A large part of life is spent in bed, but many people ignore the importance of pillows. Long-term use of inappropriate pillows not only affects sleep, but can also cause cervical spondylosis. Today, pain experts are here to help you choose a suitable pillow.
Pillows should be “not high enough, not low enough”
We sleep about eight hours a day, which means we spend one-third of our lives lying down, so the role of pillows is very important. High pillows and low pillows are generally not good for the cervical spine. Many cervical spondylosis are mainly caused by inappropriate pillows.
If you choose a high pillow when sleeping, it will not only make your sleep uncomfortable and affect the quality of your sleep, but may also cause the cervical spine to bend forward during sleep, increasing the burden on the cervical spine. It may also cause fatigue and damage to the muscles of the cervical spine. This results in cervical spondylosis. If you choose a low pillow when sleeping, the pillow may be too low, resulting in insufficient support for the cervical spine during sleep, making it impossible to relax, and failing to protect the cervical spine, thereby causing damage to the physiological curvature of the cervical spine, cervical spine muscles, etc. Adverse effects, causing cervical spondylosis.
Cervical spondylosis refers to a type of clinical disease caused by the degeneration and proliferation of cervical vertebrae resulting in disc herniation, ligament hypertrophy, or bone hyperplasia compressing peripheral nerves, blood vessels, or spinal cord. It may cause headaches, dizziness, shoulder and back pain, and numbness in the upper limbs. It can even lead to heart palpitations, chest pain, weakness in walking and many other symptoms.
Not only the cervical spine is affected by not using pillows
“If you sleep on too many pillows, your back will become hunched over!” Many people heard similar statements from their elders when they were young. In fact, not using a pillow can easily cause the muscles and ligaments of the cervical spine to remain tense during sleep to maintain the posture of the cervical spine, gradually causing strain. After waking up, you will not feel refreshed, but will feel sore and sleepy in the neck and shoulders, dizziness and discomfort. . Not using pillows for a long time will cause the normal physiological curvature of the cervical spine to deform, causing the cervical spine that should be curved to straighten or produce side bends, thereby causing damage to the cervical spine.
In addition, if you sleep on your side without a pillow, the neck muscles on one side will also cause spasm and pain due to excessive stretching and fatigue, resulting in a “stiff neck”. Furthermore, when lying on your back, if your head is tilted back too much, it is easy to breathe through the mouth, which may lead to dry mouth, dry tongue, sore throat, snoring and other phenomena. At the same time, it will also cause blood congestion in the head, causing eyelids and facial swelling, and also cause great damage to the eyes.
“Three inches of worry-free, four inches of longevity” right?
The onset of cervical spondylosis is related to the correct posture in daily life, work, and sleep. So if you have cervical spondylosis, how should you choose a pillow? There is a folk saying that “three inches of worry-free, four inches of longevity” means that the height of the pillow should be between three and four inches to promote sleep and be beneficial to health. Does this statement make sense?
According to the physiological curvature of the cervical spine, age and sleeping position, pillows should also vary from person to person. The best pillow is the one that suits you. The ideal pillow height is one that can maintain the normal physiological curvature of the cervical spine when lying on your back or side without causing scoliosis. In principle, sleeping on a pillow will not twist the neck. After compression, 6 to 10 cm is generally more suitable.
For those who are accustomed to sleeping on their backs, the height of the pillow should be the same as the height of their fist after compression; for those who are accustomed to sleeping on their sides, the height of the pillow should be slightly higher than the height of their shoulder after compression. You can also consider back and side sleepers by purchasing pillows that are low in the middle and high on the sides. Of course, whether you sleep on your back or on your side, a pillow that can maintain the normal physiological curvature of the cervical spine without causing scoliosis is the most ideal.
The right pillow is helpful for cervical spondylosis. The secret to choosing a pillow is to have moderate softness and hardness, moderate height, and a design that conforms to the physiological curve of the human neck, so that people can sleep comfortably and healthily.
Grasp these details to relieve cervical pain
Proper exercise can relieve cervical spondylosis. Especially for some patients with mild symptoms, cervical spine stretching can be performed regularly to strengthen the muscle strength of the neck and shoulder area. You can swim, play badminton, table tennis, kite flying and other aerobic exercises. Do not keep your cervical spine in one position for a long time.
change bad habits
When watching TV and computers, your line of sight should be at the same level as the screen. Do not squint, raise your head, or lower your head. Try not to lean on the bedside to read or look at your mobile phone. At the same time, you must develop a good sitting posture and keep your head, shoulders, neck, and back in a straight posture.
For people who often need to sit in front of the computer, they should also move their necks for about half an hour so that their neck muscles can relax.
Doctors remind: Although cervical spondylosis is very common in daily life, it is a disease that cannot be ignored! If you have been troubled by cervical spondylosis for a long time and don’t know what to do, you can go to the pain department for treatment in time. The doctor will take comprehensive rehabilitation and treatment measures based on your situation.
Text/Yue Jianning (Xuanwu Hospital, Capital Medical University)