Seattle Chiropractor Explains How to Pick a Pillow

Hello! Dr. Zapata with Emerald City Spinal Care, here to share another Tip of the Week. This week’s topic, how to choose a pillow, has been a popular request from my patients. This is one of those questions that I get asked almost on a daily basis, and as a chiropractor in Seattle, I know the importance of having a good pillow to support your spine while you sleep!

Now, I know that shopping for a pillow can seem very daunting. They range in size, shape, contour and price. You can spend very little or you can spend a whole lot of money on a pillow. While us here at Emerald City Spinal Care do not recommend any one specific brand, there are a few certain characteristics that I recommend people look out for when picking out a pillow.

The first thing to consider is the thickness of your pillow, and that will really depend on the sleeping position you prefer:

  • If you tend to spend more time sleeping on your back, you will want to make sure that your pillow is not too thin. If your pillow is too thin, it will not do an adequate job of supporting you neck. You will also want to make sure that your pillow is not too thick, or that you are sleeping with more than one pillow stacked on top of each other, because when you are sleeping on your back, a pillow that is too thick can push your head too far forward. Not only can that be uncomfortable, but it can also lead to neck pain in Seattle WA.
  • Now, let’s say you spend more time sleeping on your side. It is very important to make sure that when you are sleeping on your side, your pillow is not too thin or too thick so that your head and your neck are supported while you are sleeping.

Another thing to consider when shopping for a pillow is the contour, or the shape of the pillow itself. I usually recommend that people look for a good contoured, or cervical pillow. You may have seen these types of pillows before. They are the ones with a dip in the middle, and that dip is there to support your head and your neck better than a non-contoured pillow. Something worth noting is that if you are a ‘back sleeper’, most of those contoured pillows are designed for you. However, if you are a ‘side sleeper’, you will want to find a cervical contoured pillow that is designed specifically for side sleepers. Those pillows tend to be a bit thicker, because they take your shoulder into consideration when sleeping on your side.

The third and final thing to consider when shopping for a pillow is what the pillow is actually made out of, or stuffed with. There are a lot of pillows out there that are filled with feathers, buck-wheat, and others that are made from memory foam. I recommend memory foam pillows for patients, because a memory foam pillow is going to contour to the shape of your head, just as a memory foam mattress contours to the shape of your body.

Ultimately, by sharing these tips, I want to make sure that you are sleeping with a pillow that supports your head and your head and neck at night. After all, we spend a third of our lives sleeping, and if you do not have a proper pillow to adequately support your neck, it can eventually lead to neck pain, headaches and shoulder / upper back pain.

That is it for this tip of the week. I hope you have enjoyed all this pillow talk! Once again, as a chiropractor in Seattle, this is a topic of conversation that comes up almost daily with my patients. So, hopefully you find these tips helpful when picking out your perfect pillow! If you like what you read, and want more original content like this, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel or follow us on Facebook.

For all of us at Emerald City Spinal Care, thank and have an amazing week!

- Dr. Zapata and the Emerald City Spinal Care Team in Seattle WA

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Massage By Appointment


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Emerald City Spinal Care
1222 East Madison Street Suite D
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 204-8255