We’ve talked previously in depth about why going out and buying a brand new pillow when you have neck pain might not be the wisest decision, read why here. In short, buying a new pillow when you have neck pain is not something we would advise for a couple of reasons: namely, positions you sleep in when you have neck pain may not be the best decision for your neck in the long term, and can actually cause your neck pain to be exacerbated in the long term.
Furthermore, if a pillow does actually help to relieve your pain, once you’re out of pain you may no longer find that pillow comfortable as you may go back to sleeping how you used to. In our previous article we advised it’s much better to invest in treatment than it is to invest in a new pillow, since finding out the true underlying cause of your neck pain should be paramount in overcoming it. If you don’t treat the underlying cause, chances are bouts of neck pain will keep returning until they become a permanent occurrence.
Correct Neck Posture
The neck should have a smooth curve if you look at it from the side, it should be in a loose C-shape, if you were to look at your neck from the right side it should resemble a backwards C. Sadly, the curve in the neck is one of the most common ones that is lost often as a result of ‘tech neck’. In cases where someone spends a lot of time looking down at their phone, perhaps on their journey to work everyday or in the evenings, they might spend their evenings watching Netflix with their head propped up on a pillow, or slouch during the day at work by leaning their head forward while they’re working on their computer or looking down at a laptop, all of these behaviours can cause an alteration of the natural alignment of your neck.
This alteration can be in the form of developing a completely straight neck, or having the opposite curve than is ideal. Both of these alterations can be detrimental over time, since the natural curves in our spine are there to effectively absorb the pressures placed on it everyday from gravity and even just moving. Without that ideal curve, the discs can become compressed and eventually bulge – which can be very painful and lead to other symptoms appearing in other areas of the body, such as tingling, pins and needles or burning sensations in the arms, hands or fingers.
Correct Sleeping Posture
When you’re sleeping, supporting a natural C-shape in your spine is important, and there are certain pillows on the market that do this well, for example a Tempur pillow. But, you don’t necessarily need to invest in one, and in many cases if you do have neck pain you may already have a deviation in your natural spine alignment so you may not find this type of pillow comfortable at all initially because it will support a ‘good’ curve. Over time this should become more comfortable if you’re making positive changes in your waking life to improve your posture.