Choosing a Pillow to Help Neck Pain

Pillow
7/17/2014

One reason you may have trouble sleeping at night is neck pain. One reason you may have neck pain is you don't get enough sleep.

You see the problem. If you don't break that cycle, the pain is only going to get worse.

A new, properly build mattress can do wonders for your back, but there are two other issues that a new mattress can't deal with, pillows and you. The sleeping positions easiest on your neck are to lie on your side or on your back. Sleeping on your stomach arches your back and turns your neck to the side, putting stress on your muscles and disrupting their natural relaxation and healing that should happen when you're sleeping.

But old habits die hard. If you've been sleeping on your stomach for many years, you're not likely to switch to another position overnight. You might switch, however, if you find it more comfortable sleeping on your back or your side. That's where the pillows come in.

For sleeping on your back, a rounded pillow can support the natural curve of your neck, with a flatter second pillow cushioning your head. You can achieve the same effect by tucking in a small neck roll into the same pillow case with a flatter, softer pillow. There are also special pillows that come with a built-in neck support and an indentation for the head to rest in.

A feather pillow readily conforms to the shape of the neck, but feather pillows collapse in time and should be replaced yearly. A traditionally shaped pillow made of "memory foam" will also conform to the contours of your head and neck.

What you don't want is too high or stiff a pillow. That will keep your neck flexed overnight, giving you morning pain and stiffness.

For sleeping on your side, use pillows that give higher support to your neck than your head, keeping your spine straight.

Whatever pillows you use, keeping your spine straight and your neck supported is key to getting a good night's sleep and waking up without neck pain. Not sleeping on your stomach will also go a long way to easing your pain.

Tags: pillows