Are you sick of having a bad night sleep? Completely and utterly fed up with trying to get comfy on your pillow? Buying pillow after pillow only to find that none of them aren’t giving you the relief you need?
“The main role of a pillow during sleep is to support the cervical spine in a neutral position.”1
Neck or shoulder pain due to unsupportive pillows can get very frustrating. I’ve known so many people over the years who have more than 10 pillows at home that they have purchased due to recommendations or advertising they have seen. But is it really necessary or are they just all gimmicks?
A non-supportive pillow can become a real burden on your life. If you’re waking at night due to pain or discomfort, not only are you in pain the next day, but how can you possibly function without that good night sleep? Repeat this process night after night and it can start to take a real tole on more than just your neck and shoulder.
In addition, you wake up in pain, you struggle to get through your work day, you’re unable to exercise because it just hurts too much and then you get frustrated at others because you’re so tired from all the pain you have no patients for others!
This is no way to live.
The good news is that finding a new pillow is not a guessing game and that there is a process to choosing the right pillow and knowing whether its right for you.
But first, we need to understand what the pillow does for us. The pillow’s role is to support your neck and head whilst keeping them in a neutral, natural position.
Whether you lie on your side or on your back, the pillow should maintain the curves of your neck. This is why you see so many pillows have unusual shapes to them, they’re trying to match the contour of your neck.
If you try imagining what it looks like when you lie on your side. There is a rather large space between your neck and the mattress and less space between your head and the mattress. In order to keep everything supported, the right pillow for you should mimic this shape.
In some circumstances regular shaped pillows can provide similar support, but there’s a lot of factors that come into play with this.
Either way, there’s absolutely no doubt that an unsupportive pillow will eventually give you some level of dysfunction through your neck or shoulder that will eventually lead to pain.
So, do you want some tips on finding out if your pillow is right for you?
Here are my gold standard tips to work out if your pillow is right for you:
- When lying on your side check to see the position of your shoulder. If you notice that it roles a long way forward when sleeping your neck is probably dropping too much and lacking in support.
- Again, lying on your side, get someone to check your neck from behind. If you can slide your hand through the gap between your neck and your pillow, then the pillow is not supporting you neck adequately.
- While you got someone checking behind you again, there two points you can also measure to see if your getting your support. With your finger, touch the base of the neck (C7 vertebrae) and the base of your skull (External occipital protuberance), they should be level with each other. Almost as if you have used a spirit level to see if they make a horizontal level line. If this line tilts up or down, then your pillow is probably too high or low for you.
Any of these tests not turn out well for you? Then my team are here to help. Send me a message or give my team a call on 9318 7758 and let us know you want your pillow checked and we will organise a time for you ASAP to get it sorted out.
Always here to help.