Does Your Pillow Height Matter for Neck Pain Relief?
Why You Should Adjust Your Pillow Height to Properly Align your Spine
The most common cause of neck pain is a misalignment of the spine. When you sleep on your side, your head tilts to the side and this can lead to neck pain. The solution is to adjust the pillow height so that it aligns your spine and provides support for your head.
You should use a low height pillow if you like sleeping on your back or stomach. A medium height pillow is best for those who sleep on their side and a high neck pillow is best for those who sleep on their back or stomach.
The Advantages of Choosing the Right Pillow Height
The best way to know what is the right pillow height for you is to experiment with different heights. In order to find the perfect height, it will take time and patience, but it’s worth it.
Body size and preference are likely to influence the size of the pillow, but generally the pillow should maintain a height of 4 to 6 inches to support the head and neck (and shoulders when lying on your back). If neck pain is your problem, a flatter pillow may be the best option. In one study, higher pillows created more skull-cervical pressure (i.e., at the point where the head and neck meet) and a larger cervical angle, meaning that the head is not aligned with the spine. This can cause pain and stiffness if the neck stays at that angle all night.
Sleeping on your side is the second best position to relieve neck pain. Side sleepers get the most benefit from a thicker pillow, one that is medium height and made of a firmer material, such as latex foam. People who sleep on their side find that a higher pillow aligns the neck and back better in a straight line. In addition, people who sleep on their side should place a pillow between their knees to help keep their spine straight.
A body pillow is a good choice for this particular positioning of the body and legs. An independent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University has even shown the effectiveness of water pillows in reducing pain in the morning. The back of the pillow is recessed, creating a plush cushion for the head without interfering with the alignment of the spine. The plush padding and memory foam together offer an excellent contour for the head and neck, which greatly helps to relieve aches and pains.
A pillow that is too high or too low can cause pressure to build up as the neck tries to compensate for the lack of support. Over time, pillows filled with cotton will begin to lose firmness and will no longer support the neck properly. The balanced support of this pillow is designed by plush outer layers of foam to keep your head and neck comfortably supported, and a firm inner layer of foam that adapts to pressure and supports neutral spine alignment. This can be achieved by placing a small neck roll on the pillowcase of a flatter and softer pillow, or by using a special pillow that has a built-in neck support with a slit for the head to rest.
When sleeping on your back, it is best to place a pillow under your knees to minimize the strain on your lower back as well. A pillow is designed to keep your head and neck elevated in a neutral position to ensure proper alignment of the spine while you sleep. The best positions if you have neck pain (or just want to avoid it) are sleeping on your back or on your side. If you’re not sure how to choose the pillow height that best suits your body type and sleeping position, take a two-minute quiz to find out.
Next on my list is the Purple Harmony pillow, and I chose it specifically for those looking for a soft pillow that relieves neck pain. For best results, people who sleep on their backs and sides should ensure that the head, neck, and upper spine form a straight line. I usually find that people who suffer from neck pain try to sleep on their backs to keep the pain from increasing, and that’s where this pillow really sticks out. Focusing on these factors and having a basic understanding of the pillow’s features and construction can help you find the pillow that best fits your needs.