Improving Neck Support
The three main Risk Factors for the Neck
An incorrect sleeping position poses a significant risk to the neck. Even a wrong pillow and the positions in which we read a book or watch the TV can be notorious causes of neck and headache complaints:
Undue Sleeping Position
1. Sleeping on the stomach
Too much rotation in the neck occurs most significantly when sleeping on the stomach.
Both with and without pillow the prone position puts a lot of strain on the neck. With a pillow is even worse because the neck is then laterally under tension as well. With a fragile neck even five minutes in the prone position can cause complaints for an entire day.
2. Sleeping in the 3/4 position
Also, the ¾ sleeping position is burdensome for the neck, rotation and lateral bending occurs in the neck.
This sleeping position is common, while the people are not aware of it and think they are just lying on the side. Probably the ¾ position one of the leading causes of headaches from the neck.
3. Sleep on the back with a pillow which is too high.
In this position there is a kink position in the neck (chin on chest).
4. Aside turning of the head in supine
Due to the maximum relaxation of the muscles during sleep the head tends to turn aside if one is sleeping on the back.
1. Not a good Pillow
Most 'normal' pillows are thicker in the middle (and lower at the edges). The head rests on the thick part. The neck "rests" on the (thin) edge of the pillow. The neck is smaller than the head and does not get any support on such a pillow.
|Without Neck Support||With Neck Support|| |
With a pillow without proper neck support it can sometimes help a bit to squeeze the pillow together under the neck. Although the pillow will not stay like this for long, it may give some support for a short while.
The depth of the neck support is also important. Often the supported area is too big and the support is located under the ear as well. Or the neck is not optimally supported. This may result in lateral stresses in the neck.
|Wide Neck Support||Small Neck Support|| |
2. Incorrect Pillow Height
If the pillow does not have the proper height, the head could be lifted too much or not enough, which both might not actually be good. Consequence: lateral stresses in the neck.
|Low Pillow||High Pillow|| |
Reading and watching TV in Bed
When watching TV in bed the TV position relative to the bed partly determines the position of the neck.
|TV low||TV high (on wall/ceiling) |
A low position of the TV leads to considerable tension in the neck and sometimes headaches and dizziness. If the TV is hanging from the ceiling, one can watch TV in a relaxed position. Also sitting watching TV is a solution, an adjustable bed base can also be useful.
Reading when lying can also be damaging to the neck. The neck torque varies depending on the position of the reading area:
|Book low||Book high|| |
The lower the reading level is maintained, the more deflection occurs in the neck. A small pillow under the book might help to keep the book higher, but the neck is still too curved. Sitting when reading with the book resting on a pillow is better.
On side, hand under head
On side, head on Pillow
Reading on the side with hand under head is too burdensome. On the side it is better to relax the head resting on the pillow and keep the book in parallel, resting on the mattress.
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