The pillow can be a neck rest or the cause of our neck pain. Let’s take a closer look. First, we need to know why we use a pillow when we go to bed. The main purpose of a pillow is to support the cervical spine in a neutral position. To understand why a pillow is necessary to achieve this goal we must remember the curves that make up our back.
Curves of the back if you look at the photo, we can see the spine represented on this man’s back. As we see, we have a large dorsal convex curvature that changes direction when it reaches the neck. Not all of us have this dorsal curvature with the same shape. What pronounced this curve is going to be the most important issue in choosing a pillow. If we are lying face up, the dorsal curvature is the one that most supports the mattress and causes the neck to be higher. Being higher, if we do not use a pillow the neck will fall backwards.
We must banish the myth of those who claim that it is healthier to sleep without a pillow. Not true for everyone. It is only true for a few who have what is called flat back. They are people whose dorsal curvature is so little pronounced that it behaves like a flat surface. This makes the head lie at an optimal level of support without the need for a pillow.
Those who have babies at home will realize that they do not need a pillow. Why? The explanation is that the curvatures have not yet developed in a baby and therefore have the dorsal spine flattened. As you see, everything is based on the same thing.
We understand that we need a pillow but, what?
1 – Height of the pillow. Clinging to the proven facts, the most important thing in choosing a pillow is the height of it. As we have said, no two people are alike in this aspect, each person will need a different height to have a proper posture in bed. Here comes the difficult, what is my pillow height? There is no method to calculate this today. What we must do is try different heights with some references that I am going to give you now. For this question only two possibilities, or try many in a store or modify the one we have. Changing the height can be as simple as placing a folded towel under the pillow. If it is too high, we will have no choice but to buy another.
What references should we have? I’ll start by commenting on references to a person who sleeps on their backs. When looking for the optimum height two things can happen, that the pillow is too high or too low. It is more troublesome that the height is too low because the nerves coming out of the neck can be compressed to the arms and you notice that part of the hands or arm are falling to us. Therefore we must avoid having the sensation that the neck is fallen backwards. On the other hand we should not notice that the neck is excessively incorporated because we will generate neck pain and can compromise the airway and not have adequate breathing. This would be the case of the lady in the photo post who is using a pillow too high.
If we sleep sideways, we will naturally need a higher pillow so that the neck is in a neutral situation and the head is not falling towards the mattress. Keep the dorsal column aligned with the cervical. In this posture it is easier or intuitive to notice the feelings of a correct or incorrect posture.
There is one more detail that complicates us a bit the choice of the best pillow: The same pillow behaves differently in one bed than in another. And how can this be? It’s not really the pillow’s fault, it’s because of the consistency of the mattress. If the mattress is soft, our dorsal spine will sink further into it and we will need less pillow height. If instead we move to a harder bed, we can notice that the pillow has become lower.
2 – Material of the pillow. In this sense there are two issues to consider:
A- Consistency and shape of the pillow. It has been proven that the pillows that hold the cervical spine distributing the pressures on the muscles in a firm and uniform way will be the most recommended to have a quality sleep. I do not want to say too much about materials in the sense that there are no studies with crushing truths but I do want to add a detail. If the pillow is too soft or too hard, you will not get the objective we are talking about. In this sense and in which we mention in the following point, the use of the classic feather pillows seems discouraged because they suspend in both sections. As for form, pillows are constantly being developed to adapt uniform pressures to the difficulty of differences in cervical shape from one individual to another.
B – Temperature of the head. Scientific studies suggest that an increase in head temperature worsens the quality of sleep. It has been seen how keeping the “cool” head lowers the heart rate and temperature of the rest of the body demonstrating a less activation of the alert systems of the body and improving the quality of the dream. Therefore, it is important that the pillow material allows the surface of the pillow to remain fresh, to transpire and not to accumulate heat.
You May Also Like this website.