Everyone seeks a comfortable sleep at night. There are some factors that affect the quality and quantity of sleep. It can be due to numerous reasons, and pain is a common reason. The upper part of the body, the head, neck, shoulder, and back play a prominent role in the quality of the sleep and also your daily routines.
Shoulder pain relief is one of the most commonly searched terms by users over the internet. Your shoulder plays a prominent role in your posture, how you walk, sit, and sleep. Pain in your shoulder will affect all the physical activities it supports, and you may find it quite difficult even to sit and relax.
Another classic feature of shoulder pain is its nocturnal periodicity. It is quite frequent at night and increases at night. People find it troublesome to sleep with this constant ache.
Many people experience chronic shoulder pain that aggravates at night. There are many reasons for shoulder pain, and the most common cause is due to inflammation of the connective tissue that helps the shoulder to move. This phenomenon is known as rotator cuff tendinitis.The rotator cuff is a connective tissue composed of muscles and tendons. It forms the connection between the upper arm and the blade of the shoulder.
The rotator cuff tendinitis has a characteristic feature of aggravating at nights. While there is no established reason why it increases at night, there are certain established factors such as:
- Inactivity at night
- Sleeping position
- Mattress and the pillow
As a part of our daily lives, we are subject to use our shoulder joints. We stretch it, flex it, and extend it regularly. These movements, along with the gravitational pull, will create a space between the muscle fibers.
Blood and oxygen will flow into this space that enables the cells to get more energy and, for time, inhibits the formation of lactic acid (lactic acid causes fatigue of the muscles).
The entire process will help in reducing the pain (if present) in the shoulder. During the nights, your physical activity is at the least. There is less chance for the space formation that restricts the fluid and blood supply. It is one of the reasons for increased shoulder pain at night.Another reason is many people tend to sleep on their shoulders. It will compress the joint that increases the pain much more. A change in posture may slightly relieve the pain, but it will persist.
BEST PILLOW FOR SHOULDER PAIN
Out of many causes for shoulder pain, your pillow can also be a reason that aggravates it. An ideal pillow must help you to relieve the pain and establish a proper posture that prevents the pressure from the shoulder joint.
We have researched for a week and found out 10 pillows for shoulder pain that help you sleep well and in peace.
Mediflow Fiber: The First & Original Water Pillow, clinically Proven to Reduce Neck Pain & Improve sleep
There are many pillows out there in the market that promise to reduce your shoulder pain. But only a few of them are scientifically proven. Mediflow Fiber is one such rare pillow that was studied for its efficacy at the John Hopkins School of Medicine.
With over 5 million satisfied customers, it is no doubt that Mediflow Fiber is the top product in our list of best pillows for shoulder pain.
This pillow has unique water base technology that will adjust its form according to the position of your neck and shoulder. It provides excellent support and conforms around your back so that your neck and shoulder are held in proper posture.
The pillow has two layers; bottom water base layer and top soft layer. You can adjust the firmness of the pillow by either adding or removing the water. A fully insulated polyester material is used on top of the pillow.
On top of the polyester, hypo allergic cotton material is layered with which you get great comfort while you sleep.
Another great feature of this pillow is the packaging. Many pillows or mattresses are squeezed and folded into a small package, which will affect (sometimes) the quality and shape of the product.
Mediflow Fiber is not folded and is delivered in its original form. One of the main reasons for this is to prevent damage to the water pouch inside the pillow.
The company offers a 30-day trial period with which you can test its quality and how good it helps you to sleep. It is an excellent pillow for your neck and shoulder pain as it retains your usual posture during sleep.
Arc4life Cervical Neck Traction Pillow for Sleeping
The Arc4life pillow is a versatile product that offers unparalleled protection for your neck and shoulder. Many pillows that are commercially sold will be able to provide support to only part of the cervical region. This pillow is something different.
It offers two levels of support; a soft roll side for the neck and a traction V side. Note that this is not an ideal pillow if you have undergone a recent neck fusion surgery. But it is suitable for other cervical problems such as military neck syndrome (cervical kyphosis), cervical radiculopathy, hernia, arthritis, and disc generation problems.
