pillow suggestions for a side sleeper that has neck and shoulder pain?

disney world dreamer

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 23, 2010
i fell face first down a flight of stairs about 1-1/2yrs ago.
i have muscle spasms in my neck between C5 and C6 which makes my neck and top of my shoulders hurt.
i also have a small rotator cuff tear in my right shoulder which is the side i prefer to sleep on.
i've tried several pillows including 2 different memory foam ones (one thats just regularly shaped and one that is contoured), an as seen on tv "my pillow", just the regular old kind of pillow with a polyester stuffing.
i switch them up every couple of nights but i tend to use the polyester stuffing one the most.
none of them allow me to have a good night sleep.
so i'm looking for suggestions of side sleeper pillows that you think may help ease the pain and give me a better night sleep.

btw yes i've been to several doctors and i've done the chiropractor route, the PT route, and the cortisone injection route.
-chiropractor didn't do much good or bad
-PT was a terrible experience and they won't admit that they sprained my jaw muscles during traction so now i have jaw/side of neck pain as well
-the injection made the pain soooo much worse for 2 weeks until it wore off. (i could barely get dressed it made the pain so bad)

also the surgeon does not want to fix the rotator cuff until it gets much worse that it is.

one thing i find that really helps the pain is a nice hot shower but after i get out of the shower it starts to hurt again.

the only other thing that helps is a muscle relaxer.
the only problem is it makes me so tired within 20 minutes that i have to go to sleep.
this means i can only take it before bed and it makes me groggy for 12 hours so i can only take it if i'm not doing anything the next day.
 

ronandannette

I gave myself this tag and I "Like" myself too!
Joined
May 4, 2006
I'm a side-sleeper and have only ever slept on feather/down pillows. I use a couple of ones that are quite soft and go from one on top of the other to just one and back again, depending on what's feeling comfortable at the time.
 

leebee

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 14, 1999
I have a pinched nerve in my neck. I finally gave up on finding "the best" pillow and now use a small throw blanket (the plush kind you can get at Walmart for around $5) on top of my pillows. I can use it to prop my head/neck/jaw at whatever angle works best for me each night. You might give this a shot.
 
  • Luvchefmic

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 1, 2006
    2 years ago I was in an accident and fractured my right shoulder in 2 places. I didn't have surgery as they were clean breaks, but to this day I still experience a lot of pain occasionally especially when I go to bed. I have always been a right side sleeper, couldn't sleep in any other position, so you see my problem. I finally got rid of all my regular pillows and now sleep soundly with a travel pillow cradled under my neck, and can fall asleep on my back. Works for me, don't exactly know why and don't care. Maybe try it they are cheap enough.

     

    NFLDERS

    Canada
    Joined
    Jan 22, 2013
    Just wondering if anyone has tried sleeping on the opposite side of the bed? I've heard this gives relief by a change to usual position.
     

    slo

    My tag used to say - I'm a Tonga Toast Junkie :-)
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2004
    I've always had horrible neck problems and finding the perfect pillow has always been a challenge for me.
    The pillow I have now is the best pillow I've ever owned - I LOVE IT!!!
    It's from the Sleep Number Store and it's called the The Sleep Number Cool Fit Foam Contour Pillow.
    It's expensive but worth it.
    I highly recommend giving it a try.
    (I'm a side sleeper - I forgot to clarify that - LOL!!)
     
  • dgthree

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 5, 2009
    Have you tried the memory foam pillows that are made up of pieces of memory foam? I find them to be more comfortable than the solid ones. Might be worth a shot.
     

    Earstou

    The Tag Fairy sends you pixie dust! Thanks, TG!
    Joined
    Feb 18, 2003
    Sorry, no pillow suggestions, but I do suggest you try a different muscle relaxant. The first muscle relaxant I tried put me to sleep, too, and when I talked to my doctor, he switched me to Flexeril. I've had other people tell me it's not as powerful as other muscle relaxants, but I thought it was and it doesn't knock me out.
     

    leebee

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 14, 1999
    I do better on Flexeril, too. I was originally on Robaxin and it just knocked me out. MUCH better with the Flexeril.
     

    disney world dreamer

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2010
    Sleeping on your other side is an easy and obvious solution.
    obviously i've tried that.
    its not easy and even still i have pain.
    saying sleeping in a different position is easy is like saying writing with your non dominant hand is easy. doable? sure but easy? no.
     
    Last edited:
  • disney world dreamer

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2010
    Sorry, no pillow suggestions, but I do suggest you try a different muscle relaxant. The first muscle relaxant I tried put me to sleep, too, and when I talked to my doctor, he switched me to Flexeril. I've had other people tell me it's not as powerful as other muscle relaxants, but I thought it was and it doesn't knock me out.
    thats the one i'm taking.
    i broke down and took one last night and within 20 minutes i was falling asleep at the computer.
     

    snapppyd

    God is Great, Beer is Good and People are Crazy!
    Joined
    May 11, 2009
    Sleeping on your other side is an easy and obvious solution.
    If you can't say something helpful - the rest if easy and obvious.



