If your neck hurts all the time, a good cervical pillow will help you relieve the pain or at least diminish it. If your neck hurts only in the morning (i.e. you wake up with a sore neck), that’s because you don’t sleep with your spine aligned and changing the pillow should definitely help. If your mattress isn’t comfortable, it might be partly responsible for the neck pain, but pillow is the most important piece of bedding responsible for supporting your head in the right position during the night!
5 Things to Know About Cervical Neck Pain
1. Neck Pain
The neck is comprised of multiple structures including seven vertebrae, nerves, discs and muscles. Any of these can be injured causing cervical neck pain. This pain may start out as a dull or intense shooting pain. Your neck feels stiff and it hurts to turn your head or move it up or down. Cervical neck pain can travel to your shoulders, arms and down to your back and legs in some cases. Other symptoms are dizziness, numbness, difficulty swallowing and swollen glands.
2. Slipped Disc
Cervical neck pain can be caused by muscle strain. Repetitive motions and overuse strain the back of the neck. As you age, the joints in the neck begin to wear down causing pain. The discs in the neck also wear with age and become stiff. The spinal discs can bulge out pinching a nerve. This is a herniated disc. You’ll feel a tingling and weakness in the limbs. Arthritis, degenerative disc disease, whiplash or pressure on the spinal cord are other causes of cervical neck pain.
3. Properly Locate Neck Pain
To diagnose neck pain, your doctor will ask about the type of pain, its location, how long it’s been going on, how the injury occurred and what (if anything) has alleviated the pain. Tests such as CAT scans, MRIs, an x-ray of the neck and spinal cord and a bone scan are other diagnostic tools.
You can treat your cervical neck pain at home by using ibuprofen or acetaminophen for the pain. Apply muscle relaxer creams that contain menthol and camphor. Rest your neck whenever possible, but don’t overdo it or your neck can stiffen up even more. Alternate between ice and heat treatments. Treatments that require your doctor or another medical professional are physical therapy, ultrasound massage and surgery. Surgery is unusual unless there is spinal cord compression. Traction gently stretches your neck using weights and pulleys.
5. Proper Posture
Some steps you can take to prevent cervical neck pain in the future are watching your posture. Gravity works with you rather than against when you center your head over your spine. Get away from your desk and the computer at break time and stretch often. Sleep on your back to keep the spine properly aligned or purchase pillows that support your sleep style. A posture corrector may also help in improving and correcting your poor posture.
Choosing a great pillow for a side sleeper with sore neck
So, the pillow needs to be supportive. Memory foam pillows are extremely popular lately, mostly because they are very supportive. You can find great memory foam pillows for stomach sleepers, back sleeper and side sleepers as well. But don’t limit yourself to memory foam pillows only. You can find some great latex and water-based pillows that will let you sleep comfortably as well. Before purchasing the pillow take a look at customer reviews, since neck pain is popular among side sleepers, you’ll surely find someone who suffers from similar problems to yours.
Mediflow Waterbase Pillow
This is a water-based pillow that allows you to determine whether it should be firm, medium or even soft by adding an appropriate amount of water. Since it’s filled with water, it can automatically adjust its shape to the movement of your head, so you won’t wake up with a sore neck when you’ve moved your head a little while sleeping.
This pillow isn’t manufactured for people sleeping in certain position and, as you can tell after reading customer reviews, it’s a great choice for side sleepers. If you want to relieve your neck pain, choosing this pillow is a reasonable idea, especially if you’ve previously tried some memory foam pillows.
Sleep Better Iso-Cool Memory Foam Pillow
Sleep Better Iso-Cool is a very comfortable memory foam pillow. It gives good, firm support, which means it doesn’t sink. This particular size (gussetted side sleeper) is especially meant for side sleepers. If you’re a side sleeper waking up with sore neck, this is a pillow you definitely should consider buying. Please note that it might have slight chemical smell after opening – it’s perfectly normal for memory foam pillows and the odor will die down pretty quickly.
Z by Malouf Memory Foam Molded Contour Neck Pillow
Z by Malouf is a very popular memory foam neck pillow contoured especially for side sleepers. It’s designed to let you sleep comfortably – it helps relieve head and shoulder pain.
Please take a look at sizing information before ordering – the pillow is smaller than a standard sized pillow, so you might want to buy a bigger one instead of the standard or queen size. Please note that some people complain about the chemical smell after opening the package – if the smell is too strong, I suggest you should sleep for a few more days on your own pillow, until the smell disappears or becomes barely noticeable.
Sleep Innovations Cool Contour Memory Foam Pillow
Sleep Innovations Cool Contour Memory Foam Pillow is an inexpensive memory foam pillow shaped for back and side sleepers (orthopedic design). The top layer prevents heat retention (many people complain about heat retention in memory foam pillows, although almost every great pillow has some sort of “technology” to prevent that from happening). Of course the “cooling layer” won’t be cool enough for some people, it’s just a matter of personal preferences. People find this Sleep Innovations’ pillow very comfortable and supportive.