Orthopedic pillows are a mainstay in mattress stores and neck pain searches alike. People with neck pain are constantly searching for that one thing that will give them the ability to sleep better and wake up in less pain. A pillow seems like an awesome opportunity to make both of these dreams come true. Most often you see a concave pillow orthopedically designed by some amazing doctor and scientist alike. It’s probably slightly squishy has some sort of space technology and will defy gravity given the opportunity. It will change your life.
I don’t like these pillows.
The vast majority of people with neck pain have neck pain because their neck is extended almost all day long. That means you’re slightly looking up – this happens because most of our posture is flexed; in order to look straight we have to look slightly upward to make that happen. With that comes some other consequences: Our midback becomes very tight and stiff in a curved (flexed) direction. It lacks and loses the ability to straighten up as well as it used to. When we lay on our back we need to have that ability for the spine to straighten flat. Over time, as we spend more of our day in a flexed posture, when we lay down, it doesn’t lay straight, it remains slightly curved. Gravity being what it is causes the head to continue to fall towards the pillow. This leads to the neck tipping back (extending) more than it should and further causing pain because extension is what caused pain in the first place. A curved pillow to support the neck only facilitates this extension more and will likely give you more neck pain than not.
What is a better option? This is easier to show rather than type. Look forward to the next blog coming out in a few days that will explain just how I recommend to arrange pillows without breaking the bank.