The neck pillow is for neck pain. Therefore it's safe to assume that knee pillow must be for knee pain, right?
This statement may be correct, but there’s more to knee pillow than knee pain. Aside from the relief that it provides to knee pain, it also alleviates back and hip pain. If you’re one of the thousands of people who are always complaining of having pain in any of these three areas, you might benefit from using a knee pillow between or below the knees, depending on how you sleep.
There are tons of knee pillows available in the market. If you want to get the best, it is important that you check out reviews of some of the best in this category. This article will help you choose amongst 5 of the best knee pillows in the market.
Before we dive in though, let us understand why alignment during sleep and otherwise is important.
Quick Picks: The 5 Best Knee Pillows
Where to Buy
Why is knee and spine alignment so important?
Have you been complaining of a constant and nagging aches and pains in your back, shoulder, neck or hip?
Do you find these pains hindering you from doing your daily tasks or activities?
Whilst you may initially panic and think of undergoing all kinds of lab tests to get to the bottom of this issue, you may be overlooking one simple cause of these pains —misalignment.
Improper alignment in the body results in undue strain on one or more parts. If the bad posture is repeated enough times, pain in the affected area or areas is felt. While pain balms and medication can mask the pain for some time, a correction in the posture can only provide permanent relief.
The Link Between Your Knees and Your Spine?
One of the most common symptoms of spine misalignment is knee pain.
A study involving 160 patients published by Nagoya Journal of Medical Science has shown the connection of knee osteoarthritis to various forms of spinal imbalance. Researchers have learned that the leading factor in increased knee arthritis is the angle of spinal inclination. In addition, the study also shown that a significant amount of knee problems is caused by a number of spinal imbalances.
Our body is like a machine. For it to work at its optimum, all parts must be of excellent condition. It simply craves alignment. If this is not achieved, it could malfunction and even break down.
Below are the reasons why it’s important to have knee and spine alignment.
Avoid Muscle and Body Pain
Contrary to popular beliefs, it’s our bones that support our weight and not the muscles. When there is knee and spine misalignment, it’s the muscle that picks up the role and the weight of this new role could lead to muscle tears, sprains and strains.
Misalignment can also cause uneven weight distribution and this could lead to wearing out or breaking down of our joints.
Proper alignment of your body does not only prevent excess strain on your spine, muscles and joints, it can also help alleviate the pain and reduce the possibility of injury.
Increased Energy Levels
Would you believe that correct alignment in your body can increase your energy and productivity?
It's a relief for your muscles when your knees and spine are correctly aligned. Because your muscles can do what they are intended to do, you will feel less fatigued and more energized.
You are putting a strain on your lungs when you're slouching. A compressed lungs can lead to difficulty in breathing. But if you're aligning your spine correctly, you are also giving more space for your lungs to expand. An increased lung capacity is equivalent to improved breathing.
Improved Blood Flow
Your vital organs will find it hard to work well if you're compressing them. You would need proper alignment in order to have a healthy blood flow. An aligned knee and spine does not only give you a better blood circulation but it also enables an improved digestion.
Better Overall Appearance
When your body is properly aligned, the quality of your sleep is also improved drastically. A solid 8-hour of sleep will not only give you great skin but it can also make you feel better and more energetic.
Maintaining a good posture should be your daily mantra. If you want to say goodbye to your constant back, shoulder, hip or neck pain, you will have to practice staying in certain postures and avoiding certain others as you do your daily activities. Not only this, you may also have to modify your sleeping posture to make it more appropriate for you.
Knee Pillow and Spine Alignment?
Since we were kids, we were always told by our parents to sit and stand correctly. And just like little soldiers, we obediently sit up straight.
As we grow older, we have learned that having a good posture is more than just looking good. We have come to a realization that correct and proper posture has many health benefits.
But what some of us may have missed is that posture does not only limit to sitting and standing. Yes, it is important that we must practice conscious effort to keep our good posture when sitting or standing, but we must not forget that we should also do it while we're sleeping.
Sleeping with a correct posture is just as important as sitting and standing. It is during sleeping that our ligaments and muscles relax and heal themselves.
Having a knee pillow when you sleep can help you achieve knee and spine alignment. The benefits of using a knee pillow lies greater than providing relief for knee pain.
To achieve the optimum alignment while sleeping, you should keep your hips, shoulders and ears aligned. Placing a small pillow under the back of your knees is perfect if you sleep on your back. Knee pillow supports the natural curve in your lower back and it also reduces stress on your spine. If you're a side sleeper, place a pillow between your knees. This trick reduces the stress on your lower back and hips plus it also prevents your upper leg from pulling your spine out of alignment
Whilst we have established that a knee pillow is important to keep your knee and spine aligned, did you know that there are more to knee pillow benefits?
In the next section, we will talk about the other uses and benefits of knee pillow.
When Is a Knee Pillow a Good Option?
First, just check out this video (...skip to 0:32):
There are several sleeping positions such as the fetus, yearner, freefall, starfish and a lot more. But among these positions, the most common ones are sleeping on the back and sleeping on the side.
