Chiropractors know best when it comes to recommending pillows to address neck, back and shoulder pain. For them, your choice of pillow should be based on function instead of form or decorative purposes. You might be asking yourself, “Function? Aren’t all pillows used just for sleeping?” Yes, you are correct. However not all people sleep in the same way.
The way you position your body while sleeping will determine the right kind of pillow for you. Buying the wrong one can result in sleepless nights; and worse painful mornings.
Have you ever woken with neck pain after sleeping? How about a painful lower back or sore shoulders? This happens when your body does not receive enough support on the side you favour when you sleep. Chiropractorswill recommend the best therapeutic pillows to alleviate body pain.
For a chiropractor, the pillow serves one very important function: Support. The type of support you need will depend on your predominant sleeping position.
Best Pillows For Your Sleeping Position
Chiropractors will pick the best pillow for shoulder and neck pain as well as the best therapeutic pillows for back pain based on these three popular sleeping positions:
Back Chiropractors believe this is the most common sleeping position. The best kind of pillow to use should be medium firm which will be enough to keep your neck in its natural position. Supporting the neck in its natural position will also prevent snoring.Chiropractors will also recommend placing another medium firm pillow under your knees. This will help maintain the natural curved position of your spine and remove compression forces away from your lower back.
Side Chiropractors have found out that as soon as people drift to deep sleep they find themselves transitioning from back sleepers to side sleepers. This is good because chiropractors believe this is the best position to support the lower back.However chiropractors recommend placing a firm pillow between your knees to alleviate pressure on your hips and lower back. You should also use a firm pillow or two medium firm pillows to keep your head and neck perfectly aligned while lying on your side.If the pillows are too soft, there will be increased tension on the side of your neck. This is where you end up being woken up with neck pain after sleeping.
Stomach Chiropractors frown upon this sleeping position because this places tremendous pressure on your lower back. However this remains a natural position which many people are accustomed to.If you tend to lie on your stomach, chiropractors recommend placing a firm pillow underneath your hips to lessen the pressure on your lower back. An extra pillow under your ankles will further add support to your lower back.As for your head, chiropractors recommend using a soft one that will keep your head in a downward position and reduce the risk of neck pain.
So now that you know the level of firmness, which kind of pillow would chiropractors recommend?
There are different brands and types available in the market. We have identified six of the most popular types and share which ones chiropractors would recommend for you.
6 Different Types Of Pillows: Which One Is For You?
Manufacturers have developed and designed pillows made from different types of materials. You may have come across some of them at a friend’s house or at a hotel during one of your travels.
Although a pillow may feel soft and fluffy, it does not mean it is the best kind for you. And don’t get influenced by pricing! The most expensive pillow brands are not necessarily the best ones you can buy.
Different materials mean different levels of firmness. Pillows also come in unique shapes and some have distinct advantages over others. Which type will chiropractors recommend for you? Let’s break each one down and find out:
PolyesterMost commercial pillows are made of polyester material. These are generally soft and great to cuddle with but they do not offer enough support. In fact, polyester pillows lack firmness.These are also the cheapest types that you can buy in the market. Many homeowners commonly use polyester pillows for teenager’s room and the guest room because they are easily replaceable.Chiropractors will not recommend polyester for side and back sleepers because of its lack of adequate support. Stomach sleepers can probably place one or two polyester pillows under their hips and ankles plus another one for their head to keep their lower back in the safest, most comfortable position.
Memory FoamIf you want a space age pillow, memory foam should be your first choice. NASAdeveloped memory foam as a way to protect astronauts and to make life in space more comfortable.Chiropractors will recommend memory foam pillows for side and back sleepers. Memory foam is one of the best cervical pillows you can buy because it conforms to the shape of your head and neck. This keeps your head and neck in its natural position and helps prevent neck, shoulder and upper back pain from occurring. It is also hypoallergenic which is ideal for allergy sufferers.
LatexThis material is made from the rubber tree and has natural anti-microbial properties. Latex is quite firm and does not have the sink-in feel of memory foam. It is firm yet provides enough cushion that some people would describe the feeling of using latex pillows as “bouncy”.Chiropractors will definitely recommend latex pillows for side and back sleepers because of its good level of firmness. It has good support and does not lose its shape when being used. Keep in mind that some latex pillow brands may be more firm than others. Before buying a latex pillow, lie on it for a few minutes and assess how your neck and lower back feels when transitioning positions.
Goose Down Goose Down is a bit more expensive than any of the types discussed in this article. However it will be a worthwhile purchase for stomach sleepers. People who sleep with goose down pillows will describe the experience “like sleeping on a cloud”. And indeed it might be!Chiropractors will recommend goose down pillows for stomach sleepers because they are soft enough to be placed underneath the hips and ankles. Laying your head on a goose down pillow will help keep it in the downward angle position to give your neck enough support.
Shredded Memory FoamUnlike original memory foam, shredded memory foam allows you to adjust and fluff your pillow to just the right loft to ensure sleeping comfort. Similar to memory foam, it is also hypoallergenic but does not retain as much body heat.Chiropractors will recommend shredded memory foam to just about every type of sleeper. Just remember our advice on where to place the pillows when you sleep. Don’t be alarmed if this looks lumpy when delivered. It will fluff and firm up right away once removed from its packaging.
Buckwheat HullsHave you ever slept in a beanbag? What makes beanbags comfortable is that it conforms to your body. A pillow made with buckwheat hulls will give you the same feeling.Chiropractors will recommend buckwheat hull pillow for side and back sleepers. It is the best pillow for neck and shoulder pain sufferers because the material offers great support in those areas.You’ll probably need only one under your knee to reduce compression on the lower back. If it’s not thick or firm enough, you can always add more buckwheat hulls until you meet your desired level of comfort and support.
Sleep is vital to ensure our health and well-being. But for some people, sleeping is more of a luxury than a necessity. If you’re having trouble sleeping or wake up with pain in your neck, shoulders and lower back, you should consider the type of pillow you are using.
Chiropractors have made a living out of helping people deal with pain. They have studied how your choice of pillow affects quality of sleep and contributes to painful conditions.
Before replacing the ones on your bed or couch, consider the therapeutic pillows chiropractors recommend and say goodbye to sleepless nights and painful mornings.
About the Author
The Art of Pillows team are made up of a group of ex professional physicians and professional sleepers who’s passion is to spread the word about how important having the right pillow for your posture and needs is crucial to living a happy and healthy life.