Do orthopedic pillows really help with neck pain?
To know this, it’s first important to understand what causes neck pain. Although mattresses are charged with keeping the spine in order, if you wake up with a kink in the neck it’s mostly because of the pillow. It could be that you sleep awkwardly. An orthopedic pillow can limit that motion and make sure you maintain the right sleeping posture. The neck pain may persist throughout the day. It can also lead to spondylitis in later stages. Neck pain may initially come as occasional bouts that hurt bad. But with repeated attacks, it aggravates to a dull pain that you wake up with every day.
There’s not a lot of research proving conclusively that pillows cure neck pain. But doctors often recommend orthopedic pillows as a remedy. More research is required in this domain. Until then you are left to experiment with different pillows and see which one fits your requirements. Neck pain apart, you may also find relief from sleep apnea, insomnia, breathing troubles while sleeping, acid reflux, cervical and lumbar spondylosis. There are different types of orthopedic pillows to choose from:
Travel pillow for sitting or reclining position when you travel
Knee pillow to put between knees
Lumbar pillow to curb pain in lower back
Orthopedic pillows specifically for side sleepers
Total body pillows
In the best orthopedic pillows list, we list only neck pillows for everyday use.
Sleeping position and Pillow use narrative
It’s generally agreed that no sleeping position is perfect. The supine position of sleeping on your back has the mostadvantages. When you are positioned on the spine, the body’s blood circulation is regulated and breathing improves. It’s also said to do wonders for your skin and defies wrinkles. Only disadvantage is back-sleeping has been found to be closely linked to Sleep Apnea and snoring. Doctors recommend those afflicted with sleep apnea to sleep on their sides. Back sleeping is also uncomfortable for some people.
Sleeping on your side is actually recommended in some situations like pregnancy and Sleep Apnea. But it has the distinct disadvantage of limiting blood flow in the arm that you rest on. It may also cause pain to the shoulder you sleep on. Sleeping on your stomach is considered the worst position. You will be squishing down your organs including your stomach. It also tries to straighten the natural curve of your spine which results in lower back pain.
The spine has two important curvatures, one is the cervical curve and one the lumbar curve. When you lie on the back, these areas don’t get support like the flat areas and get weaker with time. That’s how the concept of pillows arose. They support the curve of the neck.
How do orthopedic pillows help? There are different orthopedic pillows that position your head such that you will lie in the supine sleeping posture only. Many of these are memory foam pillows. The advantage of memory foam is that it adapts to the shape of the body than opposing it. This makes you feel more relaxed than usual pillows. You also have water pillows. It’s an odd choice of filling. But water doesn’t compress like the feather pillows and lends brace to your neck.
The shape of the orthopedic pillow also differs from brand to brand. Apart from the usual curved pillows, you have contoured pillows and other cervical pillows. You can decide on the shape of the pillow based on your lying position and the location of the pain. Ask yourself if you wake up with pain in shoulders, neck and back every day. You are the best judge of what your body finds easy to adapt to. Check out our complete guide about Best Pillows for Back Pain.
Which are the best orthopedic pillows?
Pillows flaunting their curves are many. But only few of them made the cut to the best orthopedic pillows list. They were selected based on:
Support: Although there are a number of great pillows, there are only few that are certified orthopedic pillows. We did some extensive research to see that they actually help relieve neck pain in the morning. Testimonials from other customers also helped determine that these work for different body shapes and pain locations.
Comfort: All the support in the world is not going to be enough if you are not comfortable with the pillow. You will end up cranky in the morning even if you are not in pain. It might be because you are forced into a sleeping position you don’t like.
Filling: See what kind of filling the pillow has: memory foam, down feathers, water, shredded foam etc.. Only you can be a judge of how you like the pressure from one of these materials. The feeling has to be just right so that you wake up refreshed. For people afflicted with neck pain, pillows firmer than the fluffed down pillows are recommended.
Price: We have selected the best cervical pillows along a large price range. Pillows of different prices were compared based on the value they bring for money. We want people with different spending capacities to the get the best for their money.
Features: Other perks like different sizes in the pillow, hypoallergenic surface, zippered covers and what not. All these features are convenient. All of them got brownie points on the best orthopedic pillows list.