neck pain when weightlifting. Individuals should be conscious of their weightlifting habits and be mindful of their stance to avoid neck pain.


When people are under stress, their body releases hormones that can cause the muscles in the neck and shoulders to tighten. Prolonged stress can cause long-term tension and tightness in the neck and shoulders, leading to chronic neck pain.

It can also impact your immune system, decreasing your pain threshold and causing minor neck pain to feel more severe. To reduce stress and tension, it is essential to practice lifestyle strategies such as breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, journaling, or other stress management techniques.

Sleeping on an Old Mattress

An older mattress may not provide the same level of support that a newer, firmer mattress. When the neck is not supported throughout the night, the muscles and vertebrae can become strained, resulting in stiffness and pain.

Sleeping on an old mattress can lend itself to sagging in certain areas, making maintaining good posture while sleeping difficult. Replacing an old mattress with a newer, firmer model that offers proper support and alignment is essential.


Injuries may change the structure of the cervical spine and the muscles, bones, and discs that support it. Some people may suffer from a herniated disc, meaning one of the discs in the neck becomes compressed or bulged. It puts pressure on the nerves, which causes pain.

Another injury that can cause neck pain is whiplash, caused by an abrupt impact to the neck and head from a car accident, for example.

Overuse of the Same Muscles

Neck pain is caused by overuse of the same set of muscles in the neck. This can happen from repeatedly using the same head and neck positions associated with a particular job, hobby, or activity. When this occurs, the neck muscles become inflamed and irritated.

This tension can accumulate without proper rest or self-care and cause morning neck pain. The best way to prevent and manage neck pain is to practice good posture and take frequent breaks from repetitive movements or activities involving the neck muscles.

Getting enough rest and taking time for gentle neck stretches and massage can help reduce the tension in the neck muscles and help prevent neck pain.

Genetic Factors

Certain medical conditions can be inherited, leading to chronic neck pain. These conditions include disc disorders, degenerative bone and joint diseases, and other genetic disorders.

Muscle weakness in the neck can also be genetic. This could be due to reduced muscle mass or a lack of strength in the neck muscles.

Even the difference in size between the shoulders and neck can contribute to neck pain. Taking measures to improve posture can reduce neck pain, but sometimes, those who suffer from chronic neck pain need medical attention.

Don’t Ignore Neck Pain in the Morning

Neck pain in the morning can be caused by many things, including poor sleep posture, sleeping on a mattress that’s too soft, or stress. To prevent this, use a neck support pillow, choose a mattress for appropriate support, and stay active.

Speak with your doctor about other strategies for reducing neck pain. If you continue to experience neck pain, take action and reach out for help.

For more health and fitness advice, check out my other blog posts.