There are literally hundreds of different pillows on the market, varying in height, contour, material, gel inserts, anti-snore etc. So how do you know which is right for you?

The answer is very similar to footwear.

While a large proportion of the population may have no pain when wearing flat soled, unsupportive shoes; everyone would benefit from wearing a shoe with a supportive, cushioned sole that was shaped to fit to the under-side of the foot. This reduces the effect of gravity on the joints and tendons, reducing potential for injury, and slowing arthitic deterioration.

The same is true of pillows. Many people can sleep on a flat pillow with no problem, but everyone would benefit from having some support under the curve of their neck, maintaining spinal neutral, during the only time of the day that we weight-bear on our head. This accounts for a quarter to a third of every day. So particularly for those with neck pain, arthritis, disc bulge etc, this support is essential.

To check whether you might benefit, roll up a bath towel and slide into the bottom of your pillow case, so it fits snugly into your neck while you sleep. Remember a change to pillow can take up to two weeks to get used to, so persevere beyond the first couple of nights.

Speak to your physiotherapist if this is still confusing or not helpful enough.