Poor posture is a common cause of neck pain, and an item as simple as a rolled towel can help provide relief. Here’s how.

Poor sleeping and/or sitting posture can lead to neck pain and stiffness.
How Poor Posture Causes Neck Pain

Find a small bath towel and fold it in half. Roll it up so it has a diameter of 3 to 5 inches and keep it together with rubber bands or duct tape. You can use it in two ways:


1. Tuck a rolled towel inside your pillowcase before you sleep

Place a rolled towel between your pillowcase and pillow.

  • If you sleep on your back, position the towel underneath your neck when you lay your head on the pillow.
  • If you sleep on your side, position the towel so it fills the natural empty space between your neck and the pillow.

See Best Pillows for Different Sleeping Positions

Sleeping with incorrect lying posture can strain the soft tissues around the joints of your neck. But with a rolled towel in place, your neck is supported and aligned with the rest of your spine.

See Neck Strain: Causes and Remedies

A pillow with the right thickness level also helps support your head and neck correctly; use one that doesn’t cause your head to tilt up or down. However, choosing the right pillow and pillow arrangement is ultimately a matter of personal preference, so let comfort guide you.

See Pillow Support and Comfort

2. Slip a rolled towel behind your lower back for prolonged sitting

You can also try using a rolled towel to better support your lower back, which can influence your entire spine and posture. Put a rolled towel behind the small of your back whenever you sit for a long period of time, such as when you:

  • Drive in a car
  • Work at a desk
  • Relax on a couch or in a soft chair

See Ten Tips for Improving Posture and Ergonomics

The towel fills the natural empty space that forms when your upper body is upright and prevents your lower back from rounding. When your lower back is rounded, it’s difficult to keep your neck aligned straight over your shoulders. The muscles that support your neck and head become tired, and your neck droops forward. This angle can overstretch ligaments and affect your cervical discs, causing pain.

See Forward Head Posture’s Effect on Neck Muscles

If you suspect your neck pain is caused by postural stress, use a rolled towel in these two ways. Over time you may find it reduces your neck pain and brings you relief.

Learn more:

Treatment for Neck Pain

Video: 6 Tips to Improve Posture While Sitting