If you regularly wake up with neck pain, it's worth considering whether your pillow could be the culprit. While a good pillow should provide support and comfort for your head and neck, the wrong type of pillow can exacerbate existing problems or even create new ones altogether. In this post, we'll delve into some of the most common issues associated with using the wrong pillow and offer potential solutions to help you alleviate any discomfort.
Your pillow may be causing you neck pain and discomfort at night if:
1) It's a feather pillow. Feather pillows may feel comfortable initially, but the feathers shift at night and offer your neck little to no support. Instead, choose a memory foam or latex pillow that will shape and conform to your anatomy and won't lose its shape.
2) Your pillow is too thick. Pillows that are too thick cause the neck to bend forward toward the chest or to one side. It can feel comfortable at first, but it will eventually start to cause pain and stiffness in the neck. Instead, choose a contoured pillow that supports your neck, allows the head to lie neutral with your spine, and maintains the natural c-curve in the neck.
3) You sleep on your stomach. Sleeping on your stomach puts your neck in an over-arched position and requires twisting from one side to the other to breathe. Some pillows claim to help with this, but the best advice to prevent future pain is to train yourself to sleep on your back or side. Going from a stomach to a side or back sleeper isn't easy, so using a body pillow will help with the transition.
What you do during the day matters, too. The combination of poor daytime posture and sleeping position typically causes the most neck pain. Your neck needs a respite from the constant stress it undergoes daily.