Back pain can make slumber and daily activities incredibly difficult. Your sleeping choices, including the pillow you use, may be contributing to this discomfort. If you’re wondering how to sleep when you have back pain, this guide covers some of the best pillows and other tips to relieve discomfort.
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What Is the Best Pillow for Back Pain?
If your current pillow doesn’t provide the comfort, durability or support you need to sleep soundly at night, it may be time to make a switch. Here are some ideal pillow types for neck and back pain:
1. Memory Foam Pillow
Just like a memory foam mattress conforms to your body, a memory foam pillow supports the shape of your head. Memory foam provides superior spine comfort, support, alignment and pressure relief. It holds the neck and head and maintains their shape.
That’s why memory foam pillows can be great for those dealing with back, shoulder or neck pain. It’s no wonder the United States memory foam mattress and pillow market soared to $8 billion in 2023.
2. Body Pillow
A body pillow is a long, narrow pillow. Its extra length enables various ways to use it. Many side sleepers use them to prop a leg up, which can help align and relieve pressure on the spine and hips.
Other people use them below their arms or heads. Side and stomach sleepers, pregnant women and people who have back pain often find relief from body pillows. You can use a body pillow to prop you up or wrap your arms and legs around it.
Like other pillow types, body pillows come in different shapes and fills. Pillow fill can affect its comfort, support and breathability. You can experiment with different fills to see what offers the most pain relief — this goes for any pillow type.
3. Latex Pillow
Available in both solid and shredded material, latex pillows are growing popular due to their high head, shoulder and neck support. They also maintain a soft and cozy feel.
A latex pillow can be a great option for back and neck pain relief, as it can help maintain proper spinal alignment. It’s highly durable and can retain its shape for years. It also has impressive cooling properties, keeping you cool throughout the night.
Keep in mind that latex pillows are more suitable for back and side sleepers due to their high loft (compressed pillow height when your head is resting on it). It may not be the best choice If you’re a devoted stomach sleeper.
4. Cervical Pillow
A cervical pillow is designed to support and align the neck and spine. It guides your neck and head to the proper angles during sleep. It helps improve sleep posture by relaxing tense shoulder and neck muscles. A cervical pillow rises where your neck is and compresses where you lay your head.
You can find cervical pillows in many shapes and sizes. They also come in various materials like memory foam (preferred) and latex. They’re easily one of the best options for people experiencing back and neck pain.
6. Buckwheat Pillow
Buckwheat pillows originated in Japan but have gained traction around the world. They are filled with buckwheat hulls (hard outer shells of buckwheat seeds). The small, firm halls contour closely to the neck and head. Buckwheat pillows are adjustable, allowing you to add or remove hulls as needed.
You can adjust the pillow to align with your neck, head and spine, which may help relieve pain during sleep. However, side sleepers may find it too firm. Buckwheat pillows tend to be more preferable for back and stomach sleepers.
7. Water Pillow
As the name suggests, a water pillow is filled with water. It usually has an adjustable water pouch at the base with a fiber or memory foam topper.
Water pillows have great contouring properties, conforming to your sleep position while supporting the back and neck. They can be a good option for pain relief. Just keep in mind that water pillows can be noisy, which may disturb light sleepers. And, like with nearly any water-filled device, there’s always a possibility of leakage.
5 Additional Tips for Sleeping With Back Pain
Besides choosing the proper pillow, other tips may help alleviate your back pain and discomfort:
- Find your ideal sleep position: Experiment with different sleep positions to find what’s most comfortable. When sleeping on your side, try placing a pillow between your knees and bringing them up slightly to your chest. When sleeping on your back, consider placing a pillow under your knees. When sleeping on your stomach, try putting the pillow below your stomach to reduce back pressure.
- Invest in a good mattress: The right mattress can make all the difference in sleep quality. The National Sleep Foundation recommends replacing mattresses every 6-8 years or when they become saggy, damaged or noisy.
- Get in and out of bed carefully: Exercise precaution when getting into and out of bed. Abrupt jerking motions or bending forward at the waist can aggravate back pain.
- Try a natural sleep supplement: (i.e, melatonin, L-tryptophan, L-theanine, lemon balm, passion flower and kava) *always consult with your doctor before initiating an new supplementation
- Consult an upper cervical chiropractor: Chiropractic care can be an excellent option when you’re seeking back pain relief. An upper cervical chiropractor specializes in correcting spinal misalignments in the upper neck region. They can help you address the source of your pain to improve your range of motion and sleep quality.
Contact Upper Cervical Chiropractic of Monmouth, LLC for Support
If you’re considering chiropractic care for your back pain, turn to Upper Cervical Chiropractic of Monmouth, LLC. We specialize in Quantum Spinal Mechanics (QSM3), a precise and gentle upper cervical care approach. This careful method is designed to restore central nervous system function, improve posture and relieve bodily pain.
Because it doesn’t require the twisting, cracking or popping associated with traditional chiropractic care, QSM3 can be ideal for sensitive patients. Our highly trained team may be able to target the source of your back pain, creating a customized care plan to restore your sleep quality. Call 732-617-9355 to learn more about our services or request a free consultation today!