Even though, experts claim that pillows are not often the cause of these problems except neck pain, but they are major factor in worsening these symptoms if not synced with sleeping style and comfort level. In this article, we have listed few best pillows for neck pain depending on the sleep style.
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Causes of Neck Pain during Sleep
If you keep your neck in one position for a long time, it may cause neck pain. Sleeping with the wrong pillow can cause neck pain as it fails to provide adequate support and lift to head, neck and spine which ultimately results in sore neck. Experts call the best neck position during sleep “neutral position” which means unchanged neck curve during sleep. If you are feeling neck pain when you wake up, that means your pillow is not providing your body with “neutral position” and needs to be switched with more appropriate one.
A good practice to keep neck pain away is to buy a new pillow after every 18 months, or after maximum of two years.
What are the Best Fit Pillows for Neck Pain?
Selecting a right pillow can certainly help prevent or manage neck pain. But unfortunately, there is no one answer for people suffering from neck or back pain. Depending on your sleep style, different types of pillows can work best for you. The goal is to find a perfect pillow that can keep your neck and shoulders in alignment by providing proper support and lift without compromising softness and comfort.
- Tips for Side Sleepers: Experts claim that pillows that are firm and provide good lift are best option for side sleepers. Make sure that the pillow is not high enough as recommended thickness is between 4 to 6 inches for side sleepers. The selected pillow should effectively provide lift between the ear and the outside shoulder. Thicker pillows also prevent our necks to move unnaturally while we sleep.
- Tips for Back Sleepers: According to health experts, sleeping on your back is the best position for people suffering from pain or back pain. This position provides good rest to our spine and neck tissues which helps prevent or relieve neck pain effectively. Back sleepers are mostly advised to use thinner pillows to keep spine straight without pushing the head too far forward.
- Tips for Stomach Sleepers: Stomach or tummy sleepers are also advised to use thinner pillow options. For stomach sleepers, sleeping without a pillow is also an option or use a pillow under stomach to keep the spine level in balance and to avoid lower back pain.
As discussed above, the most important factor to think about before selecting the best pillow for neck pain is your sleep style.
Best Pillow for Neck Pain: What are the Popular Options?
Number of pillow types are rated positively for relieving or preventing neck and back pain while other types like Down and Feather are rated negatively by most users. We have shared some of the most commonly used pillows to relieve neck pain.
Also known as orthopedic pillows, cervical pillows are recommended for those who are suffering with severe neck and back pain. These pillows are designed to keep the neck in alignment with the spine by providing extra support under the neck and deeper softness (depression) for the head. These pillows are specifically manufactured for people with neck or back pain as they are contoured to fill the spaces between the neck and head to keep healthy balance.
A great option for back sleepers, buckwheat pillow is rated positively for its pain relief-potential. According to one pillow rating website, almost 20% of the users claimed that they have experienced relief in neck pain after they switched their pillows with buckwheat. These pillows are firm but can easily adjust to contours of the head and neck to balance spine, neck and head level resulting in pain relief.
Best fit for: Back Sleepers
Not Fit for: Stomach Sleepers due to high firmness
Latex pillows are also rated positively for their effectiveness for neck pain management and prevention. This type is mostly recommended for side sleepers. As latex pillows are more consistent in their support if compared to other pillow types, its ability to keep healthy balance for longer period of time is exceptional. As the pillows are springy, they quickly adjust to the movements of the head during the sleep keeping constant support for head and neck.
Best fit for: Back Sleepers and Side Sleepers
Not Fit for: Stomach Sleepers due to higher thickness
Memory Foam Pillows
Memory foam pillow is another good option for back sleepers as 17% of users claimed that the use of memory foam pillows helped relieve neck pain. These pillows provide contoured variety to users that can effectively reduce pain but in some cases, it can also cause pain especially for stomach sleepers.
Best fit for: Back Sleepers
Not Fit for: Stomach Sleepers due to high loft
Health experts also recommend knee pillows for side and back sleepers to keep healthy spine balance of the body. Side sleepers can keep a pillow between their knees while back sleepers can keep under their knees. By keeping knee pillow during a sleep, our body maintains a neutral position for our spine resulting in pain relief.
Unfortunately, there is no science for selecting the best pillow for neck pain but more often, it is a trial and error process before finding the right fit.