Neck pain comes in all forms. It can be crippling, staying with you every moment of the day, or it can be mild enough that you only notice it at times, like when you turn your head.
If you’re looking for just one cause of neck pain, though, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. There are several potential causes for it, including medical conditions like cervical spondylosis, a less-than-ideal sleeping position, using the wrong pillow, and a mattress that’s too hard or too soft.
Learning about the root of your pain and finding the best pillow for neck pain is the first step toward improving your situation. If you suspect you have an underlying medical cause for your neck pain, though, it’s wise to seek out medical advice right away.
How Does Neck Pain Affect Sleep?
Neck pain can affect your sleep in multiple ways. Your neck pain can cause you to seek out alternative sleeping styles which may be less comfortable for you.
Having pain can lead to poor sleep quality, with you tossing and turning all night. You may wake frequently during the night because of a dull ache or shooting pain.
If your pain is intense, you might even be scared to go to bed because you may make the pain worse by getting in the wrong position or by not using a good pillow for neck pain. The fear of feeling pain can lead to insomnia or an unhealthy relationship with sleep.
Finding Pillows for Neck Pain
The search for more pain-free sleep can start with a neck support pillow. The wrong pillow could be causing your pain. Your neck pain pillow may come in all kinds of shapes and sizes.
Here are some common types of pillows you’ll find for the right head and neck alignment that might lead to a pain-free night.
Cervical pillow: This type of pillow for bad neck pain is designed specifically to support your neck as you rest. There are four main types of cervical pillows you might see, including neck, cradle, side, and cervical roll pillows.
Buckwheat pillow: The best pillow for neck pain, UK citizens know, can sometimes be ones you wouldn’t normally consider. These pillows are stuffed with the hulls of buckwheat seeds. They offer a lot of support for back and side sleepers, although they can be quite noisy when the hulls rustle around.
- Shredded memory foam: This type can be a good neck arthritis pillow, particularly for side sleepers, since it helps support your neck. You can also use a standard memory foam pillow, but some sleepers think the shredded kind has better breathability.
When you’re shopping for a pillow for neck pain, one type you might want to leave off of your list is feather pillows.
Some sleepers love using feather pillows and if it works for them, that’s great. But, for many others, they aren’t a supportive pillow for the neck and shoulders. If your head sinks into your pillow rather than being supported, it can cause an improper spine alignment, leading to more pain.
How to Choose a Pillow
First off, look at the types of pillows you’ve used in the past. When were you most comfortable? What kind of pillow were you using?
It can also be helpful to think about when you’ve been to hotels. Were there specific hotels where you woke up in the morning with an aching neck? If so, you’ll want to stay away from the types of pillows you used there.
If you visited a hotel where you had the best sleep of your life, try to figure out what variables led to that high sleep quality. Did the pillow have a low loft and a lot of support? Or was it fluffy with less support?
After taking firmness and loft into account, you should consider any allergens you have and the overall care instructions of any pillow you’re considering. If you have dust mite or pet dander allergies, you would benefit from looking for a hypoallergenic neck support pillow.
Hypoallergenic pillows can be made of many different materials, including man-made and natural. Man-made options might include memory foam or polyester fill, while natural material pillows that are hypoallergenic could be made of materials like buckwheat, eucalyptus, or latex.
Finally, you may want to make sure that any pillow you select is machine washable. That will help remove any allergens that accumulate on your pillow over time. If your pillow isn’t washable, you should use a hypoallergenic pillowcase. That will keep as many allergens as possible off of your pillow.
What Are the Best Sleeping Positions for Neck Pain?
After you’ve figured out what kinds of pillows might work for you, look at what kind of sleeper you are. Are you a back, side, or stomach sleeper? Stomach sleeping can lead to neck pain, so if you’re sleeping that way, you may want to look for a new position to alleviate your neck pain.
If you’re a side sleeper, you’ll likely need a firmer pillow with a low loft. Anything too high will create an unnatural angle for your neck, which will lead to discomfort.
Keep that in mind before you get too carried away ordering the biggest, fluffiest pillow you find. Higher isn’t always better when it comes to choosing a pillow.
For back sleepers, it might be wise to experiment with lofts and how firm your pillow is. Some people have more success with pillows that aren’t as firm and have a higher loft, while others prefer more support and a lower profile, so they aren’t sinking in.
Other Methods for Helping With Neck Pain
Finding the right pillow and choosing a sleeping position that alleviates your pain is a good start. That may solve most of your neck pain issues. But if you find it’s still lingering, here are some additional things to try.
Try some neck stretches: It’s easy to get a strained neck, even when you’re just sitting at a desk all day. If your neck has pain, see if gentle neck stretches help. You can do them several times a day for the most benefit.
Use a neck pillow while travelling: If you’re on the road a lot or on a plane, neck pillows can be a lifesaver. They can give you the support you need during your commute or vacation.
Check your posture: Having poor posture can cause a lot of unnecessary strain on your neck. Make sure you’re sitting up straight throughout the day.
Ice it down: When you have burning pain or a constant ache, turn to an ice pack, especially if your pain is more recent. Ice is better than heat at reducing inflammation and pain.
Use some heat: For chronic pain or stiffness, some people find relief in using a hot compress on their neck. To see if it helps you, heat up a compress in the microwave or use a warm water bottle against the back of your neck.
See a massage therapist: Regular massages can help immensely when it comes to pain and tension relief in your neck, shoulders, and back. If you don’t have the budget for it, you can buy an electric massager to use at home or ask your partner to rub your neck and shoulders.
See a doctor: This can help you pinpoint the cause of your pain. It might also help you figure out what can be done to ease the discomfort.
- Watch what you carry: You may want to lay off the heavy purses and backpacks that could be causing additional strain on your neck and shoulders.
How Mela Can Help
If you’re looking for a new pillow to help in your fight against neck pain, consider checking out Mela’s Dual pillow. This highly-rated pillow is a big hit for those who use it because it can help with neck pain.
No matter what sleep position you favour, the Dual pillow is suited for it. Plus, it gets a seal of approval from osteopaths and allows you to choose whether you want a higher loft or a lower one.
It uses a smart pillow-in-a-pillow design that gives you the support your neck needs to stay pain-free. But it also offers that sink-in softness that you crave. With the best of both worlds, the Dual should be a welcome addition to any bedroom.
And if you have allergies or hate the idea of your pillow getting dirty over time, you’ll be pleased to know that the whole pillow is machine washable.
The pillow uses a fine polyester microfiber fill which is Oeko-Tex certified. That means it doesn’t contain any detrimental toxins or chemicals. Each pillow is encased in a 100 per cent cotton cover that feels soft and snuggly against your skin.
Pair this pillow with Mela’s eucalyptus silk sheet set and you won’t be able to wait to crawl into bed each night. The silk sheet set is a great choice for those who want a soft, but cooling-to-the-touch feel when they’re sleeping.
It will wick away your sweat, keeping you dry. Plus, the sheets are hypoallergenic, which is great news if you suffer from allergies.
Kiss Neck Pain Goodbye
With all these workable tips and by finding the right pillow, you’re well on your way to experiencing less pain every day. Pretty soon, you’ll be feeling much better and getting a wonderful night’s sleep every evening.