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Gastroesophageal reflux and cervical pillow | an unexpected ally for a restful sleep?

Gastroesophageal reflux and cervical pillow | an unexpected ally for a restful sleep?

Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is an annoying condition that affects millions of people around the world. It occurs when acidic stomach contents back up into the esophagus, causing symptoms such as heartburn, regurgitation, coughing, and difficulty swallowing. It is estimated that in the United States alone, people suffering from this disorder are 20% of the population with an increasing trend due to the continuous advancement of obesity.

While medications and lifestyle modifications are often the first steps in managing RGE, a complementary remedy that is gaining attention is the use of a neck pillow .

We will analyze the connection between gastroesophageal reflux and cervical pillow, providing advice on how to choose the right support to alleviate the symptoms and assume a correct position that can cushion this disorder.

How gastroesophageal reflux affects sleep

During sleep, the supine position can promote acid reflux, as the stomach puts more pressure on the esophagus. This can make heartburn symptoms worse and interrupt your night's sleep.

The role of the cervical pillow

A well-designed neck pillow can help reduce gastroesophageal reflux symptoms in several ways:

  • Keep your head and neck elevated: A proper pillow can position your head and neck in a slightly elevated position, reducing pressure on your stomach and encouraging the flow of digestive juices downward.
  • Align your spine: It can help keep your spine in alignment, reducing muscle tension and promoting easier breathing, both of which can contribute to reflux.
  • Decrease nasal congestion: Reflux can cause or worsen nasal congestion, which can lead to mouth breathing and nighttime reflux. Correct posture with a pillow can promote nasal breathing and relieve these symptoms.

Which cervical pillow to choose?

Not all neck pillows are the same. When choosing support to relieve reflux, it is important to consider:

  • Height: Too tall or too short can make symptoms worse. In general, a medium or slightly tall height is advisable for those who suffer from reflux.
  • Shape: With an ergonomic double wave design they provide neck and head support more effectively in reducing reflux.
  • Material: Foam or latex pillows are often preferred for their support and breathability.
  • Density: too hard is uncomfortable and useless, too soft is ineffective in maintaining correct posture. In this regard, many tests are carried out in the laboratory so that the right density is not achieved.

Other tips to reduce gastroesophageal reflux

In addition to using a cervical pillow, it is important to follow other tips to reduce reflux symptoms:

  • Lose weight if necessary: ​​Obesity can increase pressure on your stomach and make reflux worse.
  • Avoid trigger foods and drinks: Spicy, fatty, acidic foods, chocolate, caffeine and alcohol can trigger reflux in some people.
  • Don't eat before bed: Leave at least three hours between your last meal and bedtime.
  • Avoid smoking: Smoking can irritate the esophagus and make reflux symptoms worse.

Gastroesophageal reflux can be an uncomfortable condition that interferes with sleep and quality of life. Although medications and lifestyle modifications are often first-line treatments, using a neck pillow can be a helpful complementary remedy to reduce symptoms and improve sleep quality.

It is important to choose a pillow suited to your needs and follow other tips for managing reflux. Always consult a doctor for a correct diagnosis.