Can a pillow help with neck/shoulder/back pain?

I posted a few weeks ago about having myofascial pain. The doctor ran a battery of tests on me to make sure it wasn't anything else (fibromyalgia was on the table, and he wanted to make sure nothing else could be causing my issues), and my mom called to tell me everything came back normal, but the doctor didn't mention the next step. When I was in the office, he said if the tests were fine, he'd give me muscle relaxants and physical therapy, but since he didn't bring it up with my mother, I'll have to call the office tomorrow and ask what the deal is.

ANYWAY, I've been in terrible pain the past few days, and sleeping is just a bad experience all around. There's no position in which my neck, shoulders or back don't hurt. I wake up with my muscles burning, and it takes forever to get back to sleep because I can't find a painless position. I've been through several cycles of a heating pad today, and it hasn't helped at all. I'm dreading going to bed. Would a new pillow help with any of this? I took a select comfort pillow quiz and got this one as the result. I'm getting desperate. Any advice/experience?
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I don't know if it will help with your myofascial pain but I have a special pillow that keeps my neck and shoulders in alignment. If I don't sleep with it, I have serious pain the next day. I hope something similar will help you. My pillow didn't cost as much as the one in your link. I picked it up at Wal-Mart or Target.


"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." -- Theodor Seuss Geisel
I don't know if it will help with your myofascial pain but I have a special pillow that keeps my neck and shoulders in alignment. If I don't sleep with it, I have serious pain the next day. I hope something similar will help you. My pillow didn't cost as much as the one in your link. I picked it up at Wal-Mart or Target.
Originally Posted by DarkAngel
Yeah, the expense is what has me a little wary. My mother said she'd split it with me, but I'm going to shop around first a bit. Do you know what yours is called?
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I don't know the exact name of mine but it is similar to this one.
http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html...sin=B0002XZMQ2


"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." -- Theodor Seuss Geisel
I don't know the exact name of mine but it is similar to this one.
http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html...sin=B0002XZMQ2
Originally Posted by DarkAngel
Thanks!
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Hey Befrizzled,

I'm sorry to hear that you are in such pain! I know how horrid that can be. I have an official tempurpedic pillow http://www.tempurpedic.com/TempurCMS...ishneckpillow/
as well as the wal-mart version for when I travel http://www.tempurpedic.com/TempurCMS...ishneckpillow/ so I don't accidentally leave my very expensive pillow. The money is worth it!!! I do sleep on the authentic tempurpedic pillow at home.

I had a nerve pinched in my neck that was the most excrutiating pain I have ever experienced, way worse than recovering from surgery.

I used a chiropractor, pain meds from my MD, and physical therapy to get back to "normal".

When my DH brought my tempurpedic pillow home, it was the first time I had slept more than 2 hours in a row, even on hydrocodone. I slept 7 hours that night....ooooohhhh, heavens!! I will not sleep on a regular pillow again.

I hope you find a way through this and back into normal life. Good Luck.

Lisa
I have excruitating neck/shoulder/upper back pain. An MRI showed that I have degeneration at the C5,6 and 7 levels. What works for me? No pillow. I sleep flat on my back. Also, I put my mattress and box springs directly on the floor for more support. I prefer sleeping on my stomach but I would wake up in pain (level: 6 or 7) every morning or sometimes in the middle of the night. Now, my pain upon waking is either non-existent or at a 1 or 2.

Good luck.
Scarlet - Thanks for the rec! My boyfriend also recommended I look into a better chair for my desk, since I'm a journalism student and spend forever in front of my computer, currently on a plain old wooden chair supplied by the university. Do you use anything like that? I'm going to call my doctor today to ask what we can do now that we know the pain isn't from anything else and needs to be dealt with on it's own.


Myradella - I try sleeping on my stomach, and I've gone from two pillow to one, but if it's too flat, I hurt worse, so I don't know if no pillow would be best. I'm also on a crappy mattress, again supplied by the university, but I try to make it more bearable by putting a fiber bed on top. It'd be nice if I could have a full workup on my neck/shoulders/back to see if there's anything causing the pain or if it's just the muscle tightness, but my doctor didn't mention any of that. Maybe he will today. Shrug.
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Befrizzled, has your doctor ruled out that teeth grinding or jaw clenching may be causing your pain? I would guess he has, but I thought I'd ask just in case. I used to have terrible neck, shoulder, and facial pain a few years ago. My dentist figured out was caused by clenching my jaw when I was stressed out. He ended up prescribing me a mouth guard to wear when I sleep, and had me work on keeping my mouth slightly open ("lips together, teeth apart" was the mantra) when I was awake. It helped my pain immensely. I've been having a lot of tension headaches lately, so I think I'll look for the mouth guard again - it's around here somewhere!

