If you often wake up in the morning with neck pain, constantly changing pillows is probably not helping and may even be exacerbating the problem.
Waking up with serious neck pain is definitely not the way anyone wants to start their day. When it happens frequently, we often troubleshoot the issue on our own, alternating between the firm, soft and in-between memory foam pillows
for relief. The problem is that neck pain can be very complex, both in cause and treatment, so what works for you one night might totally backfire the next.
"If this is the case, you should probably start exploring new memory foam pillows
and possibly mattress options," Dr. Robert Koser, a chiropractic physician at Laser Spine Institute, says in an email interview. "If you find the issues are more with the neck, then it very well may only be the pillow you need to switch out. However, if you're finding yourself waking up with neck and back issues, it might be time to change out both."
Switching sleep positions sooner rather than later is advised. "Stomach sleeping is a recipe for degenerative joint disease," Hayden says, adding, "If you sleep on your stomach, you must turn your head. That means the weight of the head, somewhere between 12 and 15 pounds, is pulling on the joints in your neck and twisting them while you sleep. Eventually, disc disease and bone spurs are in your future."
So, now you know to sleep on your back or side. Just doing that will probably not relieve your chronic neck pain, though, if your pillow is ill-suited for you. The pillow that works for one person might not for the next, however, thanks to our individual body types. "When finding the right kind of pillow, it is very important to find one that supports your head and neck in a neutral position when lying on both your back and side," Koser explains. "If you find your head is flexed up too high or extended back too far into your pillow when lying on your back, it's time to ditch these memory foam pillows
and find a new one." Same goes for side-sleepers. You should also change your pillow if your head sinks in or raises up too high. Koser says he typically recommends memory foam or down/gel memory foam pillows that are slightly firm.