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Which pillow is right for me?

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for good health.

We all need sleep to recover mentally from our daily activities and to process the information coming into our brains. We need sleep physically to repair cells and tissues, to restock our energy levels for the coming day and to replenish all the vital chemicals that keep our bodies humming along.

If you are like most people, getting a good night’s sleep can be tricky at times. You may have a ‘stable’ of pillows that you rotate through to try and find a comfortable fit.

Our bodies are all unique and our sleeping needs can vary from day to day. Postural tension at work or from stress can lead to headaches and backache from tight muscles, so our head and neck need to be well supported to allow muscles to relax and recover overnight.

As an Osteopath, I see some pretty ‘interesting’ sleeping positions in my practice every day – like playing Twister in your sleep! These can contribute to head, neck and back pain. Many people ask me if it might be something to do with their pillow. The short answer is yes!

Persson, L., & Moritz, U. (1998). Neck support pillows: a comparative study. Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics, 21(4), 237-240.

Choosing the right pillow

Pillows and Sleeping Position:

  • As a general rule, pillows should suit your sleeping style – whether you are back sleeper, side sleeper, or front sleeper.

http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/snuggle-up-with-the-perfect-pillow#1

  • The head and neck should be positioned so that they are in the same line as the back (known as neutral position).
  • If your neck is not well supported you may cause strain and irritation to the joints, muscles or ligaments of the neck and you may end up with neck pain or a headache

pillow-position

  • Sleeping on your front (tummy sleeper) is not ideal as it stresses the soft tissues of the neck (muscles, ligaments and nerves) and causes the lower back to arch. Changing your sleeping position be tricky but be persistent!

http://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/say-good-night-to-neck-pain

Pillow Material:

  • The material of the pillow itself and/or the cover should be hypoallergenic and antibacterial.
  • Latex is naturally antibacterial and resistant to dust mites
  • The material should also conform to the weight and shape of your head and neck. Latex and Memory foam do this very well and a contoured shape will help to support the natural curve of the head and neck

Cost:

  • As with all things in life, you get what you pay for. Pillows don’t need to be hundreds of dollars but cheaper alternatives may not provide the support you need and may not last very long.
  • The savings you made initially may only be short term.

Why Flexi Pillow?   http://www.flexipillow.com.au

  • Australian Owned Company
  • Based in Melbourne
  • Quality Material Used in Manufacture
  • Hypoallergenic and Antibacterial
  • A Wide Variety of Pillow Styles for Different Sleeping Positions
  • Height Adjustable
  • Removable Washable Covers
  • Affordable – ranges from $49.95 – 99.00.

Flexi Pillow offers pillows for:

  • All Sleeping Positions (side, back, tummy),
  • Pillows Suitable for Kids (smaller size)
  • Those Who May Perspire at Night (menopause, Cancer/Chemo)
  • Travel Sized Pillows That Can Be Rolled Up and Fit In Your Suitcase

flexi-pillows-2

Other Causes of Neck Pain and Headache:

Pillow type and sleeping position are only 2 of several factors that contribute to headache and neck pain.Other factors can include (but are not limited to):

  • Smart Device Use
  • Work Station or Desk Set Up
  • Teeth Clenching (Bruxism)
  • TMJ (jaw) issues
  • Motor Vehicle Accidents
  • Previous Injury to the Spine or Head
  • Bone or Soft Tissues Injury
  • Strains Due to Sporting or Recreational Activities
  • Poor Muscle Strength and Endurance
  • Annoying Bosses or Colleagues

Osteopaths can provide professional advice and treatment for neck and back pain. I can also arrange imaging and/or referral if required

Feel free to pop in and try out some of the pillows and discuss any concerns you may have about your neck or back pain.

I would be happy to help 🙂

Dr. Kate Caine

Fit and Well Osteopathy @ 48 Pascoe Vale Rd, Moonee Ponds 3039.