Which pillows for neck pain are best?
Pain in the neck isn’t just a minor annoyance. Chronic neck pain and stiffness, whether from injury, strain or poor posture, can be a debilitating problem that affects your daily life, comfort and ability to sleep easily at night.
Thankfully, special pillows are available that are designed to help alleviate neck pain in ways that traditional pillows cannot. The Elviros Cervical Memory Foam Pillow provides superior head and spine support, thanks to its unique shape. It can accommodate a wide range of sleeping positions and is made of high-quality memory foam.
What to know before you buy a pillow for neck pain
Neck position while sleeping
Chiropractic experts agree that maintaining proper neck position while sleeping is crucial when it comes to alleviating pain. Cramped or stretched spinal alignment can result in headaches, shoulder pain and other ailments throughout the body. Pillows made specifically for neck comfort allow your body to rest easily in a natural, relaxed position.
The cause of your pain
Neck pillows are designed to provide relief, but they cannot address the underlying issues that may be the cause of your neck pain. From bone spurs to pinched nerves, neck pain can have a multitude of sources. Be sure to consult with your doctor, not only to discover the source of your pain but also to determine if a neck pillow may help alleviate it.
Your sleeping position
Neck pillows are available in a variety of shapes, each meant to be used in a different position. Those who sleep on their back will find models designed for them that cradle their head and neck in the pillow’s center, while side sleepers are better served by pillows meant to accommodate their shoulders. Some neck pillows provide a universal fit, meant to accommodate multiple positions.
Today’s pillows are available in a wide range of materials, each with its pros and cons. Consider your sleeping habits and preferences to help determine which of these most popular materials you will find to be most comfortable.
- Memory foam pillows conform to the shape of your head as you rest, making them the most popular choice for most users. However, without a proper pillowcase, they can allow heat to build up quickly. Some memory foam pillows have holes punched through them to allow for better airflow.
- Polyfoam pillows provide many of the same advantages as those made from memory foam but are lighter and softer. These pillows wear out quickly, however, and will need replacement sooner than most buyers would prefer.
- Buckwheat pillows feature all-natural buckwheat hull filling. While some may find this stuffing choice to be odd, these pillows remain cool and hold their shape well. However, the noise made by the buckwheat filling may be disturbing for especially light sleepers.
- Feather and down pillows are a traditional option. These pillows are extremely soft, but also quickly lose their fluffiness and ability to support your head. Additionally, some feather pillows can cause scratches as especially sharp feather shafts can potentially poke through the pillowcase.
- Latex foam pillows provide an alternative material for those who like memory or polyfoam pillows but prefer something a bit spongier. Latex pillows also tend to be cooler than other foam types.
What to look for in a quality pillow for neck pain
For those sensitive to allergens, it’s important to consider which pillow material will provide the least possibility for irritation. Allergy sufferers tend to do better with foam pillows, as they prevent excessive buildup of dust and other common irritants. Pillows stuffed with feathers, down or other fibrous materials should be avoided, as these tend to retain household pollutants.
Foam pillows, due to their material’s density, can become especially warm if used without a pillowcase that allows for airflow between you and the pillow itself. Select a neck pillow that includes a pillowcase that prevents heat from building up to uncomfortable levels. Most pillowcases can be removed easily for washing and include a zipper to keep them neatly wrapped around your pillow.
Select a pillow that will keep your head and neck aligned with the rest of your body. For those used to very high or flat pillows, proper alignment may feel unusual at first and take some getting used to.
If you sleep on your side or tend to switch positions as you sleep, select a pillow with a notch in it that will accommodate the shoulder you are resting on. This notch allows your pillow to still support the entire weight of your head without the pressure of your shoulder distorting its shape or causing your neck to curve downward.
Pillow manufacturers design their products to generally accommodate a wide range of sleepers. However, each person’s unique physiology will determine how comfortable or effective their chosen pillow will be. Consider your already established sleeping preferences and select a pillow that will easily become a part of your nightly routine.
How much you can expect to spend on a pillow for neck pain
Pillows designed to alleviate neck pain can be purchased for $30-$60.
Pillow for neck pain FAQ
Are there neck pillows for people who sleep on their stomachs?
A. Yes. While sleeping on your stomach is not recommended, there are pillow models available that accommodate this position and still keep your neck aligned properly.
How do I clean a memory foam pillow?
A. Memory foam pillows can be cleaned by removing them from the pillowcase, sprinkling baking soda on them and then vacuuming it off after allowing it time to absorb any odor. For more thorough cleaning, memory foam pillows can be submerged in warm water with a mild detergent. Never put a memory foam pillow in the washing machine, and allow it to dry completely before use.
What health issues can poor sleep posture cause?
A. Poor sleep posture can cause muscle stiffness, joint pain and migraines from strain placed on your neck and spine. In some cases, improper sleep positions can lead to blocked airways and potentially fatal sleep apnea. Using the wrong pillow can exacerbate the effects of poor sleeping posture, as you may try to accommodate for your discomfort by resting in positions that can further disrupt the alignment of your neck and spine.
What’s the best pillow for neck pain to buy?
Top pillow for neck pain
What you need to know: This oddly-shaped pillow accommodates a wide range of sleep positions and is made from high-quality memory foam.
What you’ll love: With a central crater to support the weight of your head and projections designed to allow your arms to comfortably fit around or under it, this pillow provides everything you need for a pain-free night of rest.
What you should consider: Due to this pillow’s unique design, traditional pillowcases will not properly fit it.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top pillow for neck pain for the money
What you need to know: This affordable pillow provides additional support for those who prefer a more traditional look and feel.
What you’ll love: With its scooped center, this pillow provides more neck and spine support than traditional options while still allowing you to fit it into a regular pillowcase. It can be used for both side and back sleepers. It includes a soft, airy pillowcase to reduce heat buildup.
What you should consider: Because of its traditional shape, this pillow accommodates a wide range of sleeping positions but may not provide the custom comfort needed for pain relief.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Made out of memory foam, this pillow is great for both side and back sleepers.
What you’ll love: This pillow comes with a quilted pillowcase to help prevent overheating. It features a unique, contoured shape that is designed to keep your spine in perfect alignment.
What you should consider: This pillow’s memory foam has a strong smell. It is recommended that you allow it to air out for a few days before using it.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Tips for a good night’s sleep
- Avoid eating a few hours before sleep. Enjoy heavy meals early in the day and don’t eat anything that may result in indigestion or heartburn in the evening.
- Skip the after-dinner coffee. Caffeine is a leading cause of sleeplessness. Avoid coffee, black tea and soda.
- Get outside. Fresh air and activity have been shown to increase the likelihood of a full night of sleep.
- Exercise. A sedentary day behind the desk at work may exhaust your mind, but your body does not use up enough energy to warrant a restful night. Walk, jog or go to the gym regularly to earn your sleep.
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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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