People looking for neck pain relief often benefit from the physical therapy neck pillows provide. Also known as a cervical pillow, it is different from a normal pillow as it supports your cervical spine, where your neck is. This helps you sleep better and address neck pain and stiffness problems. Compared to a fluffy pillow, it improves your sleep, easing the pain out. The latest medical research recommends a neck pillow improves your sleep cycle by killing the pain that prevents healthy sleep. This post will discuss how a physical therapy neck pillow can benefit you.
The Different Varieties of Physical Therapy Neck Pillows
A number of aspects are supposed to be considered when you are out to buy the best physical therapy neck pillow for your neck pain, such as what makes you comfortable, the root cause of the pain, and the position you sleep in. The different kinds of neck pillows are:
- Usual contour pillows having a wave-like shape and a lengthwise section for the head
- D-core pillows, having a D-shaped section in the middle for the head
- Neck rolls
Available in a variety of materials such as synthetics, cotton, memory foam, and down, neck pillows are made of moisture-wicking material to prevent heating. While the material of the pillow makes a difference, it would not even matter if the neck pillow doesn’t make you comfortable to begin with. While expert opinion suggests comfort trumps everything, the material also has its role in helping you sleep better by keeping away the heat.
Your Sleep Cycle Can Improve with a Physical Therapy Neck Pillow
The quality of sleep does not entirely depend on the neck pillow you get. Your sleeping position also has a role to play here. People who sleep on the back complain of neck pain, but not nearly as much as those who complain of stiffness due to sleeping on their stomach.
- Sleeping on the back: Back sleepers need just the correct amount of neck support: not too high that it props up the neck, but not too flat that it doesn’t ease the spine either. The best physical therapy neck pillow or this position is a contoured one. A roll-shaped pillow underneath the neck paired with a flat one to provide head support can help.
- Sleeping on the side: side sleepers are not getting enough spine support. That’s why they need a physical therapy neck pillow that would be higher underneath the neck compared to underneath the head. This means the pillow needs to have a slanted shape. The pillow needs to be firm, so your head doesn’t sink into it, and thick enough to keep your head held up. Memory foam can overheat you, but latex pillows don’t overheat and also provide much-needed support. A contoured pillow does the job best.
- Sleeping on the stomach: stomach sleepers need a thin pillow that would help keep their spine as straight as is possible.
- Sleeping while traveling: on the go sleepers who are traveling somewhere, or even those who are just sleeping on a recliner can get support with a horseshoe-shaped pillow. The support this pillow provides prevents your beck from jolting or drooping to either side.
Regardless of your sleeping position, at the end of the day you need a neck pillow that will help support your spine.
Medical Research Recommendations
If you are one of those people who research before making a decision, you will see that there is not enough medical research that proves the efficacy of neck pillows in treating neck pain. In fact, a review of five research studies published in 2006 suggested that there was insufficient evidence to prescribe neck pillows as a standard therapy for neck pain.
The effects of standard, roll, and water-filled pillows on sleep quality were compared by another study, published earlier. It concluded that morning pain was significantly reduced by a water-filled pillow, providing better rest than a standard pillow and a roll pillow. Another study concluded that chronic neck pain was significantly healed using a roll-shaped pillow. All in all, if you want to decide what’s best for you, you will have to experiment. If you wake up with neck pain regularly, you will need a supportive physical therapy neck pillow.