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How Proper Pillow Posture Can Prevent Injury

How Proper Pillow Posture Can Prevent Injury - El Paso Chiropractor


From childhood to adulthood, people are taught about the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle through good nutrition and fitness methods. An individual’s overall wellness depends on how well they choose to listen to their bodies and follow the healthiest techniques they’ve learned throughout their days. But, what happens when after a long night of rest, you wake of feeling pain, despite maintaining a balanced nutrition and achieving your fitness goals?

When it comes to reaching optimal health, sleep is also an important element for overall wellness and people are rarely taught which are the most appropriate sleep positions or even how many pillows should be used when they sleep. Since childhood, many individuals develop their own sleeping postures, however, the position that may be most comfortable and natural for some people might create health complications in the future. In adulthood, sleeping positions can be adjusted to prevent further issues. Above all, pillow posture or the way your head is positioned while sleeping, is a top priority for those individuals facing neck pain and discomfort and it should be assessed immediately to avoid waking up with other symptoms.  

Foremost, a proper posture is characterized by the natural alignment of the head and neck with the rest of the spine, even during sleep. If an individual is using multiple pillows to rest their head on at night, this can be fairly difficult to accomplish. The neck may be tilted or twisted this way for prolonged periods of time throughout the night, causing the muscles, ligaments, and other tissues surrounding the neck to painfully stretch and strain. Instead, the individual should use a single pillow beneath the head to maintain correct spinal alignment. The single pillow being used should be thick enough to provide adequate support but it should also not be so thick to where it angles the head upward. Likewise, the individual should make sure the pillow they are using is not too thin or the head may tilt down when lying on their side. A firm, low-loft latex pillow is recommended for the majority of people because these are neutral, affordable, and they don’t usually break down like conventional fibers to where they gradually become flat over time. An additional body pillow or a separate knee pillow can often be used as well to provide more comfort to the individual. These are not necessary, but utilizing them when you sleep can help prevent you from rolling onto your stomach during the night.

Ultimately, the best overall sleep posture is one that promotes a balanced spine and proper alignment. There are three common sleeping positions; side, back and stomach sleeping. Back and side sleeping can achieve the required spinal alignment to avoid injury, the development of conditions and other complications by adjusting pillow posture. Stomach sleeping is considered to be one of the least recommended sleeping postures because it places unnecessary pressure over the spine and proper pillow posture cannot be used. Over time, sleeping on your stomach can cause damage to your spine and its supportive structures.

The way your head and neck are positioned relative to the rest of your body is important. During sleep, the forehead, nose, chin, and neck should be lined up straight with the rest of the spine to ensure its natural alignment. When an individual starts feeling neck or back pain after waking up from a long night of rest, it’s time to assess their spine health. As a matter of fact, about 80% of the American population has never received spinal X-rays to evaluate the condition of their spinal structure.

People need to seek medical attention after experiencing symptoms of pain and discomfort to diagnose any possible injuries or underlying conditions as early as possible in order to make the necessary lifestyle changes, such as adjusting their pillow posture, to make a difference. Sleeping with your head tilted or twisted all night can cause substantial damage over time if not corrected, that’s why it’s important to always practice good pillow posture and know the shape of your spine early to prevent further complications.

By Dr. Alex Jimenez


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