People with forward head posture often complain about neck or shoulder pain. They feel the need for a sleeping aid to support the upper part of the back and neck, also known as the cervical spine.
Luckily, there are orthopedic pillows designed to support the natural curve of this cervical region, called cervical pillows. Many researchers and orthopedics suggest their benefits in providing excellent cervical support and relieving pain caused by Forward Head Posture.
So it’s definitely worth it for Forward Head Posture while sleeping, and we’ll find out that in detail in this article.
What is Forward Head Posture (FHP)
Forward Head Posture is a postural deformity where your head and neck slants anteriorly out of neutral alignment with the spine. Many also know it by the name Nerd Neck or Tech Neck.
The deformity can strain the neck muscles resulting in additional pressure on the cervical region. And that can lead to several other medical conditions like kyphosis or rounded shoulders, muscle spasms, spinal degeneration, spinal arthritis, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, muscle tension, etc.
The common symptoms for Forward Head Posture include:
- Visibly poor head and neck posture
- Chronic neck pain
- Stiff muscles in the shoulders and neck
- Breathing problems
- Sleep disorders
Forward Head Posture isn’t a congenital disorder. It’s generally caused by many contemporary living habits or bad habits. Some of these include:
- Hunching over smart phones or other types of screens for multiple hours a day
- Carrying weight with hunched back
- Sleeping with a head too elevated
- Previous neck injuries
- Weak neck and cervical muscles
Why Orthopedic Pillows Make the Best Sleeping AID for FHP
How you sleep, every night has a lasting effect on your posture. So your sleep position and the use of proper pillow does matter if you’re suffering from FHP.
Dr. Ash, a renowned chiropractor from Los Angeles, emphasizes the right sleeping techniques for FHP sufferers. He considers the importance of the proper pillows and using them in the right way to keep the head, neck, and spine in a neutral position.
But why are regular pillows not as effective as the specially-designed orthopedic pillows? A study suggests the orthopedic or cervical pillow works as an excellent sleeping aid for ones suffering from postural neck issues or other FHP-related symptoms.
These pillows are designed with an ergonomic shape and the right firmness to provide the support required for the patient.
What is a Cervical Pillow & How It Can Help With FHP
A study that correlates forward head posture and neck pain finds that FHP is a ‘cervical postural fault’ where the head is misaligned with the cervical spine. So FHP sufferers need better support for the natural curve of their head and spine while sleeping.
To provide this support, there’s a special orthopedic pillow designed for people who suffer from different cervical issues. This particular pillow is known as a cervical pillow or neck pillow. It’s an ergonomically designed pillow for optimizing the neck and head posture and also relaxing the neck and cervical muscles.
One of its major features states that they are contoured pillows, meaning they’ll rise where the neck sits and compress where the head lays.
Benefits of Cervical Pillow for FHP Sufferers
The cervical pillow provides benefits to FHP sufferers in many ways. Its distinctive shape has the center curved inward to attenuate symptoms related to different cervical issues. It has a positive effect on the neck and head posture and muscle performance.
People with FHP find the cervical pillow handy as it keeps their neck neutral instead of slanted forward, especially when sleeping on the back. There’s more to its benefits, some of which include:
- Improves poor posture while sleeping
- Relieves and supports tense muscles in the neck and shoulders
- Increases blood circulation to the head
- Ensures comfortable sleeping with proper alignment of the head, neck, and spine
- Generally made of breathable fabric to provide the coolness throughout the night
How to Choose the Right Cervical Pillow in FHP
You can enjoy the benefits of a cervical pillow only when you choose the right type of pillow. Selecting the best cervical pillow for neck pain and other conditions caused by FHP depends on many things.
The important considerations include the right firmness, right height, the right size, and the right material. You can even get adjustable pillows matching your requirement. Let’s find out more about these factors here:
- Firmness: It’s always better to choose a firm pillow for neck pain. So look for a high-quality memory foam pillow as it should provide firm support to the natural curve of the head and neck. But if you’re a side sleeper, medium firmness could be better for you. But don’t go for a fluffy pillow as it could worsen the symptoms.
- Size: You should choose a pillow size that suits your head size, body type, and shoulder width. Generally, you’ll find full-size cervical pillows 16 inches long and 24 inches wide. If you’re an adult suffering from FHP, the full-size pillow should be good for you. But if you’re considering it for your school-going kid, you can consider the mid-size ones.
- Height: Your cervical pillow can’t be too high or low. So the optimal height of the pillow should be around 4 to 6 inches to support the head and neck properly.
- Materials: Some of the best cervical pillows are shredded memory foam with adjustable filling to control the firmness and contour required for one’s head and neck. You should also check if it has a breathable fabric and a soft, skin-friendly cover that you can wash easily.
Cervical pillows are widely used pillows for neck pain. Although there are limited studies about its benefits to FHP sufferers, in practicality, you’ll find many enjoying its benefits. Some also consider neck rolls to maintain the natural position of the cervical region. But it won’t give you as much comfort and control as a cervical pillow.
If you start using the right cervical pillow regularly, you can feel its difference from regular pillows. But to get rid of FHP, you’ve to go through a perfect exercise treatment strategy with the help of your physical therapist. Also, practice good posture in daily activities, even while sleeping and avoid hunching or any other unnatural position while using cell phones or computers.
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