Although it is a common medical condition, neck pain can cause a lot of pain and discomfort that can adversely affect your productivity during the day. It can also result in numbness, sharp shooting pain, a limited range of motions, and even difficulty in swallowing. Over time, neck pain can also trigger severe symptoms of headache, shoulder pain, and arm numbness.
Using a pillow that doesn’t support your sleeping position is one of the most common causes of neck pain. This happens because your neck muscles are strained due to the inadequate or zero support from the pillow that you’re using. The longer you use this kind of pillow, the more severe your neck pain will be. So if waking up with severe neck pain has become your norm, you now know why.
If you want to finally break this cycle and wake up pain-free, follow these tips for you to find the best pillow for neck pain:
1. Recognize When It’s Time To Replace Your Pillow
Regardless of how expensive your pillow is, remember that it will not last forever. This product will eventually degrade and won’t continue to give you the same amount of comfort and support as when you first bought it.
To determine whether or not it’s time to replace your pillow, test it first. Fold the pillow in half and place a book on top of it. Observe how the pillow moves the moment you remove the book from its surface. Did the pillow retain its original shape, or did it stay in half even without the book? If it’s the latter, it’s high time that you buy another pillow. Aside from neck pain, an old pillow can also build up dust mites and cause allergies.
If you want your new pillow to last longer, invest in high-quality pillow protectors and make sure to wash your pillows thoroughly every four to six months. Proper maintenance is also essential to ensure that your pillow provides the necessary comfort and support for your neck and entire body.
2. Consider Your Sleeping Position
Choosing the perfect pillow is a very subjective decision. More often than not, the pillow that you find “perfect” won’t gain the approval of other family members, and vice versa. Before you get overwhelmed with the number of pillows available in retail stores and online sources such as https://mattress-review.org, spend some time to consider your sleeping position first. This information can be an important deciding factor, so you’ll end up with a pillow that relieves neck pain and provides you the comfort you want.
Generally, the perfect pillow for neck pain is those that can improve the quality and duration of your sleep while supporting the neutral position of your spine. This pillow should also feel comfortable and make it easy for you to enjoy your sleep. What good is a brand new pillow if it doesn’t enhance your slumber, right?
Based on your sleeping position, take note of the following tips when choosing the best pillow for neck pain:
- Side Sleepers: As the name suggests, these people sleep with their hips and shoulders on the mattress. If you sleep in the same way, look for a thicker pillow that keeps your ears aligned with your shoulders. This feature will properly support your neck and prevent it from extending too much in different directions once you sleep on your side.
- Stomach Sleepers: Instead of sleeping in their hips and shoulders, stomach sleepers sleep in their stomachs. When you regularly practice this sleeping position, spend some time to scout for a thin pillow that enables your neck to stay in a relaxed and neutral position.
Depending on your preferences, you can also consider adding another pillow under your shoulder for extra support. This pillow can also improve your spine alignment and ensure that it stays in place throughout your sleep.
- Back sleepers: Sleeping on your back comes with benefits because this position can support the natural curve of your spine and lower your susceptibility to experiencing severe back pain. But even with this sleeping position, you can still experience neck pain, especially when you’re using the wrong type of pillow.
When looking for the perfect pillow to treat your problems on neck pain as a back sleeper, look for those that offer medium or moderate thickness. These types of pillows can keep your neck properly aligned when sleeping without putting too much pressure on your head or causing it to arch forward too much.
- Mix of sleeping positions: If you’re fond of moving around and sleep positions during your sleep, choose a plush pillow that has movable and comfortable fills. This feature will make it very easy for you to find the best sleeping position while supporting your neck regardless of how often you twist and turn.
3. Determine Your Fill Preference
Aside from the sleeping positions, every individual is looking for different things in their pillows. While some feel that their necks are properly supported when they use a fluffy pillow, others will only feel the same towards a flat pillow.
When determining your fill preference, don’t forget to consider the maintenance requirements of the fill as well. Some styles are entirely machine washable, some will only have machine-washable pillow covers, while others cannot be cleaned at all. As mentioned, the perfect pillow for your neck pain should come with maintenance requirements that fit your lifestyle.
You’ll only enjoy a brand new pillow for a short period of time if you don’t have the necessary equipment to clean it or maintain its quality. This can put money down the drain and, in worse cases, can cause you to suffer from extreme neck pain again.
For you to make the most out of your purchase and end up buying a pillow that relieves neck pain for the longest time possible, always read the care label before purchasing. Generally, pillow fills comes in the following types:
- Down pillows: These pillows are the best if you want to sleep with something that is very fluffy. Since down pillows are usually more expensive than other types, look for those that are part feathers and part down.