There can be an issue with aggravated pain while using this pillow. The company recommends you continue using it because your neck will get adjusted within time, and eventually, the pain will subside.
Those who sleep on their side can rest their shoulder on the soft roll side so that your posture does not increase the pain. With its unique design, it can be the best pillow for shoulder pain side sleeper. Back sleepers can use the traction V side. The pillow is made of polyester filled with fiber to give excellent comfort.
It is available in different sizes (small, medium, and large), and you can choose according to your requirements. One of the major flaws is that the traction V side cannot accommodate your head even though you buy the ideal sized pillow.
Also, you need to sleep exactly on the V spot, or else no matter how long you try to adjust, the pain will not subside.
Rest apart; it is a great pillow for those who are looking to get a peaceful night’s sleep.
Sleep Innovations Contour Memory Foam Pillow
We all know that memory foam offers excellent comfort for all types of ailments. Sleep Innovations used this formula and tweaked a bit to design a pillow that provides superior support for your neck and shoulder.
As stated, this pillow is made of memory foam that will adapt itself according to the contour of your neck, back, and shoulder. It will give proper alignment to your posture without hindering the quality of sleep and also reduces the pain.
Apart from adapting itself to your body, the pillow itself is contoured so that your neck will properly align with your body in any sleeping position. You can customize the comfort level of the pad. Contact their customer support to adjust the pillow’s comfort level to medium, soft or hard.
You can even customize the height of the contour, to higher or lower depending upon your condition. The pillow has a removable and washable cover. It is compressed and packed in a small vacuum bag. This doesn’t mean that it will affect the quality of the pillow.
Memory foam pillows (or mattresses) can be compressed, and they will retain their original position if rested for a minimum of 24 hours.
You can observe a peculiar smell after unpacking the pillow. It is harmless and will vanish very quickly. The pillow is available in three different designs; travel, standard, and queen.
The major downside of this pillow is that the contour height can be uncomfortable for some users. Even after customization, you may feel the height of the hump is too high. Another flaw is the flattening of the pillow after a few months of use.
Classic Brands Conforma Ventilated Memory Foam Cushion Firm Pillow
Another memory foam mattress on our list comes from Classic Brands. It is a bit different from sleep innovations by offering ventilated holes on the pillow. The memory foam used in this pillow is responsive to pressure and temperature.
It will adapt its shape according to the contour of your head, neck, and shoulder. This pillow is ideal for back and side sleepers as it offers excellent comfort by its adaptability. Another plus point about this pillow is the ventilation that provides extra value for convenience.
The ventilated airflow mechanism plays a crucial role in regulating the temperature while you rest on it. There won’t be a rise in the heat, which is commonly seen in non-ventilated memory foam pillows.
Another great feature is the quick response of the memory foam. It will quickly adjust to your body and offers excellent support to your neck and shoulder. You can sleep in any position without worrying about pain increase.
The pillow is covered with a premium plush velour cotton blend. It can be removed and is machine washable. Hypoallergenic material used in this pillow adds another level to the comfort it provides. It is available in two different sizes, and you can customize the level of support to plush, medium-plush, and firm.
Classic Brands Conforma pillow is five inches thick, making it an ideal product for your neck and shoulder support. The company provides excellent customer care available for 365 days. Similar to other memory foam pillows, this one is also subjected to flattening issues.
Chiroflow Waterbase Waterpillow
The second water-based pillow on our list comes from Chiroflow. Similar to the Mediflow, Chiroflow relies on the water to give exceptional support to the neck and shoulder. You can alter the firmness by adding or removing the water.
This pillow is made of a synthetic polyester known as Dacron Hollofil. It offers superior comfort by its deep cushion mechanism. Around the water layer, there are thermal insulators that help in regulating a uniform temperature.
Chiroflow water-base pillow is made of hypoallergenic filler fiber so that you can use straight away after unboxing. You will feel rejuvenated, and the cushion will reverse the effects caused due to fatigue.
