How to choose a pillow for cervical spine disease / How to choose a mattress for lumbar spine disease

Cervical spondylosis is a common urban disease. Many patients have had experience with orthopedics, but also encounter the same question: why do they return to their original condition after some time? “It’s probably because you didn’t pick the right pillow or mattress.” Zhang Hak Ham, director of the Taiwan Spine Health Promotion Association, which has been engaged in spine health research for more than a decade, told this reporter.

Sleep not only allows you to replenish your daytime energy, it’s also a great time to repair your cervical spine, so your choice of pillow and mattress can play a key role in your cervical condition. Recently, Zhang Kham came to Shenzhen to communicate with patients, through this reporter to the readers to teach the choice of pillows and mattresses “magic trick”.

Chiropractic isn’t permanent

“Spondylosis is one of the more common human diseases. Our spine is affected during the day, firstly because of the earth’s attraction, for example, when we measure our height at night, we find that we are about 1 cm shorter than in the morning, which is caused by the compression of the intervertebral discs and the loss of water; secondly, almost all our postures when we play computer, write, eat, etc. are low, if not corrected in time, the normal curve of the cervical spine will be affected.” Zhang Kham told reporters that spinal problems can produce vertigo, migraine, tinnitus, hypertension, insomnia, facial palsy, vision loss, pharyngitis, toothache, hyperthyroidism, chest tightness, deafness, low blood pressure, arrhythmia, rhinitis, upper arm pain or lower limb weakness. “Actually many diseases of the body are related to the cervical spine and the reason is that the brain is the central hub of the body and it manages the whole body through the cervical spine and the nervous system, so if a person has an accident and the cervical nerve is broken, then that person is paralyzed.”

The most common cervical spine treatment currently available is orthopedic. Chiropractic has been practiced in ancient China for the purpose of treating spinal disorders by correcting the spine. Currently, China, Japan, and the United States all have well-developed chiropractic, but what Beckham Zhang is learning is American-style chiropractic. But in more than a decade of cervical spine correction, he has found that simply straightening a person’s spine will not solve the problem completely. Because despite the “repair” of the orthopedic shape, our daily activities are still “damaging” the spine, so the orthopedic shape is not permanent. Since humans spend one-third of their time sleeping, can we use the “repair” of sleep to deal with the “damage” of the day?

“Using a proper pillow and taking advantage of the time spent sleeping to restore the normal curve of the cervical spine, isn’t that what the ancient Chinese physicians proposed to achieve by restoring the curve of the cervical spine? Only by sleeping at night on mattresses and pillows that match the curve of our own spine can we heal our spine and achieve a virtuous cycle.” He once tested in a hospital in Shanghai where two patients with inadequate cerebral blood supply were given the correct pillow for ten days, one patient had a full vertebral artery opening and the other had a 14 percent increase in cerebral blood flow. This gave him even more confidence in the “sleep therapy”.

Choose a pillow with the “muscle energy method”

There are a variety of pillows on the market that claim to prevent whiplash, so how do you choose them? The product that is currently medically considered to work better is the memory pillow, according to Beckham Zhang. However, there is a difference between good and bad memory pillows. Poor memory pillows are usually mixed with a large amount of talcum powder and foam or use a very low density, and do not have the function of normal memory foam, only good memory pillows have the characteristics of slow rebound material (memory foam): can absorb human pressure, do not compress the microvascular. The ideal memory pillow should be one that does not compress the carotid artery and has some support for the cervical spine, because the pillow should be the “neck”, not the “head”.

However, not all memory pillows can be “all in one go”, the height, curvature and even hard and soft of the memory pillow will affect the self-healing effect of the cervical spine, whether the patient is hunched over or not, the height of the pillow will vary; the back of the head should be convex or flat, but also use a pillow with different curvature; too soft a memory pillow can not support the cervical spine at all, and too hard a pillow will not only compress the microvasculature, but also may cause “pillow fall”. So how to choose the right pillow for you, there is a lot to learn.

Zhang Kham told reporters, the United States spine in a method called “muscle energy test (MUSCLE POLWER TESTING)” muscle force assessment method, in his experience, based on which to choose a pillow very effective. Zhang Beckham taught the reporter to do a simple experiment: lie on different models of pillows, then lift the arm, test your arm strength, when your arm strength is the greatest, that this memory pillow in line with your cervical curve, because at this time your cervical nerve is the most fluent, the arm is the most powerful, using this principle to treat cervical spondylosis can be doubled with half the effort.

But Zhang also added: because the first and second cervical nerve associated with stroke, vertigo, headache, periodontal disease, tinnitus, earache, presbyopia and other ailments, and the pillow to the first and second cervical vertebrae does not help much, so in addition to using the correct cervical pillow, insist on doing one or two turns of the head every week, is a lifetime of cervical spine protection, treatment of cervical spine remedy.

Mattress selection is learned

In addition to pillows, the choice of mattress can be very beneficial to the repair of the spine. If the mattress does not conform to the curve of the human spine, making people sleep restlessly, keep turning over, unable to enter a deep sleep, the daytime fatigue can not be eliminated. “Double mattresses, for example, are very unscientific nowadays, because less than 1% of couples are the same size, so it’s almost impossible for one double mattress to fit two people at once.” Chamberlain said.

