Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Neck FAQ

Question:

I just can't seem to get comfortable in bed at night. Ever since my car accident, I've had neck and back pain that's worse at night. I've been trying different pillows hoping something might help. Is there one type of pillow that you know works best for this sort of problem?

Answer:

As you have probably found out, there are many kinds of pillows on the market right now. Various sizes, shapes, and materials (from high density foam to water) are available. But trying one after another can be very expensive.

There aren't a lot of studies comparing pillows for neck pain. But there is some evidence that using a water pillow can give pain relief and improve quality of sleep for neck pain patients. The water pillow was compared with using a regular pillow or a cervical roll. A cervical roll is placed at the base or curve of your neck. It is used along with your regular foam or feather pillow.

The firmness of the water pillow can be adjusted by the amount of water added to the pillow. The design makes it possible for the pillow to change shape. This feature means the pillow changes as you move and turn or change your sleeping position.

Providing proper support for the head and neck during sleep can reduce pain intensity and even eliminate morning headaches. The result can be daytime pain relief as well. Better sleep also makes it possible to cope more effectively with stress from chronic pain conditions. Eric L. Hurwitz, DC, PhD, et al. Treatment of Neck Pain: Noninvasive Interventions. In Spine. Supplement to February 15, 2008. Vol. 33. No. 4S. Pp. S123-S152.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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