Orthopaedic pillows are designed and constructed to promote correct body positioning whilst sleeping, ensuring optimal head and spine alignment. These pillows provide the required cushioning and support in a specific area and prevent pressure build-up at susceptible points. This type of pillow may be ideal for those who suffer from aches and pains, injuries, postoperative pain or discomfort, or even someone looking for additional specific support.
Just like a good mattress, a pillow plays a significant role in the quality of your sleep. However, with the term "orthopaedic" being used so ubiquitously by different brands, it may be a little overwhelming as to where to start your search for the best orthopaedic pillow. Therefore, it is essential to be clear on your personal needs and preferences and well-informed about your options to make the best decision.
(Important Facts, Studies, Advice, Considerations & FAQs In Conclusion)
|PILLOW||TYPE||TRIAL & WARRANTY||PRICE|
|Mediflow Water Base Orthopaedic Pillow||Water base and polyester||NA Nights|
|Harley Designer Orthopaedic Neck Support Pillow||Memory Foam||NA Nights|
|Classicpedic Orthopedic Memory Foam Pillow||Memory Foam||NA Nights|
|Cervical Memory Foam Orthopaedic Pillow||Memory Foam||NA Nights|
|NOFFA Soft Orthopedic Pillow||Foam||NA Nights|
|Silentnight Impress Contour Pillow||Memory Foam||NA Nights|
1. Mediflow Water Base Orthopaedic Pillow
|• Water pouch|
• DuPoint polyester fibre filling
• 1-year warranty
|• All sleep positions|
• Those with allergies
• Individuals seeking adjustable firmness
The Mediflow Water Base Orthopaedic Pillow is a water-based pillow that has been clinically shown to reduce neck pain and improve sleep quality. It is designed for those who suffer from neck pain, back pain, poor sleep and migraines and is suitable for all sleep positions. This fully insulated fibre lined pillow works by using a water-filled base that can mould to your specific body shape, promoting a restful night's sleep.
There are three layers of different materials that help to ensure longevity and comfort. First, the base of the pillow consists of a firmly secured, easy-to-fill water pouch. This is followed by a NASA-developed thermal insulating layer that prevents water loss. Then the top layer consists of a super soft hypoallergenic DuPoint polyester fibre filling.
To use the pillow, you open the water pouch and fill it with water to a level of your choosing - this will be dependent on your preferred firmness. For a firmer feel, you can add more water; for a softer feel, less. This pillow can be machine-washed and dried for easy care. Manufacturers offer a 1-year warranty as well as free UK delivery. This product is highly reviewed, and although at a slightly higher price, customers seem happy with their purchases.
2. Harley Designer Orthopaedic Neck Support Pillow
|• High-grade memory foam|
• Removable velour pillowcase
• 1-year warranty
|• Those with a more flexible budget|
• Individuals seeking different size options
• People who prefer to buy British
The Harley Designer Orthopaedic Neck Support pillow is an orthopaedic memory foam pillow designed for neck support. The pressure-relieving properties of this high-grade memory foam evenly distribute weight and mould to your unique shape using your weight and body heat. This contoured support can reduce neck and shoulder pain and keep the spine in optimal alignment. It's worth, however, pointing out that if you tend to overheat at night, high-density memory foam may not be ideal.
The zippered velour (soft and breathable material woven from a polycotton blend) pillowcase is removable and machine-washable at 40°C. However, the memory foam filling is not suitable for machine washing and is only for handwashing.
Manufacturers claim that this orthopaedic pillow is suitable for back, side, and stomach sleepers. In addition, it is available in five shapes and sizes for customised support. A 1-year warranty is offered and well as free UK delivery. This pillow is on the high end of the price scale; however, customers overall seem very satisfied with their purchases.
3. Classicpedic Orthopedic Pillow
|• Medical-grade memory foam|
• 100% cotton removable cover
• 1-year guarantee
|• Those looking for a mid-range buy|
• People who prefer medium firmness
• Individuals who like to buy British
The Classicpedic Orthopedic Pillow is specifically designed to help correct body positioning while you sleep and promote healthy spinal alignment. This pillow is made of quality memory foam which provides medium support and maximum comfort. It cradles the head, neck and shoulders to relieve pressure and eliminate aches and pains.
Manufacturers describe the foam as "medical-grade memory foam" and mention that it gently moulds to the body's shape. This pillow is hypoallergenic with dust-mite defence, antibacterial, and long-lasting. The 100% cotton cover is removable and washable at 30°C. The Classicpedic pillow is British-made and comes with a 1-year guarantee.
