Most seniors’ neck pain problems can be traced back to the bedroom. Some of the ways your elderly loved one may get a neck sprain which leads to a stiff neck and eventual neck pain when in bed, include:
- Sleeping at an awkward angle causes stress to the neck joints, muscles, and ligaments
- Making sudden movements such as rolling in bed or jerking the head in reaction to a dream
- Injuries received during the day, such as neck whiplash, may not exhibit immediately but show up later
- Being confined to bed due to short-term or long-term medical issues or mobility difficulties
Minor pains may be caused by lifestyle habits such as consistently sleeping in the wrong position, which causes the spine to become misaligned, use of improper bedding, and the wrong bedroom hygiene.
So, to help with the minor aches and neck pains related to using the wrong bedding and pillows, here are some of the best pillows for seniors that offer neck support to reduce these aches.
You’ll also learn more about choosing the right type of pillow made from the right materials for your age-related neck pain.
A Review of the Best Neck Support Pillows for the Elderly
Here’s a quick overview of some of my recommended neck support pillows for older adults. Keep reading to learn more about the important features of neck support pillows and how to buy the best one for you.
Note: I was provided a free pillow by Elegear so that I could use it personally and give you my honest opinion based on my experience.
I used the pillow for two weeks and was very pleased – after an initial adjustment period. Cervical pillows feel different if you have never slept with one.
I did some tossing and turning the first two nights. But I slept through the night on the third night and beyond.
Before using the pillow, I tended to wake up with extreme tightness in the left side of my neck. This stiffness would sometimes lead to a headache.
After the adjustment period, I did not have that problem once with the Elegear pillow because my neck stayed in contact with the pillow throughout the night.
If you decide to try this pillow, my advice is to use it for several nights before making a final decision.
Older adults who struggle with chronic neck and back pain will benefit from the Elegear Cervical Pillow for Neck Pain Relief.
This pillow provides the comfort and support needed to get a good night’s sleep with four specific areas designed to help with sleep.
The cervical support area stabilizes the neck, the hollow head support area cradles the head, the arm support area gives side sleepers a place to rest their arm, and the side sleeping support area promotes a straight spine while sleeping.
The memory foam core is slow to respond to sudden movements in sleep, so your neck won’t be suddenly unsupported. The profile of this pillow is higher than the traditional square pillow keeping your spine aligned and fully supporting your neck.
Additionally, the pillow can be adjusted to the desired level of softness with the included support bar and foam pad.
We highly recommend it for any senior or elderly adult looking for neck pain relief.
- Fits the body’s natural curves well
- Slow resilience memory foam core
- Includes a custom-fit TR blended fabric pillowcase
- Is CertiPUR-US, Oeko-Tex certified, and hypo-allergenic.
- Initial odor from the memory foam
- Takes a bit of getting used to but after the second night, I slept very well.
Memory Foam GhostPillow from GhostBed
If you are tired of pillows that collapse in the middle of the night, leaving you with a kink in your neck, I’d start with the GhostBed Memory Foam GhostPillow.
This pillow supports your neck all night long by using a gel memory foam core that keeps the pillow from going flat overnight, leaving your spine in a contorted position.
Because the GhostPillow stays fluffed up all night long, it is more comfortable to sleep on, especially if you have neck pain. It also has a washable, cooling cover, and the pillow is designed to promote good airflow, keeping you cool while sleeping.
We all know that trying out pillows can be a real pain, so GhostBed does offer a 101-night sleep trial. If it doesn’t do what they promise, simply fill out a quick form on their site to contact them for a refund.
Considered one of the best neck support pillows for people experiencing or looking to avoid neck pain issues, this luxurious pillow is designed to be both fluffy and supportive.
Inside, it is filled with a mix of memory foam and kapok fiber that mold to the shape of your upper back, providing just the right type of support and alignment your neck and spine needs.
This pillow is height-adjustable, allowing you to choose the ideal height. Further, it is breathable, meaning that your upper body won’t overheat at night.
The best part, it comes with a pillow cover that allows for easier cleaning, and you get a 5-year warranty with every purchase.
