Is an orthopedic pillow better than a traditional-shaped one for easing your neck and shoulder pain?
The purpose of an orthopedic pillow is to make sure that the user’s body is in the proper position while sleeping. This helps improve the alignment of the upper body such as the neck, shoulders, head, and back. While you sleep, you may not have control of the way your body twists and turns, and you wake up finding yourself in the oddest of positions. A regular pillow does not help you maintain the right posture while sleeping, but when you use an orthopedic pillow, it molds into the shape of your body placed on it. This helps keep your body in proper placement while you sleep, with the pillow supporting your figure.
Features to consider while choosing an orthopedic pillow
With such a large pillow variety to choose from it is better to know about all of your choices before you go shopping. There are different materials, fillings, benefits, disadvantages, and additional features to know about. We’ll briefly go over all of the considerations you should make when choosing the best orthopedic memory foam pillow.
Nowadays there so many different types of pillows to choose from, all claiming to have irreplaceable advantages. There is only one way to really know which pillow you want, and that is by familiarizing yourself with all of the pillow types you have to choose from.
When you purchase an orthopedic pillow, you are looking for materials that will mold into your head, neck and shoulder shape. Most natural solutions fail to do so, which leaves synthetic fillings. These may be either memory foam, microfiber or a gel-infused foam.
Microfiber – This is a synthetic filling that monitors as well as manipulates temperature when you sleep so that your night goes by wistfully. It can seriously help those people who have respiratory issues and find that feathers are the culprit for sniffly nights.
While memory foam will stay in its molded shape for some time, microfiber jumps back to its original form as soon you relieve it of its weight. Stiffer pillows are usually made with microfiber for added support.
Memory foam – Memory foam has a wide variety of options to choose from. Whether you are looking for the best orthopedic pillow for side and back sleepers, or one that addresses lower back pain, memory foam is often the top choice. What memory foam does is soften when heat is applied to its top. When you lie down on a pillow with memory foam, it contours to your shape, keeping your head and neck elevated, neck and shoulders even.
There are many benefits to back up your memory foam pillows. They are hypoallergenic. The material that they are made of does not encourage the breeding of dust and mites in the pillow, so you can get a nice clean sleep. They come with different sizes to compliment the dimensions of your bed. Unlike normal natural filled pillows, they have no feathers that will collect and create uneven lumps. Since it is a thick slate of memory foam, it has no moving parts to shift around when you sleep, enhancing the support under your neck.
Gel-infused memory foam – The gel-infused orthopedic pillow is the perfect blend of memory foam and gel brought together in one effective piece. While memory foam is a highly reliable material for support and comfort, it can retain heat. Gel adds cooling properties to this and serves those sleepers well who sleep warm at night.
Gel infusion is a matter of preference since memory foam already does give you the benefits you are looking for. To select a gel-infused orthopedic pillow, consider the SmartDeluxe model we have reviewed here.
The position that you sleep in is vital. There are three ways to sleep with a pillow, typically. You could, of course, have made up your own pose entirely but the general three there are include sleeping on your back, stomach and either side.
When your head is tilted to the side, then you should try to aim for a firmer pillow so that it can support the more congested distribution of weight. While firmer pillows are harder to adjust to, they do provide the adequate support you need when sleeping. Side sleepers not only have to contend with balancing their head, neck shoulder and spine correctly, but their arm placement also factors in. As such they need to find the best orthopedic pillow to prevent neck and arm pain in one. The UTTU and the EPABO are both serious contenders for this category of pain management.
Sleeping on your back calls for a more elevated pillow only on the sides. These are V-shaped pillows, that will let your head sink down but keep your back and shoulders straight. When lying down on your back, these are the best option.
Finally there are those that sleep on their stomachs. These type of sleepers should look for a pillow with natural fillings. These are the softest of pillows whilst still offering the support of an orthopedic one.
An orthopedic pillow has to be firm to a certain extent so that it can support your neck and head. This is another main point that differentiates an orthopedic pillow from a normal pillow.
The firmness of the pillow will determine how well the pillow will support your body. For those people who experience back and neck problems, it is better to have a stiffer pillow so that it can hold up the weight better when sleeping. With better support to the upper body, this will then transmit to the lower back. So if you are looking for the best orthopedic pillow for lower back pain, then firmness is a definite contender among considerations.
When you have a softer pillow, the pillow will adjust more to your liking, letting you sink down into the material. The downfall to this is that you may not get the support you need and find yourself sleeping in an awkward position, which is not what the pillow is meant for. A firm pillow will hold up and keep your neck and head in a position that will maintain proper posture, providing steady health benefits to your overall spinal wellbeing.
The cover material can be different between pillows, depending on the manufacturer. Each covering holds certain aspects that can make them appealing or not.
Some people may have issues with allergies, so they need to remain wary of the cover material of the pillow. Other people want to look for a pillowcase that can be easily removed and washed, like the one that comes with the SmartDelux Orthopedic Memory Foam Pillow. Another factor people pay attention to is if the cover can keep up with the pillow’s contouring shape, or will you be stuck in a small air bubble because the cover couldn’t stretch along with the pillow.
While some people suffer from allergies related to dust, it would be better to look for hypoallergenic pillows that don’t allow any dust or mite breeding, making your sleep more relaxing. Every model we have featured on our list comes with hypoallergenic covers.
The shape of the pillow will also depend on the way you sleep. They range from a V-shaped pillow to a contour one. Of these, the V-shaped models are good for preventing any rolling while you sleep. It is a snug fit around your neck that helps keep your head upright. This type doesn’t reach your back and shoulders but keeps the spinal cord connecting your neck and head upright.
A contouring pillow (like the EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow) has a dip in the middle of it which helps those who sleep on their backs. Your head can nicely fit into the center of the pillow, with the side supports keeping you from shifting in your rest. The sides support your neck and shoulders, keeping them at a natural angle, adjusting if your arms tend to move around at night.
The size will depend on two things, your preference and your bed. If you have a queen-sized bed, then you only need a moderate-sized pillow. For those who have a king mattress, there are larger options for orthopedic pillows that will fit in your bed. Getting a pillow that is too big or small can also have a serious toll on your sleep effectiveness. You may not get the support you need, or you may have too much pillow to actually fit on your bed.
The warranty is probably the first thing you will want to look for; if the pillow proves to be dysfunctional for you, then you won’t have any use for it.
The warranty for a pillow should be anywhere from a 30-day money back guarantee to at least to a year limited because it will take some time to see if you’re experiencing benefits from the pillow or it’s encouraging your pains. A pillow, once you buy it, is in its best state and best condition. You need to figure out how long it can remain in its quality condition to benefit your health before it starts losing that original shape and starts flattening. If it’s going to last well over a year then well and good, but if you find that in the middle of the year the life in the stuffing is already dying out, then it is not going to benefit you that much, and it’s time to pull out the warranty receipt.
The UTTU offers a five-year limited and 96-night sleep trial, while the Bedsure model provides you with an impressive ten-year limited warranty.
Other than the basic features mentioned here, you can also look for some extras when searching for a quality orthopedic pillow. Additional characteristics can include anything from different sleeping zones to height adjustability. Or perhaps the pillow comes with additional covers given its unique shape.