Stop using pillows

I have not heard any other professional spinal specialist consider or discuss this idea. In fact, for a possible variety of reasons, spine specialists seem only to provide implicit support of pillow use in all of their recommendations. Until recently, I did as much. When patients would ask me about pillows, I gave the standard answer, i.e. use a pillow that provides support for your neutral neck posture, whether on your side or back. And don’t sleep on your stomach, though, if you must, you can probably sleep obliquely on a pillow, on your stomach, but only if you can’t break the habit of sleeping on your stomach.

In this video, I’ll tell you how I came to this insight through my own experience. That gave me cause to ponder this issue more thoughtfully, and decide pillows are probably just another, thoughtless, foolish, cultural adoption, like so many other human behaviors,that have unfortunate, long-term consequences, and, of which, we are unaware.

Beyond the issue of senescent, progressive kyphosis, there is also the matter of obstructive airways from neck flexion, while supine on a pillow. You may know that in CPR procedures, the first thing one does to open the person’s airway during CPR, is to extend the neck, because that opens an airway. Conversely, flexing the neck, such as happens on a pillow, closes off the airway, and given the other changes to the human face, i.e. reduced size of maxilla, mandible and airway, is causing an epidemic of snoring and sleep apnea.

Stop using pillows

It is impossible to argue that sleeping supine on a pillow can have no significant influence on a relaxed, passive spine, when done for decades.

A larger theme I’ve discussed before is the adaptations that occur to all soft-tisses over time. And bones, while harder, remain soft, adaptable tissues in the human body. The good news is that I think some kyphotic changes are partially reversible.

If I can help you with your neck or back problem, please call me at 404-558-4015.