This pillow is made from 100% natural latex. It is plush and soft and has been designed to adjust to the shape of your upper back as you sleep.
It is also height-adjustable, hypoallergenic, breathable, and resistant to dust mites and mildew.
This pillow comes with a removable organic cotton pillowcase cover with a moisture-wicking capability if you sweat at night. The pillowcase also makes keeping your pillow clean easier.
This neck support pillow is filled with natural organic latex and comes fitted with a cover made of organic cotton. It offers moderate firm support on the upper back, helping relieve neck and shoulder tension.
It is breathable, hypoallergenic, and resistant to dust mites. This neck support pillow tends to conform to the body’s shape, making it ideal for any sleeping position.
This luxury neck support pillow provides therapeutic relief to the neck and the entire upper back. Its contour shape helps provide the support and pressure relief that your head, neck, and shoulders need when sleeping.
The pillow is made from hypoallergenic polyester, which is highly breathable to help cool at night. It also comes encased with an outer jacket for easier cleaning.
This pillow is made from high-quality memory foam that provides a soft sleeping surface and firm support for your head, neck, and shoulders.
It has a contoured shape that is designed to align your head, neck, shoulders perfectly, and back as you sleep hence reducing the stress on the spine and vertebrae.
This pillow comes encased in a breathable pillow case that will help keep you cool throughout the night. It can be used by both side and back sleepers.
How Can The Right Pillow Help Prevent Neck Pain?
Apart from making the bed more comfortable, the right pillow also offers support to the neck, shoulders, and spine, thus helping your elderly loved one to get a restful good night’s sleep.
When properly used, the right pillow will help keep the upper part of the body and spine aligned, thus helping to relieve pressure on muscles while counterbalancing all the points in the body.
This will prevent neck pains and help heal any pre-existing conditions causing your elderly loved one to experience chronic neck pains.
Before you even think about shopping for a neck support pillow for your loved one, it is important that you know about the different types of pillows you may find in the market…
Common Types of Pillows
There are sooooo many pillows out there, right? Here’s a quick rundown of the various types.
1. Orthopedic Pillows
Also called cervical pillows, these pillows have a contoured shape designed to snugly hold the neck and head in place when one is sleeping. They usually have a depression where the head is supposed to lie and extra support in the neck area.
2. Body Pillows
These pillows tend to be as long as the human body and are designed to serve several functions while ensuring that the entire spine remains correctly aligned as one is sleeping.
The top part of these pillows is usually designed to support the head and neck, while the bottom portion is designed to support the knees and legs.
You can see my recommended body pillows for seniors and the elderly here.
3. Wedge Pillows
These pillows usually have a two-piece wedge cushion that provides a raised position similar to a recliner.
One cushion part usually offers support to the upper body, while the other cushion part offers support to the lower body. I wrote about bed wedge pillows in my guide to positioning pillows for seniors and the elderly.
4. Coccyx Pillows
Coccyx pillows are usually designed for the seating position. They usually have a hole or depression in the back that allows the user to sit without putting pressure on the tailbone.
5. Travel Pillows
These pillows are designed to be used during travel. They are usually U-shaped and are designed to support the head and neck muscles by preventing the head from bending too far on either side when somebody is seated in a car or plane.
6. Lumbar Support Pillows
These pillows are designed to fill the natural gap that is left between the seat and spine when one is seated. They are often used to keep the spine aligned when seated or sitting in the car for long drives.
Today, most pillow manufacturers and retailers tend to classify their products further based on the materials that they are made from. Below is a quick rundown of these materials and how they can help you sleep better.
Memory Foam Pillows
These pillows contain memory foam (polyurethane) on the inside. They come in different densities (thicknesses) and are designed to conform to the pressure put on them.
They usually adjust and conform to the body’s shape, making them ideal for people suffering from neck, shoulder, and back issues
These pillows are typically filled with the undercoat of a waterfowl. They are extremely lightweight, soft, and cushy but do not offer much support to the head and neck. People with allergies often use down-alternative materials.
These pillows contain small and highly-curled feathers from birds such as geese. They are extremely lightweight, soft, and flexible. They provide great support and tend to be highly durable.
