Neck pain is nobody's friend, and it is definitely not an ideal sleeping companion. Pain-filled nights can leave a person dull, groggy, and not ready to face the day in the morning. Unfortunately, certain sleeping positions can further aggravate neck pain to the point it robs a person of a good night's sleep.
If you suffer from neck pain, the toll it takes on deep sleep isn't news to you. What may surprise you, however, is choosing the right pillow can make a huge difference in whether you lie awake grumpily watching the clock or snuggle cozily into dream land.
A million pillow choices await you. The first order of business is determining the primary position you sleep in. Certain shapes of pillows cradle the head and neck more comfortably, depending on the sleeping position.
Now that you have determined your favorite sleeping position, you are ready to shop for a new pillow. Be certain to keep these five tips in mind before you settle on your new bed mate.
#1: Ask for a recommendation from your chiropractor.
Before selecting your new pillow, talk to the person who understands the cause of your neck pain, your chiropractor. He or she will give you some valuable pointers on choosing the pillow that will be most beneficial.
#2: Do your research.
Fire up the Internet and search for pillows by your sleeping position. Read the reviews from people who also have neck pain, and see which pillows helped them. Note the pillow name, price, and store that sells it.
#3: Think about the filling.
Pillows are filled with a variety of materials, and you will need to consider which one is right for you. Feather pillows may offer neck comfort, but if you are allergic this is the wrong choice.
Memory foam is a popular choice because of it's ability to contour to your body's shape. Give some thought to the type of filling that best suits your sleeping style.
#4: Consider the size.
Pillows should generally be between 4-6 inches in height, and should alleviate the pressure points around your neck and shoulders. Extra thick pillows or especially flat ones are most likely the wrong choices (again, this depends on your sleeping position).
Your size should also be considered when choosing a pillow. A large person needs a bigger pillow, while a more petite person should go with a smaller pillow. The bottom line is the pillow should provide support and comfort, and hold your neck in a neutral position.
#5: Don't try to 'make do' with a budget pillow.
Pillows designed to reduce neck pain are not going to be cheap. With all the less expensive pillows available, its tempting to settle for a more modestly priced option.
Before you end up spending a smaller amount of cash on a pillow that won't alleviate your current problem, remember the many painful nights and groggy mornings that you would have paid a ton of money just to feel good. Then open your wallet and buy the pillow that will minimize that from ever happening again. Parting with the cash won't kill you. We promise.
Neck pain and the lack of sleep that results is a serious issue. Addressing it with a good chiropractor is the first step toward improving the situation.
Shopping for the perfect pillow is a close second in importance. By following these tips and taking the time to choose the right pillow, you will be snoozing away pain-free in no time at all!
Dr. Andy Johnson