pillow me
November 13, 2020 12:40 PM   Subscribe

Looking for recommendations for the best pillow for me so I can finally sleep without pain.

Basically, my back is pretty jacked up. I have really bad forward head posture (from decades of computer work), my shoulders roll forward, I have a rib on my right side that routinely pops out of place due to the way I hold my arm when I play bass, my right scapula is lower than my left, I end every work day with terrible pain between my shoulder blades, and I experience pretty bad neck pain at night. My bra size is 40G, so that's probably not helping. I'm a mess.

This is all being treated via physical therapy and a chiropractor (for the rib only), but I have been searching in vain for years to find a pillow that allows me to sleep comfortably at night and I have struck out every time. Can anyone please recommend a pillow that might help me sleep somewhat comfortably given the wreckage I just described?

I am mostly a back sleeper and occasionally sleep on my side.

(I am not looking for input on how to treat my back pain as I have that covered, so I'd prefer not to hear any judgement about the chiropractor or advice to seek breast reduction surgery or anything else in that vein. Really just want to find a nice pillow so I can sleep properly.)
posted by nayantara to Shopping (10 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Have you only tried various head pillows? If so, you could consider a body pillow.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 12:57 PM on November 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

I really like my buckwheat pillow. It allows me to support my neck without jacking my head out of position. I am mostly a side/stomach sleeper so pillows usually make my neck hurt.
posted by Ochre,Hugh at 1:08 PM on November 13, 2020 [6 favorites]

Came here to suggest buckwheat pillow as well. I have this one.
posted by 10ch at 1:11 PM on November 13, 2020 [4 favorites]

I use a u-shaped pillow (there are also v-shaped pillows). I actually use two of them stacked on top of each other, as I'm a side-sleeper and very broad-shouldered and need significant height.

For a number of years, I used a soft medical cervical roll for neck support. It goes inside your pillowcase so it doesn't go rolling around. There are many versions in memory foam, or foam pillows with a roll attached, and I just don't understand how that is either supportive or comfortable, but I mostly really hate memory foam...

...except for my body pillow. I've used body pillows all my life, but it wasn't until I got that 5lb treetrunk of a pillow that my knees felt fully supported and it kept my boobs from moving around. It's also really nice for sitting up in bed reading or whatever. I love that pillow.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:37 PM on November 13, 2020

Those cervical rolls are ridiculously expensive. I just use a pool noodle, cut to size, wrapped in a towel. It's been very good for my awful neck.
posted by patternocker at 2:41 PM on November 13, 2020

I am a back sleeper with several back operations, slumped shoulders and general poor sleep.

I was gifted a pillow made by Keetsa. I had the same pillow for about 20 years before I switched to one of theirs. They have all types. Check them out. For me, life changing.

I will also use a wedge under my knees to take the pressure off my lower back, but that does not seem to be one of your issues.
posted by AugustWest at 3:34 PM on November 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

A physical therapist specifically told me to sleep with a pillow under my knees (if I sleep on my back) or between my knees (if I sleep on my side) to help with back issues. It makes a surprising difference.
posted by amtho at 5:06 PM on November 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

For shoulder achiness, I found it helpful putting a rolled towel right under (and parallel lengthwise to) my spine when I sleep on my back. It counteracts the ‘rolled shoulder’ position to give those muscles a break at night.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 6:52 PM on November 13, 2020

I am a back sleeper as well. I had a lot of neck pain before I tried the Epabo pillow. It may take a couple of weeks to get used to it. I believe you can return it if you don't like it. I'm glad to say that it worked for me. I was amazed at how quickly my pain was gone. Best of luck in finding something to help you with your pain!
posted by goodsearch at 8:42 PM on November 13, 2020

I have neck issues, and I sleep on a Tempur-Pedic neck pillow and it seems to help -- when I travel and don't bring it with me, I miss it. I tried cheaper versions (Ikea, random ones from Amazon) but have come back to the brand name one. I sleep on my side and my back.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:40 AM on November 15, 2020

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