Pillows for neck pain relief

Pillows for neck pain relief

If you are considering a pillow for neck pain, then you’ve probably been dealing with quite a bit of discomfort for a substantial period of time. You might be wondering if having the right pillow could help you get a more comfortable night’s rest, or even alleviate the pain you normally feel during the day.  In many cases, using the right support and sleeping in the proper position at night can really make a difference – meaning that a pillow might indeed be at least part of the answer.  I know that having the right pillow for me can ensure I really get a comfortable and restful night of sleep.

The problem is, there is no one single pillow that is right for everyone, so you may need to do a bit of experimenting to find the pillow that not only is the most comfortable for you, but also provides you the most relief from pain.  Depending on whether you sleep on your back on your side, you may actually need different pillows for different positions.  Sorting through the options can be a little overwhelming. Unfortunately, the bottom line is that you may need to try a few different pillows before finding the best one for you.

Why use a pillow for your neck pain?

Pillows for neck pain are commonly recommended by chiropractors, orthopedists, and neurosurgeons as well as general practitioners for patients suffering from a wide range of conditions. You might be dealing with arthritis, a slipped disc, recovering from whiplash or another sprain or strain injury to the neck, or muscle weakness in the neck, among other conditions. Whatever the reason that you are considering a neck pillow, there are some things to keep in mind before you make a purchase. In the next few paragraphs we’ll discuss some of the options commonly available, and some factors that you need to keep in mind when trying to find a pillow that will work for you.

Do you really need a new pillow?

Before you purchase a pillow for neck pain, consider the pillows you already have. Sometimes, a high quality goose down feather pillow can substitute for a specialty neck pillow. Unfortunately I’ve found with goose down, you get what you pay for.  The less expensive ones just don’t keep their shape and fluff over time.  You can punch a down pillow to work it into the right position before going to sleep, ensuring a custom and comfortable fit. Down substitute pillows and synthetic fibers may work as well, if you are allergic to down or looking for a less expensive option. I like this one because it’s flatter and not too firm, which is what works best for my neck.

The primary characteristic of a good pillow for neck pain is its ability to provide the right level of support to your neck and head, while holding your head level with your neck, not pushing it up or down. You want to keep your spine in alignment.  This prevents you from placing increased strain on your back or neck. Memory foam provides this type of support, and is available in a contoured pillow.

Different types of neck pain relief pillows

Contoured pillows for neck pain are generally made from high-quality foam or memory foam. The best ones are contour shaped to provide support to the neck, and have a dip in the center that allows the head to fall in line with the neck as opposed to being angled up or down. Rest your head against these pillows in the store if possible, in order to ensure that the fit is correct for your head and neck. Otherwise be sure you order your pillow from a reputable online source that will allow returns and exchanges if the pillow isn’t the right fit for you.

Another common pillow for neck pain is a grain-filled pillow, such as this Japanese buckwheat one. These can be homemade or store-bought, and are generally filled with buckwheat, rice, or a similar size grain.  Just be sure to get a quality one or they can make a rustling noise that can be quite annoying!

If you are a side-sleeper, you will likely require a different support pillow than back sleepers. It is not recommended that individuals with neck or back problems sleep on their stomachs.  Personally, I like to alternate sleeping positions between my back and my side, and that means that I actually switch pillows if I am conscious enough when I’m changing position.

For some individuals, a pillow for neck pain can be supplemented with a body pillow to support the rest of the body when side sleeping to further improve rest and reduce their discomfort.

Regardless of the cause of your pain, be aware that there are numerous pillows for neck pain available on the market for all budgets. You might even be able to use a pillow that you already own.

Unfortunately, to some extent, finding the right pillow to relieve your neck pain can be a matter of trial and error.  But when you do find a comfortable pillow, it can make all the difference in how you sleep.

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