The pillow that you use should cater to the type of sleeping position you prefer. Sleeping with the wrong type of pillow can lead to a poor night's sleep where you'll wake up feeling tired and potential in pain.
Usually back sleepers require thinner pillows. There are a variety to choose from. In both positions, a knee pillow is useful in case of back pain. However, the pillow is used differently in each.
Sleeping on the back
The back muscles are connected to the butt muscles (gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus) and the butt muscles to the hamstring and the hamstring to the knees and so on. The point is, our body parts are interconnected, and reducing tension in one area relieves stress and pain in another. Placing a pillow under the knees takes tension off them,reducing pain in the lower back area.
Sleeping on the side
According to a survey conducted by Consumer Reports, about 70 percent of its 61,000 members reported that they are side sleepers. When you sleep on the side with one leg over the other, usually the upper legs flops out, rotating the pelvis and throwing off the spine and hip joint alignment. Placing a pillow between the knees raises the upper leg and helps maintain proper alignment.
If there's one pain that most people are always complaining of, it's probably hip pain.
While some can just ignore the throbbing pain in their hip area, others find this rather inconvenient and counter-productive in their everyday life.
What really causes this annoying pain?
Before we put a finger and blame the underlying causes of hip pain, let’s try to understand first the anatomy of our hip.
Our hip is one of the largest weight-bearing joints of our body. It is made up of two main parts - the femoral head and acetabulum. It's surrounded by large muscles such as Hamstrings, Quadriceps, Iliopsoas muscle, Adductor muscles and Gluteals that provide support to the joint and make movements possible. Aside from these muscles, blood vessels and major nerves also run through our hip.
There could be a variety of causes for hip pain. While some patients would need to undergo a series of tests and consultation to establish the root cause, the exact location of your hip pain can uncover important clues about the primary cause.
If you're feeling hip pain inside your groin or your hip, then this must be caused by a problem with your hip joint itself. On the other hand, if the pain is at your outer buttock, upper thigh or outside of your hip, several causes could be problems with tendons, ligaments, muscles and other soft tissue surrounding your hip joint.
Hip pain can also be caused by injuries, arthritis, pinched nerves and cancer. It can also be a symptom of other problems such as Synovitis, Osteoporosis, Osteomyelitis, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease and Avascular necrosis.
While several conditions and diseases can cause hip pain, your sleeping habit can also be a culprit. If you sleep on the side and have the habit of throwing one leg out, you may develop hip pain over time.
So how do you remedy hip pain caused by sleeping position?
The answer is very simple - a knee pillow.
If you sleep on the side and have the habit of throwing one leg out, you may develop hip pain over time. Place a thick pillow to keep the legs in the right position and to maintain a proper alignment.
Unless advised otherwise, you can continue sleeping on the side after a hip replacement, provided you keep a few things in the mind. One, you must sleep only on the non-operative side.
Then, keep two pillows between your knees. Next, ensure the affected leg does not cross the midline of the body (if you keep the pillows between the knees, this will automatically happen). FInally, do not throw your leg forward in front of you.
Being pregnant is one of the happiest phase in a woman’s life. Nothing feels more blissful than growing and nourishing a tiny human being inside your body.
Whilst pregnancy brings so much joy and excitement, it also brings a lot of discomfort. Many symptoms of pregnancy are not pleasant at all. Aside from the annoying fatigue and nausea, there’s also headaches, faintness, dizziness, raised body temperature. And who could ever forget the crazy mood swings?As their stomach grows bigger, pregnant women find it more difficult to get a decent sleep. According to a survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation's 1998 Women and Sleep, about 78% of pregnant women reported having trouble sleeping.
Factors that contribute to this include change in hormones, restless leg syndrome (RLS), heartburn, frequent nighttime urination and uncomfortable sleeping position
Aside from helping them to get better sleep, knee pillow also benefits pregnant women through the following:
- It stimulates and promotes blood circulation in the lower part of the body.
- Significantly reduces lower back pain as it relieves pressure on lower back and induces alignment of spine.
- Promotes a balanced and relaxed lower body posture
Side sleeping is recommended during pregnancy. You can reduce the pressure on your back and hip joint by placing a pillow or two between the legs. You should also try tucking a pillow behind the back as it helps in maintaining the side sleeping position better.
Since each person and each pregnancy is different, you should always consult your doctor about sleeping positions best for your situation.
If you think that you are not susceptible to knee problems because you are still young, think again. Knee pain can happen to all of us, it does not only limit to people who are at their "golden age"
Whilst knee pain can be coined as synonymous to aging, there are a lot of factors that can lead to this condition aside from age.
Symptoms that come along with knee pain are having trouble with fully straightening the knee, crunching or popping noises, instability or weakness, redness, stiffness and swelling.
Below are some of the most common causes of knee pain:
- Injuries - Fractures, ACL injury, torn meniscus, patellar tendinitis and knee bursitis are some of the most common knee injuries. These injury can affect any of the tendons, ligaments or fluid-filled sacs surrounding your knee joint as well as the ligaments, cartilage and bones that form the joint itself.
- Mechanical problems - Knee pain can be caused by mechanical problems such as dislocated kneecap, foot or hip pain, Iliotibial band syndrome and loose body.
