The majority of people will experience back or neck pain at some point in their lives. While avoiding pain completely is almost impossible, simply due to age-related wear and tear, but a significant step toward prevention and fixing your pain symptoms is looking at how you sleep.
The human species spends about one-third of their lives sleeping in bed, so taking actions to correct the way you sleep can prevent future back and neck pain and help fix current symptoms!
Although your sleeping position is critical to preventing back and neck pain, another common cause of pain is the type of pillow you use.
The type of pillow you choose to use is as important as the position you choose to sleep in.
Many people are already aware that sleeping on your back is the best way to prevent morning aches and pains. This position stretches your spine and allows it to rest comfortably.
If you have already mastered the art of sleeping on your back but are still experiencing some pain, the problem may be your pillow.
Different Sleeping Positions Require Different Pillows
Back sleepers want to choose a pillow that prevents their head from tilting forward or backward. The head and neck should remain perfectly aligned with the rest of the body and spine. Choosing a pillow that is too high and stiff or too low and soft can cause neck pain.
Cervical or orthopedic pillows are specially contoured to support the hollow spaces under the head and neck. They should fill in the space between your neck and the mattress while keeping the spine perfectly in line.
Although sleeping on your side is not the most recommended position it is not as terrible as sleeping on your stomach. Side sleepers should also choose a pillow that fills the space between the neck and the mattress without tilting your head up or down. A side sleeper's pillow should be between four to six inches high depending on the person. A pillow that is too high or stiff will keep the neck flexed while you sleep which, more often than not, results in morning pain and stiffness.
A feather pillow is often recommended to side sleepers because it conforms to the natural curves of the head and neck. Finding the perfect pillow can increase the amount of REM sleep you get each night, decrease the amount of pain you have in the morning, and overall improve your quality of life.
Many people often neglect to replace their pillows as often as they should. For something that humans do a third of their lifetime, they often neglect to take the necessary precautions to stay healthy. If you can't remember the last time you bought pillows, it is probably time to replace them. Pillows collapse and lose their shape so replacing your pillows approximately every year is a giant step in the right direction toward a healthy night's rest.
If you are experience morning stiffness or pain due to the way you are sleeping, our doctors at Arrowhead Clinic can help adjust your neck and back to alleviate pain and consult with you about how to sleep to prevent and fix back and neck pain.
Contact Arrowhead Clinic today to speak with one of our experienced chiropractors!