Best Pillow for Neck Pain 2018 - SleepingCulture.com

Best Pillow for Neck Pain

It’s normal and common to wake up with a stiff or painful neck. People often assume this is due to an old mattress because the neck pain can extend to pain in other parts of the body, including arms, back, shoulders, and hips, and it could also cause numbness in the limbs and migraine headaches. Plus, the pain and stiffness could affect your sleep, which impacts your mood and ability to function normally.

Quick Look at Our Top 5 Picks

But even though you may have pain all over, the problem starts with the pillow and snowballs from there. To put it simply, the best pillow to prevent neck pain is the one that has the correct shape, size, thickness, and construction to match your body.

The Science Behind Neck pain

Pain in the neck has the potential to cause pain, stiffness, and other health concerns throughout the body, which is why preventing it is critical, and understanding where the pain comes from is the first step in doing so.

The neck is made up of muscles, tendons, cartilage, and 7 tiny bones. The bones are not connected to each other, but instead suspended in a bed a fluid, and their job is to protect the central nervous system and support the head. When parts of the neck become pinched or compressed, it causes pain and stiffness. Unfortunately, the neck is the part of the spine that is most susceptible to pinching and compression, especially when it’s laid on for several hours, so keeping it in a straight, comfortable position is key to preventing pain from occurring—this is where the right pillow comes in.

Pillows for Neck Pain— Key Considerations

Shape & Loft: Because of the natural curvature of the anatomy around the head, neck, and shoulders, a pillow that is the correct shape and size is best for preventing pain. Ideally, a rounded pillow, which is also called a contoured, cervical, or orthopedic pillow, would give support in all of the right places. But, many pillows designed to prevent neck pain have the traditional, even-surfaced shape that can work effectively for the right people.

Since the shape and size of everyone’s body varies, some people may need more loft in their pillow, or more support in their pillow. Generally, low loft refers to pillows that are less than 3 inches thick, medium loft is between 3 and 5 inches thick, and high loft is more than 5 inches thick. For some, a pillow that is over stuffed or too firm could cause pain, but for others, it could perfectly address the curvature of their neck. Either way, it’s best to find a pillow that will keep your neck elevated and supported enough to stay in line with your spine. Usually this means finding a pillow that is thicker under your neck, and thinner under you head.

Composition: Pillows for neck pain are made from a variety of materials including feathers, memory foam or shredded memory foam, water, polyester, latex, down or down alternative, wool, cotton, bamboo, or buckwheat. The most recommended materials, however, are feather, memory foam or shredded memory foam, and water, and if you find a pillow that allows you to adjust the amount of fill, that’s even better.

Each of the recommended materials come with their advantages and disadvantages. Feather pillows provide soft comfort for the head but may not be as supportive in the neck area. Memory foam does a good job of supporting the neck, but it could be too stiff and cause pain. The shredded version of memory foam could alleviate some of the concerns of regular memory foam because it is better able to adapt to the shape of your body, and some pillows allow you to add or take away shredded pieces. Water-filled pillows are heavy but allow you to adjust the thickness by adding and taking away water, and they adapt well to any shape.

Sleep Position: The position in which you sleep can influence whether or not you experience pain the next morning. Ideally, the correct pillow will minimize the effect your sleeping position has, but sleep experts recommend sleeping on your side or your back to prevent neck pain. Stomach sleeping is not recommended because it causes your spine to arch in an unnatural way and causes strain on the neck. Another note about sleep position: if you intended to buy a pillow with unique contours, consider the fact that the specialized shape may not fit every sleep position you move through during the night.

What Are the Top Six Pillows for Neck Pain?

Here is a summary of the top six pillows for neck pain, each offering a unique combination of desirable features. All of these products are highly rated, and sleep tested.

Coop Home Goods Original Pillow

The Coop Home Good Original Pillow has all of the qualities of an ideal pillow to prevent neck pain. It is filled with shredded Visco elastic memory foam that is fully adjustable through a convenient side zipper. The cover is made with a bamboo-derived viscose rayon and polyester blend and is designed to stay cool. All of the materials used to build this pillow are CertiPUR certified, meaning they are free from ozone-depleting chemicals and harmful toxins. Plus, it is hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant. This pillow is machine washable, available in both king and queen sizes, and comes with a 5-year warranty and 100-night, money-back trial.

Pros:

  • Comes with an extra bag of fill
  • Will not result in neck pain
  • Conforms to any sleep position
  • Fully adjustable
  • Stays cool all night

Cons:

  • Shredded memory foam may seem lumpy

Sleep Innovations Memory Foam Contour Pillow

The Sleep Innovations Memory Foam Contour Pillow has a unique design that is lower under the head and higher under the neck to give appropriate support to each. One side of the pillow is higher than the other, so you are free to choose which side fits you better. The memory foam fill adapts to the natural curvature of your neck, shoulders, and head to provide comfort and prevent neck pain. It comes equipped with a cotton, zipper cover that allows you to keep the pillow clean. This pillow is available in queen, standard, and travel sizes. The travel size is simply a shorter version of the bed pillow, so you won’t experience pain on the go. Sleep Innovations offers a 5-year limited warranty with the purchase of this pillow.

