How Important Is Pillow Loft in Alleviating Neck Pain?

Pillow Loft in Alleviating Neck Pain

The best pillow for neck pain will depend on your individual body shape, sleep position and preferred fill material, and narrowing down the right one may take some trial and error. But what all three experts I spoke to stressed is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and the most important thing is to find a pillow that provides your neck with proper support to avoid misaligning the spine as you sleep, which can make neck pain worse.

A pillow’s height—or loft—plays an important role in keeping your head in the correct spinal alignment while you sleep, regardless of your sleeping position. A pillow that’s too high will cause your neck to bend in the wrong direction, which can increase the pressure on your neck and spine and contribute to neck pain. But a pillow that’s too thin won’t provide enough support, which can also lead to incorrect spinal alignment.

That’s why the majority of experts say that a Best pillow for neck pain that is somewhere in between—firm but not too firm—is often the most effective. The Nest Easy Breather Pillow, for example, has a medium loft that feels supportive and plush enough to hold your neck in the right place while you sleep. It’s also made with shredded CertiPUR-US certified foam that molds to your neck and is hypoallergenic.

How Important Is Pillow Loft in Alleviating Neck Pain?

Another option is the Groove cervical support pillow, which has a center divot that cradles your head and raised sides that support your neck and spine in their natural curve to prevent misalignment. It comes highly recommended by chiropractor Dr. Randi Jaffe and has nearly 60,000 Amazon reviews to prove it’s effective for neck pain relief.

If you’re a stomach sleeper, though, it’s worth noting that this position can exacerbate neck pain and back issues. If that’s the case for you, a soft or flat pillow with a low loft like the Amazon Basics down alternative or Parachute Down Pillow with plush fill might work better.

As with finding the right pillow, it’s important to experiment with different sizes, heights and thicknesses, and to find a good partner or friend who can confirm when you reach optimal neutrality in your spine (that is, when your head is in a neutral position, not tilted down or lifted too much). The most important thing to remember, however, is that no amount of pillows or sleeping positions will alleviate neck pain if there are underlying issues or health problems. So if you’re experiencing persistent neck pain, talk to your doctor to see what the cause is—it might be time to invest in a new mattress or an ergonomic pillow. If not, your neck pain may simply be a side-effect of a different issue. Either way, you can mitigate the pain with a little bit of careful trial and error. And if nothing works, it’s always a good idea to visit a physiotherapist or physical therapist. They’ll have plenty of tips for you on how to get your neck back into tip-top shape.

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