Our neck inherently presents a normal c-curve that functions to allow normal weight distribution of our head to the body, a deviation from the normal c curve can disrupt the balance of the muscular structure and creates excessive compression force at the joints of the neck.

The common questions we get from our client who suffer from neck pain is:

  • Should I change my pillow?
  • How high should my pillow be?

Well, it depends….

Today we are going to talk about how different heights of the pillow can affect your neck.

First, lying flat.

The bad of this position is that most of the pressure will be on the head area (yellow line) while the neck (blue area) has less to no contact with the surface. This does not allow muscular structure and joints of the neck to relax and rest whereby creating a lot of tension at the neck.

Second, one pillow

The height we recommended. The angulation provided by a single pillow (can vary), increases the contact area of the neck region, this evenly distributes the weight along the head and neck, allowing the joints and muscles to achieve optimal resting states.

Third, couch sleeper

The position that we lie down and play our phone with, the position that we pass out on the couch after a hectic day of work. Been there done that.

Often harmless if is just couple of times, but most likely we will be meeting soon if this persist 😉

Although it increases the contact area at the neck and allows more contact points. It also exaggerates the normal c-curve of the neck, pulling apart the muscle at the back causing it to weaken and lose support for the neck.


If you are a back sleeper it’s recommended that a pillow height between 4 inches and 5 inches is ideal for you .Other than that , side sleepers we are reconmendding pillow height in between 5 inches and 7 inches.

We would recommed to use one pillow as it is the optimal for the general mass . If you are having any doubts , you can always ask your physiotherapist on their opinion on which height is the most suitable for you depending on your current condition . 

Article by Chow Zhan Por

Physiotherapist from Your Physio

Call Now