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“Health Tips From the Professor”

Let the Professor and His Expert Panel Search the Literature to Bring You the Latest Health Updates

Steve and Suzanne Chaney

Steve and Suzanne Chaney

This blog is about your health and what you can do to improve it. The problem is not in finding health tips. There is an endless stream of health information on the Internet. The problem is in finding health tips that you can trust.

There are a lot of health information web sites created by companies and individuals who want to sell you something. Somehow the information they provide is all related to the products that they are selling. But is that information accurate? Is there really good scientific evidence that the products they are selling work?

There are health information blogs created by individuals who have had remarkable “cures” from some pretty devastating diseases. They are passionate about recommending what has helped them. But will it help you? Is there any scientific evidence that their recommendations actually work? Could it have been something else in their life that changed and gave them such remarkable results?

There are the health information blogs created by the sensationalists. These are often people with some pretty impressive credentials, but they prefer the sensational rather than a balanced interpretation of the science. They are the kind of people who “never let the facts get in the way of a good story”. When they say that “They are giving you the facts that ‘the establishment’ won’t tell you”, you need to ask what “the establishment” knows that these people aren’t telling you.

And there are the health information blogs created by the naysayers. These are the people who will tell you things like “vitamins will kill you”, “cholesterol isn’t bad for you”, and “it doesn’t matter how much you weigh”. You probably know that these pronouncements run counter to what the majority of health experts are saying, but they are confusing.

No wonder you are confused! That’s why I decided to create this blog. First, a bit about me (You’ll find more information about me when you click on “Experts”): I am Dr. Steve Chaney. I have a PhD in Biochemistry. I ran an active research program and taught Human Metabolism and Nutrition to medical and dental students for 40 years. I have published over 100 articles in peer reviewed scientific journals and I keep abreast of the latest scientific literature on holistic approaches to better health.

I created this blog because people like you need a place that they can rely on for up-to-date, scientifically accurate health information without hype or bias. I pledge to provide you with accurate health information based on the latest clinical studies. I will tell you about the strengths and weaknesses of each study and how the studies relate to you. I will also report on some of the more sensational and negative claims in the media in order to help restore balance to the discussion.

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Latest Article

How to Choose the Right Pillow

Posted April 17, 2018 by Dr. Steve Chaney

Wake Up Each Morning Pain Free

Author: Julie Donnelly, LMT – The Pain Relief Expert

Editor: Dr. Steve Chaney

 

how to choose the right pillow without headachesThe way you sleep is often a key to discovering the cause of headaches and more. If you wake up with neck pain, a headache, or you suffer from ringing in your ears, dizziness, or ear pain, there is a good possibility that it may be caused by the way you are sleeping. Your pillow may be the culprit.  But if you need to know how to choose the right pillow for you, it’s easy.   It just takes a little “investigation.”

 

How to Choose the Right Pillow if You Sleep On Your Side

Your head, neck, and spine need to always stay in a nice straight line, just as it is when you are standing up, but that takes a little thought and understanding of the way you sleep.  So, get comfy in your bed and then notice how your head is resting.

how to choose the right pillow to sleep painfreeIf you sleep on your side, your pillow needs to be just the right size, so your head doesn’t point down toward the mattress (your pillow is too soft) or up to the ceiling (your pillow is too thick). Either of these positions will make the muscles on the side of your neck stay in the contracted position for hours and pull your vertebrae in that direction, especially when you try to turn over to your other side.

Your SCM Muscle May Cause Serious Problems

You also need to notice if you turn your head a bit, especially if you are turning into your pillow or turning your head up toward away from your pillow. In either of these two cases you will be causing your sternocleidomastoid (SCM for short) to be held shortened for hours.

Your SCM originates on your collarbone and inserts into the bone behind your ear.  When it contracts you turn your head to the opposite side. However, if the muscle is tight (for example, when you’ve held your head turned toward one side for an extended period of time) and then you bring your head back so you are facing forward, the tight muscle will pull on the bone behind your ear and cause havoc.

The symptoms for a tight SCM are tinnitus (ringing in the ear), dizziness, loss of equilibrium, ear pain, headaches, pain in the eye and around the skull, pain at the top of the head, and even pain in the throat. Amazing! What’s even more amazing is that it’s rare that this muscle is considered when a medical professional is searching for the cause of your symptoms.

These are the things to know when considering how to choose the right pillow if you sleep on your side.

How To Choose The Right Pillow If You Sleep On Your Back

how to choose the right pillow for sleeping on your backIf you sleep on your back, your head should be on the mattress (not propped up with a pillow) and you should have a tiny support (like a folded washcloth) under your neck.  Or, you can have a wedge pillow that starts at your mid-back and gently raises your entire trunk and head up while still allowing your head and back to be in a straight line.

It’s always a challenge for people who toss and turn during the night, sometimes on their side and sometimes on their back.  The best thing I’ve found for this situation is to have the pillow below shoulder level so when you turn on your side your shoulder will automatically slide to the edge of the pillow while still supporting your head properly, and when you turn onto your back, the pillow will start at shoulder level so your head and neck are supported, but your head is being pushed in a way that causes your chin to move down to your chest.

hip pain causes and treatment pain freeIt’s tricky, but I can personally attest to the fact that it will work.  I can always tell when I’ve had my head tilted (I toss and turn during the night) because I will wake with a headache. When that happens I’m grateful that I know how to self-treat the muscles of my neck and shoulders so the headache is eliminated quickly.  If you already have Treat Yourself to Pain Free Living,  you can self-treat all your neck and shoulder muscles to release the tension.

How To Choose The Right Pillow If You Sleep On Your Stomach

If you sleep on your stomach, this is the one position that is so bad that it behooves you to force yourself to change your position. Your head is turned to the side and held still for hours, putting a severe strain on all your cervical and upper thoracic vertebrae. Not only will this cause headaches, tinnitus, and a list of other pains, but it can cause problems down your entire spine. It can also impinge on the nerves that pass through the vertebrae on their way to your organs.

If you do sleep that way, let me know and I’ll give you some suggestions that work to change your habit of sleeping. It takes time and energy, but the results are worth the effort.

In every case, the way you sleep may cause neck pain that won’t go away until the pillow situation is resolved.

Now you should know how to choose the right pillow for the way you sleep.

Wishing you well,

Julie Donnelly

About The Author

julie donnelly

Julie Donnelly is a Deep Muscle Massage Therapist with 20 years of experience specializing in the treatment of chronic joint pain and sports injuries. She has worked extensively with elite athletes and patients who have been unsuccessful at finding relief through the more conventional therapies.

She has been widely published, both on – and off – line, in magazines, newsletters, and newspapers around the country. She is also often chosen to speak at national conventions, medical schools, and health facilities nationwide.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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