Can a pillow actually improve my life?

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How I ended up here…

For years of my life I’ve practiced mixed martial arts in some form or fashion. Brazilian jujitsu, American style boxing, Filipino knife fighting (seriously), and so on and so forth. I’ve mostly been careful not to get hurt while sparring, but when you’re actively trying to hurt your opponent it becomes a hard thing to avoid. And sure enough, I wrenched my neck/shoulder and dislocated what my chiropractor calls an “upper rib” that lives near my shoulder blade.

This stupid rib has been a pain in my neck (literally) for years now and every so often I have to get an alignment to pop that sucker back into place. I can always tell when it’s on the move because my neck, shoulders, and ultimately head, all start to hurt and sleeping becomes a struggle.

One day, I was listening to my local NPR station and I heard an interview with a chiropractor. She was talking about how spending money on fancy mattresses often doesn’t do much to alleviate back pain, but a good pillow can actually help with neck support. So I decided right then and there that I’d research some pillows to see if I could get some help sleeping when my rib tries to kill me again.

To Amazon! The Pillow Search Begins

I spent a very long time looking up pillows on Amazon, and it was the worst. There are so many brands that I’ve never heard of yet they’ve somehow accumulated 100,000+ 5-star reviews. So going by reviews is only kind of helpful.

When blindly looking for pillows didn’t yield the results I was looking for, I decided to make a list of criteria that allowed me to narrow my search:

Micah’s List of Nonnegotiables

  • I’m a side sleeper – I don’t want those wild looking pillows that allow people to sleep in every possible configuration
  • I want something comfortable right out of the box – when you really dig into support pillows, you can find some that are really intense that will hurt you for the first week or so while your body adjusts. No thanks.
  • I don’t want to spend $100
  • I really just need something that’ll support my neck
  • Some level of customization would be nice

The Result

Eventually, I stumbled across “upper cervical support pillows.” Now we’re talking. I found this one

Is it the best pillow on the market? No idea. But it hit all the things I was looking for.

Micah’s Reasons He Chose This Pillow

  • It’s simple
  • It doesn’t cost $100
  • It has two sides that allow for different levels of support
  • AND it has an insert that can be removed to allow for further customization… which I removed immediately because I prefer a flatter pillow

So it’s been about two years since I first purchased this pillow and it has absolutely helped to improve my sleep and helped to alleviate some of my neck pain. I take it with me every time I travel and I’ll never sleep on a regular pillow again.