a woman stretching her neck

How to Choose the Best Pillow for Neck Pain?

Did you know that neck pain affects between 10 and 20% of adults, especially females? It is caused by various agents, within and outside your control, including age, physical strain, injuries, emotional stress, and growth.

Neck pain includes any form of discomfort in and around the spine, or under the head.

The pain affects your daily activities, productivity, and quality of life. So, dealing with it immediately is vital, preventing further damage while minimizing the pain. In this guide, we will handle the least-known little secret to dealing with this health condition: the best pillow for neck pain and headaches.

Which Pillow is Good for Neck Pain Hard or Soft?

Pillows are designed to support your head and neck in a neutral alignment as you sleep. Lack of a proper pillow – probably too high or too low – deprives the required support. This stresses the intricate neck structures, leading to pain and stiffness in the neck. Besides, such incidents also aggravate the existing neck conditions.

According to Europe PMC, an organization that provides comprehensive access to life science publications from trusted sources, a neck pillow with good shape and consistency along with firm support for cervical lordosis is recommended as part of neck pain treatment.  

So, choosing the right back pillow for back pain is as important as choosing the right mattress. It should be firm, supportive, and comfortable, without which it will result in back pain or aggravate the existing condition. Here is a guide on selecting the best pillow for back pain.

How to Select the Best Pillow for Neck Pain?

Numerous factors cause back and neck pain. But did you know that using the wrong pillow could be one of the reasons why you suffer neck pain? For this reason, everyone should invest in the right pillow for neck pain. Since the pillows come in a wide variety, these strategies should steer you toward making the right decision effectively.

Check your sleeping position

The ideal sleeping position for people who suffer from neck pain or want to avoid it is sleeping on either the side or back. Sleeping on the stomach turns the neck to the side and arches the back, leading to neck pain and aggravating the condition.

However, you can also try other positions until you find one that helps manage your neck pain. Knowledge of your sleeping position guides you toward finding an appropriate and affordable pillow for back pain.

Select a suitable pillow shape

Pillows come in various shapes and designs to meet the varying needs of users – sleeping positions. Your ideal neck pillow shape depends on your sleeping positions as follows:

1. Cervical pillows for neck pain management

Cervical Pillow: Source: Amazon

Cervical or orthopedic pillows are the most suitable for people with neck pain as they are designed with cervical spine curves that conform to the body structure. Using an orthopedic pillow for neck pain ensures that your neck gets the required support via the bump or roll while flattering the head, which translates to proper spine alignment.

Start small to enhance the transition from the regular to the cervical pillows, as they may initially feel strange. You can use them briefly while resting in your recliner during the daytime before putting them on the bed for night use.

2. Pillows that mold to the neck for back sleepers

Your sleeping position determines the most appropriate pillow for you. If you are a back sleeper, select a pillow that molds to your head and neck for ample neck support. Memory foam and water pillows are ideal options in this case, as they are specially designed to maintain their shape as they adjust to the body structure.

3. Firm pillows for side sleepers

A high-loft and firm body pillow for back pain is ideal for side sleepers to sleep comfortably throughout the night. For the best experience, you should use it under the neck and not the head, leading to excellent spine alignment, thus, no neck pain.

The best pillow for neck pain side sleeper should also have a gusset – an extra filling that adjusts anytime you move your head. Besides, it is also advisable to use a special pillow between the legs as it promotes spinal alignment.

4. Thin pillows for stomach sleepers

It is tempting to sleep on your stomach when your back experiences excessive stress. Unfortunately, this sleeping position is not advisable for people with neck pain as it arches the back and twists the neck to the side causing neck pain and aggravating existing conditions.

However, if you must sleep on your stomach, you should entirely forgo the pillow and lie directly on the mattress. Alternatively, you can use a thin pillow under the head and another under the abdominal area to minimize pressure on the back.

5. Horseshoe pillow when traveling

Managing your back pain isn’t exclusively about having the right pillow at home. You should also have a quality U-shaped pillow – horseshoe – to support your head and neck when traveling. Without these pillows, your head angles to the side as you try sleeping while sitting up, resulting in neck pain and aggravating the existing pain.

Check the Pillow Filling and Materials

Pillows come in various types, with different fillings to meet unique user needs and preferences. So, it would help if you got what works for you. For instance, if you have any allergies, find a pillow that doesn’t trigger them. Besides, the pillow cover should also shield against allergens and dust mites.

Consider the Pillow’s Height

A back pillow for back pain should be of perfect height – not too high or too low. The same applies when you’re looking for the best pillow for neck pain at Amazon. Higher pillows create excessive craniocervical pressure and a greater cervical angle, creating a misalignment with the spine. Using such may result in neck pain and stiffness.

Do a Test Drive

Getting a firm body pillow for back pain is excellent. However, lying down in your usual sleeping style and using the pillow under your head during shopping would be great.

Take your time and ensure that it is comfortable, adequately supports the head and neck, and is of perfect height. An affordable pillow for back pain is also great when working on a budget as long as it doesn’t compromise the listed factors.

Replace Your Pillows and Add Complementary Pillows

Like a regular pillow, a back pillow for back pain will wear out over time, losing its substance and shape. For this reason, you should replace them often as they don’t remain supportive all through.

Besides, you should complement the ones that don’t work effectively by themselves, such as a thin pillow between your knees if you are a side sleeper – it creates proper spinal alignment.

Side and back sleepers using a flat pillow should add a rolled-up towel or second row under the neck for extra support. A flat but firm body pillow for back pain is crucial if you are a stomach sleeper.

Wrapping Up Best Pillow for Neck Pain

Most people suffering from neck pain don’t know that their pillows could be the agent for their woes. For this reason, it is vital for anyone struggling with neck pain or striving to prevent the condition to invest in the best pillow for back pain.

Pillows come in various designs, shapes, and qualities with different fillings to meet unique user needs and preferences. However, in this guide, you can easily find an affordable pillow for neck pain and enjoy a good night’s sleep which translates to better productivity and quality of life.

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