Sometimes, even the sweetest dreams are ruined by neck pain. Waking up in the morning with stiff shoulders and neck and trying to stretch it out as you go through the day is not ideal. But maybe there's an easy fix— all you need is a little advice for the best pillow for your neck pain!
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Why Does My Neck Hurt?
Neck pain is a kind of ache that can be a constant source of aggravation throughout the day.
Waking up with stiffness in your neck and shoulders is not uncommon and shouldn't usually be cause for alarm. The neck is made up of discs, bones, and muscles that absorb shock and allow for a lot of movement, however, it's a sensitive part of the body that is often not properly cared for.
Treatment depends on the source of the pain. Some things that can lead to neck pain are:
When the neck is exposed to abrupt motions, such as car accidents or falls, the neck is shocked into a position it wasn’t prepared for. This is commonly known as whiplash.
- Bone And Muscle Conditions
Some bone and muscle conditions can weaken joints and other specific parts of the body. Arthritis, osteoporosis, and fibromyalgia are just some of the conditions that affect bone and muscle health.
- Muscle Strain
This is one of the most common neck pain causes and can be the result of poor posture, lack of exercise and movement, intense exercise, and improper sleep.
Neck Pain Fixes
When neck pain is caused by injury, and bone and muscle conditions, the treatment will always require medical advice from a doctor. However, if the ache is obviously caused by muscle strain, the possible remedies are much simpler.
- Hot And Cold Compresses
Cold and warm compresses could help deal with the pain. Starting with a cold compress helps reduce inflammation. If the pain persists, following it up with a hot compress will loosen it up and relieve muscle tension.
- OTC Pain Relief
Sometimes, the easy fix is to take over-the-counter pain relief, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen. These should do the trick in getting rid of the discomfort if you’re looking for quick relief.
- Neck Exercises
Taking the time to stretch out your neck and spine can be a source of relief. Slowly tilting your head from side-to-side is a simple task that you can do as you work at your desk, cook, or even as you binge Netflix at night.
- Good Posture
Maintaining good posture could be one other way to deal with aching necks. It might hurt at first but that’s only because your body has cramped up in a poor position.
- Changing Sleep Routine
Changing your sleep routine might be one of the best ways to alleviate neck pain, especially if you end the day having gotten rid of the pain only for it to come back in the morning. You won’t need to change your mattress or invest in a state-of-the-art bed frame. Sometimes, all you need is just the right pillow!
Pillow Buying Guide
Pillows aren’t as simple as they used to be. While cartoons would like to have the little ones believe that they’re all just filled with feathers, that’s often not the case. Choosing the correct pillow is just as important as choosing the correct mattress and frame, and knowing when to let go of an old pillow is crucial.
There are two things you’ll need to know when pillow shopping— sleep position and pillow fillings.
Sleep positions greatly affect the way your neck is treated and how you need to support it. There are three sleep positions and generally speaking, everyone falls under one of these. If you’re a fitful sleeper and are unsure which position you fall under, it might be best to choose the position you tend to wake up in.
- Side Sleepers
Side sleepers can go through many different forms throughout the night. Sleeping on your side has been found to be good in dealing with insomnia and sleep deprivation. It’s also the recommended position when wanting to alleviate back and hip pain. For side sleepers, the most idea pillow would be a thick or medium-firm pillow that aligns their spine effortlessly.
- Back Sleepers
Back sleepers are very common but this position doesn’t allow much support for the back, especially if your mattress and pillow combination strains your spine rather than relieving it. This position can cause lower back pain as well as neck aches from lack of support. To help, placing a pillow under your knees can help naturally curve your spine while using a deep and plush support pillow could help.
- Front Sleepers
Sleeping on your stomach puts your body in a difficult position, with less support for your spine and with your neck curving at an odd angle to breathe properly. This sleeping position can be the reason behind lower back pains and neck aches. To sleep comfortably on your stomach, using a very soft and breathable pillow is most recommended.
