The Wrong Pillow Can Be a Real Pain in the Neck

February 25, 2020

It happens to all of us at some point: You have a bad night’s sleep and wake up with a sore neck that follows you throughout the day. While it’s normal to experience this occasionally, when the pain is consistent you need to identify the problem—and solve it before you do any long-term damage to your neck. The first place to start? Your pillow. Coupled with your sleeping position, your pillow can greatly affect your sleep quality and neck comfort. Refer to these tips before you hit the sheets again:

  • It’s for the Birds—and You
    Feather pillows comfortably conform to the shape of your neck and provide gentle comfort for your head. These pillows do collapse over time, though, so it’s important that you replace yours annually.
  • Cool Down
    Don’t underestimate how hot you get when you sleep. This can lead to discomfort and tossing and turning, which can exacerbate neck pain. Natural latex foam pillows provide the same support as expensive memory foam ones, without the added heat.
  • Relax
    High and stiff, unyielding pillow are your neck’s enemy. They keep your neck in a constant state of flexing, which directly contributes to pain and discomfort. That’s why it’s important—especially for side and stomach sleepers—to skip the firm, high pillow.
  • Add Another Pillow
    While most experts agree that the worst sleep position is on your stomach, you can’t always control what you do in your sleep. Stomach sleepers can greatly improve their sleep posture by using a body or side pillow. The pressure will mimic that of sleeping on your stomach, all while keeping your spine better aligned.
  • Pillows Matter Outside of Your Bed Too
    Are you likely to doze off when watching TV? Do you often rest or sleep on trains, buses, or planes? Your neck needs support then, too! Do your neck a favor and invest in a horseshoe-shaped travel pillow that will prevent your head from dropping to the sides when at rest.

If you’re suffering from neck pain caused by the wrong pillow—or any other reason—contact the neck subspecialists at Orlin & Cohen, Long Island’s top orthopedic team. Immediate appointments are available: Request yours now.