Author: Dr Nick McEniry
A frequently asked question in our clinic is “is my neck pain a result of my pillow?”
It is possible that a poor pillow choice, worn out pillow and most importantly sleeping posture can contribute to neck pain.
When selecting a pillow try and choose a pillow that keeps your neck in a neutral position. What this means is that when you are laying on your side or back your head is supported to the natural curve of spine. This will keep your spine straight and allow the muscles in your neck to be relaxed and relieve pressure on the joints and ligaments of your spine.
When you sleep in a position that is away from a neutral alignment, such as when sleeping on your front, the muscles in the neck adapt to this sustained position during sleep. Muscles can lengthen or shorten to accommodate this new position creating pressure and strain on different joints and ligaments in the neck, which may result in neck pain, stiffness and even headaches.
Studies have found that the side lying sleep position is significantly protective of cervical- thoracic symptoms and results in a better quality of sleep.(Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice, Vol 5. No.1 Pp6)
After you have found a pillow that keeps your spine in a neutral position the next thing to decide, is the style and comfort of the pillow. This is all personal preference and will be different between individuals and vary between different mattresses.
At Beyond we sell the Denton’s range of pillows that will accommodate all sleeping positions and various body types to help give you a restful nights sleep and get you waking feeling refreshed.
Our practitioners are happy to help you select a pillow for your needs. Dentons pillows available at Beyond include the comfort classic, comfort low-line, low profile contoured pillow and medi-rest.
And remember there are a number of causes of neck pain and many of these will respond to osteopathic treatment!