4. Cervical Memory Foam Orthopaedic Pillow
|• Memory foam with AirCell technology|
• Specialised zonal support
• Oeko-Tex certified
|• People on a tight budget|
• Restless sleepers
• Those who want the option between two heights
The Cervical Memory Foam Orthopaedic Pillow may be a good option if you are looking for an inexpensive ergonomically designed orthopaedic pillow. This pillow is shaped to contour the spine's natural curvature, whether you are a back, side, or front sleeper. The head, neck and arms are supported, with specialised zones allowing for optimal spinal alignment. In addition, this butterfly-shaped pillow is designed with two heights to accommodate the sleepers individual preferences.
A slow bound memory foam with AirCell technology ensures that your head and neck receive the necessary comfort and support. In addition, the dual-layer pillowcase is stain resistant, soft, breathable, and removable for easy cleaning. The zippered pillowcase is also easy to remove and machine-washable.
Manufacturers mention that this pillow may be particularly helpful for those who toss and turn in their sleep. In addition, this product is Oeko-Tex certified, which means that the memory foam is free from harmful chemicals.
5. NOFFA Soft Orthopedic Pillow
|• Breathable "upgraded" memory foam|
• Removable and washable cover
• Foam will not harden in the cold
|• Hot sleepers|
• Those who prefer a larger than regular pillow
• All sleep positions
The NOFFA Soft Orthopedic Pillow is a comfortable bouncy pillow that can reduce pressure to the head, neck, and back, making it a good potential option for those with pain. In addition, manufacturers use what they describe as "special foam - upgraded memory foam", softer and more breathable than regular memory foam - perhaps more similar to a latex pillow. This feature could make the NOFFA pillow a great choice for hot sleepers requiring orthopaedic support. In addition, this pillow is suitable for side, back, and front sleepers.
There is an inner pillowcase and knitted cover which is removable and machine-washable for easy care. The pillow core, however, is non-washable. Also worth mentioning that this pillow comes in a "queen size"(70x38cm) with a depth of 12cm. It comes delivered in a box and should take 4-48 hours to return to its original shape.
Manufacturers also mention that the pillow may have a "fresh foam" odour and should be ventilated for five days before use. This NOFFA pillow is on the more expensive side; however, customer reviews are very positive, with many people commenting on the softness, support, and comfort.
6. Silentnight Impress Orthopaedic Pillow
|• Reactive memory foam|
• Machine-washable cover
• 2-year guarantee
|• Those who prefer a firm feel|
• Allergy sufferers
• Individuals who like to buy British
The Silentnight Impress Contour pillow is designed to provide orthopaedic support and improved spinal alignment. It is specially shaped to follow your head and neck's natural contours and relieve pain and pressure on joints. This Impress Contour pillow is made from reactive memory foam that actively cradles the head and neck, offering both comfort and support while you sleep.
It offers firm support, is hypoallergenic, and falls in the mid to lower price range. In addition, it comes with a soft knitted cover that is fully removable and machine-washable and a pillowcase specially designed to fit the unique size and shape of the pillow. Silentnight is made in the UK and offers a 2-year guarantee on this product. Overall, customers seem satisfied with their purchases; however, it's worth mentioning that people commented that it is a bit smaller and flatter than expected - perhaps not ideal for those side sleepers with broad shoulders.
Orthopaedic Pillows Explained
Pillows are not only responsible for providing comfort, but they also play an important role in supporting the head, neck, shoulders and spine. The term “orthopaedic” (or “orthopedic”) refers to the branch of medicine that focuses on the care of the musculoskeletal system, specifically, the bones and associated muscles and joints.
Orthopaedic pillows are designed to correct body positioning whilst lying in bed or on other flat surfaces, ensuring optimal head, neck, and shoulders placement and correct spinal alignment. These pillows can help by alleviating pressure points and providing the necessary support and cushioning for our head and neck. This type of pillow may be ideal for those who suffer from aches and pains, injuries, or postoperative pain or discomfort.
Whilst, depending of course, on the cause, some musculoskeletal pain may be more difficult to treat and manage than others. The correct orthopaedic pillow could be a potential solution for body aches and pain or, in the least, minimise it.
Did you know?
Musculoskeletal conditions affect an estimated 18.8 million people✓ across the UK.
"Orthopaedic" Pillow Features
At this point, it is worth mentioning that there are no industry regulations or product specifications that indicate that a pillow is indeed “orthopaedic”. The term is often part of clever marketing strategies and therefore allows some manufacturers to advertise products as orthopaedic that may not differ from regular pillows.
A "real" orthopaedic pillow should provide the necessary support and cushioning to relieve pressure in specific points, alleviate pain, optimise spinal alignment, and facilitate a comfortable sleep. The support offered should, in theory, be more "specialised" than that from a regular pillow. However, the choice may often come down to a person's specific requirements and preferences.