Pillow fillings are varied and have different functions for comfort, support, and coolness. It can either be a synthetic or a natural filling, with the brand’s own technology and innovations mixed into it.
- Down Feather Pillows
A very soft and fluffy filling. Depending on the thickness of the filling, this can either give your neck and head a lot or only a little support. The more expensive ones are thick, fluffy pillows that easily adjust to your shape without giving in and letting your head sink to the bed.
- Hollowfibre Pillows
This is a down filling alternative. It’s made of a synthetic blend of fibres that allow the pillow to be soft and fluffy whilst still providing enough support. Thanks to its synthetic nature, hollowfibre fillings come at much more affordable prices.
- Memory Foam Pillows
These pillows are made of a special kind of foam that’s designed for support. It can come shredded into tiny pieces for a filling or it can be moulded into a shape that’s designed to contour to the natural curves of the neck and head. These are the most recommended pillow for neck pain sufferers.
Check Out Some Of The Best Pillow For Neck Pain
The Pillow V-Support by CNA Stores is a uniquely shaped pillow designed to give extra support and comfort for pregnant women— however you don’t need to be pregnant to enjoy it!
This pillow is made out of a non-allergenic hollowfibre filling. Hollowfibre is synthetic man-made bedding specifically designed for comfort and heat retention. It’s a hollow strand of polyester that traps air, making it very light, durable, and warm. With this, the pillow can achieve down feather filling qualities at only a fraction of the cost.
This specific pillow takes a V-shape, which cleverly allows simultaneous and comfortable support for your neck and shoulders. It’s great for pregnant women, especially with its medium-firm support. Additionally, this would be great for side sleepers providing more support for their arms and chest area.
One possible deal-breaker is it’s hollowfibre filling, being so light it may lose its form over time. However, this can be easily remedied by fluffing and plumping it. Just one good plumping helps bring life back into it. This is also non-allergenic, making it good for health reasons.
It comes in a non-removable soft cotton cover with a variety of removable cover colours to choose from. Another great thing about this is, because of its affordable construction, this is a very good orthopaedic support pillow that’s within reach of the pockets of most people.
Unfortunately, even though it has a wide V-shape, this isn’t big enough to cradle your entire upper body. Instead, it only reaches just past your shoulders and chest area.
Because of its unique shape, it might not be comfortable back sleepers. This pillow is specifically designed to cushion the head, neck, back, and shoulders. This is best for side sleepers but could also work well for front sleepers too.
2. BedStory Gel Memory Foam Pillow
- Gel-infused memory foam
- Breathable and temperature regulating properties
- Upper body support
- Tencel and microfibre fabric cover
- Anti-dust mite and ultra-soft materials
- CertiPUR-EU and Oeko-Tex Certification
- Ultra-soft materials
- Medium firmness good for all sleeping positions
- Sleek packaging suitable for gifting
- Opens with a noticeable smell
- Not a very deep pillow
Second on the list is the BedStory Gel Memory Foam Pillow. This pillow offers great support for most sleepers and has adopted the standard and comforting pillow design.
This is a memory foam pillow infused with cooling gel beads. It has open cell technology, meaning that it’s built-in with ventilation chambers for air to pass through. This is a kind of high-density memory foam with a slow response, making it great for providing proper shoulder, neck, and head support. This kind of foam and gel-infusion also ensures that it will be able to retain its shape for long.
The gel infusion helps regulate your body temperature, disperse heat, aid with airflow, and prevent any excessive sweating that can occur as you sleep at night.
To help out more with ventilation, it comes with a specially designed cover. This cover is made of a mix of Tencel and microfiber, with a thin air layer on the surface. This unique fabric is made for breathability and comfort, providing small pockets of air to pass through the pillow. Luckily, this cover is removable and machine washable. This cover is ultra-soft, comfortable, highly durable, and it protects against dust mites as well.
The materials in this pillow are all hypoallergenic and have been tested to be free of formaldehyde, mercury, lead, or any heavy metals. This is certified by CertiPUR-US and Oeko-Tex and has met their high safety standards.
