Why You May Need to Rethink Your Pillow

If you are currently visiting a chiropractor for neck pain one of the first things he or she likely asked you is “what kind of pillow do you use?” What does your pillow have to do with your chiropractic visit? A lot actually. It is common that the cause of a restless night due to neck and back pain is often linked to the position you’re sleeping it and that includes the shape and firmness of your pillow. 

How do you know if your pillow is right for you or not then? Experts recommend that the best way for your back to be aligned when you sleep is to mimic the position you’d be in if standing with good posture. That means that in the case that you sleep on your back, the pillow should not force your head to far forward towards the chest or hang too far backward. If you’re a slide sleeper, the same rules apply. Your neck should remain in the neutral, straight position, so your pillow should be at the level and firmness that keeps it there. 

Do you sleep on your back? Stop if at all possible. This position forces your neck to stay rotated and contributes to chronic neck and back pain. Something that can help is to place a pillow between your knees to discourage rolling from your side to your stomach. 

What kind of materials should you be looking for in a pillow? From feathers to buckwheat to memory foam and everything in between, the possibilities can be overwhelming. The best pillow is different for everyone. So consider the pros and cons of each material. For example, memory foam is a good choice because it molds to every curve and turn of your head and neck but the material can become hot and smelly, interrupting your sleep. While feathers may not be firm enough, buckwheat may be too firm. Usually higher density foams will be your best bet giving you more support and less breakdown. Latex foam eliminates the causes of overheating and resists mold and mites. Of course the firmness of your mattress should also be taken into consideration. 

If you have found that your nights are regularly interrupted by neck and back pain, it’s time to visit your chiropractor and discuss what pillow options are best for you, your spine, and your sleeping habits.

Josh Evans