As there is a water base layer, it will act similarly to a memory foam pillow. It will adjust according to the shape of your neck and shoulders. For some users, the pillow might seem too high to rest their necks on it. Even without water, few users complained that it is much higher and found it uncomfortable to use.
To attain higher levels of comfort, the water must always be filled, which might cause other problems such as the growth of fungus. There are chances that the water layer might get damaged and cause a leak.
AngQi Full Body Pregnancy Pillow
It is common to experience back pain along with the neck and shoulder in pregnant women. AngQi is a unique product that supports pregnant women who are suffering from various kinds of cervical and lower back pains.
This pillow’s unique design is the first thing that catches your eye. The entire pillow is made in U-shape and is long enough to support the full body. You can rest in between the loop with your neck resting on the base.
The entire pillow is made of breathable silk cotton fiber. It offers excellent smoothness and comfort to your whole body. This pillow does not help you fight the neck pain but all types of pain that are often during pregnancy. You can use it for lower abdominal pain, leg pain, and lower back pain.
It can be used for side and back sleepers. With this pillow, you will get a relaxing position with which you can sleep, read, watch tv, or even perform nursing duties. Since it offers excellent support from belly to hip support, pregnant women will find this feature as a significant advantage over other products.
The only problem the customers faced with this pillow is the deflation over some time. It can be comfortable for legs, but for some, it did not work for the back. Some users feel the part of the pillow that supports the neck is a bit pointy and high.
Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Full Size Body Pillow
The Snuggle-Pedic pillow is widely regarded as one of the best pillows for shoulder and neck pain. It is mentioned very frequently and is rated as the best in many websites such as Wirecutter. This pillow is also one of the most searched products over the internet.
All these attributes are due to its high-quality build and excellent comfort. The pillow is made with a combination of various materials.
Memory foam – the primary element is engulfed in layers of micro vented viscose bamboo along with polyester. The foam pieces are interlocked so that it will create a breathable environment.
All the materials used in this pillow are environment-friendly that does not contain any ozone depleters, harmful chemicals, and PBDE flame retardants. It does not contain any heavy metals such as lead, formaldehyde, and phthalates. However, it contains meager amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOC).
This pillow has a unique design with which you can use it as a pillow or as a support to snuggle. It does not go flat even after multiple uses, a rare feature seen in memory foam pillows. You can use this pillow as a great stress buster for pregnant women.
With an average dimension of 20 X 54 inches, this pillow is a perfect partner for you at nights. Another great feature of this pillow is that it is entirely machine washable. Unlike other memory foam pillows that allow only their covers to be washed, you can wash this entire pillow.
Snuggle-Pedic memory foam pillow is ideal for those who sleep on their back, side, and in between. It offers excellent comfort in all sleeping positions and will not alter your posture.
Lumia Wellness Cervical Traction Chiropractic Wedge Pillow
A pillow that helps in alleviating neck and shoulder problems will always be a user’s favorite choice. This cervical traction chiropractic wedge pillow is one such product that relieves various types of neck and shoulder pains.
It is ideal for those who are suffering from stiffness, military neck, and forward head tilt. The unique wedge-shaped design of the pillow corrects the posture while you sleep and helps in relieving the stress of cervical and shoulder joints.
The pillow is made of memory foam and is covered by a velvet cover. All the contents are made of hypoallergenic materials. You can remove the cover and wash it in a machine.
This pillow is ideal for restoring posture and pain relief. It decreases the tension caused due to the postural imbalance, thereby reducing the amount of pain and increasing the quality of sleep.
The memory foam used in this pillow is dense, firm, and provides consistent support for your entire neck. If you are a person who is fed up with using a rolled towel under your neck, this pillow is for you.
It is not suitable for side sleepers as its unique design does not support you to sleep on your side. There are certain situations where some users feel like their head is completely resting on the floor, even when they use the pillow.
SmartDelux Orthopedic Memory Foam Pillow
A unique design by SmartDelux offers excellent comfort and support to your head and neck. This pillow has a unique butterfly-shaped design that catches your eye. The outer wings are hard, whereas the center of the pillow is soft.
