Pillows & Neck Pain

Updated July 19, 2017

Neck pain can be a debilitating health condition. It can prevent a person from doing even simple everyday activities such as bending down or turning around. There are many factors that can trigger a neck ache, and treatment depends on the cause of the pain.


A neck pain can be either acute or chronic. A chronic pain is a recurrent pain that lasts for at least six months. An acute pain gradually fades as the injury that caused the pain heals. Neck pains can be caused by poor posture, neck strain, occupational or sporting injuries, soft tissue trauma, or depression and anxiety.

Pillows and Neck Pain

Using the right pillow is vital in preventing and treating neck pain. A good pillow provides support, comfort and pain relief. A good pillow should cradle the neck and support the head. It should not be firm, because this will strain the neck by pushing it up. An ideal pillow will ensure the head, neck and shoulders are aligned and that the head does not tilt forward, bend backward or roll from side to side when lying on the back, and is not high or low in relation to the body when lying on the side.

Recommended Pillows

There are certain pillows that are exceptionally good for people who tend to have neck pains. The body pillow is one such pillow. It's as long as the body and therefore supports both the head and neck as well as the knees and legs. The cervical pillow has a deep depression where the head rests, and this supports the neck by filling in the hollow created by the neck when lying on the back, and also aligns the neck with the spine. The travel pillow is a U-shaped pillow that is good when sleeping while sitting because it prevents the head from bending too far to any one side, and also stops it from rolling from side to side.The linear traction neck pillow is suitable for sleeping both on your back and side. It has a V shape in the centre that cradles the head and a neck roll that supports the neck.


Bad posture is one of the leading causes of neck pain. Practicing good posture will not only prevent neck and back pain, but will gradually help it go away. Some good posture practices include sitting straight and not hunching, not bending forward when reading and not sticking your neck out beyond the shoulders when working on the computer. Sleeping on the stomach also puts strain on the neck, as does sleeping with the head hanging down while sitting. Check your posture by ensuring that your ears, shoulders and hips are in a straight line while sitting, standing and sleeping. Using too many pillows or no pillow at all while sleeping is bad for the neck and back.


The first step in treatment is identifying what kind of neck pain you are suffering from and understanding what the causes are. Visit a physician when you develop a pain. Depending on the type and cause of the pain, treatments could vary from medication such as painkillers, antidepressants and anticonvulsants to physiotherapy and massages or even acupuncture. Stretching exercises and strength and endurance training are sometimes recommended.

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About the Author

Parul Gupta has been writing since 1993. Her work has appeared in "Discover India" magazine and in newspapers "The Telegraph," "The Times of India," "The Statesman," and "Hindustan Times." She is based in the U.K., and holds a Master of Arts in literature from the University of Leeds.