Use proper pillows to eliminate neck pain and improve sleep quality. Neck pain results from injuries or misalignment and all treatments should be discussed with a physician. Cervical pillows are designed to support the upper spinal column at the correct curvature. Sleeping with your neck bent at an improper angle causes irritation in the vertebrae of the cervical spine, which can pinch nerves and lead to degenerative disk conditions. Keeping the cervical spine in proper alignment promotes healing and prevents further damage.
Use a traction pillow to stretch the neck muscles and bones into a corrective posture. Traction pillows dictate posture from the head to the upper back. A high mound rests under the top of the neck causing the head to tilt slightly back for a sustained stretch that compensates for improper alignment. The stretch relieves tension and nerve pinching caused by misalignment resulting from incorrect posture or harmful sleep positions. Traction pillows are not meant for sleeping. Lie on one for 20 to 30 minutes at a time to treat cervical pain, radiating shoulder and arm pain and headaches from tension and as a consequence of nerve pinching.
Cervical Traction Pillow
This design is similar to a rectangular bed pillow with a raised V-shape to support the head and neck while sleeping in a supine position or on either side. The point of the V is positioned close to one end with the opening in the centre. The head rests between the sides of the raised V when you lie on your back, causing a gentle upward stretch to relieve tension on the cervical vertebrae. The sides of the pillow keep your head raised at the correct height when you are lying on one side or the other. A cervical traction pillow offers corrective support that helps relieve pain and prevent improper sleeping positions that can lead to future discomfort.
A neck-roll pillow is a cylinder filled with a foam cushion. This type of pillow may have a removable fluid packet that can be microwaved for relaxing heat to aid circulation or frozen to help reduce swelling after an injury. Some models have inflatable inserts that allow users to adjust the height and firmness of the support. Place a neck-roll pillow under your neck while lying on your back for sleeping, or as a therapeutic treatment during the day. The design and shape is small and compact for easy travel and most come with a protective pouch for packing.
Contour pillows have a curved bulge along the end for neck support and a trench toward the centre to position the head. The sponge foam or memory foam interior allows the contour to fit most patients. This design preserves the natural curve of the cervical spine while providing cushioning for the head. The contour is best suited for lying on your back, though some are able to accommodate the head for sleeping on a side. Sleep with a contour pillow to ease pain, reduce tension and avoid irritation from misaligned positions.