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The shoulder is a complex joint made up of bone, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. Pain in this area is common, and having the wrong type of pillow may trigger or exacerbate it.
Shoulder pain is often worse at night and can interfere with sleep. Finding a more suitable type of pillow may ease discomfort and encourage rejuvenating rest.
In this article, find nine pillows that may help alleviate shoulder pain. However, please note that the statements below are based only on research. No one at Medical News Today, including the writer, has tried these products.
In general, pillows that keep their shape and do not require frequent fluffing may be a better choice for people with nighttime aches and pains.
However, the right choice ultimately depends on a person’s sleeping position and preference.
How to decide which pillow may work best? The National Sleep Foundation make the following recommendations:
- Back sleepers: A person who sleeps on their back may benefit from a thinner pillow that does not position the head too far forward.
- Stomach sleepers: A person who sleeps on their stomach should opt for the thinnest pillow available, which may prevent additional pressure on the lower back.
- Side sleepers: A person who sleeps on their side should use a firm pillow with a thickness that fills the gap between the ear and shoulder. A gusseted pillow with rectangular panels along all four sides is ideal.
People seeking relief from shoulder pain can choose from a wide range of pillows. Some of the available options are outlined below.
Therapeutica Orthopedic Sleeping Pillow
This is a molded memory foam pillow with a head cradle for back-sleepers and a wedge for upper back support.
Also, the edges of the pillow are raised to support the shoulders, which may be especially helpful for side-sleepers.
The pillow is available in various sizes, two levels of firmness, and it comes with a 5-year warranty.
UTTU Sandwich Pillow
The makers of this pillow say that its ergonomic design helps realign the spine and reduce pressure on the neck and shoulders.
It contains a removable foam insert that helps a person adjust its height, as well.
The Scrumptious Side Sleeper Pillow
According to the makers of this pillow, its curved shape supports the shoulders and neck and promotes spinal alignment.
They also say that the material of this pillow, copper-infused memory foam, helps sleepers stay cool.
Ecosa memory foam pillow
The makers say that their product’s ergonomic design supports the curvature of the neck. The pillow also has adjustable pads that allow a person to change its height.
The pillow also comes with two types of compression bag, making it a convenient option for people who travel.
Coisum cervical pillow
The makers of this product say that it is orthopedic and made of medium-hard memory foam.
They also say that it cradles the head to alleviate pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders and that it is suitable for back and side sleepers.
Lerekam cervical pillow
According to the makers of this pillow, it is ergonomic and designed to ease shoulder and neck pain.
They highlight the pillow’s thick memory foam and the surface indentations designed to massage the head, neck, and shoulders.
Comfylife bamboo contour pillow
The wave design of this memory foam pillow supports the head, neck, and shoulders, its makers say.
They also state that the pillow’s cover, made from bamboo, helps air to circulate, keeping a person from becoming too hot as they sleep.
The Mediflow fiber water pillow
This consists of a sealed water pouch with a layer of resilient polyester fiber, the pillow’s makers say.
They highlight that this is a unique design — the water within the pillow shifts to accommodate the sleeper’s position, and a person can adjust the amount of water to change the pillow’s firmness.
The makers also claim that their water-based technology has been clinically shown to reduce neck pain and improve overall sleep quality.
Langria high-density memory foam bed pillow
According to the makers of this pillow, it has an ergonomic design and its central cavity cradles the head and supports the neck, shoulders, and upper back.
They highlight that the design can help alleviate pain and pressure while promoting spinal alignment.
Also, because the dense memory foam of this pillow is slow to rebound, it helps distribute bodyweight, they say.
Shoulder pain may go away with rest and home care, which might involve:
- performing gentle shoulder stretches
- applying ice to the area
- taking over-the-counter pain relief medication
However, a person who experiences any of the following symptoms should see a doctor:
- severe or persistent pain
- a limited range of motion in the shoulder
- weakness in the shoulder
- pain following a shoulder injury
Shoulder pain is common and often worsens at night, disrupting sleep.
The right type of pillow may help relieve pain, and the choice may come down to the person’s preferred sleeping position.
If shoulder pain does not improve with rest and care at home, seek medical advice.