These pillows are made using organic latex. They are resistant to mold and mildew, repel mites and bugs, and are highly durable. They are ideal for people who suffer from neck and back pain.
These pillows are usually filled with small polystyrene beads on the inside, while the exterior is often made of a soft elastic material.
They are highly breathable and provide firm support to the head and neck while conforming to the body’s shape, making them ideal for people who suffer from neck pains.
These pillows have an inner fiber filling that looks like cotton. These pillows are highly breathable and tend to come at the cheapest prices.
A Simplified Guide on How to Choose the Best Neck Support Pillow for Seniors
The neck usually curves slightly forwards to sustain the weight of the head when a person is standing upright. To avoid straining the joints, ligaments, and muscles in the neck, it is important to maintain this position when resting or sleeping.
For a pillow to offer the best support to the neck, it should be the right height. A pillow that is approximately 4 inches high may offer great spinal alignment, comfort, and support to the head, neck, and shoulders when in a sleeping position.
If your elderly loved one uses a pillow that is too high while sleeping on the back or side (the best sleeping position for people who are suffering from neck pains), the neck will bend abnormally, which will cause the neck muscles to strain. If they use a pillow that is too low, the neck will also bend abnormally, leading to stiffness.
With that in mind, we can now move ahead and discuss the top considerations you should consider when selecting a neck support pillow for your elderly loved one.
Top Factors to Consider When Choosing a Neck Support Pillow for the Elderly
Here are some important factors you should know before choosing a pillow for reducing neck pains.
Consider Your Elderly Loved One’s Sleeping Position
As we mentioned earlier, if your elderly loved one suffers from neck pains, it is the best sleeping position that they either sleep on the side on the side or back.
If your elderly loved one loves sleeping on the side, you should select a dense pillow with more filling. The extra filling will make up for the space left between the bed, upper back, and shoulders, thus helping keep the neck and spine aligned.
If your elderly loved one prefers sleeping on their back, you should select a pillow with less filling since the gap between the bed and upper body is relatively smaller.
To gauge the density/firmness of a pillow, check the manufacturer’s rating and also perform a manual check by pressing down on the pillow.
Consider The Type Of Mattress Being Used
The mattress and pillow must work hand-in-hand for your loved one to experience maximum comfort at night.
If your loved one uses a soft mattress, consider selecting a slightly dense, fluffy, cushy pillow that easily conforms to the body’s shape.
A soft mattress usually conforms to the body’s shape and thus does not leave much space between the bed and the upper body hence the need for a fluffy pillow.
If your loved one uses a firm mattress, consider selecting a dense pillow with a lot of filling. A firm mattress does not usually sink when a person lies on it, which means that there will be a lot of space between the bed and the upper body hence the need for a dense pillow.
Consider The Breathability Of The Pillow
If your loved one heats up a lot at night, it is important to get a highly breathable pillow. A breathable pillow usually allows air circulation, thus dissipating the heat from the upper body.
This can help older adults achieve their optimal sleeping temperature.
Note that pillows that contain more filling tend to be less breathable than those with less filling. If you want a breathable pillow, consider purchasing one made of fusing polyester or a micro-bead pillow.
Consider Your Loved One’s Allergies
Pillows are made of different materials, and your loved one may be allergic to certain materials. Before purchasing a pillow, ensure you understand the materials your loved one may be allergic to.
Consider The Ease Of Cleaning The Pillow
For a great night’s sleep, you should ensure that your elderly loved one sleeps on a clean pillow each night. Therefore, you must purchase a neck support pillow that can be easily cleaned several times each month.
Other top tips for buying a neck support pillow for your elderly loved one include:
- Select a durable pillow but remember that experts recommend that you replace pillows at least once every two years.
- Check the reviews left by people suffering from neck pains who have used the particular type of pillow you are thinking of purchasing.
- Check to see if your loved one can test out your preferred pillow for some time so that you can gauge its efficacy in helping prevent/alleviate neck pain.
The right type of pillow can help prevent and alleviate neck pain for your elderly loved one. By following the tips discussed in this post, you can easily identify a high-quality neck support pillow for your own use and for your elderly loved one.