We all know the feeling of waking up with a stiff neck or general pain and discomfort around the neck and back. It’s common knowledge that poor neck posture and unnatural sleeping positions at night contribute to the pain that we may suffer from during the day.
After all, we spend a good amount of our day sleeping and we often remain in the same position for the majority of that time. Research suggests that people who sleep in unnatural and uncomfortable positions and do not get proper neck support use pillows that are unsuitable for them.
Their pillows may either be too stiff or too soft to provide support.
According to experts, using a neck pillow can immensely improve the quality of sleep by helping you avoid any neck pain caused due to lack of support and bad sleeping positions. The consistent use of a firm yet comfortable neck pillow can eliminate any pain completely if used properly.
It’s easy to get hold of a neck pillow these days as they are sold almost everywhere, but most of these pillows are designed to look aesthetically pleasing. A good neck pillow doesn’t have to look good – it has to be made of quality materials that are proven to reduce the pain and get rid of it all together over time.
How to Choose a Pillow Based On Your Neck Condition: Do Neck Pillows Help Neck Pain?
There are many kinds of neck support pillows sold, some of them claiming to be a lot of things. But there is no specific type of neck pillow for any particular neck problem or condition. You just have to look for the one that will fit perfectly and accommodate your needs.
In general, you need soft pillows that will make you feel comfortable lying down yet still firm enough to give your neck the support that it needs the entire night. This will do if you don’t have any chronic body pain and just want to prevent stiff necks.
However, if you are suffering from an injury, softer pillows should be your choice as they alleviate more painful conditions. Once you have recovered from the most painful stages of the injury, you can move on to firmer pillows that offer more support and will keep your spine properly aligned.
Different Neck Pillows
Consider how you sleep. Are you a side or a back sleeper? Do you move around in the bed a lot or do you just stay in one place once you have fallen asleep?
This will determine whether you need separate support pillows for your side and back, or maybe you need something that’s firmer rather than softer to keep your neck in place.
Side Sleeper Pillows and Body Pillows
Side sleeper pillows are just what the name suggests – they are for sleeping on your side. They provide support and height measurement.
There are also body pillows that provide comfort to the body as you sleep and improve your back posture.
There are neck pillows that are designed to accommodate advanced neck injuries and conditions. Therapeutic pillows are not your typical U-shaped travel pillows.
There are neck pillows that are softer in some areas and are firmer in others to provide better support to the neck. Therapeutic pillows are also often hypoallergenic and tested to make sure that they are only made of non-toxic materials that are safe to use for everyone.
While softer pillows are recommended for the injured and those who have chronic neck pain, firmer neck pillows are best for those who have been sleeping on a non-supportive pillow for a long time and have been having trouble with stiff necks. While they are not as comfortable as soft pillows, firm neck pillows provide better support.
If you want something in between or are transitioning from soft to firm pillows as your condition progresses, memory foam pillows are your best bet as they are known to adapt to the shape of your neck. This is because they are soft and cozy yet have some firmness that will not let your neck go unsupported as you sleep.
It’s still best to consult your doctor or a chiropractor if you have ongoing neck problems and are looking to adapt your sleeping pillow to your condition as it gets better or worse. This will help you transition safely.
Sleeping On Your Stomach
There is only one recommendation for sleeping on the stomach and that is to try your best to stop. This sleeping position only puts too much pressure on the neck, which is obviously not good for you if you are suffering from an injury or a long-standing condition.
However, if you really can’t just stop sleeping on your stomach or if you need to transition slowly, go for a low pillow so that your head doesn’t sit unnaturally when you are sleeping.