Scoliosis is a medical condition caused by a sideways curvature of the spine. Since it brings deformation to the body, people with scoliosis have difficulties sleeping. Therefore, experts suggest different sleeping aids for scoliosis patients, including sleeping pillows.
Sleeping without a pillow isn’t good for scoliosis patients; it may even be unsafe at times. A pillow is a great sleeping aid to make you feel comfortable in bed. But it has to be well within the guidelines.
There are many instances when you need a pillow to support the abnormal curvature of your spine. In this article, we’ll discuss how sleeping with a pillow could be beneficial for scoliosis patients and see some sleep tips you need to follow.
Why Pillows Are Considered a Great Support for Scoliosis Patients
You could have scoliosis for different reasons, like cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy, resulting in sleep disorders as well. A pillow can help you sleep all night comfortably by keeping the spinal alignment right in the position.
Remember, scoliosis is a spine condition with an unnatural position that leads to poor posture and alignment. So what a pillow can do is support the body to achieve a neutral position and neutral alignment when sleeping.
The key to choosing a good pillow is to keep the head and spine as aligned as possible. Also, sleeping with the pillow shouldn’t throw your back and neck out of alignment.
Many scoliosis patients complain about shoulder numbness. They can get great benefits from using a low-profile, easily adjustable, or squishable pillow. A memory foam pillow can work well, in this case, to help achieve the right angle.
Using Pillows in Particular Sleeping Position
It’s important to find a comfortable sleeping position for scoliosis patients. These patients generally have the thoracic curve (in the upper body) or the lumbar curve (in the lower body). Most chiropractors, including Dr. Ahmad, thinks a pillow is highly beneficial for patients with lumbar scoliosis.
Having one above or underneath the lower back can be very helpful while lying on the back. If you’re a back sleeper, you can also put a thin pillow beneath the head, neck, shoulder blade, or knees to support the body’s natural curve. You need to place them strategically to draw the maximum benefits.
Now coming to side sleepers, one position scoliosis patients prefer is tucking the knees into the chest. In that case, placing one pillow between the knees and one under the waist can provide you with extra support. Dr. Aragona from AragonaChiropracticHealth suggests tucking a pillow between the knees and using one under the shoulder to get rid of any numbness.
You Should Use Pillows, Even with a Brace
Many scoliosis patients get confused about whether they should sleep with pillows while wearing a corrective brace. Dr. Aragona says it could be helpful to place a pillow under the legs for ones who sleep with a brace. In this case, the pillow can halt the brace from pushing against the skin.
Consider Specially-Designed Pillows
Wedge pillows, cervical pillows, and scoliosis support pillows are some of the great sleep aids a scoliosis patient could consider for maintaining the body’s natural curvature.
These are ergonomically designed and generally made of hypoallergenic memory foam to keep up to the shape. They’re also good for people with allergic conditions. Take a look at these pillows below:
- Wedge Pillow: Those suffering from scoliosis-related pain in the lower back find it comfortable to raise the knees using a pillow. Such patients can use a specially designed knee wedge pillow to raise the knees. Align their back, increase blood flow, and take the extra pressure off the legs.
- Cervical Pillow: A person with scoliosis has a gap between the mattress and the back when sleeping, which could often be uncomfortable. In this case, a pillow with a cervical curve can fill that gap and could be helpful for both the neck and back support. Tucking one underneath your neck, you can straighten the back perfectly to achieve an ideal posture for a good night’s sleep.
Dr. Hall, one of the top Chiropractors in California, also suggests using a cervical pillow to help align the spine while sleeping on the back or side. It can help decrease neck pain, optimize REM, and promote healing for chronic pain relief and disorders like sleep apnea or severe migraines. The pillow with a cervical curve can also help patients with uneven shoulders.
- Specially Designed Supportive Pillow: You get uniquely designed scoliosis support pillows. Some of these consist of multiple density foam combined and assembled to provide perfect spinal corrective support. These are made with ergonomic design to suit any head and body type.
Consider the Right Mattress along with The Pillow
Orthopedician and chiropractors suggest using a firmer mattress alongside specially designed orthopedic pillows. The key is to use a medium-firm mattress that can support your body.
If you want to avoid using mattress toppers or an additional layer, you can go for cushy mattresses with thick and firm upper layers. Many find these to be the perfect mattress for a deformed spinal condition. You can also consider the adaptive mattress to combine with the supportive pillows.
But always make sure you lay on a firm and flat surface since researchers find firmer sleep surfaces best for patients with scoliosis. Besides, lying on a firmer surface with an orthopedic pillow is one of the natural approaches to treating scoliosis.
Using the right pillow is a part of sleep hygiene that could help you have a deep sleep. After hearing from different medical experts, you should avoid two things as a scoliosis patient — stomach sleeping and pillowless sleeping. Sleeping with extra pillows, even with scoliosis, is considered perfectly safe.
But to have a comfortable sleep, you’ve to make sure that you use a low-profile, flat pillow and not make a mountain of these to keep the body in the proper alignment. Moreover, follow the guidelines, check out in the chiropractic clinic, or ask your healthcare provider before you start using a pillow for sleeping with scoliosis.
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