I also have that Target pillow (or something very similar). It does keep my neck in a good position if I sleep on it correctly. I'm a very restless sleeper, though, so I sometimes end up moving the pillow in my sleep so that it's at a weird angle, which gives me a stiff neck. I just ended up buying a new, regular pillow yesterday because I was so annoyed with the neck support one. Maybe you could try the cheaper version at first, and if you liked it, you could upgrade to one of the more expensive ones.
Befrizzled, has your doctor ruled out that teeth grinding or jaw clenching may be causing your pain? I would guess he has, but I thought I'd ask just in case. I used to have terrible neck, shoulder, and facial pain a few years ago. My dentist figured out was caused by clenching my jaw when I was stressed out. He ended up prescribing me a mouth guard to wear when I sleep, and had me work on keeping my mouth slightly open ("lips together, teeth apart" was the mantra) when I was awake. It helped my pain immensely. I've been having a lot of tension headaches lately, so I think I'll look for the mouth guard again - it's around here somewhere!

I also have that Target pillow (or something very similar). It does keep my neck in a good position if I sleep on it correctly. I'm a very restless sleeper, though, so I sometimes end up moving the pillow in my sleep so that it's at a weird angle, which gives me a stiff neck. I just ended up buying a new, regular pillow yesterday because I was so annoyed with the neck support one. Maybe you could try the cheaper version at first, and if you liked it, you could upgrade to one of the more expensive ones.
Originally Posted by badgercurls
I don't grind my teeth, but I have recently picked up the habit of clenching my jaw (wtf?), and I've been consciously avoiding it. I don't think I do it in my sleep, because my mouth is usually open to breath (allergies suck). I know this pain causes jaw pain, which I have had recently but seemed to have gone away for the most part after I stopped the clenching.

I move around a lot at night, but that might just be because I'm always trying to get comfortable. I don't think the pillow with the groove is the right idea for me, because I sleep in a zillion positions and I'd get frustrated. The expensive one I was looking at is flat, which is the major perk.

My mom's physical therapist felt my shoulders and said it was myofascial pain, and because of my other symptoms (can't drink alcohol because it makes the pain worse--that was a key one, since no one could ever tell me why alcohol, even a sip, would cause me serious physical pain), I think this is probably right. It's just been getting worse lately, working its way all the way down my back now, that has me desperate. I
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He's calling in some anti-inflammatory and is going to have me evaluated by a rheumatologist for fibromyalgia. Physical therapy wasn't mentioned. I'm hoping the rheumatologist will have a better way for me to handle this. Bah.
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Join Date: Jun 2001
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This is what I have & love it!
http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html...sin=B000BV4QCG
Hubby was trying to convince me that we needed to let the waterbed go. I told him it wasn't the bed I sleep much better since I got this new pillow.
This is what I have & love it!
http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html...sin=B000BV4QCG
Hubby was trying to convince me that we needed to let the waterbed go. I told him it wasn't the bed I sleep much better since I got this new pillow.
Originally Posted by WileECoyote - Daddy's grl
Thank you!!
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Myradella - I try sleeping on my stomach, and I've gone from two pillow to one, but if it's too flat, I hurt worse, so I don't know if no pillow would be best. I'm also on a crappy mattress, again supplied by the university, but I try to make it more bearable by putting a fiber bed on top. It'd be nice if I could have a full workup on my neck/shoulders/back to see if there's anything causing the pain or if it's just the muscle tightness, but my doctor didn't mention any of that. Maybe he will today. Shrug.
Originally Posted by Befrizzled
The reason sleeping on my stomach can exacerbate the problem is that it causes me to hold neck tilted backward. Even slightly off the neutral position hurts. The higher the pillow, the more the pain. I hate sleeping on my back, but I hate the pain worse.
Myradella - I try sleeping on my stomach, and I've gone from two pillow to one, but if it's too flat, I hurt worse, so I don't know if no pillow would be best. I'm also on a crappy mattress, again supplied by the university, but I try to make it more bearable by putting a fiber bed on top. It'd be nice if I could have a full workup on my neck/shoulders/back to see if there's anything causing the pain or if it's just the muscle tightness, but my doctor didn't mention any of that. Maybe he will today. Shrug.
Originally Posted by Befrizzled
The reason sleeping on my stomach can exacerbate the problem is that it causes me to hold neck tilted backward. Even slightly off the neutral position hurts. The higher the pillow, the more the pain. I hate sleeping on my back, but I hate the pain worse.
Originally Posted by Myradella3
I tried the no pillow bit for a while last night, but it ends up hurting my shoulders. However, with these handy new muscle relaxants, the pain is so much better. Not gone, but bearable, and I found a cozy spot on my side with my pillow fluffed up under my neck and flattened under my head (I'm going to Target today to get a memory foam pillow so I don't have to do it myself) and hugging a pillow for arm support. I slept from before midnight, probably around 11:40ish until 5:30 without waking up. AND I was able to get back to sleep until my alarm went off at 7:25. Meanwhile, my appt with the rheumatologist is scheduled for late February, and hopefully I'll get some more advice from him.
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I tried the no pillow bit for a while last night, but it ends up hurting my shoulders. However, with these handy new muscle relaxants, the pain is so much better. Not gone, but bearable, and I found a cozy spot on my side with my pillow fluffed up under my neck and flattened under my head (I'm going to Target today to get a memory foam pillow so I don't have to do it myself) and hugging a pillow for arm support. I slept from before midnight, probably around 11:40ish until 5:30 without waking up. AND I was able to get back to sleep until my alarm went off at 7:25. Meanwhile, my appt with the rheumatologist is scheduled for late February, and hopefully I'll get some more advice from him.
Originally Posted by Befrizzled
My chiropractor said that sleeping on my side would be okay. I do that sometimes, and I prefer it to back sleeping, but to be totally pain free (or at least a substantial reduction), it's on my back. I've been taking an anti-inflammatory for about a week and there's less pain. I saw a physical therapist who gave me some exercises and I still do those.
I tried the no pillow bit for a while last night, but it ends up hurting my shoulders. However, with these handy new muscle relaxants, the pain is so much better. Not gone, but bearable, and I found a cozy spot on my side with my pillow fluffed up under my neck and flattened under my head (I'm going to Target today to get a memory foam pillow so I don't have to do it myself) and hugging a pillow for arm support. I slept from before midnight, probably around 11:40ish until 5:30 without waking up. AND I was able to get back to sleep until my alarm went off at 7:25. Meanwhile, my appt with the rheumatologist is scheduled for late February, and hopefully I'll get some more advice from him.
Originally Posted by Befrizzled
My chiropractor said that sleeping on my side would be okay. I do that sometimes, and I prefer it to back sleeping, but to be totally pain free (or at least a substantial reduction), it's on my back. I've been taking an anti-inflammatory for about a week and there's less pain. I saw a physical therapist who gave me some exercises and I still do those.
Originally Posted by Myradella3
Today, my more major pain was on the side I slept on, so I guess there's something to the back sleeping, but ugh, it just sounds so uncomfortable. I bought a memory foam pillow today, so I'm hoping I can remain on my side and now have less pain with a more supportive pillow.
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Today, my more major pain was on the side I slept on, so I guess there's something to the back sleeping, but ugh, it just sounds so uncomfortable. I bought a memory foam pillow today, so I'm hoping I can remain on my side and now have less pain with a more supportive pillow.
Originally Posted by Befrizzled

