Before we jump into what pillow is best for neck pain it is best to have a quick look at what causes neck pain…
Neck pain is a leading cause of disability in adults, and in adults it is reported in up to as high as 20% of people. (1,2,3)
What Causes Neck Pain?
There are several risk factors that predispose us to the development of neck pain, which include mental/emotional stress, sleep problems, sedentary lifestyle, history of neck pain, trauma, back pain, and poor general health. (5) Sports and work injuries have also been associated with neck pain. It has been found that office and computer workers, manual labourers, healthcare workers and occupational drivers are more likely than others to experience neck pain. (6,7) With acute neck pain, about half don’t resolve and patients continue to have low grade symptoms or recurrences, which means that it then becomes a chronic issue. (4) So it’s important to get on top of it and work out the cause.
For those of you who are reading this and are rubbing or moving your neck because this sounds like you and your neck, I’m here to tell you the best thing you can do is as soon as possible get some help. The sooner you do something about your symptoms, the easier it becomes to resolve them. If do nothing about your neck pain and let it get to that chronic state mentioned above, it can be more difficult and take longer to treat.
Qualities of a Good Pillow
You want to be using a pillow that is supportive and is going to support your spine’s natural curves. There are many types of pillows on the market – it can be hard to choose which one is right for you, but that’s where we can help you out.
Good pillows are beneficial for many different reasons. It’s also important to keep in mind that the ‘right’ pillow for you may not necessarily be the ‘right’ pillow for someone else. As there is no one universal pillow that’s perfect for everyone, it’s important to look out for the below qualities:
If your pillow is not supportive in the right way for your natural posture, you are constantly encouraging bad postural habits while you sleep – remember we sleep approximately one third of our lives, that’s a lot of time unsupported if you have a bad pillow! It’s important to note that a new pillow can take up to three weeks to get used to – don’t be discouraged if you have an uncomfortable sleep during your first few sleeps! Your body needs time to adjust and break down the poor postural sleeping habits you may have had beforehand.
If you need help selecting the right pillow for you, do not hesitate to contact us here at Sprouting Health Chiropractic and Kinesiology.
1. .Cohen SP. Epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of neck pain. Mayo Clin Proc 2015;90(2):284–99. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2014.09.008.
2. Moradi-Lakeh M, Forouzanfar MH, Vollset SE, et al. Burden of musculoskeletal disorders in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, 1990–2013: Findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. Ann Rheum Dis 2017;76(8):1365–73. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2016-210146.
3.Woodhouse A, Pape K, Romundstad PR, Vasseljen O. Health care contact following a new incident neck or low back pain episode in the general population; the HUNT study. BMC Health Serv Res 2016;16:81. doi: 10.1186/s12913-016-1326-5.
4.Cohen, S.P. and Hooten, W.M., 2017. Advances in the diagnosis and management of neck pain. Bmj, 358, p.j3221.
5.Croft PR, Lewis M, Papageorgiou AC, et al. Risk factors for neck pain: a longitudinal study in the general population. Pain 2001;93:317- 25doi:10.1016/S0304-3959(01)00334-7.
6. Hogg-Johnson S, van der Velde G, Carroll LJ, et al. Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders. The burden and determinants of neck pain in the general population: results of the bone and joint decade 2000-2010 task force on neck pain and its associated disorders. Spine 2008;33(suppl):S39-51doi:10.1097/ BRS.0b013e31816454c8.
7. Côté P, van der Velde G, Cassidy JD, et al. The burden and determinants of neck pain in workers: results of the bone and joint decade 2000-2010 task force on neck pain and its associated disorders. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2009;32(Suppl):S70-86doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2008.11.012.
8. Corcoran, K.L., Dunn, A.S., Green, B.N., Formolo, L.R. and Beehler, G.P., 2018. Changes in female veterans' neck pain following chiropractic care at a hospital for veterans. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 30, pp.91-95.
How much do you know about your spine? Obviously it makes up a large portion of your skeletal system and keeps you upright but let’s look into what makes up your spine and how it works!
So many moving parts..
There are 5 different areas that make up your spine: the cervical spine (neck), the thoracic spine (mid back), the lumbar spine (low back), the sacrum (joins the spine to the hips), and the coccyx (the ‘tailbone’). Each of these parts of the spine play very important parts in keeping you upright and mobile! The cervical spine is made up of seven bones known as ‘vertebrae’ and their main job is to hold up your head and help it move around. The thoracic spine is made up of twelve vertebrae, and your lumbar spine has five!
Lots of curves!
When viewed from the side, an adult spine has a natural S-shaped curved. The neck and low back curve backwards while the midback curves forwards. These curves play a big part in keeping you upright, balanced, and moving. Your posture greatly influences these curves and too much or too little curve can result in some discomfort and may eventually lead to increased degeneration in the long term. Some people may have a slight sideways curve when viewed from the front and can be either mild and have no other effects, or become severe and result in a condition known as scoliosis.
You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘slipped a disc’ before but what are these discs and what role do they play? Each spinal bone (or ‘vertebra’) is separated from the one next to it by an intervertebral disc, which act like cushions or shock absorbers. These discs are adhered to the bones they support and are made of very strong fibrous bands. The structure and function of these discs do not allow them to ‘slip’ out of place as many believe, but the fibres can be injured which may result in the disc bulging outwards and causing pain. Movement and rest are both very healthy for your discs and it’s important to perform both daily!
The spinal cord!
Your spinal cord runs from your brain stem (the very top of your neck) all the way down to the top of your lumbar spine where it starts branching off to different areas. Your spinal cord is approximately the thickness of your thumb and acts as an information superhighway, transmitting messages between your brain and body constantly. Spinal nerves branch off from the spinal cord at every vertebral segment and act as ‘telephone lines’ between the spinal cord and that part of the body. The spinal cord travels down through a canal that passes through each vertebra in your spine and is protected by this structure. Damage to the spinal cord can result in a loss of sensory and motor function below the level of injury.
