Back pain is one of the commonest ailments people suffer from, be it from injury, health conditions or just poor posture. Unfortunately, the position in which we sleep and the quality of our bed and mattress is a crucial ingredient in both the lessening and exacerbating of such pain. But there are pillows that have been specially designed to help in this regard? Let’s take a look.
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The Importance of Pillows
Our pillow is not just something for us to rest our head on; the support it gives us aligns our neck and spine correctly and avoids the kind of pressure and strain on our muscles that causes pain in these areas. But pillows are not just for our heads, not even just for sleeping – they can offer support to other parts of our bodies whilst sitting or lying.
Types of Back Pain Pillows
- Lumbar Pillows – designed to support the lower back by ensuring you don’t slip into a slouched position, they can be used whilst lying down or sitting for extended periods.
- Body Pillows – long pillows that can be placed between your legs or even hugged to maintain spinal alignment. These are particularly used by pregnant women.
- Cervical Pillows – designed to support the head and neck, they allow your spine to rest in its natural position.
- Knee Pillows – designed for side sleepers, these can be placed between the knees to avoid your top leg pulling on your spine and dragging it out of alignment.
What Fillings Should I Look For?
Choosing the right filling for you pillow in finding the kind of support you need.
- Memory foam adapts to and learns the contours of your body and provides consistency of support to suit your size and shape. For those with chronic pain, the consistency of relief this provides is essential.
- Latex is hypoallergenic, which may also be an important factor, and, as well as offering firm support, it is long-lasting.
- Feather or down pillows are soft and luxurious, but this may not need what your back needs in terms of support. For some, they are great, but be careful – what might feel lovely at first may in time fail to give the support you need.
What Else Should I Know?
REPLACEMENT – Pillows should be replaced every 2-3 years, as a rule. But the moment they cease to provide the support you need, change them. A poor pillow will worsen back pain.
HEIGHT OF THE PILLOW – Make sure your pillow isn’t tilting your neck to an awkward angle. Your pillow should support your neck in a direct line with your spine.
STOMACH SLEEPERS – Sleeping on your front can place a strain on your neck and back. If you are unable to change to back or side sleeping, think about placing a pillow under your pelvis to better align your spine.
ERGONOMIC OR ORTHOPEDIC PILLOWS – For chronic pain or specific spinal conditions, these can be the answer. But take medical advice on this.
Despite chronic back pain being a common issue for almost half of US adults, there are numerous treatments and preventive actions, including simple self-care measures like replacing old and uncomfortable pillows. Using the right pillow can offer immediate relief from muscle soreness and prevent chronic back pain, thus avoiding expensive procedures and medical bills.
What Causes Back Pain When Sleeping on the Wrong Pillow?
People often attribute their morning back discomfort to old and unsuitable mattresses. Although a bad mattress is a significant cause of back pain, it’s not the sole factor. The silver lining is that switching to a new pillow is a much simpler and cheaper solution. Pillows that don’t fit well with your head and neck can cause back pain by putting strain on the lumbar area, overburdening surrounding muscles and altering the spine’s natural curve. Back pain relief pillows can help by supporting this natural curve, relieving lumbar pressure, and evenly distributing weight along the spine.
Is an Orthopedic Pillow Necessary for Back Pain Relief?
Orthopedic pillows, elevation wedges, knee pillows, and lumbar support options can all help in reducing backaches. The perfect pillow for back pain relief supports the hips, torso, and aligns the spine correctly, relieving pressure from overworked muscles, and allowing the spine’s natural “S” curve to stretch, leading to total relaxation.
What If I Sleep on My Side or Stomach?
While sleeping on your back is best for alleviating back pain, side and stomach sleepers can also find relief with options like wedge pillows, knee pillows, and lumbar support pillows that adapt perfectly to the spine’s natural curve, irrespective of sleep position.
Who Should Use a Back Pain Relief Pillow?
Apart from helping with back, neck, and shoulder discomfort, the back pain relief pillows on our list are also effective for various conditions that disturb sleep, like heartburn, acid reflux, and sleep apnea. Certain medical issues, like COPD, can be alleviated by the therapeutic incline of an elevation wedge, while many individuals find that a lumbar support pillow eases restless leg syndrome and knee pain symptoms.
We hope this guide directs you towards integrating the best pillow for back pain into your pain management regimen.