Cervical pain: a comparison of three pillows

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1997 Feb;78(2):193-8. doi: 10.1016/s0003-9993(97)90263-x.


Objective: To compare three pillows with regard to pain intensity, pain relief, quality of sleep, disability, and overall satisfaction in subjects with benign cervical pain. The three pillows evaluated were the subjects' usual pillow, a roll pillow, and a water-based pillow.

Study design: Subjects used their usual pillows for the first week of this 5-week randomized crossover design study. They were subsequently randomly assigned to use each of the other two pillows for 2-week periods.

Setting: Outpatient neurology and physiatry clinics.

Patients: Forty-one subjects with benign cervical pain syndromes and free of cognitive impairments.

Main outcome measures: Visual analog scale (VAS), Sleep Questionnaire, Sickness Impact Profile (SIP), and a satisfaction scale rating the pillows.

Results: The water-based pillow was associated with reduced morning pain intensity, increased pain relief, and improved quality of sleep. The duration of sleep was significantly shorter for the roll pillow. Overall SIP findings showed a significant advantage for the water-based pillow over the roll pillow and standard pillow.

Conclusions: Proper selection of a pillow can significantly reduce pain and improve quality of sleep but does not significantly affect disability outcomes measured by the SIP.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bedding and Linens*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Pain / therapy*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Random Allocation
  • Sickness Impact Profile
  • Sleep
  • Surveys and Questionnaires