A high percentage of patients who visit a chiropractor suffer from neck and shoulder pain. While there can be many causes for these symptoms, one thing is certain in all cases, neck and shoulder pain can be aggravated by a bad pillow.A skilled doctor can make remarkable progress with a neck pain patient but if the same patient spends 8 or 9 hours every day sleeping on a pillow that provides inadequate cervical support, the benefits of the doctor's excellent treatment can be lost. This situation can cause the patient to become frustrated and to question the benefits of chiropractic treatment when in fact the patient's pillow is causing pain to re-occur due to a lack of proper support. The fact is that most people sleep on pillows that are worn out and really should be replaced.
Many doctors who sell a lot of cervical pillows tell us that the first thing they do when beginning treatment on a patient with neck or shoulder pain is advise the patient replace their pillow at home with one they supply which provides good cervical support. Most patients will follow the recommendation and the doctor is then able to treat the patient's neck pain with the knowledge that they will not regress while sleeping at night on a bad pillow. There are dozens of choices for cervical pillows so when choosing one, try to find one which has been independently tested and clinically shown to reduce neck pain intensity. If you follow these guidelines the cervical pillow will become an important treatment tool and will actually augment your treatment. In a most recent study 73% of doctors surveyed reported that patient satisfaction with care increased with use of a proper cervical pillow and 72% reported better patient outcomes as well when using cervical pillows. If the cervical pillow you have recommended to your patients does not perform this well find a new product until you get great results. When you do, your results with neck and shoulder pain patients will improve and with that your patients' satisfaction as well.
What is the health value to the patient?
With the choice of the correct cervical pillow, the patient will experience many benefits. Most obviously, if you suggest a pillow which has been independently studied and clinically shown to reduce neck pain intensity, the patient will also find that they awake feeling better in the morning as a result of sleeping with proper cervical support. In fact, 73% of doctors surveyed reported that patients enjoyed sleeping on a cervical support pillow.
Another benefit for patients sleeping on quality cervical pillows is improved quality of sleep. In a Jan 2008 on-line survey, 53% of doctors responding said that at least 31% to more than 50% of patients complained about their inability to get a good night's sleep. You may not be running a sleep clinic but what a great bonus it can be to relieve your patient's neck pain and improve their sleep quality as well! Studies have shown that adjustable cervical pillows provide improved quality of sleep over other pillows tested. Since patients come in all shapes and sizes, one pillow does not fit all unless it can be adjusted to the unique physiology of the person who will sleep on it. The amount of support needed for a patient who is over 6 feet tall is completely different than the needs of a patient who is only 5 feet tall. With an adjustable pillow, the patient can select the proper support needed for their own unique physiology. Many doctors tell us that they play an active role with the patient in the selection of the pillow and the initial set up. This is a smart practice as it avoids possible problems when patients don't follow instructions at home and use the pillow incorrectly.
Sleep studies show that with improved quality of sleep, our daily life and well-being are enhanced in many ways. The ability to handle stress is directly affected by sleep quality. With a good night's sleep, we are better prepared to handle stressful situations at home, in the office or wherever else they may occur. The body also uses sleep to rejuvenate itself. We can all remember the last time we had a bad night's sleep or too little sleep and looked in the mirror after waking to see dark bags under the eyes or wrinkles in the skin that weren't there the day before. This occurs when the body has not had time to rejuvenate itself with good, quality sleep. There have also been many studies that have shown that sleep deprived subjects driving motor vehicles perform similar to drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Motor reflexes are slowed and subjects take longer to perceive dangerous situations when driving with too little sleep. These are all reasons that patients enjoy sleeping on cervical pillows and also why doctors report that the reputation of their practice increased when recommending a quality cervical pillow. Patients who find that the cervical pillow they bought for neck pain also improved their daily life through better sleep quality will be grateful for their doctor's suggestion.
When beginning treatment on a patient for neck or shoulder pain the doctor should inquire about the patient's sleep habits and what types of pillow and mattress they use. Offer a good quality pillow that has been clinically proven effective and remind the patient that they spend ⅓ of their life in their bed and that it is very important to use a quality mattress and a proven cervical pillow. Inform the patient that in your experience your treatment works best when the patient starts with a quality cervical pillow. You should mention that in over 70% of cases doctors report better patient outcomes and greater patient satisfaction when treatment begins with a new cervical support pillow. Let the patient know that you anticipate a good outcome but that the progress you make in reducing their pain may be only temporary if they are not sleeping with a pillow that offers proper cervical support. Be sure the pillow you sell has a guarantee of patient satisfaction and tell the patient that if they do not like the pillow they can return it to you with no questions asked. A good manufacturer will honor that guarantee with no reservations if they have a product which is truly effective. If you have an adjustable cervical pillow, help the patient set it up for first use and adjust it for them based on the amount of support they will need.