A pain in the neck …

I have had a pain in the neck for over a year. A chronic pain that interferes with my sleep and compromises my safety on the bike. Throughout the night, I toss and turn in bed trying to find a comfortable spot only to awaken stiff and soar. And, on the bike, it is difficult turning my head left and right looking for oncoming traffic.

Coincidently, this began about the time I rebuilt my commuter bike. Initially, I thought this was the cause. An improper setup. So, I adjusted my seat height, stem height and length. Then I realized, I had the same discomfort on my road bikes which are professionally fitted and have been ridden for years without discomfort. Something else was at play.


I spoke with my doctor. He suggested heat. So, for the past year, I put a heating pad on my neck in the evening before falling asleep. It helps me get to sleep but a few hours later, after an obligatory trip to the washroom, I toss from side to side throughout the remainder of the night unable to get comfortable.


The next time I saw my doctor, I mentioned my neck again. He ordered an X-ray only to discover I have cervical spondylosis. Neck arthritis. It is minor and, apparently, common for people my age. It is caused by degeneration of the joints in the neck but, unlike other forms of arthritis, is seldom debilitating.

That’s good news. Right? So, what more can I do?

The heat helps. I like sleeping on my back. I start out that way but after my first obligatory awakening, I switch from side to side tucking my pillow beneath my head and neck. I sleep, but not soundly.

Hard Pillow

Last week, I saw my doctor again. I mentioned my neck. He’s tired of listening to me by now. This time, he had another suggestion and asked “Have you ever tried a hard pillow?”. “No” I said. I have an expensive down pillow intended for back-sleepers like me. It’s “kinda soft” I said. Well, he said “Try a hard pillow. Some people find it helps with their neck.”

Last weekend, I went to Ikea (I heard they have a wide selection of pillows) and returned with a RÖLLEKA, a memory foam pillow that:

  • “adapts to the way you sleep as the pillow has two heights and a special shape which follows the contours of your head and neck; and,
  • gives good support and helps you to relax and sleep well because the memory foam filling responds to your body temperature and conforms to the shape of your head and neck.”

A New Life

This pillow has transformed my life. I mean it. It is the best $15 I have ever spent.

I have never slept better. Never. I get into bed, start on my back and, awaken 7-8 hours later in exactly the same position (not including the obligatory trip to the bathroom). I mean it. I don’t move. If I do, I am certainly not aware of it. More importantly, I awaken feeling refreshed and, without any neck discomfort. None!

Now, this has not cured the arthritis. But I sleep better, longer and, on my back which, as I understand, is preferable. It is a neutral position for the head and neck and, as such, is more relaxing. Sleeping on your side or stomach, on the other hand, causes premature ageing (wrinkling) and sagging of the breasts (I wouldn’t want that). This makes sense, if you think about it, as the face and breast tissue is being compressed into either the pillow or bed for long periods of time.

There was a related item on the news this morning. A recently published medical study from the University of Michigan, discovered that for each additional hour of sleep a women gets increases her possibility of having sex the next day by 14%. Surely this is the same for men.

So, it would appear, this new pillow of mine has other benefits – my breasts will be perkier and, I am more likely to have sex than ever before.

I really need to thank my doctor.

15 thoughts on “A pain in the neck …

    • I learned this lesson late in life. In all fairness, I really didn’t have trouble sleeping or with my neck before this.

  1. Oh I totally feel with you. I have the same problem for some months now, the same pillow and even a pillow with a heating option. I hope yours works, mine does kinda help but I’m still not “healed”

    • I am sorry to hear that although I am glad I am not the only one persevering with this problem. I don’t think there is a cure for the arthritis but it is more manageable now that the neck is more relaxed at night. I awaken feeling refreshed and with no discomfort. Good luck with your neck and let me know if the condition improves for you.

      • Thanks. It’s not an arthritis, but I have a disc hernia which pretty much gives the same problems. The pillow is a good one, I agree.

      • Sorry to hear that. Sounds like you and I are just going to have learn to live with these problems. I am glad you like the pillow. As you can tall, I was pleasantly surprised with it. It has been a week now. A week of sound sleeps with no tossing and turning.

  2. I’m glad to hear the pillow has been working wonders. I had neck pain for about a year a few years ago. It drove me nuts and I couldn’t figure out the problem. The pain radiated from my neck down one side of my back. I eventually went to a physiotherapist and after three visits the problem was completely fixed. My issue was different to yours though so I’m not sure how much a physio will be able to help but I definitely recommend them if you find you need something else to help manage the pain.

    What’s wrong with sleeping on your tummy? How does that cause saggy boobs? Not good for your neck though.

    • I have also had positive results from a physiotherapist. I didn’t go this time thinking it would get better on its own until I understood it was arthritis.

      Sleeping on our tummies apparently causes premature aging including wrinkles on the face and, for women, sagging boobies. “Google around” and you will find a lot of material published on the subject. I first learned of this a month ago. We have a TV show here called The Dragon’s Den where aspiring entrepreneurs present business ideas to a group of Canadian tycoons/investors looking for money in exchange for a percentage of their business. There were 2 women (nurses) that had developed a pillow that apparently negates the aging effects of regular pillows. The Dragon’s loved the idea. And, that’s when I began delving a little deeper in an effort to sleep better myself. Apparently, when you sleep on your tummy the weight of your head presses your face into the pillow or bed compressing the skin and tissue unnaturally. Similarly with a woman’s breasts.

      It sounds like you are a tummy sleeper.

      • I move around a lot in my sleep and sleep on both sides and sometimes my tummy. I rarely sleep on my back. I did a bit of Googling and I can’t see any concrete evidence that side and tummy sleeping causes wrinkles and saggy boobs. It seems a bit far-fetched to me, unless it’s in the sense that smiling and laughing cause wrinkles too. I don’t have to worry about saggy boobs: I don’t have any boobs to sag!

      • I believe there are several factors relating to sleeping positions. Not everyone is comfortable in the same position and, your bed and pillow make a difference.

        I have always been a back sleeper until I had difficulty with my neck. I tossed and turned continually attempting to find a comfortable position. It never occurred to me that a pillow could help. This pillow provides better support for my neck allowing me to remain on my back throughout the night. Now I want to explore memory foam beds. My bed must be 10 hers old (maybe older) and may be ready for an upgrade.

        There is no medical evidence I found relating to tommy sleepers and premature aging and sagging boobs. It’s all conjecture. Although these 2 nurses on the Dragon’s Den made a compelling story for their product. The one nurse worked for 15 years in a private botox clinic helping women (mostly) reduce face wrinkles and lift breasts. I’ll see if I can find a medical study to confirm this and let you know.

        It sounds like you won’t have a problem in any event.

  3. I’m glad you like the pillow. I’ve tried one of those before and I really didn’t like it, but I do like hard pillows. Glad you got it worked out!

    • Thanks. I am surprised you didn’t like the pillow. I have been amazed with it. It may be any hard pillow would have the same effect. I haven’t tried that yet.

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