How to Choose the Right Pillow to Help Avoid Neck Pain
What’s the Best Pillow for Neck Pain?
One of the most common questions that Dr. Stephanie Louie gets is, “what pillow should I be using?” Choosing the right pillow can not only help you avoid neck pain but also can improve your sleep quality and therefore overall function throughout the day.
How do I determine what type of pillow is best for me?
Unfortunately, there is not one type of pillow that will work for everyone’s needs. When you are in the search for a new pillow, try to remember that you will want to find a pillow that will keep your head in a neutral position – whether you are a side sleeper or a back sleeper – that will support your head, neck, and shoulders.
The first step in finding the best pillow for neck pain is determining what position you sleep in. If you are a side sleeper, you will want to look in the mirror and measure the distance between the side of your head and your shoulder. This measurement should be the height of your pillow so that when you are lying on your side, your head can remain neutral. If you sleep on your back, find a pillow that also keeps your head in a neutral position so that your head is not flexed forward or extended backward. And if you like to sleep on your stomach, it is recommended that you stop sleeping like this altogether. Sleeping on your stomach can put a tremendous amount of stress on the body and create tension in the spinal cord and nerves.
How long should I keep my pillow for?
Your pillow should last one to two years. After this time, the pillow can lose its shape and support and also can build up allergens; which can be harmful to the body. At Mind Body Spine, we often recommend a water pillow. A water pillow can be customized to your comfort level and can be soft, medium or firm; providing the proper support even if you change positions in your sleep.
Almost 1/3 of your life is spent sleeping and therefore finding the right pillow is important. It can help you avoid neck pain, improve the quality of your sleep and increase your overall function throughout the day. Although there isn’t one pillow that’s right for everyone, hopefully the above information is enough to help you choose the best pillow for neck pain and a great night’s sleep.
DISCLAIMER: The suggestions and advice provided by Dr. Louie should not be relied upon in place of a Professional Chiropractic Assessment.