It has a medium-firm design, made to look like a standard pillow. This pillow is great for all sleeping positions, whether you prefer to sleep on your back, your side, or on your stomach.
For all that this pillow can do, one downside is that it’s not a very deep pillow. Although it does offer a lot of support, it doesn’t allow your head to sink in very deep.
When you open this from its box, you’ll also notice a distinct smell. This is common with memory foam products and is mostly coming from residual scents from its production days. Thankfully, it’ll only need to be aired out for a few days before the smell dissipates.
This pillow won’t take up much space and it can easily be layered. Since this suits all sleeping positions, this would also be a safe choice to buy.
3. Power of Nature Memory Foam Cervical Pillow
- High density and slow-rebound memory foam
- Moisture-sensitive fibre core for support
- Ergonomic design with contours to cradle the neck and head
- Armrest design
- Dust proof inner cover
- Good neck and back support for all sleeping positions
- No temperature regulating properties
- Not good for lots of movement
- Might be too soft
- Cannot be left under direct sunlight
The Power of Nature (PON) Memory Foam Cervical Pillow is a soft yet well-supported pillow with a unique shape specially designed to help with neck pain by stretching it out.
This design aims to naturally fit the curves and contours of your shoulders, head, and neck. For this reason, it has many dips and crevices in it to reduce any stress or pressure that standard pillows exert on the neck. In general, this design is great for side and back sleepers on there.
This pillow makes use of a high-density foam that features a slow-rebound time. This material helps provide the support needed to alleviate any shoulder stiffness and neck aches. The pillow’s firmness also ensures that it’ll maintain its shape for a long time.
At the core of this pillow is an internal moisture-sensitive fibre, which is responsible for its firmness and support.
It comes with a removable pillowcase made with a combination of rayon and polyester. This textile mix results in a breathable fabric that allows some air circulation to help keep you cool throughout the night. It also comes with an anti-dust mite inner cover; this one is not removable.
It’s delivered to you, all rolled up and vacuum-sealed. Simply unroll it and let it aerate for a day to recover its intended shape and to dissipate the memory foam smell that’s present upon opening.
Due to its unique foam core, it’s not recommended to place this pillow under direct sunlight. If you do, this could have serious consequences on the softness of the pillow.
One thing to consider with this pillow is your sleeping habits— particularly if you move around often while sleeping. Since it’s designed with contours and crevices fitted to the shape of a head and neck, it doesn’t allow for much movement. If you tend to sleep restlessly or to flip over, this pillow won’t be ideal for you.
This also lacks temperature regulating properties in the memory foam filling. It’s important to have designs specifically geared towards breathability, especially since memory foam is known to retain body heat.
Even so, this pillow might be great for you if you’re looking for a unique pillow that’s specifically designed to stretch out your spine. It’s well-suited for most people suffering body pains.
4. UMI. Essentials Memory Foam Contour Pillow
- Three layer contoured memory foam
- Adjustable pillow heights and slow-rebound foam
- Breathable AirCell technology
- Washable aloe vera cover
- Anti-allergy inner cover
- CertiPUR-EU and Oeko-Tex Certification
- Good to lessen snoring
- Great support for back and side sleepers
- Might be too firm or too soft depending on the layers used
- Small in size
The UMI. Essentials Memory Foam Contour Pillow is an adjustable pillow that can be customized to your needs and preferences.
It has a three-layer memory foam design. The material for this is a high-density, and slow-rebound memory foam, which helps it adjust to your neck and shoulders. This has a honeycomb design built into it, which is also called their AirCell technology.
The AirCell technology is UMI’s specially crafted memory foam construction, made with additional breathability and comfort throughout the night. Although it is made out of viscoelastic foam, this specific formula absorbs moisture and provides a space for the air to pass through to help regulate your temperature as you sleep.
It has three layers popped on top of one another, each with different heights to it. Each layer can be customized to your preferred pillow height. With the way this has been designed, you’ll be able to get four pillow depths in one pillow.
