A BEGINNER'S BUYING GUIDE TO CERVICAL PILLOW: KNOW HOW TO PURCHASE THE RIGHT ONE
Cervical Pillow – 1 out of every 3 people gripe about acute neck pain, the first thing in the morning, and this muscle soreness usually persists throughout the day. There can be tons of reasons behind this. The most common ones are:
- Poor posture while sleeping
- Getting exposed to cold wind
- Working in front of a computer, tablet, or phone for extensive hours
- Straining of neck muscles due to workout or playing sports
Acute neck pain might take about a day or two to go away. In more serious cases, it can take longer, say, around 2 to 3 weeks. Anything beyond this is a clear indication that the neck muscles have incurred considerable damage due to continual straining. Then the condition is labeled as Chronic neck pain which can lead to several health hazards. The use of a cervical neck pillow might help to make the pain vanish to a certain extent.
In the majority of cases, stiffness in the neck is caused by poor sleep position and the type of pillow in use. The pillow is supposed to support both the head and the neck while sleeping. There is more to it than just comfort when choosing a pillow. The pillow should be designed in such a way that it keeps the head and the spine in alignment by giving support to the neck. The goal is to keep them in a neutral position.
People with regular complaints of neck stiffness after waking up can benefit a great deal by using cervical pillows. One should consider the following things to ensure making the right choice when it comes to purchasing a cervical pillow.
KEY FACTORS TO CONSIDER
There’s a lot of variety when it comes to pillows in general. Knowledge of the different types is useful in clearing questions about how to use cervical pillows efficiently. The key to purchasing the best one for neck pain depends upon:
- The firmness of the cervical pillow
If the pillow is too firm then it will provide greater resistance to the neck muscles while sleeping. If it is too soft, then the head might sink and the pillow will get flattened out eventually. Therefore a pillow with optimum firmness should be chosen for sleeping peacefully.
- Height of the cervical pillow
The correct elevation of the head is crucial for keeping the spinal straight. Usually, cervical pillows come with multiple height options.
- The shape of the cervical pillow
Cervical pillows come in a lot of shapes and sizes. The most beneficial ones are roll-shaped neck pillows, D-type pillows with a D-shaped indentation in the center for resting the head, Contoured pillows with latitudinal indentations for resting the head, and horse-shoe shaped pillows.
- The material used for manufacturing the pillow
The material used for making the cervical pillow also plays an important role in determining its efficiency. Choosing the right material ensures comfort for a good night’s sleep. Some materials which help in absorbing heat are synthetics, cotton, down, and memory foam. The fabric should be breathable to prevent sweating.
CHOICE OF PILLOW BASED ON SLEEPING POSITIONS
Also, it is better to take the usual sleeping position of the individual before heading out to buy a cervical neck pillow. The pillows suited for the most common sleeping positions are as follows
- Sleeping on the back:
This is the best sleeping position if one intends to prevent neck pain and backaches. A normal cervical pillow to support the curvature of the neck is good enough in this case
- Sleeping on the side:
In this case, a pillow with a greater height is recommended which will be able to support and maintain the spine and neck alignment.
- Sleeping on the stomach:
Here, the nerves in the neck get pressurized due to twisting. A thin pillow is recommended to reduce the odd angle between the neck and the rest of the body while sleeping.
- Sleeping upright:
This is a common practice amongst pregnant women. In this case, a horseshoe-shaped travel pillow might provide support to the neck. Additionally, pillows against the lower back will help relieve back pain
BENEFITS OF USING CERVICAL PILLOWS
Long term use of cervical pillows is said to have few major benefits, namely:
- Improves sleeping posture.
- Provides relief to aching muscles of the neck and back, therefore, improving quality of sleep
- Improves blood circulation to head
According to several surveys carried out in past years, the effectiveness of a cervical neck pillow is inconclusive. Sleeping positions of people do keep changing throughout the night and it is not always possible to be mindful of it.
Neck stiffness, as mentioned before, is not the result of poor quality pillows or bad sleeping posture. So we must also take precautions like spending less time hunching in front of our computer screens and smartphones and maybe train under an instructor’s supervision while lifting heavy weights at the gym.
In the case of chronic neck pain, the use of a cervical pillow might just solve the problem. It’s worth a try.