Pillow Talk: How Your Pillow Choice is Affecting Your Neck Pain

Now that we know the majority of adults also experience neck pain in their lifetimes as well as back pain, we can begin to focus on the ways to prevent this occurrence from becoming frequent. We’ve talked about how the type of mattress you sleep on can affect your level of back pain, and the same is true as well for your neck. Not only does the type of mattress matter, more importantly the type of pillow you are using may be adding to your daily discomfort and unease.

It is said that people will spend an average of a third of their life in bed, so it’s no wonder that all the constant stress of tossing, turning, and twisting at night can affect your neck and shoulders. Since the neck is the first line of support for the head, the most common cause of neck pain stems from having the body twisted or bent in a different direction from the neck for extended periods of time.  It’s important that your pillow fully supports your neck the right way; that is in a way that does not shift the natural curvature of your spine and keeps your body in a neutral form.

Paying attention to the way you may hold your head when sitting in bed watching television or reading will help alleviate the pressure applied to your neck. Try to avoid sleeping on your stomach as this position often leads to more tossing and turning; the best positions for sleeping are on the back or the side. Lastly, picking the right type of pillow for your preferred level of support is really important. Different types of pillows include:

1)   Water-Filled Pillows: Water pillows provide the advantage of being able to customize your level of comfort by allowing you to add more or less water to suit your needs. The water in the pillows redistributes the weight on your neck as you toss and turn, unlike with standard pillows that are not as agile.

2)   Feather Pillows: Feather pillows are a wonderful alternative to foam pillows for those looking for more support and aren’t allergic to feathers. These pillows can often be molded and shaped in ways to fit your head, providing more comfort as you sleep.

3)   Cervical Pillows: Cervical pillows, such as neck rolls, are designed to maintain the natural posture of your head, neck, and shoulders while you slumber. These pillows are commonly used on airplanes, long train rides, and by those who have issues relieving discomfort with other types of pillows.

It’s important to consider a range of options when it comes to preventing and alleviating pain. Sometimes all it takes is a simple change in daily behavior or posture to have a positive impact on your overall spine health. For more information on neck pain and common problems, follow our blog all month long!