Did you learn anything new here? If you have any questions about the spine or what you can do to keep those discs healthy or improve your posture to help your curves, please ask one of our chiropractors – they work with spines all day long!
Chiropractic is known for its management of spinal problems but in contrast, in the area of peripheral regions, physical therapists are well known (1). Although the focus for many chiropractors are spinal related, many chiropractors also treat peripheral conditions, making up 17.1% of chief complaints to chiropractors, the third most reported area of complaints (1,4).
Over three quarters of chiropractors use full spine and extremity manipulation management protocols, where less than 20% use a full spine or “spine only” approach (1,4). These statistics show that chiropractic is not just a spine-based profession.
A systematic review study was brought out to investigate chiropractic management of upper limb peripheral conditions. Through these reviews, it was shown that most chiropractors use a multimodal approach to manage extremity conditions. It was suggested more of an “integrative approach”.
This review of literature concludes that there is a strong low-level evidence to support the chiropractic care of a large number of upper extremity conditions. Based on the papers included in the study, management of peripheral conditions is of a multimodal approach and more prevalent than the “classic” spine only approach. Further, more research is still needed for stronger results.
It is not unfamiliar to hear someone complain about back pain, neck pain and headache in our daily life. The statistics show an estimated 540 million people worldwide suffer from lower back pain at any one time, and it has been the major leading cause of years lived with disability.(1) Unfortunately, there are many parts in the world where people do not have access to quality spinal care, rehabilitation facilities and resources. This often results in chronic unresolved back pain and permanent deformity.
The up coming World Spine Day, celebrated on 16 October every year, is considered one of the biggest global health events to focus on promoting spinal health and wellbeing. This year, chiropractors around the globe are encouraging people in all communities to take action on looking after their spines. People of all genders, ages and nationalities, no matter what you do for living, your ability level or if you are currently pregnant; everyone is encouraged to adopt a healthier lifestyle with the aim to ultimately improve spinal health and preventing injuries.
We know health is important to you, however, if you don’t know where to start we have some really simple suggestions for you!
Back pain doesn’t discriminate and neither do we. The team at Sprouting Health Chiropractic always provide the best level of care we possibly can, to everyone in our community. If you’d like to know more about chiropractic and spinal health, why not talk to one of our chiropractors and see if we can help manage your concerns.
Source: Australian Chiropractic Association
1. Vos T, Abajobir AA, Abate KH, Abbafati C, Abbas KM, Abd-Allah F, et al. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 328 diseases and injuries for 195 countries, 1990–2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. The Lancet. 2017;390(10100):1211-59.
Low back pain is a common condition that affects a large part of the population, not just limiting day to day functions, but impacting mental health and reducing overall quality of life (1). Do you or a loved one experience low back pain? This is an important article that could make the world of difference to you.
“Worldwide, Chronic low back pain affects around 23% of the population and recurs within 12 months in 24-80% of individuals” (2)
Mechanical low back pain occurs because of some form of repeated trauma to or overuse of the spine, discs in the spine and surrounding tissues. This can cause disc herniation, vertebral compression fractures, lumbar spondylosis, spondylolisthesis, and lumbosacral muscle strain (3). When low back pain is acute it is easier to manage, however when the low back pain becomes chronic it is much more difficult to deal with (4). Clinical factors associated with the transition of low back pain from acute to chronic include obesity, smoking, low back pain with leg pain, baseline disability and diagnosed depression/anxiety (5).
In a recent research literature, 217 older adult male veterans with chronic lower back pain were treated with chiropractic management, they analysed validated outcome measures after a short course of chiropractic care to assess the effectiveness. The numeric rating scale (NRS) and the Back Bournemouth Questionnaire (BBQ) were used as the outcome measures. The retrospective review revealed clinically and statistically significant improvements in both the NRS and BBQ scores for this sample of older adult male veterans, showing that chiropractic management was producing a positive outcome for them (6). Though more research is needed to further confirm these findings, the results so far are quite positive with chiropractic management for chronic low back pain.
If you want to find out if chiropractic may help manage low back pain for you or your loved ones, have a chat with one of our chiropractors to see how they can assist.
“Getting onto a condition earlier will significantly improve the outcome and recovery”
1.Froud R, Patterson S, Eldridge S, Seale C, Pincus T, Rajendran D, Fossum C, Underwood M. A systematic review and meta-synthesis of the impact of low back pain on people’s lives. BMC Musculoskeletal Disord. 2014;15:50.
2. Hoy D, Brooks P, Blyth F, Buchbinder R. The epidemiology of low back pain. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2010;24(6):769–81.
3. Will J, Bury D, Miller JA. Mechanical low back pain: prevention. Am Fam Physician. 2018;98(7):421–8.
4. Korownyk C, McCormack J, Kolber MR, Garrison S, Allan GM. Competing demands and opportunities in primary care. Can Fam Physician. 2017;63(9):664-668.
5. Stevans, J.M., Delitto, A., Khoja, S.S., Patterson, C.G., Smith, C.N., Schneider, M.J., Freburger, J.K., Greco, C.M., Freel, J.A., Sowa, G.A. and Wasan, A.D., 2021. Risk factors associated with transition from acute to chronic low back pain in US patients seeking primary care. JAMA network open, 4(2), pp.e2037371-e2037371.
6. Davis, B.A., Dunn, A.S., Golley, D.J. and Chicoine, D.R., 2022. Chiropractic Clinical Outcomes Among Older Adult Male Veterans With Chronic Lower Back Pain: A Retrospective Review of Quality-Assurance Data. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine.
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