Ms. Carol Kennedy
Neck Pain & Sleep Problems
For those who suffer from chronic neck pain or episodic neck pain, obtaining a good night’s sleep is often a real challenge for them.
The combination of sleeping positions, the type of neck problem that they have, as well as the pillow itself all contribute to the discomfort they might feel during the night.
Stomach sleeping is out. So that you can breathe, there’s no way you can lie on your stomach without having excessive rotation of the neck. If you do have a tendency to roll over onto your stomach during the night, you can put a pillow lengthwise in front of your body to try and prevent that tendency.
Both side sleeping and back sleeping are viable options, and the main thing is that the head and neck are supported in a neutral position when you’re lying.
So there isn’t, there hasn’t been very much research done on type of pillows that are the most appropriate, and there are many out there on the market that are available. There’s the contour pillow with the bump that fits in the space, there’s latex rubber pillows, there’s the new memory foam pillows that are available. And really it’s personal preference as to which is the most comfortable.
But the most important is that you fill in that space either in side lying or lying on your back to support the head in a neutral position. So really, what is most important is to determine whether or not the head is, head and neck is being supported properly in neutral.
So in a side lying position, you need to fill in this space with the pillow. It has to be the right height to be able to fill in that space. But then you have to determine whether the head’s tipped or, or forward or back in that side lying position. And a physiotherapist could have a look at you with your pillow and determine whether or not that pillow supports them in neutral.
So in back lying, you should have a staggered pillow arrangement with one pillow lower under the shoulder blades and the other supporting into the neck. But again, you don’t want that to be too high, you don’t want it to be dropping back too far because the neck wouldn’t be in its optimal resting position. So you may want to have that checked.
So the key message is that there’s, there may be a little bit of trial and error to determine the best combination of type of pillow, sleeping position, and neck posture position, and you may need a little bit of help with that to determine what will give you the best night’s sleep.
So if you find you have any further questions about what sleeping position, posture might be best for you, you should consult your physiotherapist, and they can help you out with that.
Local Practitioners: Physiotherapist