How your pillow can affect back pain
Using the right pillow for both comfort and support can make a significant difference in alleviating or preventing back and neck pain.
Sleep expert Michael Breus, PhD, a clinical psychologist says, “Pillows can not only impact the quality of our sleep, but also how well we rest and recharge.”
The wrong pillow can intensify headaches, neck and back pain, shoulder and arm numbness, discomfort, sneezing, and wheezing. The pillow itself won’t be the cause of any of these problems, but a bad one can exacerbate many of the underlying symptoms.
Experts believe people with sleep problems, which can be caused by using the wrong pillow, experience more problems with back pain. Ohio spine specialist Santhosh Thomas says, “Sleep deprivation is known to affect mood and functional ability and negatively impacts the perception of pain.”
It can be difficult to part with your favourite pillow but it’s important to find the right pillow for your sleep needs, including your preferred sleeping position. Each sleeping position puts strain on your spine in a different way. The goal of using a pillow is to help keep your head in what is called a ‘neutral alignment’ – meaning your head is sitting squarely on your shoulders without bending back too far or reaching too far forward.
Long body pillows can be effective at relieving the strain from your spine so that it remains in a neutral position throughout the night, no matter how much you turn in your sleep. In addition, the body pillow allows your muscles to relax fully which also increases circulation. Pain and stiffness are greatly alleviated once circulation is improved. The extra support helps increase oxygen flow throughout the body, which also impacts on how quickly you heal.
The type of pillow recommended for an individual sleeper will vary depending on a number of factors such as physical build, sleep position and comfort preferences. The best way to find the perfect pillow is to talk to a specialist bedding retailer.