Neck Pillow

Tips To Choose A Great Neck Pillow To Alleviate Pain & Provide Comfort And Support

Using a neck pillow for relief is a great way to help relieve muscular stiffness as well as headaches. The right pillow can also help with a more restful and healing night’s sleep. One of the most profound benefits is the effect using a good ergonomic pillow can have on the curve and alignment of the neck when used properly over a period of time.

It is important to choose the right pillow for relief and to become familiar with which ones will provide the best support for you. A 6 year old pillow can get 10 to 25 percent of it’s actual weight from dust mites and their by-products!

We sleep almost a third of our lifetime, thus it is important to have a good, supportive pillow to help prevent neck pain as well as related sleeping problems. There are many pillows for cervical spine support which offer better alignment and pain relief. You may have to try more than one to find the neck pillow relief for you and your needs, but lets try to get some basics down and then look at a method to help you determine the right one.

Sleeping is often difficult for people with neck pain. A properly designed pillow will provide anatomically correct postural alignment regarding the head, neck and shoulders in both back and side sleeping positions. If your neck pillow is not supporting you properly you can experience stiff neck, headaches or even pain in the shoulder, arm and hand.

neck pillowsCervical Pillows specialty pillowsSpecial Pillows

It is important to avoid the use of a pillow that is too low or causes an unsupported neck to be in strain the whole night. Having a lot of pillows as well as a one that is too high can easily force the neck upward and strain the neck. Regardless if you are sleeping in the back or side sleeping position, the pillow should be supple enough in order to conform the weight and shape of your head yet still support the cervical spine. Because the head is larger and heavier than the neck, providing adequate support with no misalignment of your neck is essential.

We have discussed many ways to help with neck pain. Don’t loose the gains you have made with posture correction stretching exercises for the neck or any of the great neck products we offer by sleeping on the wrong pillow.

normal neck pillow low neck pillow high neck pillow

Trying to choose the best pillow is often very frustrating. For proper neck pillow relief, there needs to be ergonomic solutions that fit your particular needs. It is well worth the time spent doing a little research, since a supportive pillow has many health benefits. On the left you see a proper support for side sleeping. Notice the neck is aligned. The other 2 examples show a pillow too low and one too high.

Some of the indications that your pillow is not providing appropriate support can be loud snoring, headache, poor sleep quality, pins and needles in your arm and/or hand and morning or waking with stiff muscles.

sleeping patterns with neck pillowsA quality of a supportive pillow for the neck is making use of a contours, which helps to support the anatomical curve in a natural, healthy posture throughout the evening. This helps to prevent strain of muscles and uneven pressure on joints which can cause inflammation, a common cause of neck stiffness when waking in the morning.

When your head is positioned too far up or down too low relative to your body, the neck can be put under significant stress. If your head rolls too far to one side while back sleeping without the pillow responding or conforming to a different level, similar problems can result in upper back as well.

The majority of people sleep and their in the side and back sleeping postures, however these postures need to have different levels of support. Your head should be supported about 2 inches higher while in the side posture in comparison to the back posture. This is evident when, often subconsciously, people will attempt to compensate this gap by placing the hand or even entire arm underneath the pillow once they rollover on their side. This can be solved by using a functional pillow.

During the back sleep posture, the head must be supported with the proper height, yet it must prevent the head from being pushed forward, which is a frequent reason for restricted air flow passages, as well as keep the head from rotating excessively sideways which can strain neck muscles and pinch nerves.

In order to determine if a neck pillow is helping or if you need a new one, you can use an online form for Neck Pillow Progress. The factors described above and evaluation with this form is the best method I have found to choose the right one from the many choices in support pillows for neck pain.

Generally, neck pillows will come in different sizes and usually you should choose based on your size, however, if you have a saggy bed you may want to get a higher height pillow. An adjustable pillow is a good choice when different height levels are needed. Many pillows come in a variety of sizes and can be fitted to your exact measurements.

For children or small framed adult there are smaller pillows specially designed for those who need less support but require the proper design.

As we age and get older, we are subject to more degenerative changes and arthritis. Usually, the best pillow for seniors is one that provides soft support for the head and neck. Firm pillows are generally used in restoration of spinal curves, however, in many many seniors, this may not be advisable. As the neck changes when we get older, slow changes are best over a period of time, so using a soft, yet supportive pillow like the posture med is a popular choice for seniors, especially with degenerative disc disease.

Popular and effective, memory pillows offer a unique level of support and comfort and make use of a foam with special properties. They tend to dampen vibrations associated with some regular foam pillows and can help keep your neck warm on cold nights. Pillow for traveling made with memory foam are great when riding in a vehicle to help minimize harmful vibrations and fluctuations in temperatures that may aggravate neck pain. These type of pillows are good for acute neck pain relief or for flare-ups of a chronic neck pain condition.

neck pillow relief at amazon

The water pillows provide a level of control over the support and is rapidly taking over the memory foam as the most popular! If you do not object to a little effort (adjusting the water level), this may be the best overall pillow for comfort and support. Another effective choice is the inflatable pillow which uses air cells that are inflatable along with dual action columns for a unique level of adjustability and pressure relief shown by infrared studies to superior to memory foam and water for neck pillow relief.

Buckwheat pillows are a great alternative to the contour shaped pillows which you can mold or contour yourself and allows air to circulate which can keep your neck cool if you sleep in a warm environment. We have buckwheat hull pillows that are 100% organic and are superior in quality to most others I have seen.

Often, people who suffer with neck pain also have low back pain and I find a good body pillow to be another great alternative for total body alignment.

Studies indicate that pillows for neck pain are effective. Having a choice is beneficial, however, the right pillow may be difficult to find. Often, a combination of cervical pillows can provide the answer for those who have a closet full of unused ones.

Adapting to a new Neck Pillow

Many typical neck pillows use contour lobes of different heights. This is a common design and has proven benefit for neck pain relief and snoring problems. Some individuals have problems adapting to this type of pillow and subsequently give up. What I recommend if you have never used a neck pillow before or have given up on using one you already have is to go through an adaptation period. I often use this technique for recent injuries like whiplash. Initially begin with the lobes down, sleeping on the flat side. This allows your neck to more gradually adjust to your pillow. After a period of time (1 to 3 weeks), turn the pillow over, with the contour lobes up, and sleep on the side that provides the best support while still being comfortable.

So if you wake up in the mornings with a headache, have neck pain, stiff neck or just can’t seem to get comfortable when you sleep, your neck is telling you that you need more support. To find a solution to this problem, we offer neck pillow relief with a great selection and information to help make the right choice.

More: How To Choose The Right Neck Pillow, Best Pillow For Neck Pain.

Author Bio

Stephen Ornstein, D.C. has treated thousands of neck, shoulder and back conditions since graduating Sherman Chiropractic College in 1987 and during his involvement in Martial Arts. He holds certifications as a Peer Review Consultant from New York Chiropractic College, Physiological Therapeutics from National Chiropractic College, Modic Antibiotic Spinal Therapy from Dr. Hanne Albert, PT., MPH., Ph.D., Myofascial Release Techniques from Logan Chiropractic College, and learned Active Release Technique from the founder, P. Michael Leahy, DC, ART, CCSP.