Journal of Pain Research
Open access peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals.
Dove Medical Press is now a member of the Open Access Initiative
An Author's Guide
A guide to help authors get their paper published.
Support Open Access and Dove Press
Promotional Article Monitoring - further details
Favored Author Program
Real benefits for authors, including fast-track processing of papers.
Pillow use: the behavior of cervical stiffness, headache and scapular/arm pain
(7209) Total Article Views
Authors: Susan J Gordon, Karen A Grimmer-Somers, Patricia H Trott
Published Date August 2010
Volume 2010:3 Pages 137 - 145
Susan J Gordon1,2, Karen A Grimmer-Somers3, Patricia H Trott4
1Associate Professor, School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia; 2Member, International Centre for Allied Health Evidence, University of South Australia, Australia; 3Professor of Allied Health, School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Director, International Centre for Allied Health Evidence, University of South Australia, Australia; 4Associate Professor, School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia
Background: Pillows are intended to support the head and neck in a neutral position to minimize biomechanical stresses on cervical structures whilst sleeping. Biomechanical stresses are associated with waking cervical symptoms. This paper adds to the scant body of research investigating whether different pillow types produce different types and frequencies of waking symptoms in asymptomatic subjects.
Methods: A random-allocation block-design blinded field trial was conducted in a large South Australian regional town. Subjects were side-sleepers using one pillow only, and not receiving treatment for cervicothoracic problems. Waking cervical stiffness, headache and scapular/arm pain were recorded daily. Five experimental pillows (polyester, foam regular, foam contour, feather, and latex) were each trialed for a week. Subjects’ ‘own’ pillow was the control (a baseline week, and a washout week between each experimental pillow trial week). Subjects reported waking symptoms related to known factors (other than the pillow), and subjects could ‘drop out’ of any trial pillow week.
Results: Disturbed sleep unrelated to the pillow was common. Waking symptoms occurring at least once in the baseline week were reported by approximately 20% of the subjects on their ‘own’ pillow. The feather trial pillow performed least well, producing the highest frequency of waking symptoms, while the latex pillow performed best. The greatest number of ‘drop outs’ occurred on the feather pillow. The foam contour pillow performed no better than the foam regular pillow.
Conclusion: ‘Own’ pillows did not guarantee symptom-free waking, and thus were a questionable control. The trial pillows had different waking symptom profiles. Latex pillows can be recommended over any other type for control of waking headache and scapular/arm pain.
Keywords: pillow type, cervical stiffness, arm pain, headache
Cannotea Citeulike Del.icio.us Facebook LinkedIn Twitter
Other articles by Professor Karen Grimmer-Somers
Readers of this article also read:
"I was impressed at the rapidity of publication from submission to final acceptance." Dr Edwin Thrower, PhD, Yale University.
- An eight-week yoga intervention is associated with improvements in pain, psychological functioning and mindfulness, and changes in cortisol levels in women with fibromyalgia
- Problems and barriers of pain management in the emergency department: Are we ever going to get better?
- A new transmucosal drug delivery system for patients with breakthrough cancer pain: the fentanyl effervescent buccal tablet
- Anesthesiologists’ perception of patients’ anxiety under regional anesthesia