The entire pillow is made with gel-infused memory foam. It will adapt to the structure of your head and neck such that you will not feel pressured while using this pillow. Its breathable design will help in maintaining uniform temperature when you sleep on it.
Furthermore, the protective inner pillowcase will enhance the life of the pillow as well as gives additional comfort while you sleep on it. There is a second outer cover that is made of 40% viscose and 60% polyester. You can remove the cover and wash it in a machine.
SmartDelux orthopedic pillow’s unique geometrically shaped design will give support wherever needed for your body. With dimensions of 24x14x5 inches, it is large enough to support both shoulder blades. It can be used in both side and back sleeping position. Some users find this pillow a bit odd to use, and they might need some time to get adjusted.
For some users, the pillow can be too low and may worsen the existing situation. It all depends on personal experience and usability.
Coop Home Goods - Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow
The final product on our list comes from Coop Home Goods. It is one of the rare pillows that is certified by CertiPUR-US and Greenguard Gold, which makes it one hundred percent safe to use.
This pillow has a combination of memory foam pieces and microfiber to provide optimum and firm support to your neck. The outer cover is made with a unique fiber known as Lulltra fabric. It is made of bamboo similar to the Snuggle-Pedic pillow.
A unique feature of this pillow is that you can add an additional foam layer to increase the comfort or the height. The company offers a 100-day trial period with which you can test the quality of the pillow.
You can customize the loft of the pillow so that it will be suitable for your neck to rest on it. After you place the order, you need to contact their customer support for customization. All the materials used in this pillow are made of hypoallergenic materials. It repels dust mites and also most of the allergens.
Since it is made of memory foam, it is adjustable and helps in maintaining proper posture while you sleep. Few users have reported that the pillow becomes flat after some time. It is a common issue in many memory foam mattresses.
Another significant flaw is the presence of high amounts of volatile organic compounds. It gives a strong smell, and some people may find it severely allergic.
How to Choose a Pillow for Neck Pain?
Every user needs to note that there is no magical pillow that completely heals your neck and shoulder pain. They will only help you in reducing the pain, and you always need medical assistance for a complete solution.
While a pillow helps in reducing the pain, the other factors such as the size, material, and quality also play a significant role in the process. Let us look at those essential things that you need to contemplate before buying a pillow for your neck pain.
Memory foam pillows are the most popular and dominate a massive percent of market share. These pillows are either made of vast chunks of foam or even shredded ones. Both of them give almost equal amounts of comfort and firmness.
A memory foam pillow that has ventilated pores to regulate temperature is a better option. If you are not a fan of memory foam, water base pillows are another option you can look for. These pillows, though, do not offer great comfort as the memory foam can be useful for some users.
Water pillows will always give a firm feeling because you cannot compress the water. But it is an excellent option to correct your posture and thereby reducing the discomfort.
Another critical factor is the material used for the cover. Most of the pillows have a protective cover made of different materials. Different materials, such as polyester, viscose bamboo, and cotton, are used.
Make sure that all the materials used in the pillow are free from allergic materials and do not contain other harmful chemicals. They must carry the least amount of volatile organic compounds. A safety certified pillow is a better option over others.
An ideal pillow must not be too firm or soft, or else it will lose its purpose. Medium-firm pillows are a perfect choice for relieving neck and shoulder pain. A sufficiently firm pillow does not compress and will position your neck at a higher plane.
Similarly, a soft pillow will get be excessively compressed, and you will feel like your head is resting on the floor.
Many manufacturers will give the option of customizing the firmness of their pillows. Make sure you buy the right one.
While many manufacturers offer different sizes of their pillows, a standard size pillow will be sufficient for reducing the pain in the neck or shoulder. If you want to buy a larger one, it does not cause any harm unless you maintain a proper sleeping posture.
The pillow must not be too thick or thin. It should be ideal so that your head, neck, and shoulder are in alignment with your spine when you are in a sleeping position.
