Pillows & How to Sleep


Many of my patients wonder why they wake up with neck aches, headaches, or arm or hand numbness in the mornings. Even slowed response to Chiropractic adjustments can be caused by nightly unrest periods. So “What to do?”. The first thing is to understand the worst thing one can do is lie face down in bed trying to sleep. Extreme rotation will occur, twisting your neck which in turn compromises the spaces between your vertebra irritating sensitive nerve roots. These nerves leave the neck and travel down into your arms and hands. The upper neck can effect your blood and neurological supply to your head causing headaches.


The best way to sleep is keeping your cervical spine aligned with the thoracic spine. More easily seen by a partner who can look and see if it is level while on your side. Therefore using specifically designed cervical pillows that help maintain your cervical forward sweeping curve (when you are on your back) as well as when you are on your side is that is the right height to keep the spine level all the way down is very important. Overall, I feel that sleeping on your back is the best and with the right curved support helps reintroduce the forward facing curve as well as tractions the cervical vertebra yielding less impingement of those associated nerve roots.


This is an example of a well designed cervical pillow that allows both face up and side lying positions at night.

I also personally found after having supplied over 30 different types of pillows from different manufactures over the years, that NOVA Foam pillows that Cosco used to carry are the best. Second to that would be the Therapeutica tri-level manufacturer.

Over the years I have had many patients who begin Chiropractic care and after feeling a lot better after a few visits they often say they had a return of the initial pain, but not as intense. So I usually start asking questions regarding their sleep patterns and almost always get the “yeah, I sleep on my stomach” or “well, I read in bed with two or three pillows at night”. Let this be a forewarned, forearmed info-mercial to help you keep that feeling good feeling ;-)