If you suffer from chronic neck pain, you know how debilitating it can be. Perhaps you make regular visits to a chiropractor, or maybe you rely on pain medication to be able to get through your day. While these strategies can offer temporary relief, it’s important to consider that the way that you sleep may be aggravating or even causing neck pain – and the key to better sleep can be as simple as changing your pillow! Reputable medical sources such as the Mayo Clinic recommend using therapeutic cylindrical pillows to help ease neck pain.
Support and Alignment
Neck pain can have many causes, including muscles that are tense from working at a computer for long hours, driving or repetitive upper body movements. Tight muscles can compress the vertebrae spaces, leading to nerve compression and neck or cervical pain. A regular rectangular pillow that doesn’t provide proper support can exacerbate neck pain and can even undo any treatment that you might be undergoing. The wrong type of pressure to the neck, for instance, can irritate the nerves, muscles and facet joints, which means that inflammation will persist, and healing will be delayed.
Physicians have contrasted x-rays of patients sleeping on flatbed pillows with people sleeping on therapeutic cervical pillows, and the resulting images are dramatic. Those on well-made cylindrical pillows are sleeping with head, neck, and spine in natural alignment; while those using conventional pillows experience compression and contortion. Being in proper cervical alignment allows the spaces between vertebrae to open up and eliminates nerve compression. The cylindrical shape of therapeutic cervical pillows conforms to the curves of the body and sinks down into the mattress to ensure maximum support.
In one study at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic Clinic, 93% of patients who used a cylindrical pillow reported a significant reduction in neck pain and 75% reduced pain medication.
In addition, using a custom-size therapeutic pillow with proper support improves the quality of your sleep. While sleeping, we usually pass through five phases of sleep. Stages 1, 2, 3, 4 and Rapid Eye Movement sleep. These stages progress from stage 1 to REM sleep, the cycle starts over.
If you have neck pain, it’s likely that you are experiencing REM sleep deprivation. Twinges of pain may be bringing you continually back to the first stage of sleep, making it impossible for you to reach the deepest level. Patients deprived of REM sleep can suffer from adverse effects such as:
Increased sensitivity to pain
Lapses of attention and inability to concentrate
Impaired memory and physical performance
Irritability and mood
If you are suffering from neck pain, try a custom-sized therapeutic cervical pillow – and discover how something as simple as sleeping in alignment can make a world of difference to your quality of life!