Those who suffer back pain know that the source of the pain is not always in the back itself, and neither is the relief. From a better footwear choice to a better pillow choice, changes can be made from head to toe to reduce back pain. A strategically chosen sleeping pillow can work to prevent back pain during the night, and a variety of other pillows and cushions can be used throughout the day to keep the back comfortable and well-supported, reducing pain.
Starting at the top, the pillow on which you rest your head each night could help reduce back pain. Pillows labeled as “orthopedic” are often designed with spine alignment in mind. Their shape and the material they are made of are meant to make sure the head, neck, and spine are evenly supported and that no twisting or misalignment leaves one area receiving more pressure than other areas.
Some users report that memory foam pillows, whether billed as orthopedic pillows or not, have helped their back pain. This makes sense, since memory foam conforms to the shape of the head and neck perfectly, evenly supporting them without forcing them into any uncomfortable positions. Because of the way the body sinks into memory foam, sleepers tend to move less during the night, too. Some of these are also contoured to provide extra support under the neck, which is thought to reduce cervical pain.
Wedge pillows may also ease back pain. These pillows are triangular in shape and the smaller point extends further down the back than most pillows. This gradual incline can reduce pressure and unnecessary movement. Many of these pillows are meant to encourage back or side sleeping, which experts agree is better than stomach sleeping for back pain sufferers. So, if you are a stomach sleeper, making the switch to a new sleeping position may be the necessary first step, and a custom pillow can help with that.
Pillows can also go beyond the head, offering support to other parts of the body, and thereby improving back pain. Some head pillows include extensions that reach down and cradle the back as well—these are especially popular among pregnant women. Going even lower, pillows that support or raise the knees and legs often have positive effects as well. Side sleepers often find that they experience back pain when their spine twists as it is held up between the shoulder and hip. The way the knees rest on one another when side sleeping pulls the spine out of alignment, but placing a pillow between the knees keeps the top leg higher, reducing the downward pull that puts pressure on the spine.
Some back sleepers find that raising the legs or adding extra support under the knees can help sleepers’ spines lie flatter and their legs and back remain more relaxed.
Back Support Cushions – Support Your Back
While bedtime pillow options range from head to legs, daytime support options mainly focus on the lower back itself. Many daytime activities, from working at a desk to sitting in a car, require sitting, and sitting, especially for extended periods of time, can be a major trigger for back pain. One of the most popular choices for seated back pain relief is the lumbar cushion, usually a rounded wedge shaped cushion meant to be placed between the lower back and the seat back. These cushions promote better posture and a more natural spine curvature, as opposed to the hunched or slouched condition that desk-dwellers and drivers often adopt.
Another option for seated support is a cushion that is placed on the seat itself. These are usually designed to prevent too much pressure and weight from resting on the tailbone, or coccyx, a situation which can result in back pain as well. Other optional features for these cushions may include heat or massage.
Either of these cushion options can be specially designed for the place you do the most sitting, whether it’s an office chair, a wheelchair, or a car or plane seat. Portability may also be a consideration, depending on whether you do most of your sitting in one main location or whether you need your back support cushion to easily travel with you.
Many back pain sufferers would agree that a well-designed and selected pillow or cushion can make a world of difference in the degree and frequency of their back pain. To select the best one for you, consider visiting a doctor or chiropractor to discuss the source of your pain and ask for recommendations. Of course, you know your pain well and what makes you feel better, so this information may help you decide which areas need more support and which need a reduction in pressure. It may help to discuss your issue with other pain sufferers, but every individual finds different products helpful. Begin researching today to find the product that will make sitting and lying down as relaxing as they should be.