Please note that if you are unsure of the cause of your pain or the pain is persistent or severe, it’s advisable to consult your doctor. Similarly, if you are recovering from recent surgery, it’s best to speak to your doctor regarding the best orthopaedic pillow.
Interesting to note!
According to the UK 2019/20 Labour Force Survey, 8.9 million working days were lost due to work-related musculoskeletal disorders✓ .
Orthopaedic Pillows: Considerations
Choosing the best orthopaedic pillow is important, and an incorrect choice may have the opposite effect and lead to worsening pain. Therefore, it is essential to be well-informed about your options to make the best decision. Orthopaedic pillows may also have similar features to pillows for neck pain. The following factors are worth taking into consideration when searching for the best orthopaedic pillow.
- Loft: The loft refers to the height of the pillow. A too high or too low pillow can force your neck to bend at an unnatural angle, exacerbating existing stress or discomfort or causing stress and pain over time. The best orthopaedic pillow will keep your head and spine in alignment, eliminating or reducing pain. It is also a good idea to keep your sleeping position and the width of your shoulders in mind when making your choice. People with broader shoulders are typically better suited to pillows with a higher loft.
- Support: The best orthopaedic pillow will not only be the optimal height but also provide the necessary support. Some orthopaedic pillows are called "cervical" or "contour" pillows due to the conforming of the pillow to the neck. This support is necessary so that there is no gap between the pillow and the neck.
- Firmness: The right pillow firmness for you will depend on how heavy your head is, the loft of the pillow, and your sleeping position. Pillows that are too firm may cause pressure points, and pillows that are too soft may sag under your head and fail to provide proper support.
- Shape: Various shapes and sizes of ergonomic orthopaedic pillows are available, and the best option will depend on your specific needs and preferences.
- Quality of materials: The materials used play a significant role in choosing the orthopaedic pillow best suited for you. In addition to adequate support and comfort, other factors such as the longevity of materials, care instructions, hypoallergenic properties and temperature control will be important determining factors.
- Price: The price of orthopaedic pillows varies hugely and will depend on the materials used and design. As with other bedding, keep in mind that certain types of pillows may last for years, whereas others may lose their loft or support and need to be replaced more frequently.
Orthopaedic Pillow Materials
The type of pillow and pillow fill often comes down to personal preference; however, certain materials have specific qualities that may or may not be best suited for your needs. Tabulated below are a few of the most common materials you're likely to come across when looking for the best orthopaedic pillow and some of the relative differences between them.
Good to note that although memory foam may sometimes be referred to as "polyurethane", these materials differ slightly. Memory foam contains polyurethane; however, it also contains additional chemicals which increase its density and viscosity. Also, some of these characteristics may vary due to varying densities and the quality of materials.
|Characteristic||Memory foam pillows||Latex pillows||Polyfoam pillows|
|Material||Foam (viscoelastic)||Foam||Foam (polyurethane)|
|Contouring ability||Deep contouring and pressure relief||Contouring and pressure relief, but no "sink" feeling||Least contouring, some pressure relief|
|Responsiveness||Slow rebound/returning to original shape||Quicker rebound/more bouncy||Soft and responsive|
|Thermoregulation||Heat trapping (traditional memory foam)||Breathable, naturally cooling||Retains less heat than memory foam, more than latex|
|Durability||Durable||Durable||Generally less durable|
|Price||Moderately priced||More expensive||Typically inexpensive|
Tips For Healthy Bones
Orthopaedic pillows and other specialised bedding are amongst a plethora of available options as part of treatment or care for many musculoskeletal disorders. And whilst some medical conditions may be beyond our control, there are certain things we can still do during adulthood to keep our skeletal system as strong and healthy as possible. Tabulated below are a few things we should and should not do to keep our bones in good health✓.
|Healthy Bones||Unhealthy Bones|
|✓ Physical activity||✗ Smoking|
|✓ Calcium in the diet||✗ Alcohol abuse|
|✓ Sufficient vitamin D||✗ Excessive salt|
|✓ Weight-bearing exercise||✗ Being underweight|
Frequently Asked Questions
How to use an orthopaedic pillow?
This will depend entirely on the type and design of the orthopaedic pillow. Most commonly, you will find that the pillow has curves and contours on one side - this is the side that needs to be in direct contact with your neck.
What is the best orthopaedic pillow?
The best orthopaedic pillow will be dependent on your individual needs and preferences. Certain factors such loft, firmness, shape, price, and quality should be taken into account, as well as the materials used and position in which you sleep.
What is the best orthopaedic pillow for neck pain?
The best orthopaedic pillow for neck pain will be one that contours best to your head shape, relieves pressure, distributes weight evenly, and provides adequate cushioning and support.