Monday, December 9, 2013

The Upper Cervical Spine And The Down Pillow

Down pillows, Neck Problems

(Editor's Note:  Today's post is from my good friend Dr. Adam Tanase.  He discusses the problems with down pillows and there is a link to an article of his about how to select the right pillow.  My one suggestion would be that if you are seeing an Upper Cervical Chiropractor and you are maintaining your correction for long periods of time, use a down pillow and have issues with other pillows...keep using the down.  Each of us is different so for a few of us a down pillow may be best but in general I agree with Dr. Tanase's assessment of down pillow below...enjoy!)

The Worst Pillow Money Can Buy

I’m not exaggerating when I say that the worst pillows you can buy are those made with down feathers.

In fact, it’s my professional opinion that feather pillows are the most unsupportive and inadequate sleeping pillows on the market. They interfere with quality sleep in three ways:

1) Inconsistent Support

There’s no uniformity or consistency of the sleeping surface. While you’re resting on them, the feathers might be clustered together near the shoulder, or pushed up close to the top your head. Maybe they’re bunched up behind your ear. That’s the problem - it’s never the same. At one moment you’re cozy and supported. Minutes later, your neck will be turned a few degrees because the feathers settle into a lower/flatter position. It’s almost as if you’re sleeping on an entirely different pillow each night. Your body isn’t a fan of this variability.

2) Heat Retention and Poor Air Flow

Down jackets are immensely popular in cold weather climates because of their ability to keep you warm. Similarly, down comforters are most popular during the winter months. See where this is going? Feathers = Heat. Your body doesn’t like to be too hot… so if this happens while sleeping, you automatically wake up to change positions. Doing this over and over again throughout the night interferes with your quality of sleep, causing you to feel groggy and unrested in the morning.

3) Imbalance Between the Head & Neck

The importance of maintaining proper head/neck alignment cannot be overstated. The feathers inside down pillows inevitably get bulked together creating a slanted/wedged pillow angle that bends the head/neck of side-sleepers in a “kinked” manner. This applies undue stress and strain to muscles, joints, and ligaments within the neck, which can trigger headaches, arm/hand painacute muscle spasms, or chronic neck tension.

What Should You Get Instead?

Here’s my review of six types of sleeping pillows that you might find useful. In short, I’m a big fan of latex pillows. They properly support the head/neck, last for nearly a decade, won’t retain heat, and are an overall great value.
latex pillows, helps neck, restful sleep

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