Featured Speaker

Ms. Carol Kennedy

BScPT, MClSc(manip), FCAMPT, Physiotherapist Vancouver, BC

Neck Pain & Sleep Problems

Neck Pain & Sleep Problems - Treloar Physiotherapy Carol Kennedy, BScPT, MClSc(manip), FCAMPT, Physiotherapist, discusses neck pain & sleep problems. Treloar Physiotherapy

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. Seeing a local physiotherapist could help.

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.

Presenter: Ms. Carol Kennedy, Physiotherapist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Physiotherapist

BIO: Orthopedics Now

Ms. Carol Kennedy , MClSc(manip), FCAMPT,Treloar Physiotherapy Clinic , Vancouver BC

What is your background & training?

I graduated from Queen’s University in 1979, completed my Advanced Diploma of Orthopaedic and Manipulative Therapy in 1984, my Clinical Masters of Science in Manipulative Therapy from UWO in 2010 and became a Clinical Specialist in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy in 2012. I have taught extensively in the Canadian Manual Therapy Course System, as well as internationally and also specialized courses on the cervical spine. I retired as a Chief Examiner, but continue as an Examiner for the National Orthopaedic Exams. I am the Lead Instructor and Coordinator for the new Graduate Certificate in Orthopaedic Manipulative Physiotherapy (GCOMPT) at UBC. I treats neck pain patients almost exclusively, utilizing the evidence based practice of manual therapy and specific exercise along with self-management strategies.

What inspired you to choose this career path?

My active lifestyle as a competitive varsity swimmer made choosing a profession that strives to keep people active a natural fit. I also love continuing education and have been so lucky to have the opportunities to help mentor and instruct the future generation of physiotherapists.

Why do you choose to work at Treloar?

I came to Treloar in 1982 and became a partner in 1989. This amazing team has built over time on a foundation of excellence but also a family feeling of respect, caring and support. I am constantly honoured to be part of this culture.

What are you personally passionate about?

My passions are skiing, hiking and biking but my priority is spending quality time with my family. I guess I have to add here that I am the ultimate nerd and continue to love reading a good research article that I can then apply to work next week! Now Health

Orthopedics Now

Orthopedics Now

QA Chat
Ask us a health question on
diagnosis/treatment options...