Finding the right pillow is a lot like dating. You’ll know when you’ve finally got your hands on a good one. And the wrong ones always end up causing you pain and discomfort until you kick them to the curb.
Comfortable pillows can make all the difference in how much sleep you get and how you feel the next day when you wake up. Life is too short to put up with the wrong pillow. We’ll teach you a better way, and show you how you can reduce neck pain.
The Lowdown on Cervical Pillows and How They Work
You’ve likely heard of a cervical pillow before, but may not be exactly sure what it is. These types of pillows are specially designed to support your neck and keep it comfortable.
They work so well because they realign the cervical spine, putting it in a neutral position. That lessens any muscle tension and stops your head and neck from experiencing pains from being positioned incorrectly all night. When you use the wrong type of pillow year after year, you can develop chronic neck pain.
Cervical pillows look and feel different from the traditional pillows you’re likely used to. That’s because typical pillows are made to cradle the head, not the neck. That means they aren’t great for people with neck pain.
The Types and Differences of Cervical Pillows
There isn’t a universal type of cervical pillow -- they can come in all shapes and sizes. That ensures you’ll be able to find one that works well for you. And keep in mind while shopping for one -- they do tend to look quite different from traditional pillows.
First off, you should understand what types of materials are used for cervical pillows. Here are some of the common materials you’ll see used for this type of pillow:
- Latex: A latex pillow is highly breathable, which makes it a great choice for hot sleepers. Plus, it is easy to clean and is low maintenance. With feather and down pillows, you constantly have to be fluffing them up. With a latex neck pillow, you don’t need to do that.
- Memory foam: Memory foam pillows conform to your alignment, which makes them great choices for people who need a supportive pillow that works for every sleeping position. This ergonomic pillow type comes in regular memory foam or shredded memory foam. Either one is a good choice, although shredded memory foam has better breathability.
- Cooling gel: There are pillows for neck pain that are made with the addition of cooling gels. This type of luxury pillow is a good solution for a side sleeper who tends to get night sweats.
- Polyester microfiber fill: Some cervical pillows use polyester microfiber fill, which is a good choice if it’s extremely fine. Fine microfiber fill is breathable and comfortable.
Some cervical pillows are good for every preferred sleeping position, while others are better solely for side sleepers or stomach sleepers.
What to Consider When Purchasing a Neck Pain Pillow
At night, you want to feel comforted and supported if you have neck pain. Before you find a pillow that offers that, you’ll need to consider all angles of your purchase.
- Loft: The height of your pillow is crucial. If you buy a pillow that has a high loft, your head might get pushed forward too much. That can result in more neck pain, not less. If the loft is too low, it might not have enough elevation to keep some sleepers comfortable.
- Support: Do you like a lot of support, or do you prefer a pillow that is more neutral?
- Shape: Some cervical pillows have really unique shapes. That can be off-putting for people who like the shape of a traditional pillow. It’s more important to be pain-free than to worry about the shape of your pillow though. If you are annoyed by how your pillow looks, you can always toss it in your closet when company comes over.
- Firmness level: Some people love an extremely firm pillow. But to others, it can feel like you’re sleeping on a rock. Find a firmness level that suits you and go for it.
- Materials: Look for pillows made out of materials that you like or are comfortable with. If you have a latex allergy or sensitivity, for instance, you’ll want to avoid latex cervical pillows. If you find memory foam too hard, maybe you’ll want to use a latex pillow or a cooling gel pillow.
- Price: Some pillows for neck pain are much more expensive than others. You shouldn’t buy a pillow simply because it’s cheaper though. The higher price tag might reflect the superior quality of performance and the materials that are used. Plus, some of the pricier pillows might last longer than their cheaper counterparts.
- Pressure relief: Memory foam pillows are wonderful when it comes to relieving pressure points to lessen neck pain. Since they conform right next to the shoulders, head, and neck, they can press in on those points, when an ordinary pillow wouldn’t be able to do so. Think how relaxing it is when someone digs their fingers or the heel of their hand into your sore neck. A pillow can give a similar sense of pain relief.
What Is the Best Pillow Positioning for Neck Pain?
If you have neck pain, you should be sleeping on your side or your back. Stomach sleeping isn’t recommended because that can create an awkward angle that puts more pressure on your neck. If you’re a stomach sleeper, it would be best to try to break yourself of that habit.
When you’re a back sleeper, you can try using a pillow with built-in support for your neck. Other solutions include using a duck feather pillow. It will conform to your neck’s shape and alignment, but it will need to be replaced pretty frequently because it will get flatter over time. But if you have allergies, you shouldn’t choose a feather pillow because it can aggravate your symptoms.
When you’re sleeping on your side, experiment with the loft of the pillow to find a height that doesn’t result in neck pain the next morning. You might find a lower or higher loft than you currently have helps soothe your neck better.
Tips for Neck Pain Sufferers
Neck pain can range from mildly achy to excruciating pain. With so many potential causes of neck pain, you can try the following tips to see if it lessens or eliminates your pain. If none of these tips seem to help, you may want to consult a doctor to look for an underlying cause.
- Massage: Massage your own neck whenever you’re feeling pain. That might be first thing in the morning or periodically throughout the day, especially after long stretches at the computer. It will help reduce any swelling and it feels great. If you have a partner, ask for a quick neck rub.
- Ice: To relieve neck pain, ice it down occasionally. When it hurts, keep an ice pack on it for no longer than 20 minutes at a time.
- Experiment with pillows: Try out different pillows to see which one works best for you. You might find that using several different pillows is the best route to go with, depending upon where your neck is hurting. You might find relief by swapping pillows every night, so no one spot is allowed to constantly be aggravated.
- Ease up on the painkillers: It’s okay to turn to medication when you truly need it to numb the pain. But it’s better to find and eliminate the source of the neck pain than to keep medicating your condition. Medication will mask the pain, but pinpointing the source can help you treat the underlying cause.
Mela’s Cervical Pillows -- And What Makes Them Special
Whether you’re a back or side sleeper, we think you’ll love Mela’s Dual pillow. It has a pillow-in-a-pillow design that lets your head sink in while your neck finds the support it needs. We know that no one pillow works for every single sleeper, so we’ve made ours adaptable so you can find what you need.
You get to choose between mid loft or low loft, so you can find the perfect height. And since we know how important it is to have a clean pillow, especially if you have allergies, you might like that our pillow is fully machine washable. Our pillows are also made out of polyester microfiber fill that is free from any chemicals or toxins.
At Mela, we always take your comfort into consideration when designing our products. We want every one of our customers to get great, restorative sleep each night.
Take Your Comfort to New Heights
Pillows can be your friends, or foes when it comes to neck pain. Don’t settle for a pillow that makes you feel uncomfortable or unable to turn your neck the next morning. There is a pillow made for every type of neck pain, so start looking for one that works for you.