The best pillows for back pain

couple-sleepingIf you’re suffering from back pain, one step you want to take to help in the healing process is to make sure you’re sleeping with a quality pillow. While where you place your head at night won’t be the cause of back pain, the wrong pillow can exacerbate symptoms or add new pains to your list, like neck pain, headaches or shoulder and arm pain.

For starters, consider using more than one pillow, and not just underneath your head. Placing a pillow between your knees when sleeping on your side, or underneath your knees if you’re a back-sleeper, will help to relieve some of the load on your lower back.

If you suffer from cervical spine problems, or if you sleep on your back, then you’ll want an orthopedic pillow that has a deeper depression where your head lies and extra support under your neck. This helps to keep your spine in alignment.

If you’re a stomach sleeper, you’ll want a thinner pillow. You can also put a second pillow under your stomach to help alleviate lower back pain.

And, if you sleep on your side, you’ll want a firmer pillow. Again, this helps to keep your spine from curving too much during the night.

Below are three pillows that Internet reviewers say have helped with their back pain problems. When trying a new pillow, give it a week to work its pillow magic, and if it’s not helping or it’s hurting your body more, swap it out with something else until you find the perfect one for you.

Save: Sleep Innovations Cool Contour Memory Foam Pillow, $27.99

This is the No. 1 seller on Amazon’s Specialty Medical Pillows category. It’s recommended for side or back sleepers and promises relief of neck, shoulder and back pain. One reviewer writes, “This is not what you’d call a cuddly pillow, but it has helped me immensely with neck and shoulder pain. For years, I have woken up with chronic pain and stiffness in my neck and shoulder due to an injury. Since using this pillow, the pain and stiffness have all but disappeared.”

Spend: Sleep for Success by Dr. James B. Maas Stress Ease Comfort Reader Pillow, $49.99

From Bed, Bath and Beyond, this pillow is designed especially for lumbar back support and would be perfect to use when you’re in bed watching TV or reading. It comes with a hot/cold pack that can be inserted into the bottom part of the pillow to help alleviate existing back pain.  One reviewer writes, “I use … this one for the support in all the right places. I also use it to support my back in my favorite chair while I’m working at home. This is a must have for any serious reader or nursing mother!”

Splurge: Malouf Zoned Dough Memory Foam Pillow, $159

Tonya Lee, an interior designer, has been a back pain sufferer for years. Her choice for best pain-relieving pillow is the Malouf Zoned Dough Memory Foam pillow with high loft. She tells About.com, “Whether I slept on my side or on my back, this pillow adjusted to my needs and gave me the proper support. After about a week of sleeping on Malouf’s Zoned Dough Memory Foam pillow, my morning headaches and neck pain were gone.”

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