Extremely thin adjustable pillow needed for neck pain


Im a back sleeper and I had a car accident where an opposing traffic turned in front of me and I Tboned her. She crossed a double yellow line. I was going 45 mph at impact. Basically, I ran into a wall at 45 mph and it caused whiplash back in 1996. Even since then, the muscles of my neck and muscles between neck and shoulder have been very tight and stiff.

I cant handle high or medium pillows. I need a very think pillow that is adjustable. I just had an xray that showed that neck is being pressed forward (towards chin touching chest). I think this was because my medium pillows put my neck in a chin touching chest position. I think I need an adjustable pillow. I might even do a DIY pillow made out of 1 inch Talalay latex. I might be able to do 2 in of talalay. Wonder if I can do 1.5 inched of latex.

I was even thinking of doing no pillow except a rolled up towel under neck arch

Any ideas?


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Hi Billy. I had a car accident also that caused whiplash, fractured my L1 vertebra, and compressed discs in my lower back. I’ve had my issues with pillows. About a week ago I got a Sleep on Latex shredded Talalay pillow. It’s awesome! It came with a cloth bag of extra shredded latex, and the pillow has an outer zippered cover and an inner zippered cover that contains the latex. So if you like a flat pillow, you could remove latex easily. My husband got one after testing mine, and he was used to sleeping with two pillows stacked, so last night I helped him add more latex to make his pillow firmer. What works for me is being able to scrunch the pillow under the hollow of my neck, and the SOL pillow stays the way I put it, so I’m not adjusting my pillow as much during the night. Their pillows are very reasonably priced with a 30 day sleep trial, so it might be a good one for you to try. The website is sleeponlatex.com

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Hi BillyIdol,

Thanks @Cheri thats a great suggestion; thanks for sharing your experience with a similar whiplash-induced problem. The SOL pillow, as stated, comes with extra shredded latex - so you can add or remove to gut the comfort level and firmness you need for your neck, and can modify it if your needs change over time. Hope you can get some relief with it!

~ Basilio


The pillow is so nice!

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I have the exact opposite and need more support pushing forward. Do you have a Relax the Back or something similar close to you?? Started out with egg crate pillows back in 1992, graduating up to full foam in 1997. Moved on to Tri-core products (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005RCBKE6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&th=1) and then on to the ZAMAT pillow (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08CVQSTSP/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&th=1). Then, I did something to to C7-T1 (massive compression on the anterior spot. I agonized for 5 weeks while taking injectible and oral NSAIDs. After exhausting those, it was on to Tramadol and the Codeine. I overhead one of the doctors in PT recommending this pillow (https://www.amazon.com/Newentor-Adjustable-Memory-Foam-Pillow/dp/B0BP1X3K1T/ref=sr_1_16?crid=37J1993PITXSE&keywords=egg%2Bcrate%2Bpillow&qid=1696647559&sprefix=egg%2Bcrate%2Bpillo%2Caps%2C106&sr=8-16&th=1). It is adjustable. How is your lower back?? I buy the back roll from Mckensie for over 20 years now (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JC99UCO/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1).

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Malouf out of Utah has a number of good products, but I think their low models would be too high for you. Another option is an adjustable base. You can raise and lower everything to reduce the load on your spine. I have a 12 year old model i’m on right now, but just ordered a new model with head tilt, lumbar, massage and so on.

Back problems are not cheap. Your best friends will become your Orthopedic surgeon, physical therapy and a chiropractor.

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Perhaps a pillow style like this Adjustable Pillow to experiment with heights to see what works. If it works, great. If it is just the material, but the height is fine, that maybe you can find a similar design with a different fill. Just a thought. Or this Feather Version just remove the layers and use them, not the entire pillow.

The best advice to combat the pain is to remain in motion. The last thing I was thinking agonizing in bed was getting up and walking around my apartment, but I did it and the pain was better.

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The lumbar support pillow looks interesting. I agree it’s better to move around than sitting or laying too much. I have a theory that if I go to the gym and create pain in other places from lifting heavy weights, it takes my mind off my back pain. My neck pain isn’t terrible, or at least not as bad as my back. I guess the lumbar pillow would work kind of like a zoned mattress, which I have now. Have you tried one?

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@Profile - Sweet_Dreams - Mattress Underground Bill mentioned the majestic pillow which has adjustable layers within it’s design. Looks very nice. Perhaps using one of the inserts to start off, like those other pillows I mentioned. I think moving around, building surrounding muscle strength is also key. The one issue is, you dont really want to wake yourself from a good sleep (if you ever get to attain one) as consistently poor sleep will lead to other more damaging issues. Experimenting with pillow selection, I think is the key during sleep time. When I have a patient that is experiencing vision issues, I start by isolating one area of concern at a time. When they start their complaints, whatever they may be, they tend to pile on with other issues of concern and I have to stop them in their tracks. Focus on one issue/area, doing whatever can be done to reduce, resolve or contain that issue is paramount, then move on to the next area of concern. If you try to attack too many zones at one time, it makes it more difficult to know what potential solution is working where without influence from a solution from a different area. Take each area of concern, one step at a time, whatever that takes, and eventually, all will be resolved.

Excellent advice. One thing at a time. Unfortunately, back pain is cyclical.

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That pillow that the PT recommended, is high, but the inserts are 3/4" and 1.2" so if someone wants a very low pillow, perhaps they could use the inserts rather than the entire pillow. The other option is to buy some cotton or wool batting and fold it until you reach the height you prefer. If you need a little spring, use the folded cotton with a thin layer of horsehair in the middle.

When I did therapy a few years ago for my back, the first thing the therapist said was “do you know that your brain has more pain receptors when you have chronic pain, and you’re losing gray matter to make room for them”. My accident happened in 1999, so I guess I don’t have much brain left anymore. But seriously, I think exercise helps. Maybe it’s the endorphins, or just doing something to keep your mind on other things. Norm, you could invent horse hair lumbar pillows. I think they would be really comfortable.

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Cheri, I wish i had the connections to do that! Wouldn’t that be great though! I need to work on this somehow. :thinking:


That makes zero sense.
A receptor is on the the “surface” of a cell (here neurons). When something has the good shape to activate the receptor , then a series of things
happen in the cell.

Cell are constantly down-regulate or up-regulate its number of receptor depending of the number of molecule present that would activate them.

That has nothing to do with the cell themselves in therms of place.

I didn’t believe it either, so I googled what chronic pain does to your brain. It’s unfortunately true.


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You can’t loose grey matter to make place for cell receptor…