Choosing the Right Pillow
The wrong pillow can contribute greatly to the stiffness and pain we get from neck problems, especially if you find that you struggle to get comfortable with your head or neck position at night, wake in the night with pain, or find that your pain can be worse first thing in the morning.
Pillows come in a wide range of shapes, sizes and can be made from a variety of materials, so it is no wonder people get confused when trying to select them.
We often get asked for advice on which pillows are best for neck pain and headache sufferers, so to cut through the confusion, we recommend the follow basic buying rules for comfort:
- The size and shape of the pillow should allow you to maintain a neutral neck/head position (see pic below) whether you are lying on your back or side. It is important that the pillow is positioned to support the neck and head, but that the shoulders are not resting on the pillow.For some people, a second pillow is needed underneath the new one, when sleeping on your side, to ensure you have sufficient height supporting you. The second pillow can be an older or cheaper one, as it is not directly taking the weight for your head, it is just there to prop up the pillow doing the proper work.
- The pillow should be firm enough to take the weight of the head without feeling too hard. Generally, materials such as latex and memory foam are best, as they are very supportive and do not collapse under the weight of your head.
- Another thing to keep in mind is the age of your current pillow. If it is more than a couple of years old, it is likely that the material it is made of has compressed and that it no longer gives you the support that it originally did. It might be time to consider a replacement.
At Move for Better Health, we currently stock pillows which can be fitted during your Physiotherapy consultation or bought over the counter. If you would like more information or to purchase a pillow, please contact us.