Back sleeping is awful. Any number of times I've awaken in pain to find out I'm on my stomach. I literally can't do it anymore. Sometimes when I'm just resting, I'll lie on my stomach - for old time sakes. And within 5 minutes, my neck and shoulders hurt. Whatever position you decide on, try to keep your neck neutral. Not too high, not too low.
Befrizzled -

Have you had an MRI? If you haven't you may want to talk to your doc about having one done. An MRI can determine many things including if there is a problem with a disc.

I've had numerous surgeries on my lower back and some of the pain you're describing sounds like the pain I have when I am having problems with a disc.

I have the select comfort memory foam contour pillow and love it. I tend to get tension headaches and this pillow really helps. Like others have mentioned, it's really important to keep your neck in the "neutral" position.

I hope you get some help from the next doc. I understand how frustrating it can be when you're in pain and no one seems to know what's causing it.
Befrizzled -

Have you had an MRI? If you haven't you may want to talk to your doc about having one done. An MRI can determine many things including if there is a problem with a disc.

I've had numerous surgeries on my lower back and some of the pain you're describing sounds like the pain I have when I am having problems with a disc.

I have the select comfort memory foam contour pillow and love it. I tend to get tension headaches and this pillow really helps. Like others have mentioned, it's really important to keep your neck in the "neutral" position.

I hope you get some help from the next doc. I understand how frustrating it can be when you're in pain and no one seems to know what's causing it.
Originally Posted by bandlady
No MRI done. I was tested for rheumatoid arthritis and a bunch of other things when I was in 6th grade, and no one found anything wrong. They sent me to a rheumatologist, whose advice was to lose weight and exercise. Mind you, according to my doctor I wasn't overweight, but since I wasn't a stick, it's the go to answer, I guess. Well, I'm in my ideal weight range, and while I haven't had the time for exercise recently, I was at the gym everyday over the summer, and the pain didn't get any better and toward the end, it was worse. This time, maybe the rheumatologist will do a better workup. Sometimes my lower back is so tight that it feels like the muscles almost creak (I know bones do that, but I'm talking muscles and have no better word) when I stand up, say from leaning over the sink to brush my teeth. Most of my pain, neck/shoulders/back, is just a seering, burning pain.

I bought the $30 Target version of the pillow today, so I'll see how that works. I would have loved to have been able to drop the $90 on the select comfort one, because I'm sure the technology is better, but might as well start cheap until I know if it works. The key really is to keep everything neutral, which is why I wake up hurting when I've slept on my stomach. Even typing on my computer at my school-supplied desk, my shoulders and back burn. The desk is too high for me (I'm 5'3 with a short torso, so most of my height is under the desk), and I'm in an unnatural position. The chairs in my classes even aggravate the pain.

Myradella--When I woke up this morning the first time, although I had slept soundly, I found I had shifted every so slightly to be mostly on my stomach. It's just so comfy! Minus the pain, of course.
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