According to Zhang Kham observation, there are many misunderstandings in the choice of mattress: first, blindly choose a hard bed, some customers with lumbar spine disease can buy a hard mattress, not only lumbar spine disease has not been alleviated, the quality of sleep is also lost; second, directly lying on the mattress in the mall, feel comfortable or not. “But many people don’t know that to determine if a mattress is right for you, you have to lie flat on it for at least fifteen minutes to feel it hold, or to feel your body relax. If those two points are not reached, you will have to think carefully.” Third is that some manufacturers claim that their mattress materials are high in technology, so anyone who sleeps on them can reach the highest level of sleep,” which is a very irresponsible claim! It’s not that the higher the price of the mattress is the better, only the one that’s right for you is the best.”

“In fact, many people’s current understanding of the sleeping position is also rather one-sided, most people are mainly side sleeping, textbooks also teach us to ‘sleep like a bow’. Cardiothoracologists often say to sleep on the right side because the heart is on the left, so what about the liver on the right? People who suffer from frozen shoulder almost always sleep on their side. Looking at the human spine, lying flat on our back is what allows our nervous system to flow during sleep.” In 2001, the Japanese health department issued a report that lying down is best for all organs, and lying down is also the most beneficial for deep sleep,” Zhang said. Likewise, Mark Cheung believes that lying flat is most effective in repairing your spine, so a suitable mattress must be one that allows you to maintain a flat position.

So how to choose the right mattress? Zhang Qham to the reader “tips”: method one, if you can lie quietly on it for ten minutes, and feel sleepy, is really suitable for your mattress (of course, provided there is a pillow for you), that is because a good mattress, pillow should be in line with the human spine curve, but also reduce the pressure on the body. Method 2, you can also use the “muscle energy test method” to test: lying on different models of mattresses, legs upward flexion and extension, test your leg strength, the mattress with the greatest leg strength is the mattress that matches your spinal curve, because at this time your spinal nerves are the most fluent and legs are the most powerful, this mattress is suitable for you.

Expert Alert

A comfortable position could be a “spinal killer.”

People like to pursue comfort, and they all think that what’s comfortable is good and what’s comfortable is healthy. It’s actually a big blind spot, and a comfortable position may be the “spine killer”.

If we habitually listen to a phone call with one ear, it’s because that ear is comfortable to listen to and hear more clearly.

So why doesn’t it sound clear to the other ear? Most of the reason is that when we listen to sounds with one ear, the body unconsciously bends towards this ear, so if we listen with one ear for a long time, it will cause cervical scoliosis and a herniated disc will compress the nerves, causing the other ear to not hear clearly. The way to change this situation is to listen to the ear that can not hear clearly, when one day it is found that the ear can also hear clearly, indicating that the cervical spine is no longer scoliosis.

Usually, we are used to using one side of the backpack because one shoulder is high and the other side of the backpack has a lower shoulder and slips down easily and uncomfortably. It is also the cause of scoliosis.

Many people stand or sit for a long time, feel tired, then stop raising their heads and chests, the body naturally bends backwards, feel more relaxed and comfortable this way. But over time, if it becomes a habit, the human body’s 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 thoracic vertebrae will bulge backwards and compress the nerves, causing liver, bile, spleen, stomach, intestines and other diseases, such as long acne, face spots, often stomach pain, malabsorption is related to this, long-term symptoms will become heavier and heavier.

There are too many examples to cite, such as people who are used to sleeping on their side are prone to get frozen shoulders, hunchback; always like to stilt up one fixed leg when sitting, often that leg is longer than the other leg, because the short leg stilt on it is prone to numbness, discomfort.

If you like to sit on a soft [sofa] and watch TV, it is easier to cause lumbar spine deformity, while lumbar disc herniation can cause sexual dysfunction and prostate disease in boys; girls are prone to uterine fibroids, vaginitis and frequent urination.

Additional reference

▶ Pillows for patients with cervical spondylosis should have [pillow] fillings that are moderately hard and well ventilated. Because the pillow is too hard, the area of contact with the head is reduced, the pressure increases, the scalp and cervical vertebrae will feel uncomfortable; in turn, the pillow is too soft, it is difficult to maintain a certain height, will cause neck muscle fatigue, making the condition worse. The shape of the pillow should be dominated by a “yuan treasure-shaped” pillow with a low middle and two high ends. Because this pillow can maintain the normal physiological curvature of the cervical spine, it also acts as a fixation for the head and neck, reducing the abnormal activity of the head and neck during sleep.

▶ Pillow high is not suitable, expensive is not suitable, smell big is not suitable, do not rebound is not suitable, stuffy is not suitable … … in the face of a variety of inappropriate, industry insiders say, in fact, it is not difficult to choose a good pillow, just from the height, filling, hardness and elasticity of several aspects to measure.

Take fillers as an example, there are two main types of natural fillers and artificial fillers, the general elderly will like the mustard and rice husk type natural filler pillows, while young people are more for comfort and softness. Because everyone’s body curves and sleeping habits are different at different ages, the criteria for judging a good pillow are not absolute.

Lastly, remember that the pillow is not stretchy anymore and must be replaced in time if it has a bad smell. When the elasticity is weak or deformed, the fit between the body and the bed has fallen, and sleeping on it for a long time will have an adverse effect on the body, so when the mattress at home is uncomfortable to sleep, it should be considered for replacement.