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Devanshi Modi July 11, 2021

Should I stop using a pillow if I have neck pain?

The short answer is NO.

A pillow under the head is always recommended with or without neck pain. The essential things to consider are
1. Thickness of the pillow
2. Firmness of the pillow
3. Positioning of the pillow

1. Thickness of the pillow

The thickness of the pillow is determined if you are a back sleeper or side sleeper. The idea behind using a pillow is so your neck stays in neutral alignment. Not too forward flexed or not too side bent and thus avoiding strain at the neck. If you are a back sleeper you need typically a little thinner pillow enough to fill the gap between the neck and the mattress. If you are a side sleeper you need a thicker pillow which fills in the gap between the tip of your shoulder and the curve of the neck. So if you have broad shoulders you need a thicker pillow or maybe two.

What if I start sleeping on my back and then change position to sleep at night?
Consider your primary sleeping position as the one in which you spend maximum time at night. Cervical pillows are designed to have both thickness so you can switch at night. Stomach sleeping is not recommended as it puts the neck in a completely rotated position. Try correcting this habit gradually by positioning cushions next to you stopping you from rolling on your belly.

2. Firmness of the pillow
A soft and fluffy pillow as well as a rock firm pillow both are not advised. The best way to determine the correct firmness as I always say is to fold a bed sheet and try lying on it. The firmness you feel when lying on it is the recommended firmness.

3. Positioning of the pillow
When you lie on your back. The pillow should end at the top of your shoulders and never extend to your shoulder blades. When you lie on your side position it snuggly to end on top of the shoulder filling in the gap between your neck and mattress.

To meet certified Mckenzie therapist in East Brunswick call 551-208-3234 at Spineck Physical Therapy


646 NJ-18 North,
Suite 110 (Building B)
East Brunswick
NJ 08816


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