There are many pillows out there in the market with a variety of shapes. Some of them are designed scientifically, while some of them are designed just to attract customers. The most standard pillows are curved ones that will adjust their shape according to our posture.
Some are known as counter pillows that are designed to support your cervical region. These pillows are great in reducing the pain in your neck, but they are not suitable for those who sleep on their side or tummy.
Your Sleeping Positions
Not all pillows are suitable for everyone. No matter how good a pillow is, if it does not support your sleeping position, it will affect the quality of your sleep. Curved pillows can be suitable for all types of sleepers. They can be used by the side, back, or tummy sleepers.
But sleeping on your stomach will move your neck, spine, and shoulder out of alignment. It means no matter how good the pillow is, if you have a habit of sleeping on your stomach, you will not find any comfort or relief.
Cervical pillows are great for those with neck stiffness, arthritis, and shoulder pain. Theses cervical pillows can be used for back and side sleepers. There are other types known as wedge pillows that are suitable only for back sleepers. They are ideal for pain in the neck and upper back.
What Is the Ideal Sleep Support for Post Rotator Cuff Surgery?
Rotator cuff surgery is performed when there is excessive inflammation in the shoulder area. The procedure is performed by an open and large incision or through multiple smaller incisions.
Even though the surgery is performed to reduce the pain, there will be post-surgical pain (like any other surgery), and you need to take the utmost care before you sleep. If you follow specific simple tips, you can sleep comfortably post the operation.
- Wearing a Sling
Wear a sling so that your shoulder is held in a fixed position. With the help of the sling, you will not unnecessarily move the shoulder, which can damage or hinder the healing process.
- Appropriate Sleeping Position
Sleeping in a reclined position will give proper support to the shoulder. In this position, there will be gravitational pull on the tendons and muscles.
It will result in increased space that will improve oxygenation and blood circulation. This process will reduce the pain and also increases the speed of healing.
- Using Multiple Pillows
Use a pillow under your torso and the shoulder that has been operated. Along with your reclined position, the pillow under the trunk will increase the blood flow and aids in faster healing.
How to Sleep to Avoid Shoulder Pain?
You are already suffering from shoulder, and you need to practice a proper sleeping position so that you will not worsen the condition.
- Do not sleep on your stomach. This position will pull your shoulder outward and misalign it from the proper posture. You must sleep on your back as it enhances the blood flow, thereby reducing the pain.
- Avoid resting on the shoulder that is causing pain. Sleep on your opposite shoulder, and in this position, you can place a pillow in the underarm of the affected joint. It will give proper support and also aligns your entire arm with the spine.
- Use an appropriate pillow that does not aggravate the pain. A full body pillow can also be an excellent choice for those who wake in the middle of the sleep.
- You can use pain killers before you sleep so that they will relieve the pain as much as possible and also enhance your sleep quality.
How to Sleep with a Sore Neck?
Pain in the neck can be due to several reasons. It can be due to poor posture or due to any disorder such as cervical spondylosis, stiffness, military neck, and much more. Whatever might be the reason, it will affect the quality and quantity of your sleep.
Here are some tips with which you can reduce the pain in your neck during your sleep time:
- Use an appropriate pillow. A feather pillow or a memory foam pillow are great options. As these pillows adapt according to your body contour, your sleeping posture will be in proper alignment.
- Select an appropriate height of the pillow. Back sleepers need a thin pillow, side sleepers need a thicker pillow, whereas tummy sleepers need a super thin pillow.
- Do some neck stretching exercises before you sleep.
- A U-shaped pillow is ideal if you are traveling in a car, bus, train, or plane.
- You can use a rolled towel and tuck it below the neck that will flex the neck muscles and the vertebrae
- Avoid using the cell phone while you sleep. It will affect the quality of your sleep by delaying the release of melatonin.
Finding the best pillow for shoulder and neck pain is not a tough choice. If you understand what your need is, our guide here will help in selecting the best product available out there in the market.
Remember that some of these may aggravate the pain, but over the course, they provide immense support in improving the quality of your sleep.