- Down alternative pillows: Down alternative pillows are usually filled with polyester fiber that creates the same comfort and fluff as down pillows but are priced cheaper. These types of pillows are the best options if you have a shoestring budget and want to get rid of your pesky allergies as well.
- Memory foam pillows: Memory foam pillows can be purchased in two styles: shredded and solid. Both of these types come with their own set of pros and cons – shredded pillows provide support with fills that can be moved around while solid memory foam pillows are designed to give you the proper support by using fills that can’t be moved.
- Latex pillows: Just like memory foam pillows, latex pillows provide a very squishy feel but allow the fills to bounce back faster. Latex pillows also use solid and shredded materials for their fills.
- Wool pillows: Wool pillows are characterized as being hypo-allergenic and resistant to dust mites and molds. These types of pillows also wick away moisture from your neck and head, making it very easy for you to regulate your body temperature when you sleep.
Wool pillows can also keep you cool during the summer and warm during the winter months. These types of pillows are also firm and have a longer lifespan. If you’re leaning towards this direction, make sure to buy pillows made from alpaca wool and not cashmere fibers.
- Cotton pillows: Being one of the most common fill materials available for pillows, expect to find countless options when you look for cotton-filled pillows. Cotton is a very similar material to wool that is resistant to dust mites and mold. Therefore, cotton pillows are great options for individuals who often suffer from allergies and chemical sensitivities.
Aside from the fill material of your pillow, it’s also important that you also consider its weight. Synthetic and down pillows are usually very lightweight, while latex and memory foams are heavier.
When choosing the appropriate weight for your pillow, consider your lifestyle and sleeping habits. If you only sleep in the same bed and don’t like to move your pillows around, you won’t have any problems if you use heavier pillows. However, if you want to move and re-shape your pillows regularly, use those that are lightweight.
4. Pay Extra Attention When You’re Shopping
Shopping for the perfect pillow for your neck pain can become a struggle. There are countless options available today, each having different features and price points. If you don’t have any idea about what to consider when buying, you might even end up spending your hard-earned money for a pillow that doesn’t meet your expectations or solve your neck pain problems.
Aside from taking your time when shopping, consider the following tips before you choose a pillow for your neck pain:
- Try it out: One of the most basic tips to follow when shopping for a new pillow is to always try out the pillows in the store by lying down. If this is not possible, lean on the wall as if your bed and use the pillow for your head. Have a friend or sales representative assess if the pillow you’re using can keep your neck straight with the rest of your body. If it doesn’t, start looking for other options.
- Don’t focus on the price alone: Although it is important when buying, do not solely focus on the price of the pillow. More often than not, high-quality and durable pillows come with a hefty price. However, your pillow can significantly affect your overall health and wellness, which is why you should be willing to make a sound investment.
- Compare different pillows for firmness: As mentioned, different people will have different preferences when it comes to the firmness of their pillows. If you’re buying pillows for the first time and don’t have any idea in testing it, put several options on top of a flat surface and press the center of the pillow using your palm. Observe how much force you have to exert in order to squeeze the pillow. The harder you have to press, the firmer the pillow is for sleeping.
- Examine the construction: The pillow you’ll use will not only affect your budget and neck health – the pillow you’ll choose can also influence the ambiance of your bedroom and the mood you’ll have for sleeping.
If you want to end up with a pillow that also looks good, spend some time examining its construction. Are the stitches done cleanly and professionally? Does the pillow come with straight seams? Does the zipper work perfectly? Do the fill materials fill evenly when you use the pillow? These are just some of the things you should observe before buying a pillow. The more detailed a pillow design is, the greater scrutiny it’ll require from buyers like you.
- Give it a sniff test: Your nose also plays a significant role when you’re choosing pillows for your neck pain. There are several fill materials available for pillows today, but some of them contain chemicals that can pose safety risks once inhaled. You should always be careful in buying pillows, especially if these will be used by infants or children.
Regardless of how fluffy or cheap a pillow is, never buy one unless you gave it a sniff test first. This simple step will enable you to determine if the pillow you’re eyeing to buy is chemical-free and safe.
See A Doctor
With the number of brands selling pillows today, finding one that perfectly fits your sleeping position can be a breeze. You can even place your orders online and then wait for the pillow to be delivered to your doorstep.
However, if you see yourself still suffering from severe neck pain even after investing in a new neck pillow, find time to see your doctor. Persistent neck pain can be a sign of serious health problems that should be diagnosed and treated by medical professionals as soon as possible.