When I talk about neck support I am referring to keeping your head and spine in a normal healthy position. This means keeping the spine straight from the viewpoint of anterior to posterior and a smooth curvature in the neck from the side view.
In other words, when you look at your posture from the front or back your neck and head should be straight up and down. When you look at someone’s spine from the side there is a “C” curve in the neck and the ear lines up with the shoulder, and the shoulder lines up with the hip.
So someone sleeping with a very flat pillow or no pillow, tends to flatten their “C” curvature. With too many pillows or something much to thick tends to push the head up, straightening the curvature and pulling the head out of alignment forward.
When someone is sleeping on their side, a pillow too flat causes the head to tilt downward. With a pillow too high the head will bend toward the ceiling. So you can see when looking at this person their head and neck are not straight up and down but laterally bent to one side or the other.
So what’s the problem you may ask?
The problem is that misalignments of the spine of only millimeters is often enough to put pressure on nerves causing pain and muscle irritation. And if you allow your head to be shifted out of normal, good alignment, night after night for hours on end your spine will start to shift permanently in these directions causing neck issues and pain more often.
Using a good support pillow should prevent any problems. I use the cervical linear traction neck pillow which gives support under the neck when sleeping on your back and keeps the head level when on your side.
This pillow has some extra material built into the neck roll that goes right under the neck. This keeps the cervical curvature in its best position, supporting the spine and eliminating any nerve pressure. Keeping the head level when on your side also prevents any nerve pressure. And as you may know – keeping the nerves free from pressure will eliminate pain!