Whether people with the matter of neck pain know how their posture when sleeping affect their neck, their health? Whether they know how to choose the best pillow to address neck pain while sleeping? This guide will help you learn more about neck pain and it’s affect to our health and give you tips how to choose the best pillow for neck pain.
1. What can cause neck pain?
Your neck is made up of vertebrae that extend from the skull to the upper torso. The bones, ligaments, and muscles of your neck support your head and allow for motion. Many people experience neck pain or stiffness occasionally. The neck is particularly vulnerable to injury, especially in falls, car accidents, and sports, where the muscles and ligaments of the neck are forced to move outside of their normal range. If the neck bones, or cervical vertebrae, are fractured, the spinal cord may also be damaged.
Neck pain can also be a symptom of a heart attack, but it often presents with other symptoms of a heart attack, such as: shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, vomiting
arm or jaw pain. Sometimes, neck pain is caused by Muscle tension and strain. This is usually due to activities and behaviors such as: poor posture, working at a desk for too long without changing position, jerking the neck during exercise, especially, sleeping with your neck in a bad position
Neck pain can be relieved within a few days because it isn’t a serious problem. But if your neck pain continues for more than a week, it can indicate serious injury or illness and require a doctor’s care.
2. How neck pain affect your sleep and your health?
There is a mutual interaction between neck pain and our sleep. People who are in neck pain find it difficult to fall asleep, and wrong posture when sleeping can cause neck pain too.
“While not occurring as often as lower back or hip pain, neck pain and headaches are both very prevalent and can drastically diminish one’s health and significantly reduce one’s quality of life. This is especially true if the pain is coming from a deep structural problem such as arthritis or disc degeneration. These structural issues can develop from poor postures, such as work posture (standing / sitting in poor posture all day) and sleeping posture (sleeping on ordinary, non-supportive pillows).”- Dr. Jason Loth, D.C., C.C.S.P., C.S.C.S, C.M.T.A. who has been a practicing sports chiropractor in Gilbert, AZ, for the past 18 years -used to say.
Thus, supporting for sleep is necessary in order to get your neck, back and shoulder maintain proper alignment. However, the requirement for degree and support of each sleeper is distinct. For example, side sleepers may need extra support around their hips and pelvis since there is more pressure there. Heavier weight sleepers need more support as well. Your spine will be in the wrong posture easily without sleep support .
Dr. Jason Loth, also said “When you don’t keep correct spinal alignment or maintain correct posture, you will stress the joints, muscles, discs, and nerves of the neck. In time, this can lead to dysfunction, pain, arthritis, disc herniations, spasms, and headaches. Most of these issues will develop over time because of poor spinal alignment and posture. Many people will experience problems such as dysfunction, arthritis, and disc herniations developing before the pain or symptoms begin.”
3. Poor Pillow Support leads to wrong posture and causes neck pain
Talk about the relationship among poor pillow support, wrong posture and neck pain Dr. Jason Loth, D.C., C.C.S.P., C.S.C.S, C.M.T.A. said:
“The best position is your back and the second best position is your side. The stomach is the worst. But the most important thing is your pillow. If your pillow isn’t supporting you correctly and keeping you in correct posture, then it doesn’t matter what position you’re in because you will still be putting stress on your neck. Your pillow should be fully customizable to fit your specific size and help you achieve correct posture. The amount of support that’s needed (and where it’s located) will be different when you’re on your side versus your back. The pillow that you’re using needs to accommodate for this if you sleep in both the back and side sleeping positions.”
Neck pain is caused by wrong posture which results from the poor pillow support. Different sleeping positions require pillows designed for different needs. That is why the ideal pillow of back or site sleeper is not likely the same as a stomach sleeper’s. A stomach sleeper will be more comfortable with a low loft pillow, while a back or side sleeper may want to look for medium to high loft.
4. Pillow & Mattress Firmness
It seemingly does not matter so much to use too firm or too soft pillow. In fact, using a mattress or pillow that has poor support would generate neck pain consistently. Sleepers who struggle with firmness issues may suffer from a dull or sharp pain in the neck as well as occasional numbness in shoulders or arms. It’s important to make sure that your neck and spine are always in alignment, after taking mattress sinkage into account.
Science has demonstrated that the spinal vertebrae of the neck is attached to so many descending parts of your body, the condition of your neck can have a lasting impact on the rest of your body. Compensation and referral pain is known as two ways that neck pain impacts the whole body.
5. Choose the best pillow to avoid neck pain
The best pillow depends on the habit of posture when sleeping and the health problems that we are encountering. If you regularly have neck pain, how do you know to choose the best pillow for your neck pain? No matter what your special criteria is, there are three criterias that you should focus on when choosing the best pillow including: customization, design, and materials.
Choose an adjustable pillow which is filled with memory foam, latex foam, gel foams, poly foams, or even an adjustable poly fiber fill. Different materials will bring to you different feeling. Adding more material will help to create a loftier pillow and provide more support. While medium to high loft are suitable for back and side sleepers, lower loft pillow with removable material is the best pillow for stomach sleepers.
Contour Pillow would be the perfect alternative for those who don’t like Adjustable Pillow. A contoured pillow is not adjustable, but uses the molded shape of a piece of solid foam to provide extra support at concentrated areas.
As a general rule:
- Stomach sleepers need the least amount of contour. Choosing a low loft pillow which helps your spine to stay in alignment with your back.
- Side sleepers need the most amount of contour. Look for heightened contour from your ear to the base of your neck.
- Back sleepers need a moderate pillow toward the back and more contour toward the front of the pillow (toward the spine). Look for a pillow that cradles your neck with loftier sides for the ultimate back sleeping pillow.
Now, there are a lot of materials which can support sleepers , make sleepers’ posture become more comfortable. It’s known as memory foam and latex, natural goose down or organic buckwheat.
Shredded foam makes a great neck pillow because it is adjustable and allows each sleeper to add density and firmness where he or she needs it. Contoured foam is another great option. Customers have the variation of selecting an adjustable shredded foam, . For a contoured pillow, make sure the profile of the contour matches the profile of your sleeping position.
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