How To Choose The Best Pillow For Your Neck

Choose Best Cervical Pillow
Choosing The Best Pillow For Your Neck

So many patients have come into my chiropractic clinic before and asked me what I think is the best cervical neck pillow for them to sleep on tonight. I do believe that a good cervical neck pillow is important in helping you sleep better and especially for neck pain and headache sufferers.

Today I want to give you some information about how to choose the best cervical neck pillow for you. I will help you in your decision making to when deciding which pillow to sleep on is best for your neck. i will share with you my personal story why I believe so much in having a supportive pillow for your neck is essential, the different types of pillows available on the market and links to some of my favourite pillows.

The goal is to help you find your perfect pillow.

Types of Pillows

There is such a wide variety of pillows on the market that are advertised at reducing neck pain.

All of these different types of pillows claim that they get the best results because they give you a better cervical spine posture when you lay on your back or side; creating more comfort during sleep.

Many of these different cervical neck pillow products are endorsed by different health associations and recommended by clinicians as part of a pain management program.

These usually leaves you with such a choice of fillings for a neck support pillow like:

  • Feather,
  • Down,
  • Cotton-filled,
  • Latex/rubber,
  • Springs,
  • Buck wheat,
  • Memory foam & more.

You also have such a choice of different shapes and sizes of the cervical neck pillow that I thought I would explain a little more about what I feel is important when looking for the best cervical neck pillow for you to sleep on tonight.

What is the Best Pillow For Neck Pain?

Tempur Pedic comfort pillow

My Personal Neck Pillow Story

I have been sleeping on different memory foam pillows since my days as a student at Chiropractic college. This was when I really learnt the importance of a good cervical neck pillow.

I slept on whatever was the cheapest pillow from any local furniture store till one morning I woke up with a severe neck pain.

It was the classic neck pain problem where you cannot turn your head to the side and move like you are Frankenstein with a bolt in your neck. Trying to sleep on a poor supporting pillow with a neck pain like that will drive you mad from waking so often. So I began my journey in trying different cervical neck pillows.

Being a student at the time I started by trying different cheaper pillows from local furniture stores that felt thicker so they supported my neck. However, they would sag overnight where my neck was and not keep it lifted up causing pain.

Then I got a contoured cervical support pillow similar to this one from Tempur. This was great cos it helped to lift my neck up long enough for me to sleep for longer periods at night without waking with pain. However, I found that even the contour cervical support pillow would annoy my neck after a while. My one was too hard for me and gave me a headache sometimes. Also, the contour pillow didn’t let me forget I was sleeping on a pillow with a big raised end in and a small bump in it.

So I then progressed onto a “normal” looking pillow with memory foam and this is what I have been sleeping on for the last several years.

Memory Foam Pillows

I currently recommend memory foam pillows that are shaped like a normal pillow.

I do, however, suggest you feel the different memory foam pillows as the density (hardness/softness) can vary greatly between memory foam pillow manufacturers.

Just like mattresses, some of us like hard ones some like soft ones. I have tended to see men who are heavier and broader shoulder like a heavier memory foam pillow, whilst women definitely need a soft marshmallow-like memory foam pillow. I will admit that I too like the softer memory foam pillows range. Because the softer pillow doesn’t remind me in the morning that I was sleeping on some kind of different pillow. It just feels comfortable to sleep on.

Points to Remember

Remember that when choosing a good cervical neck pillow:

  • Pillows come in many fillings (I currently sleep on memory foam),
  • Memory foam comes in different densities (I like the softer marshmallow feeling ones),
  • Pillows come in different shapes and sizes (I like regular shaped memory foam pillows),
  • You may need to experiment to find the pillow that suits you.

So as you may read in the research below that studies on pillows haven’t found the perfect cervical neck pillow yet, but there is a pillow out there you will like.

Happy sleeping 🙂

Further Reading:

  1. Shields,N., Capper,J., Polak,T., Taylor,N. Are cervical pillows effective in reducing neck pain? New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy, March 1, 2006