The topmost layer has an ergonomically contoured design that follows the curve of the neck and head, to help the pillow mould to your curves easier. This allows the spine to stretch out naturally and helps relieve the pressure on your neck, back, and shoulders.
By stretching out the body, it offers great support for back sleepers and side slippers as well.
It has a washable aloe vera cover. This pillowcase is easy to clean with a simple tumble. Having an aloe vera infused case means the pillow has an added layer of allergy protection. This is also another breathable layer that helps add to your comfort and is a soft surface to lay your head.
This pillow’s safety is backed by CertiPUR-EU and Oeko-Tex Certifications, guaranteeing that there are no harmful chemicals or toxins left behind as you use it.
Unfortunately, as with all things, this does come with a few drawbacks. They can still be too firm or too soft, depending on the layers chosen. It’s also not quite as big as the standard pillow size.
This could be an amazing pillow for you if you’re a back or side sleeper with a snoring problem. The way this was designed to stretch out your neck and head somehow alleviates any strain while simultaneously lessening snoring. Of course, this is not an all-cure to snoring but it could provide some amount of relief for you.
5. Dyplon QUADRO
- Visco-elastic memory foam
- Ergonomic design
- Orthopaedic neck support
- Anti-dust, antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial cotton inner cover
- Breathable design
- European made
- Travel-friendly with a roll-up pad
- Suitable for all sleeping and arm positions
- Pleasing packaging suitable for gift-giving
- Premium price
The Dyplon QUADRO is a unique pillow with a never before seen ergonomic design.
This pillow is shaped like a four-leaf clover, with four soft petal-like points, which is the obvious inspiration for its name.
This is made of Dyplon’s own Visco foam formula, manufactured with premium raw materials. This foam mix is the brainchild of years of testing and errors, looking for the formula that’ll give the most support and ventilation to sleepers.
All throughout the memory foam, there are holes, acting as a source of ventilation for the pillow. This gives it channels to breathe and provides direct pathways for air to travel through.
The memory foam itself is high density and is medium-firm in firmness. This offers a lot of support and is a great material to use when designing something that will cradle the head gently to the pillow. It also helps stretch out the neck and spine without adding any pressure to it.
It comes with a 100% cotton inner and outer covers, giving these two cotton covers anti-dust, antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties. This helps lighten your load at living healthy lifestyles, and could be very beneficial to people with asthma or are sensitive to allergens.
Since good pillows are hard to sleep without, Dyplon has designed it to be very travel friendly. They’ve included a roll-up pad made with waterproof cotton to store the pillow during travels. Simply roll the pillow up with this pad and bring it around wherever you wish.
Because of this unique shape, the pillow is easy to sleep on. The different dips and peaks of this pillow mould nicely to the shape of your neck and shoulders, with spaces allowing for comfortable arm placements.
Something commendable about this European-made pillow is that even before it adapts to the shape of your body, it’s already been designed with the contours of your head in mind.
It’s a new kind of pillow design with exciting features. The biggest drawback with the Dyplon QUADRO is that it comes at a premium price.
So — which one is the best pillow for your neck pain? The answer to that is a bit more complicated than you’d have liked.
Pillows are personal items. This means that something that works for one person won’t always work as well for others.
Even so, we were able to identify one pillow which could help out a huge population of people with morning aches.
Dyplon’s QUADRO pillow has a distinctive yet simple design that easily fits the contours that most people need for good sleep. Its firmness, safety, and breathability are other features that add to the entire experience. Additionally, having a pillow that you can easily bring around with you is all kinds of convenient.
The others on this list each have their own strengths and might be better suited to certain specific needs.
The CnA Stores Pillow V-Support could work well with side sleepers and their shoulder pain, while the UMI. Essentials Memory Foam Contour Pillow could work amazingly for back sleepers who snore.
The PON Memory Foam Cervical Pillow might be best for peaceful sleepers who want to stretch out their spine as they sleep. Lastly, the BedStory Gel Memory Foam Pillow could do wonders for restless sleepers looking for a basic pillow offering comfort and support.