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How does the firmness of a neck pain pillow impact its effectiveness?

neck pain pillow impact its effectiveness

The way you sleep, your body size and weight, and even the firmness of your mattress can all impact how well a pillow supports your neck and spine. Finding The One pillow that keeps your head and neck in a neutral posture can make all the difference. But because pillows can compress and lose their shape over time, it’s also common for them to contribute to neck pain and stiffness. Getting a good night’s rest is a big part of neck pain relief.

The good news is, the right neck pain pillow can help you get better sleep and reduce neck pain and stiffness. If your neck pain is a constant companion, it’s worth taking the time to find the best pillow for you. But finding The One might be a little bit of a trial-and-error process.

“It’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all pillow,” says Grant D. Shifflett, orthopedic spine surgeon at DISC Sports & Spine Center. He adds that the goal is to keep your head and neck in a neutral spine position, which means that if someone were to draw a line through your head, neck, and the center of your spine, it would be a straight line rather than a jagged or hockey stick-shaped one. That is a position that may be easier to achieve with a softer, flatter pillow.

How does the firmness of a neck pain pillow impact its effectiveness?

Generally, doctors agree that medium-firm pillows are the best for neck pain and should be soft enough to allow your head and neck to sink into them. However, what works for your body is going to vary, and it’s a good idea to try out a pillow in person before you buy it online. Lie down in your normal sleep position with the pillow under your head and see how it feels. If possible, ask the store for a sleep trial or no-questions-asked return policy so that you can swap out pillows if you don’t like them.

If you are a side sleeper, your pillow should be firm enough to hold your head in a healthy angle and eliminate any empty space between the pillow and your ears. The height of your pillow should also be considered. If it’s too high, it will cause your head to be cranked in an unhealthy angle which, over time, can lead to neck pain and stiffness.

Your pillow should also be responsive, meaning it should adjust to your head and neck shape. A pillow made of memory foam or a water pillow is an example of a good choice because it will adjust to your neck’s natural curves and remain supportive throughout the night. You can also look for a pillow that uses synthetic fill material, which wicks away heat and sweat to keep you cool while you sleep.

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