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Is Your Pillow A Pain in the Neck?

By Sara Butler

It’s time for a little pillow talk. According to the American Chiropractic Association, 25 percent of adults have chronic neck pain. It’s actually the third-largest cause of chronic pain in the United States. That’s a pretty big problem. Seeing your chiropractor regularly is one way you can be proactive about neck pain, but what you do when you sleep also has a big impact. Here is how your pillow might just be influencing your neck pain or leading you to it.

The Problem with Position

How you sleep has a huge impact on the health of your neck and the pain you may experience. Your neck is the supporter of your head, so if you’re sleeping with your body twisted in a weird way as you sleep, or your neck is bent in an entirely different direction as the rest of your body, then you are probably waking up in the morning wondering how ninjas snuck into your room overnight and beat you up. Well, there are no ninjas – it’s your sleeping position.

Your pillow needs to fully support your neck in a way that supports the natural curves of your spine. The goal is for your body to assume a natural position as you sleep. But it’s not just sleeping position that causes problems; you also need to look at how you’re positioning your neck when you’re in bed reading or watching television. You should avoid putting undue stress on your neck when you’re in bed and work to keep it in a neutral position when you’re there for long periods of time.


A pillow can be your ally or your enemy when it comes to the health of your neck. If you can avoid sleeping on your stomach, then you should use a pillow that helps to support your neck. A couple of different types of pillows to consider are:

  • Feather pillows – Obviously, if you have an allergy you should avoid feather pillows, but if you can use them, these pillows are great and help to provide good support. They are highly shapeable, which means it can be molded to fit you just right and provide the support you need where you need it.
  • Water-filled pillows – These pillows are great because you can add water or take it out in order to customize how much support they offer. If you tend to toss and turn at night, it also will automatically redistribute the weight of your neck and head, which normal pillows can’t do!

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.

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