• Dr. Elaine Screaton DC

Choosing a Pillow to Fix Neck Pain

Have you ever woken up in the morning, only to find your neck is 'kinked' and now sore and difficult to move? We've all been there. It's bound to happen every now and then. But, when you start noticing you wake up in the morning with neck pain more often than you don't, it may be time to consider your pillow. It is NOT normal to wake up with neck pain EVERY morning.

The challenge becomes, how do you even begin to select a new pillow? The general rule here, is that you want your pillow to keep your spine in a neutral position. Here are a few tips to consider when choosing a new pillow:

1. First, decide what sort of sleeper you are. Do you sleep on your side, your back, or your stomach?

2. If you are a back or stomach sleeper, then typically you will need a pillow that is thinner and softer. If you typically sleep on your side, then you will need a pillow that is thicker and firmer.

3. If you are a bigger, heavier person, typically you can handle a firmer pillow. Someone who is smaller and lighter typically will prefer a softer pillow.

4. When laying in bed, your pillow should feel 'just right' a la Goldilocks (not too firm, not too soft, but JUST right).

5. When trying out a pillow, visit a mattress store to do so. This way, you can try out the various pillows on a mattress and see how your neck feels. If it doesn't feel good right away, chances areit won't feel good after laying on it for 8 hours of sleep either.

Also, a general rule of thumb: a good pillow doesn't need to be the most expensive, it merely needs to work! More expensive doesn't mean a great pillow, and cheaper doesn't mean bad. Whichever pillow you choose, however, needs to feel like your perfect match.

Here are a couple of my favourite pillows. They are both totally customizable , which. means once you get the pillow home you can adjust it so that it gives you that perfect level of support. It may take a few minutes to get the pillow set up for you, but it is well worth it! I also like these pillows because they retail at a reasonable price point- you won't be breaking the bank to get a quality pillow!

Chiroflow Water Pillow:

I love this pillow (in fact, this is the pillow I have personally used for the last 4 years, and I am in LOVE!)


I love this pillow because you it has a water chamber that you can fill as much or as little as you need (until you find that perfect fill for you!). As you toss and turn at night, this water chamber will automatically conform to your new position, providing you with exactly the correct amount of support! The water chamber is surrounded by a hypoallergenic fill, so you don't ever notice water is in your pillow! (aka you don't ever hear the water!)

Coop Home Goods Adjustable Memory Foam Pillow:

This is another personal favourite, because of your ability to customize your support entirely at home! This pillow is filled with memory foam pellets, so you can add or take away memory foam until you find your desired level of support.


Both of my favourites are customizable. Coincidence? No! In todays day and age, where you can customize everything from your grande extra hot non fat skinny caramel macchiato at Starbucks, to your tv package, it only makes sense to customize something you spend 7-8 hours a night laying on! Using a customizable pillow means you can always find the perfect level of support for your neck. It is well worth the investment.

*please note, Dr. Elaine has no affiliation with either company, she just likes the products!

Dr. Elaine Screaton (DC, BSc) is a NW Calgary chiropractor currently practicing at Synergea Family Health Centre in Calgary, AB.


© 2019 Dr Elaine Screaton

Tel: 403-247-2947

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