It is the “Roll” that makes it a “Neck Pillow”. A neck pillow is simply a regular pillow that gives your neck the needed support. Some other common names are a Chiropractic Pillow, Cervical Pillow, and an Orthopedic Pillow. It is often called Chiropractic pillow because Chiropactors are all about spinal alignment. It’s called a Cervical pillow because it supports your neck or Cervical spine. Orthopedists are all about the spine and other bones, hence the name “orthopedic pillow”.
The most important aspect of any neck pillow is the “neck roll”, keeping your alignment while on your back and side. When on your side, it keeps the spine level. When you are on your back, it helps to put that neck curve back.
That being said – your pillow can still look like a “pillow”. I say this because I’ve seen some real funky looking pillows…
But, the most important thing is that it does its job and is comfortable. For most, this also means you sleep well. Many also want to see their posture improve.
Your posture will improve as you align the spine. When we do this, a common byproduct is symptom relief. As we improve posture (in other words- align the spine), we take pressure off of nerves, and all sorts of good things happen.
One of the more common postural misalignments is forward head carriage. This is when the head juts out forward. If you look at someone from the side, the ear lines up with the front of the shoulder. If their shoulders are significantly rolled forward, adjust for that.
Now, often when the head is forward, the normal “C” curve is often lessened. In fact, some develop a military neck (or straight neck).
So what can one do to fix this issue? First, you can see a doctor of Chiropractic. The can send you for or take a lateral X-ray. This will show you the curve; they may also adjust, give you exercises, and do neck traction. They may also recommend you a neck pillow.
This is something I would definitely do, as you are correcting spinal alignment while you sleep. You can also do home traction as well as stretches and exercises. A couple good exercises might be head retractions and head extensions.
Lastly, you can lay on a neck roll (or your neck pillow) periodically during the day, for alignment. I have a video on YouTube where I demonstrate using a neck roll.
Best of luck, email us if you have any questions.