Are you waking up with a stiff or sore neck, upper back or shoulders in the morning? There are many reasons we experience pain and stiffness through these areas of the body. One very prominent factor I’ve been seeing A LOT in practice recently is poor sleeping posture due to incorrect pillow choice.
Remember, we spend on average 7-10 hours on our pillow every single night of our life. If we are uncomfortable and poorly positioned for that amount of time it can have a big impact on our bodies.
The purpose of the pillow is to maintain a neutral posture of the spine while we sleep – to give you an idea of neutral posture, think of how your neck is positioned when you’re standing up straight. We want our pillow to support us in a similar position, be it laying on our back or side. Each sleep position presents different challenges for maintaining that neutral spine thus each of them changes requirements of our pillow.
Here are some quick tips on what to look for when choosing a new pillow:
If you sleep on your side, you generally need a higher pillow to fill the space between the shoulder and neck to maintain a neutral spine. Watch that the pillow isn’t too high or too low – if your neck is dropping towards the bed or being pushed up to the ceiling this can put a lot of strain on your neck. A common issue is shoulder pain resulting from people sleeping on their arm under their pillow because it’s too low! A pillow that gives you enough support will ideally allow you to sleep without your arm underneath your head, taking a bit of pressure off the structures through your shoulder.
If you sleep on your back, a lower pillow is generally best. You want to watch that the neck isn’t being forced forward or allowed to drop back in this position.
While keeping these guidelines in mind, the most important factor is your own comfort. There is no one perfect pillow that suits everyone, make sure you can try the pillow in store before you purchase it.
If you’re experiencing neck, back or shoulder pain and you think it might be your pillow come in and have a chat to the team at Osteohealth. We can offer some suggestions as to whether or not a new pillow is necessary or if there are other factors responsible for your pain.