ALL ABOUT PILLOWS: HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT PILLOW FOR BACK HEALTH
Anyone concerned about back pain will have likely considered their sleeping position, their choice of mattress, and other bedroom-related solutions that can alleviate instances of back pain. What is often overlooked, however, is the importance of the humble pillow.
If your mattress is where you lay your body down at the end of the day, then surely you’ll want to be resting your head on a pillow that’s just right for you.
Although it may not seem like pillows have much, if anything, to do with back pain, this simply isn’t true. Your head and neck posture connect with your spine, so a comfortable pillow may in fact help to alleviate back pain problems from an uneven or uncomfortable spinal position whilst sleeping.
CHOOSE YOUR FILLING
Nowadays, there are so many choices of pillow filling on the market. Catering to different sleeping styles, body sizes, and budgetary constraints, the choice of pillow filling can seem overwhelming. The three main types of filling used today are:
Synthetic: a very common type of filling, synthetic materials such as polyester and memory foam can help you get a good night’s sleep for a low price. In terms of comfort and for back pain, a synthetic filling can be just fine but note that they don’t tend to be breathable and they may trigger allergic reactions.
Wool: a more luxurious choice, wool filling is a natural choice that provides superior comfort, is hypoallergenic, and regulates heat and temperature well.
Feather (down): a more natural material, goose/duck feather and down filling in pillows provides excellent comfort, but as with synthetic suffers from breathability and allergy issues.
Don’t neglect the impact that a quality pillowcase can have on helping you catch a quality sleep. Common pillowcase materials include:
Cotton: a natural, superior choice, cotton pillowcases keep you cool on a hot summer night whilst not triggering allergies, especially when paired with wool filling.
Synthetic: polyester and cotton blends are affordable and common, but they suffer from breathability and heat regulation problems.
PILLOW TOO SOFT? TOO FIRM?
Much of what we’ve mentioned above applies to comfort, heat regulation, and allergies, but when it comes to alleviating back pain, pillow firmness is perhaps the most important consideration you should make. Consider the following:
Side-sleepers: a medium- to firm-tension pillow will serve you best since the added firmness will support the appropriate support to keep your spine aligned throughout the night.
Back sleepers: a soft- to medium-firmness pillow is usually best, since they can absorb the weight of your head and neck as you please and promote proper spinal alignment.
Front sleepers: choose the softest pillow you can find. Although front sleeping may not be ideal for alleviating most back pain conditions, if you insist on sleeping on your front then provide your neck and head with a soft pillow that doesn’t contort your spinal alignment.
PILLOW SIZE & SHAPE
Last but not least, consider the shape and size of your pillow. Common configurations include:
Rectangular (normal) pillows: every bed needs a good, normal-shaped pillow. Choose a size that’s neither too big nor too small, but just big enough to be used for your sleeping position.
V-shaped pillows: longer V-shaped pillows are ideal for side sleepers, pregnant women, and to alleviate arthritic pain such as in the knees.
WHAT’S THE BEST PILLOW FOR BACK HEALTH?
It can be hard to choose a pillow for back health. Even if it’s comfortable, it may aggravate back pain when you wake up. We stand by contoured pillows and can help you select the right one for your circumstances here at Better Backs.
A good pillow and mattress can help alleviate many back problems, but we always recommend you consult with us here at Better Backs. Our Chiropractors will be happy to schedule an appointment with you.