How to Use a Body Pillow (for back & hip pain)

We all need to have a good night’s sleep because of the countless health benefits associated with it. Many people are also happy just because they can sleep well at night. Sleep is the fuel that propels us throughout the day. If you’re experiencing problems with sleep due to pain in the shoulders, back, or hip, you must consider body pillows. Adding a body pillow to your sleep routine, especially organic pillows could be the best decision you will make.

The size of the body pillow intimidates many people. However, at the start, this will be a small issue that you can easily overcome with a little bit of knowledge regarding what to expect and do.

Let’s explain what a body pillow is so that we can jump to how you can use it.

What is a Body Pillow?

A body pillow is a long but rather narrow pillow that a sleeping individual needs to cradle between the legs as they sleep on your side. The main purpose of a body pillow is to ensure appropriate spinal alignment and relieve joint pressure. You can use the pillow in multiple ways depending on the source of body pain and comfort you feel.

What types of body pillows are there?

  • Cylindrical body pillows
  • Rectangular body pillows
  • J-shaped body pillows
  • U-shaped body pillows
  • C-shaped body pillows

If you’re using a U-shaped and C-shaped body pillow, your bed space will be significantly reduced to accommodate another sleeper. These types are long and when unrolled in their entirety, they leave little space for other objects in the bed.

How to Use a Body Pillow

  • Use the body pillow by laying it along the length of your body.
  • A side sleeper can use the body pillow by passing it between the legs.
  • Hugging the pillow or gently resting your hands on it is also an acceptable method of using it.

Those are the three main ways people can use a body pillow. See illustrations in the pictures below in the next sections.

Can I use My Regular Bed Pillow as a Body Pillow?

Yes, you can use the regular bed pillow as a body pillow. However, your usual bed pillow tends to be smaller in size and you may not have something else to rest your head on at the same time. It is such considerations about your ultimate rest in the best position that a body pillow comes in handy.

A standard body pillow measures 20 inches by 54 inches, while a standard bed pillow is 20 inches by 26 inches.

Therefore, you can see the significant difference in sizes. This means that the regular pillow may not sufficiently relieve any back or shoulder pain as desired.

What are the Benefits of a Body Pillow?

The benefits of a body pillow include promoting proper spinal alignment for both side and stomach sleepers, improving blood circulation, relieving joint pressure, and improving overall sleep quality. It relaxes the muscles that a sleeping person unknowingly tenses and aligns the spine.

Benefits of body pillow

Healthline reports anecdotal evidence showing that body pillows may help relieve neck, shoulder, back, and hip pain.

Apart from the above benefits, the other advantages of using the body pillow include relieving joint pressure and promoting proper spinal alignment for side and stomach sleepers.

1. How to use a Body Pillow for Lower Back Pain

Wrap your left or right arm around the pillow as you sleep. This will relieve pressure off the shoulder area. Proceed to put the pillow between the knees to maintain proper spinal alignment in a neutral position. Do not place the entire leg on the body pillow as this could trigger back pain.

A body pillow will help support the neck and spine in position thereby relieving back discomfort.

By providing extra comfort, body pillows enable your back muscles to relax more fully and diminish aches caused by wrong positioning at night.

Where Should You put Body Pillow for Lower Back Pain?

According to Healthline, place the body pillow below the knees and ensure the spine is kept neutral. The body pillow helps to keep the curve in your lower back. Another way to use it is by putting a small, rolled-up towel under the small of the back to add extra support.

2. How to use a body pillow for hip pain

  • Switch your sleep position as this will fix hip pain while sleeping.
  • Place the body pillow a pillow between your knees to align the hips.
  • Having your pillow under the knees could reduce hip stress as well.

Most importantly, you need a good mattress to get cumulative benefits. The best mattress for hip pain should be pressure relieving and needs to offer cooling comfort all night.

Types of Body Pillows and How to Use Them

An important thing to know about body pillows is that they come in different shapes for different needs. These variations in designs are also based on the understanding that people have different body and bed sizes.

(i) How to Use Rectangular Body Pillows

These are ideal for shoulder pain. Their standard sizes are usually 20 inches by 54 inches and are suitable for most adults of average height.

rectangular body pillow

Using these types is simple and straightforward. Wrap your arm around it as you sleep on your side to relieve pressure off the shoulders. Do not place your entire leg on the pillow because it may trigger back pain. Any individual taller than 6 feet should choose a longer pillow to cover the distance between their chest and ankles.

(ii) Using Cylindrical Body Pillows

Cylindrical body pillows are narrow and are an excellent option when you don’t have much room in your bed.

Understandably, they need less space than rectangular pillows. However, they still serve the same purpose. Like rectangular body pillows, they too come in different sizes. Therefore, you can choose one based on your height.

Use it the same way you’d use a rectangular one. Ensure you place it between the knees.

(iii) U-Shaped Body Pillows

U-shaped body pillow

U-shaped body pillows are usually meant for neck pain and are also used for back support. They are full-body support pillows that help pregnant women sleep better. The pillows prevent pregnant women from rolling to the back sleeping position.

They work the same way C-shaped body pillows work.

C-shaped body pillow for pregnant women

With a growing belly, a pregnant woman increasingly finds it difficult to sleep, and sleeping on the back can cause pain and hinder blood supply to the growing fetus.

Therefore, the U-shaped body pillow helps these women sleep on their sides to improve blood circulation.

Since these types of body pillows are so huge, you need at least a queen size bed for sleeping.

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