Neck pain is a pervasive problem affecting many Americans' health. Although we commonly consider neck pain to affect office workers and those who spend their days in front of computer screen, neck pain can affect just about anyone.
One of the most common causes of neck pain is persistent mispositioning through poor posture during daily activities or during sleep. Unfortunately, chronic poor positioning can result in pinched nerves, aching muscles, and overall discomfort that may be difficult and costly to treat through traditional treatment modalities.
One of the suspects for positional neck pain can be your improper pillow. Using too many pillows or a pillow that is not optimal for your neck, head, and sleep needs can mean persistent neck pain, where an appropriate pillow choice can relieve this pain and result in greater comfort and improved sleep quality.
If your pillow is the cause of your neck pain, the first step you should take is to consider the right pillow and replace it. The second step you should take is to seek chiropractic treatment for neck pain from a professional chiropractor and correct any mispositioning caused by sleeping in a bad position with an incorrect pillow.
How Pillows Can Cause Neck Pain
In theory, sleeping with a pillow is a good thing for your body and spinal alignment. The pillow provides support to your head and keeps the cervical spine in alignment.
Without a pillow, the weight of your head would pull your neck down toward the pillow, which in addition to being uncomfortable, could result in permanent nerve damage.
But sleeping with a pillow that is too tall or too flat is one of the leading causes of positional neck pain. A pillow that is too flat does not do enough to keep the cervical spine in alignment, while a pillow that is too tall moves the cervical spine too far away from the bed, preventing the spine from staying in a natural alignment.
When you choose a pillow, you must also consider the position you usually assume while you are sleeping.
People who sleep on their backs require a moderate pillow height and may need to have a pillow that is constructed from memory foam or another adaptable and flexible material.
Relieving Neck Pain Caused by Malpositioning
The first step in relieving neck pain caused by incorrect pillow use is making sure your pillow is appropriate for your neck and using a new pillow if needed. The second step is to seek a doctor or chiropractor who can give you proper advice on the correct positioning.