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Choose the Right Pillow

By Rachel Carver

It is not uncommon to wake up stiff. The phrase "I slept wrong" is used by many of us. We know we need a good mattress that supports our body. It should distribute weight evenly to avoid added joint pressure.

We don't always think about investing in the right pillow to improve our sleep. Choosing the wrong pillow can result in sleepless nights. Poor sleep is associated with headaches, neck pain, and arm numbness. This often happens because the pillow we use does not match our sleeping position.

The type of pillow you need depends on your sleeping position. It should keep its shape - even when you move. Your head should rest squarely on your shoulders while using your pillow. Your head resting too far one direction will strain your neck and cause pain.

Back Sleeper

Back sleepers might benefit from a thinner pillow that will not throw the neck too far forward. Look for something with extra loft -- lift -- in the bottom to support your neck. Memory foam pillows mold to the shape of your head and neck. Adding a second pillow under your knees will alleviate pressure on your lower back.

Stomach Sleeper

Stomach sleepers should opt for the thinnest pillow possible. Sleeping on your stomach places extra stress on your lower back. Try sleeping on your side and hugging a pillow if you need something against your stomach. You also might want to avoid using a pillow if you sleep this way consistently.

Side Sleeper

It's best to use a firm pillow if you're a person who routinely sleeps on their side. When looking for a pillow, find one that has an extra-wide gusset or rectangular panels along its four sides that adds to its thickness. When sleeping on your side, be sure to sleep with a pillow between your legs -- usually at the knees -- in order to keep your spine in proper alignment.

Replace your pillows about every 18 months. You don't want to sleep on something with allergy triggers such as mold, dead skin cells, and dust mites. If your pillow does not spring back after folding it in half, it is time to get a new one.

If you wake up in the morning with a stiff neck or back, head to The Joint Chiropractic clinic near you. The Joint team will give you pain relief and set you up on a plan to keep your joints healthy. The Joint offers walk-in visits and affordable pricing to everyone, and is open nights and weekends. With more than 500 locations nationwide, it's easy to find one near your neighborhood. 

To learn more about managing back pain, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Atlanta, Ga.

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