Pros:

  • Will not result in neck pain
  • Provides a great deal of neck support
  • Will not go flat

Cons:

  • Not adjustable
  • Contoured sides may be too thick for some

Beckham Luxury Linens Hotel Collection Gel Pillow

The Beckham Luxury Linens Hotel Collection Gel Pillow is a unique, gel-filled fiber pillow that provides ultimate comfort. It is shaped like a traditional, even-surfaced pillow, and it has a 100% cotton cover. This pillow is dust mite, mold, and mildew resistant, plus it is hypoallergenic and free from harmful chemicals. It is also fade and stain resistant and machine washable. This pillow has “no-shift” construction, meaning the filling will never become bunched up and stuck together. Beckham Luxury Linens offers a 30-day, money-back guarantee with the purchase of the gel pillow.

Pros:

  • Perfect balance of softness and support
  • Will not result in neck pain
  • Stays cool all night
  • Holds its shape well

Cons:

  • May be overstuffed/too thick for some
  • Not adjustable

Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Pillow

The Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Pillow will never go flat, and it stays cool all night. It is filled with shredded combination memory foam, and the cover is micro-vented and made with bamboo, polyester, and Lycra. This pillow allows you to add or take away filling through its zipper cover, plus it is machine washable. The Ultra-Luxury pillow is CertiPUR certified (free from ozone depleters and harmful chemicals), hypoallergenic, and dust mite resistant. It is available in standard, queen, and king sizes, and Snuggle-Pedic offers a 120-night, no-hassle refund guarantee, as well as a 20-year warranty with the purchase of this pillow.

Pros:

  • Will not result in neck pain
  • Stays cool all night
  • Fully adjustable
  • Conforms to any sleep position

Cons:

  • Shredded memory foam may seem lumpy
  • May have a smell when first opened

Core Products Tri-Core Pillow

The Core Products Tri-Core Pillow has specialized contours that are raised on all four sides with a low center. The shape of the pillow cradles your head from all angles, and each side has a different level of loft to fit your preference and sleep position. The design is meant to correctly align the spine to prevent neck pain. Despite its unique shape, the pillow fits standard pillow cases. It is filled with resilient fiber that won’t go flat, and it has a blended cotton cover that is breathable and will stay cool all night. This pillow is available in full size, midsize, and petite, and you can choose the level of firmness; some sizes come in colors while others come in white.

Pros:

  • Will not result in neck pain
  • Stays cool all night
  • Choose your level of firmness

Cons:

  • Not adjustable
  • May lose shape sooner than expected

The Water Pillow by Mediflow

The Water Pillow by Mediflow helps alleviate and prevent neck pain through its adjustable, water-filled system. Unlike other fill materials, water smoothly adapts to the curvature of your neck, shoulders, and head without any lumpiness. It has a polyester cover with a valve that allows water to go in and come out. With the help of a funnel-like tool, it is easy to add the amount of water that fits your taste. Water should be cold or lukewarm when adding it to the pillow, and it can stay in the pillow for up to a year before it needs to be replaced. For the most comfortable experience, all air should be released from the pillow, leaving only water. This pillow is available for purchase individually or in packs of two. Mediflow offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, as well as a 1-year warranty with the purchase of this product.

Pros:

  • Clinically proven to prevent neck pain
  • Fully adjustable
  • Will not lose its shape over time

Cons:

  • Heavy when full
  • Risk of leakage
  • May be tricky to add and take away water

Pillows for Neck Pain— Final Thoughts

There are many pillows available that claim to alleviate neck pain, but only you know what your spine needs to be comfortable. Everyone’s anatomy is different, so find the pillow that has the ideal loft, support, and construction to keep your spine in line. However, there are other features you may want to look for in a pillow as well. For example, you may need a pillow that is hypoallergenic and free from any toxins or harmful chemicals. You may also want one that is easy to clean or machine washable. Plus, if you’re sensitive to temperature when you sleep, you will want a pillow that stays cool all night.

It’s important to remember that your body will need some time to adjust to a new pillow, so test drive it for a few nights before you make your final decision about it. Keep in mind that whichever pillow you choose will need to be replaced as often as once per year because all pillows naturally lose their shape and thickness over time. This is also where the price of your pillow can play a role. Many people are willing to splurge on one good pillow but replacing an expensive pillow each year could cause you to reconsider your choice. For your reference, the recommended pillows listed above range in price from $26 to $60.

With all of this advice, you should be ready to purchase your new pillow and start enjoying nights and mornings free from neck pain.

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