    I feel your pain. The only pillow I can sleep on is the foam contour that I got from the chiropractor's office. I find it impossible to switch sides, I wake up several times a night and try to "adjust" my position. As soon as I fall asleep I am back on my left side again. I hope you find relief, I don't think anyone who has never experienced this kind of pain can understand your frustration. Good luck!
     

    JanaDee

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 20, 2013
    If you can't say something helpful - the rest if easy and obvious.



    I feel your pain. The only pillow I can sleep on is the foam contour that I got from the chiropractor's office. I find it impossible to switch sides, I wake up several times a night and try to "adjust" my position. As soon as I fall asleep I am back on my left side again. I hope you find relief, I don't think anyone who has never experienced this kind of pain can understand your frustration. Good luck!
    If you don't like my posts, put me on ignore.

    Since my suggestion was not listed as something she had tried, it was an easy answer.
     

    smadath

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 7, 2014
    DH also uses Flexeril for fibromyalgia. It has definitely improved his sleep quality!

    As to pillows, I used get shoulder pain when I slept, and DH would get neck pain and headaches. I switched to a medium-firm latex memory foam pillow, and my shoulder pain disappeared. So, DH stole it to see if he liked it, and it worked well for him, too. That is now what both of us use.

    I like the latex because it's supportive, but doesn't hold my head aloft in the other direction. (seemed like some pillows elevated my head in opposite direction, rather than sinking into it, I was being raised over at the same angle)

    If you do try one, bring a tape measure to make sure it's the right height for you. I try for a pillow the same height as the width of my shoulder (or DH's shoulder) to keep our shoulders/necks straight. Another thing to consider: latex does not mold or settle as other pillows do, so make sure you're happy with the height, because it's not going to change.
     

    disney world dreamer

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2010
    DH also uses Flexeril for fibromyalgia. It has definitely improved his sleep quality!

    As to pillows, I used get shoulder pain when I slept, and DH would get neck pain and headaches. I switched to a medium-firm latex memory foam pillow, and my shoulder pain disappeared. So, DH stole it to see if he liked it, and it worked well for him, too. That is now what both of us use.

    I like the latex because it's supportive, but doesn't hold my head aloft in the other direction. (seemed like some pillows elevated my head in opposite direction, rather than sinking into it, I was being raised over at the same angle)

    If you do try one, bring a tape measure to make sure it's the right height for you. I try for a pillow the same height as the width of my shoulder (or DH's shoulder) to keep our shoulders/necks straight. Another thing to consider: latex does not mold or settle as other pillows do, so make sure you're happy with the height, because it's not going to change.
    unfortunately i'm allergic to latex but thanks for the post.
    perhaps someone else that runs across it will find it useful.
     

    BellsFam

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 2, 2014
    I just purchased Tempur Pedic neck pillows for myself and DH, the kind that have the slope in them.

    My chiro recommended them and measured us for the correct size... (Please get measured, he explained to me the serious issues you would have with an incorrect size).

    Over a $120 investment for one pillow, but after the first two nights with them DH and I have never slept better!!!
     

    DizBelle

    CSI: Can't Stand Idiots
    Joined
    Sep 10, 2003
    I like my Serta iComfort contour pillow. I'm a back and side sleeper with neck and shoulder issues.
     

    debknight

    On the road to nowhere...
    Joined
    Oct 9, 2001
    As to pillows, I used get shoulder pain when I slept, and DH would get neck pain and headaches. I switched to a medium-firm latex memory foam pillow, and my shoulder pain disappeared. So, DH stole it to see if he liked it, and it worked well for him, too. That is now what both of us use.

    If you do try one, bring a tape measure to make sure it's the right height for you. I try for a pillow the same height as the width of my shoulder (or DH's shoulder) to keep our shoulders/necks straight. Another thing to consider: latex does not mold or settle as other pillows do, so make sure you're happy with the height, because it's not going to change.
    How do you measure to determine the right height? Do you measure from the end of your shoulder cap to your neck?
     

    smadath

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 7, 2014
    How do you measure to determine the right height? Do you measure from the end of your shoulder cap to your neck?
    That's how I do it, although I have no clue if that's the correct way of doing it. DH likes the pillow to sit right up against his neck when he sleeps, so that measurement works well as a guide. I try to get one that's the same height, within a 1/4" or so. The firmness of the pillow provides just enough "give" that after his head sinks a bit, everything lines up and he doesn't have any pain. We've never been to a chiropractor, but if we do I'll have them measure the correct way.
     

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