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The Right Neck Pillow for A Herniated Disc in the Neck

Posted May 05 2009 5:01pm

At the neck pain support blog I get a lot of emails about which pillow is the right for people. This question is hard to answer because everyone’s preferences are different. Some people like to sleep on their back, some on their side. Some people are 6’0 ft, others are 5’0 ft. Some need a special neck pillow because of a specific condition like a herniated disc or their spouse complains that they snore ! Each of these concerns is valid and deserves attention. Choosing the right neck pillow is tough, especially with all the different types available on the market today. But it’s a relevant question to be answered because we spend about 1/3 of our life sleeping, and doing so comfortable is important. Lisa sent me an email recently regarding choosing the right neck pillow for her:

Hi, I'm trying to decide between the cervical linear traction neck pillow which only comes in one size and the linear gravity neck pillow which comes in 3 sizes. My neck kills me when I'm sleeping. I have about 3 different pillows that probably aren't right for me. I have a military neck and have bulging discs from C4 through C7 and am having pain in neck shoulders and arms, occasionally hand. I am 5'2 1/2 and weigh 108 lbs. I am petite. What pillow do you suggest because I want the traction? Thanks, Lisa

Hi Lisa, The only pillow that provides neck traction, is the cervical traction neck pillow. This pillow comes in a standard size which is a medium, dimensions 20"x26"; The pillow does not come in a smaller size. If you able to handle a medium sized pillow and are currently using a medium sized pillow- then the CLTraction Pillow will be okay for you. Remember, you can use both sides of the pillow- the traction side and the support side. We have noted that patients who are of ht 5’0” and petite framed tend to prefer the smaller linear gravity pillow (especially if they are used to using a smaller pillow).

Arc4life’s Small Linear Gravity Neck Pillow dimensions are 23"x17" - and overall the pillow is smaller. This is an excellent support pillow for your neck. It has two different neck rolls that you can use for neck support.

Another suggestion for you might be to get the small linear gravity pillow and get a traction unit such as the cervical traction posture pump. This is good if you don't have a curve in your neck (military neck) and also if you have been diagnosed with bulging discs. Check with your Dr to make sure that you are cleared for neck traction. You could use the traction device during the day and use the linear gravity neck pillow at night. You can do the same thing with the cervical traction neck pillow.

Keep in mind that any pillow you use, particularly a cervical support pillow is going to take time to get used to. In fact if you experience soreness and stiffness the next morning that is a normal response. Use the cervical support pillow for just a few hours each night till you get used to the contours of the pillow. In the morning, ice if you need too and do neck exercises such as stretches for pain relief.

Some additional reading resources:

Hope this helps,


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