The quality and type of pillow that you sleep on is much more important than you may think! A poor quality pillow or one that doesn’t suit your sleeping position is often over looked as a reason why you might be waking up with neck pain and/or headaches on a daily basis. If your pillow is over 12 months old and doesn’t have enough support, or is too high or too low, these factors can often place undue stress on your neck muscles and spinal joints whilst sleeping.
The best sleeping position for your spine is on your side. This is because it keeps your neck and spine in a neutral position. A pillow should fit against your shoulder and support your neck. A contour pillow usually is a great way to keep your neck in a neutral position, whilst still supporting the neck and shoulder.
Sleeping on your back is also a good position to keep your spine in a neutral position. The pillow that you use should not be too high as to prop the head up. A lower pillow generally keeps the neck in a neutral position.
If you are a tummy sleeper, this is generally discouraged as it places undue stress on your neck joints and muscles however many people do sleep in this position. If this is the case you need a lower, softer pillow.
Quite often the chiropractor will ask people who are experiencing neck pain and headaches how long they have had their pillow and they reply. ‘I can’t remember the last time I changed it’. A pillow is only effective for a maximum of 2 years, depending on the type of pillow, before the fibres break down and it becomes unsupportive.
If you need any help finding the right pillow, ask your chiropractor. They will be able to help you find one that suits your needs.