We’ve seen it all here. Thin ones, thick ones, round ones, long ones, square ones, pointy ones, even air filled, and water filled ones! It seems like everyone is selling you a gimmick of some sort that promises to be the perfect night sleep for you.
Whilst everyone promises you the ultimate solution, the reality is there is no one-size fits all pillow. We all have different sized necks and shoulders so we all need a slightly different pillow.
As such, pillows should be treated like shoes. You really need to be fitted to know what size you are, from that point on often you’re able to start looking for different types based on your sizing.
When it all goes wrong
Pillows are designed to support your head AND your neck, not just your head. The weight that is carried from your shoulders and neck need to be supported.
For this reason, a good pillow is often required to be contoured providing a slightly higher surface at the neck than at the head to follow the shape of this area.
When we fail to get the required level of support the result is often compression of the shoulder complex irritating our AC joint (top of the shoulder) creating what is known as an arthrogenic reflex that alters a couple of key muscles in the neck, the most important being the levator scapular. Click here for my article on the levator scapular.
When this muscle fails the result is often neck pain, shoulder pain and weakness in the hands in the morning.
Fitting up a pillow
Pillows are one of the few items that fitting up yourself is very hard to do. This is mostly because it’s virtually impossible to look at yourself from behind. So, we always recommend you are fitted up for a pillow by a trained practitioner.
There are a few simple rules you can follow though when trying to fit yourself out for a pillow:
- A pillow should always result in your spine and neck being straight
- There should be equal pressure from your head and neck on a pillow
- Pillow should be firm enough to support but soft enough to be comfortable
Pillows are some of the most missed essentials we see with people who are suffering with neck and shoulder problems. Using a correctly supporting pillow can change your life. If you’re uncertain where to start, click the chat button and we’ll help you out.