Imagine that feeling of laying your head down on a nice fluffy pillow at the end of a long day. You can leave all your worries behind and relax.
But, what happens the following day?
Do you wake up with neck pain and discomfort in the shoulders?
If your answer is yes, you’re not alone. Neck pain plagues a significant amount of Americans, and while the causes aren’t always completely clear, chances are, the pillow is at least partly to blame.
Today, we’re delving into all things cervical pillows — from what they are, what they’re made of, how cervical pillows can help chronic neck pain, to the best pillow on the market.
What Is a Cervical Pillow?
A neck pillow is also called a cervical pillow. This is because the upper part of the backbone — where the neck is located — is called the cervical spine.
Cervical pillows are specially made to support the neck and keep it in correct alignment during the night. Cervical pillows do this by guiding the head and the neck into the right angles when you sleep.
Did you know? A good cervical pillow should rise where your neck is, but it should compress where the head will lay.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the neck is vulnerable to injury because it has less protection than the rest of the spine.
The support cervical pillows provide can help prevent neck pain from developing and keep existing pain from worsening.
We spend a third of our lives sleeping but never really pay attention to our sleep position. When we sleep, our muscles relax, so the pillow is crucial in helping your neck maintain a natural arch. This is why cervical pillows provide the best sleep quality.
What to Consider When Buying Cervical Pillows
A lot of people don’t put much thought into buying a pillow, but just choose one that’s squishy and feels nice. Yes, this will give you immediate comfort, but long term, it may lead to neck pain.
To avoid this happening to you, here’s what to consider when buying a neck pillow:
The loft is the angle of your head in relation to the spine.
Too high or too low a loft can force your neck to bend at awkward and unnatural angles, which will cause neck pain over time.
Pro tip: When you choose a pillow, think about how broad your shoulders are and your head size. If you don’t know the ideal loft for you, choose a pillow with an adjustable loft.
Pillow firmness is one of the crucial things to consider when choosing a pillow, as pillow firmness determines where your head lays at night.
The best pillow firmness depends on several factors:
- How heavy is your head?
- How high is the pillow?
- What is your sleeping position?
- How firm is your mattress?
For example, a pillow that’s too firm causes pressure points, such as pressure in ears for side sleepers, while too soft pillows can sag and don’t give enough support to your head.
Lying on a flat surface will lead to neck and shoulder pain due to the head shape and neck area. Because of this, a thin flat pillow may not be the best choice, especially if you’re a stomach sleeper.
The best pillows for neck pain have these shapes:
- Neck rolls
- D-Core — Has an indentation in the shape of the letter D for your head
- Contour pillows — Usually wavy and have a lengthwise head indentation
In many cases, the best choice is a contour-shaped pillow for proper spinal alignment and pain-free sleep.
However, what pillow shape works best for you will depend on your sleep position. For example, contour-shaped is an excellent side sleeper pillow and back sleeper pillow, but it’s not a great choice for stomach sleepers. Also, if you’re a warm sleeper, a contour-shaped pillow isn’t flippable.
Here’s what materials cervical pillows are made of:
- Memory foam — Responds to heat and pressure and contours to the head, which means it can provide good support for both head and back. These pillows are budget-friendly and have wide availability. However, memory foam pillows have some drawbacks — short lifespan, can trap heat, and their response to pressure is slow, which can be frustrating.
- Feather — A good quality feather pillow is soft and has great conforming. Many feather pillows are customizable, which means the owner can add or take out the feather to adjust their loft. Their drawback is that they tend to lose loft because feathers compress over time.
- Down — These pillows are made from inner duck and geese feathers, which means they are soft and lightweight. Down pillows can be reshaped to suit the user’s preference and relieve neck pain. Their con is a high price tag, and it can cause allergies in some people. It also quickly loses shape and can be too soft.
- Buckwheat — This pillow is made of buckwheat hulls that can interlock and hold shape, which means this pillow provides great support. A natural material, this pillow is breathable and durable. Its downside is the high price, and it can make noise when you switch positions.
- Latex — Latex pillows are made from natural latex, which holds the neck in place. A lot of latex pillows have pincore holes, which help in regulating temperature. Its downside is that it comes in one piece, and it can’t be adjusted into a customizable shape.
- Polyfoam — Polyfoam pillows have a quicker pressure response than a memory foam pillow, but they also trap heat, the same as memory foam. These pillows are lightweight and have an affordable price. Their con is that they will need to be replaced more than other cervical pillows, and they leave permanent indentations.
The Best Pillow for Neck Pain
We’ve covered everything you should know about pillows for neck pain — from their firmness to the shape and materials.
We know that the number of pillow options out there can be overwhelming, so we’re bringing you the best pillow for neck pain — the neck relief ergonomic cervical pillow.
Shaped by our in-house ergonomists, this pillow will gently cradle your head and keep the neck aligned with the spine. Our neck pillow allows the neck to keep its natural curve when you’re asleep and releases pressure for the most comfortable sleeping experience.
Our ergonomists rated it as medium-firm, with a firmness level of 7.5 out of 10, which means it’s suited for most people.
Its features include:
- Material — Our own HYPERFOAM™, which is gel-infused dynamic rebounding memory foam.
- Inner mesh layer — circulates the air, which means you don’t have to worry about overheating.
- Breathable organic cotton cover — Provides natural ultra-soft comfort.
Here’s what others said about it:
“I have sprained my neck several times over the years doing headspins incorrectly and getting whiplash, so the damage is catching up to me. The pillow has been a great aid in my recovery, so I can continue to be active.” — Anonymous
Take advantage of free shipping in 48 states. Order your pillow today, and say goodbye to neck pain forever.