How to Choose the Right Pillow to Protect Your Neck and Spine Health

It’s definitely safe to say that at some point in time, most of us have experienced neck pain upon waking up or even been involved in an incident that caused an injury that might have resulted in neck pain. As a matter of fact, at any given time, 13% of adults are suffering from neck pain.

Usually, this arises from tension exerted on ligaments, tendons and muscles commonly known as soft tissues that occur around a cervical spine in the neck. Muscle strain and a resulting muscle spasm can often be caused by such underlying neck problems as disc degeneration, arthritis or spinal stenosis and can be triggered by trauma.

However, in frequent cases, neck pain occurs insidiously and can result from pressure during sleep. If you find yourself waking up to a stiff neck, it might be time to change your pillow and the following are some effective tips on choosing one that will protect your neck and spine health.

Pillow Design

The neck curves slightly forward in order to sustain the weight of the head. Your pillow choice should be able to maintain this curve when you’re in a resting position. If the pillow is too high, it can cause an abnormal forward bend of the neck, which is likely to cause not just a muscle strain but also obstructed breathing. You may check out a marvelous designed pillow here.

Therefore, choose a design that will be able to keep the spine in natural alignment. Preferably, maintain a height of 4-6inches. Also, be sure that the design is a personal preference and not just a suggestion by a friend or retailer. This plays a very important part in the definition of a good pillow as it allows you to sleep feeling comfortable so you can wake up well rested.


Most people are bound to adjust their position as they sleep. For this reason, it’s important to have a pillow composition that can conform to your unique shape. Go for a pillow that can support the curvature of the cervical spine when sleeping on the back or one that supports the spine in a natural, straight, horizontal line when you sleep on your side.

Some people may find it helpful to sleep with a pillow under their knees – when choosing a pillow, consider this as well. Basically, aim at keeping weight distributed evenly without effect to pressure points.

Sleeping Position

Two sleeping positions are easiest on the neck – on the back and on the side. Sleeping on the stomach is generally considered tough on the spine because the back is arched and the neck is turned to the side. Stomach sleepers are thus required to make an effort to shift to sleeping on the side or back for better spinal alignment. Sleeping positions are set earlier in life and can be tough to change but by adjusting your sleeping pattern and trying to fall asleep in a healthier position can help prevent neck pain and spinal strain.

If you are a back sleeper, choose a pillow that will prevent your head from bending forward or backward while you drift off to sleep. This could be a thin pillow with an upward inclination toward the bottom to cradle your neck. If you are a side sleeper, pick a pillow that provides support between the mattress and your ear, a firm pillow will provide the best support. For stomach sleepers, a thin pillow should suffice. And, placing a pillow beneath the stomach can help minimize spine pressure.


The type of pillow stuffing for your neck will depend on how you feel. A pillow that can provide the right support for you when dealing with persistent aches may not be as comfortable when neck pain is relieved. The popular stuffing options are foam, memory foam and down feather. Foam is a high-density durable material that can serve you for years without breaking. Memory foam is a popular material whose pillows are designed for neck support.

Ending Remarks

However, some people find it uncomfortable as it retains too much body heat. Down feather makes for a perfect, malleable material for pillow stuffing. With a feather pillow, you can shift support to where you need it, which makes it an excellent option for all kinds of sleeping positions.

Written by Valentin Bosioc

Valentin Bosioc - wellness specialist, certified personal trainer, certified fitness instructor, celebrity trainer, Musclemania Champion, Ninja Warrior Semifinalist, world wide motivator!

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