If you’re suffering with neck pain, you might feel like the pain is generally worse in the morning or throughout the day. This may have you believe that your current pillow is to blame, but if you’re having neck pain chances are you’re more likely to be aggravating it during the day, rather than anything you’re doing at night. A lot of people when they have neck pain will also have trouble sleeping, there’s often an inflammation build up in the neck or stiffness that makes it more difficult to relax and fall asleep, or sleep restfully. Thinking a change of pillow will make an impact on your neck is unlikely to work, simply because the origin of your neck pain is likely to be structural or have been developing for a number of weeks, months or even years.

One of the main reasons changing your pillow will not solve the problem, is that a lot of us are mobile sleepers. Although you may go to sleep in a certain position, you may move around quite a lot during your sleep, which will mean you will adopt many different positions during the night. This can make it impossible for a pillow to have much effect on your neck pain, besides helping you perhaps feel marginally more comfortable. But we’ll explain why running out and buying a pillow for your neck pain may not help you in the long run.

Impact of Sleeping Position

When we’re in pain, we tend to contort the body a little more to alter the way in which we feel the pain. A very simple example of this is if you were to stub your toe, you would probably alter the way you walk for a few minutes afterwards because of the pain. By changing the way you walk you may not feel the pain as much as you’re not putting pressure on it. If the pain you had in your toe lasted a number of weeks or months, the new walking style may not sit well with the rest of your body and you may find you develop other pains elsewhere because your body is not used to be used in this way.

If we apply this logic to living with neck pain, chances are if you’ve had pain ongoing for a number of weeks or months, maybe even years, you may be sleeping in a position that may not necessarily be best long-term – although they may seem comfortable. Take for example, sleeping with numerous pillows. If you do have neck pain you may find propping yourself up with many pillows to be quite comfortable – but this can be terrible long-term for your posture. Not only may it make your neck pain worse in the long-run, you may also stretch the structures in your neck, which chances are already injured in some way otherwise you wouldn’t have neck pain, which can worsen your condition even further.

When A Pillow Would Help

As mentioned previously, you may not find a benefit in changing your pillow if you are a mobile sleeper, since you will be moving around so much during the night that it won’t make much of a difference. If you are someone that can fall asleep and you stay in that position all night, you may well find a benefit from changing your pillow – but that benefit may not be there initially. If you do sleep very still, the right sort of pillow would be one that supports the natural curve in the neck, they usually have a nice arc that fits into the nape of the neck and allows your head to drop back so that your spine retails a neutral, natural position. But, they’re not always comfortable at first because if you’ve got quite bad neck pain you may not find a neutral position the most comfortable.

It’s best to not the mistake of trying to change your pillow, before you’ve had your neck examined by a local professional. If you’re based in London, we can do an examination with you to understand what exactly is wrong, why it’s happened and then treat the underlying cause. If you’re not based in London, find someone local to you who will do an in-depth examination on your spine to understand exactly why it’s become injured. We get patients that come in all the time who have tried so many different pillows and spent a lot of money trying to fix their problem this way, but the simple fact is that pillows do not cure neck pain. You shouldn’t be using any more than one pillow to support your neck, nor should you be using no pillow at all. No pillows mean that your chin tucks down and there’s nothing to support the natural arc in your neck.

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Seeking Specialist Help for Neck Pain

So if you’re suffering with neck pain, make sure to go someone who is specialised in dealing with back or neck injuries, who can give you clarity on what exactly is causing the problem, and treat the underlying problem. Our examination process allows us to fully assess your condition, refer you for standing X-rays if clinically relevant, which can give us a valuable insight into how you naturally stand and the alignment of your spine. From there, we can treat the underlying problem as well as helping to improve the function of your spine so that you have a healthier spine and body in the long-term, as opposed to being reliant on treatment regularly from a traditional osteopath or chiropractor.

If you’re based in London and would like to book an examination with us, call us today on 0203 947 3222 or email us at info@themayfairclinic.com. The first appointment includes an examination, X-rays if clinically relevant and a treatment. Should you need X-rays we do also include an independent radiology report, as well as our own in-depth report on the condition of your spine.