What type of pillow should I use?
Patients of ours know that we ask a lot of questions about sleep such as, do you get a good night sleep? Do you wake up throughout the night? Do you have pain in the morning? Are you a side/back/stomach sleep? etc.
That’s because sleep is incredibly important to not only how we function throughout the day, but it also plays a huge role in our perception of pain. If you’re in pain, and you’re not getting a good nights sleep, you’re headed into a downward spiral.
So what is the best type of pillow to use? The frustrating answer is, “that depends”. Sure, we could sell you a pillow that we like, and works well for us, but that could be doing you a disservice. Everyone is different, and what works for one person, won’t necessarily work for someone else. There have been a number of research papers published with the aim of finding the optimal pillow for comfort, and symptom reduction, but if you read through many of them, you’ll notice that their conclusions often differ from one another. Pillow preference is very subjective.
With that being said, we can make some loose recommendations. Determine if you are a side, back, or stomach sleeper and choose a pillow that, when compressed with the weight of your head, keeps your neck aligned with the rest of your spine. It is a bit of a generalization, but feather pillows tend to rate lower than others in the majority of the studies I have read – so maybe choose something else. Don’t fall for gimmicks. Remember, there is no “perfect” pillow, so don’t buy something that claims to be.
At the end of the day (pun intended) you need to find your pillow comfortable. If you’re not happy with your current pillow, we advise you to visit a store like Sleep Country where you can try out various models and find one that is immediately comfortable to you.
If you have neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain, or just want to chat, get in touch! We can't wait to hear from you.
Thanks for reading,
Dr. Lee Brotherston
Partner and Chiropractor at
Oak Ridges Health Group
58 Brock Street W, Suite 201
Uxbridge ON, L9P 1P3