Pillows for Neck Pain

Waking up with a sore or stiff neck? This is very common and is usually related to sleeping with your neck in the wrong position. If your neck is bent in an unnatural position and you sleep that way for several hours, it is quite likely you will feel it in the morning. Understanding your sleeping position and using pillows for neck pain can help eliminate the discomfort you may be experiencing, as well as increase the quality of your sleep.

Pillows Exist for a Reason

Ancient egyptian pillow for neck pain

A pillow fit for a king. Tutanhkamun’s (“King Tut”) headrest illustrates the firm origins of the modern pillow – Softer doesn’t always mean better.

For thousands of years, people have used night pillows for head support while sleeping. Some of the earliest pillows were made out of completely solid materials like porcelain, wood or stone. Softer materials certainly existed, so why where these pillows so hard? While the thought of a solid pillow may sound uncomfortable to you, you may be surprised to discover that a rock-hard pillow is more comfortable than no pillow at all. Have you ever tried to sleep without a pillow? Most people find this incredibly uncomfortable. In fact, sleeping without a pillow on a nice bed can be more uncomfortable than sleeping on a hard floor with the proper pillow. The difference is proper support of your neck and head.

Support Your Head for a Straight Spine

The thickness and firmness of your pillow is important in comparing pillows for neck pain.

If your pillow doesn’t keep your head at the correct level, it is possible you will experience back and neck pain.

There are three primary positions in which people sleep: On one’s side, back, or stomach. Most people sleep on their side or back, while a few sleep on their stomach. Sleep experts agree that sleeping on one’s stomach is not good for your back and is a common cause of back pain and neck pain.

Regardless of which position you sleep in, the key to eliminating neck pain is to ensure that your head is supported in a neutral position. When sleeping on your back or side, the key to a neutral position is to support your head above the surface of the bed. If you do not have a pillow or if your pillow is too thin or soft, your neck will bend downward and strain your neck and back muscles along your spine. If your pillow is too thick, it will bend your head unnaturally upward, also causing strain. It is important to consider one of the various types of pillows for neck pain to achieve the most comfortable and restful sleep.

If your head is supported at the correct level, your spine will maintain it’s natural position. This allows the muscles in your neck and back to completely relax resulting in more restful sleep and usually will eliminate neck pain you may have been experiencing. It is important to note that many soft pillows will collapse over time, and will not support your head throughout the night. In fact, many people find themselves using two pillows or folding their pillow in half in an attempt to support their head at the proper level.

Pillows for Neck Pain Support the Space Beneath Your Neck

Orthopedic pillow for neck pain

A typical orthopedic pillow has a bulge to support the space beneath your neck.

In addition to supporting your head at the proper level using a firm pillow of the correct thickness, support of your neck is also very important. The natural curve of your neck creates space beneath your neck, which most pillows do not properly support. Many doctors recommend rolling up a towel to fit in this space beneath your neck, while allowing a pillow to support your head. Shaped orthopedic pillows for neck pain are often made of memory foam or latex. These shaped pillows feature a bulge along one edge designed to support by filling in the space beneath your neck.

Buckwheat Pillows for Neck Pain

Diagram of pillows for neck pain, illustrating how orthopedic pillows support the spine

We feel that buckwheat pillows provide the ultimate in ergonomics by giving you complete control over the shape and thickness of your pillow. Regardless of which pillow you choose, support of your spine is the key to eliminating neck pain. When you go to sleep tonight, make an effort to ensure that your head is properly supported. Sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed and pain-free thanks to the completely relaxed muscles in your neck and back.

Posted by Nick on November 27, 2012Posted in Featured

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