What is the best pillow for neck pain?
What is the best pillow for me?
After managing a chiropractic office for close to 30 years I have found “what is the best pillow?” to be one of the most asked question that I have encountered in my many years of practice.
It can be confusing can’t it? There are so many pillows to choose from. But, which is the best pillow? To name a few, there are memory foam pillows, there are bamboo pillows and there are down pillows. There are orthopedic pillows, neck pillows, body pillows, gel pillows and many many more. Which is the best pillow for me? I can understand why this gets asked so often. People tend to think there is one single best pillow.
“The reality is, there is no single best pillow for everyone. Here is the short answer to this question. I don’t mean to tick you off: If your neck is healthy, you can sleep just fine on just about any kind of pillow. So, get your spine adjusted by a seasoned professional and start sleeping better!”
Ok, back to the question and a kinder gentler answer. In my opinion, there are two, and only 2 important factors in choosing the best pillow.
“Make sure your pillow is the right thickness for your body shape and style. Make sure it is a comfortable pillow to you. That is about all you need to know.”
What do I mean by the right thickness of pillow? How thick is the perfect pillow? The perfect pillow is one that puts your head and neck in the proper position when you are sleeping. The idea is that the perfect pillow is not too thin or too thick. Just ask mama bear. She will tell you!
Side or back sleeping are the best positions for sleeping. Do not sleep on your belly. Belly sleeping (like the man in the image above) is a 100% chance of neck pain and headache. If you don’t have these yet. You will! Give it time.
When sleeping on your side, it is important that you have a pillow that supports your head in alignment with your body. This means it does not jack your head up (right) and it does not let your head sag (left) below your shoulders.
If you are pregnant, it can be difficult to get a good nights sleep and feel comfortable. A body pillow can be very helpful. Sleeping with a pillow between your knees is also very helpful for many. Just be sure to keep in mind all the other tips above and this new one: keep your head over your shoulder. It is ok to bend into a fetal position with your legs, but not with your head.
Sleeping with “head forward posture”is demonstrated by these images above. This is a problem no matter who you are. For pregnant women who will find themselves looking down ALL the time after the baby is born can have even more difficulty with this. Mom is looking down when the baby is nursing, when the baby is in her lap, and when the baby is on the floor and in the crib. The mother is looking down constantly. Keep this in mind when using electronic devices as well. Keep your head as level as possible. Head forward posture is a culturally developing problem for teens as well. Almost all teens look down on screens most of the day. So many are now developing neck pain and headaches.
Perfect pillow and sleeping position:
This young man is demonstrating near perfect sleeping posture. His head is aligned with his spine and level. His shoulders are square. This sleeping position will help you sleep better and more comfortably.
Breaking habits like sleeping on your tummy or head forward may seem difficult at first. Really it is just a matter of getting used to moving into the new positions each time you wake up.
So, while there is no one perfect pillow for everyone, these tips will help you get a better nights sleep. Feel free to contact our office if you have any questions. Give us a call at +1(828)298-0011
Ok and now for the moment you have all been waiting for… Drum roll please. I do have a favorite pillow. I do not guarantee this will be your favorite pillow but I love it. My wife sleeps on memory foam pillows which I find too hard. I have used down pillows for YEARS. I still recommend down pillows. They can be fluffed to thicker while on your side and flattened for back sleeping, all in the same night. However, I do not sleep on my back anymore so I like this gel pillow. They are not cheap. They are not your $29.99 fad “bamboo” pillow. They are comfortable and supportive and they are made of food grade gel. Try one in the office and see if you like it. Coming soon!