“I feel good in my neck when I changed the pillow.” Could you ever imagine such a commercial word coming out of Edward Mujica, the former Cardinals closer? He has been bothered by this problem for a long time, and it’s until he mentioned this nuisance with his trainer that he knew it’s that famous pillow, costing him 150 Us dollars, that’s in play. The problem disappeared after he changed to a one better suits him. So are these commercials for pillows all fake?
How much do you know about the neck strain?
Stiff neck is a general way to express the medical term “neck strain”. I thought all of you might have experienced that it hurt a lot in your neck when you turn around after you wake up. This is mainly due to the protective mechanism working to perform a protective contraction in order to prevent our damaged tissue in the neck from worse. This is partly because we repeatedly do the motion in the same direction or long-term malposture, and the pillow is the last straw that breaks the camel’s back. Players have to move to different cities in long flight for games, they can’t get enough rest to restore to full stamina, and they will even have to deal with their stiff neck when they wake up. See those airlines on the news? Players have to change to go to other cities by bus now. Ugh, such a company...
It’s when we’re sleeping that we start to repair our damaged tissue. We can’t stress more about the importance of sleeping, as put forth by the major league player Justin Verlander, blessed with a beautiful wife, to his teammate Alex Bregman. But Justin, what are you doing when you’re on the bed... Are you sleeping with her or sleeping h... Ugh that’s enough.
How to choose a good pillow?
No matter you’re used to sleeping on the back or to the sides, you have to choose a nice pillow that suits you best in order to get good sleeping quality. Make sure your pillow is good right away.
- Stuff inside the pillow had better be feathers: Feathers could better suit the shape of your head, and we should tug neck pillow or neck roll into the pillowcase to provide supports to our neck. We should change at least once a year because feathers are easily compressed.
- The best choice is memory foam pillows: Out of its memory foam characteristic and its design, it’s more suitable for our neck’s curvature and provides good supports.
- Don’t choose a over solid pillow: A solid pillow makes your neck stay at a bad angle all the night. What comes next is your stiff muscle.
- Don’t choose a high pillow without match to your body axis: You may ask the people around you for a photo after you lie down. The pictures at the sides are wrong demonstrations, you should always make your head and neck stay at the same height with your body, no matter you’re sleeping on the back or to the sides as shown in the lower row of the pics.
If you were those I just mentioned who would turn your neck to the sides when sleeping and never considered to change your pillows then stuck your neck, then try these exercises.
Two of the most easily tensioned muscles are upper trapezius and levator scapulae. Maybe most of them might think no move then no harm, but according to studies, muscle energy technique and trigger point release, two of the most commonly used therapies by physical therapists not only effectively adjust the angle but also lower the scale of pain.
- Muscle energy technique: If you have pain in your right side of the neck, try to tilt you neck to the left and look to the ground, with your left hand slightly pressing your head down. You have to resist the force from your left hand with your head and stay at the same angle for 6 seconds. After relax, you will notice that you can bring in a much wider tilting angle. Try repeat that for 3 to 4 times.
- Trigger point release: Stand against the wall with a tennis ball between your back and the wall, try to roll it as you’ll gradually find the origin spot where the pain starts to spread. Try to slightly press on that spot for 30 seconds and repeat it for times.
When you are dealing with such annoying however repeatedly happening problems, try to check if you have to correct your decisions on the pillows, because everyone’s neck is unique. Attempt a new pillow following our tips, you might happen to find which pillow better suits you. If you still can’t fix the problem after trying to relax by yourself and the pain still hurts to death, going to a doctor for drug treatment evaluation first then seeking physical therapist for thorough evaluation would do as well. Hopefully, we can get rid of this annoying problem.