- Types of arthritis - Amongst the hundred different types of arthritis existing, the most common ones that cause knee pain are Septic arthritis, Pseudogout, Gout, Rheumatoid arthritis, and Osteoarthritis.
- Other problems - Previous injury, certain occupation or sports, lack of muscle strength or flexibility and excess weight are some of the factors that increase your likelihood of having knee pain.
Prevention and self-care measures are effective in providing relief for several minor knee pain. You can start from practicing the correct sleeping position.
One knee on top of another as you sleep on the side can aggravate soreness or pain in the knees. A pillow in between prevents the knees from rubbing against each other. In addition to keeping the knees apart, a knee pillow improves the circulation of the blood to the legs. This, too, provides reliefs from tension, soreness, and ache in the legs.
Varicose Veins, Muscle Cramps, Lower Back Pain and Sciatica
Veins are responsible for transporting blood towards your heart. When they fail to function properly, blood are collected in the veins itself which causes the veins to become enlarged. Varicose veins, a product of this malfunction, often affect your legs.
Other factors that cause varicose veins are genetics, obesity, standing for long periods of time, aging, menopause and pregnancy.
The annoying severe pain of muscle cramps happen when one or more of your muscles made an involuntary and sudden contraction. I guess almost everyone of you have experienced crying in pain in the middle of your sleep because of cramps.
Muscle cramps are generally harmless and caused by dehydration, muscle strain and overuse, or just simply being on the same position for a long period of time. In some cases though, it can be a symptom of a more serious medical condition such as mineral depletion, nerve compression and inadequate blood supply.
Lower back pain
About 80% of adult population suffer from back pain at some point of their lifetime according to National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). People between the ages of 30 and 50 have greater risk of back pain partly because of the body changes that aging brings.
Injury, such as muscle strains or sprains, is the most common cause of lower back pain. It can also be caused by some diseases such as spine infections, kidney infections, arthritis, sciatica, a ruptured or herniated disc and cancer of the spinal cord. Other conditions such as pregnancy, bladder and kidney problems, ovarian cysts, endometriosis and uterine fibroids can also cause low back pain.
Sciatica is characterized by a radiating pain along the path of your sciatic nerve and extending to your lower back, hips, buttocks and legs.
It is primarily caused when there is an irritation of lumbosacral spine and lower lumbar. Other causes of sciatica are pregnancy, muscle spasm in the buttocks or back, spondylolisthesis, Degenerative disc disease and Lumbar spinal stenosis.
Though you may need to seek medical attention with these conditions, you can find relief by using a knee pillow when you sleep. Place a knee pillow between your legs or knees to reduce the pressure from your hips and lower back.
There’s no doubt that knee pillow can provide immediate relief from several type of pains such as knee pain, lower back pain, hip pain, etc. But what’s more important is the long-term benefits that it provides. Maintaining correct posture and alignment while you sleep gives your body the proper rest and healing that it deserves. You are at the healthiest peak of your life when you are getting plenty of sleep everyday.
Tips for Buying Knee Pillows
So how would you know that you are buying the right type of pillow?
With so many options to choose from, it’s easy to be confused and get lost. You don’t have to go to wanderland with the wrong types of pillow. Use these guides in making sure that you’re buying the right ones:
Ensure the pillow is firm. If the pillow is too soft, it will go flat in no time and become useless. After all, the very purpose of the knee pillow is to keep the knees apart. Medium firmness works best for most people.
Ensure the pillow is adequately thick. A thin pillow will not be able to maintain a good distance between the legs. Those who are significantly overweight should go for a thicker pillow or use two pillows.
Give preference to memory foam. It contours your body better than most other materials, and so is a good filling option for knee pillows. Another big advantage of memory foam is that it is naturally hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant. When purchasing a memory foam knee pillow, ensure the pillow’s density is 3 lb or above. Anything less would feel too soft and thin. Memory foam that is CertiPUR Certified is better than other types because it is made of safe ingredients. If safety is a priority, you might want to go for a pillow with this seal.
Reviews of a Few of the Best Knee Pillows
Where to Buy
Knee-T Knee Pillow
The Knee-T Knee Pillow is designed for side sleepers with pain in the back, ankles, or hip joints. The pillow relieves back pain by evenly supporting the legs and by keeping them in a neutral position, irrespective of whether you are lying on the right or left side; ankle injuries by isolating ankle and foot; pain in the hip joints by reducing the pressure on them.
The Knee-T Knee Pillow is made in the USA. For some people, purchasing only homemade products is a priority. If you prefer homemade products, you might want to give this pillow a try.
And, oh, did we tell you that the foam used in this pillow is CertiPUR Certified? Yes, it is, meaning it doesn’t contain any harmful without PBDE flame retardants, ozone depleters, harmful metals, formaldehyde, and unapproved phthalates. In short, it is completely safe.
And, yes, being CertiPUR Certified also means the pillow is hypoallergenic. It’s safe for asthma and allergy sufferers too.
Contour Products Memory Foam Leg Pillow with Cover
Thanks to its hourglass shape, the pillow easily fits between the knees. You don’t have to wrestle with it in night to keep it in its place—put it between the knees before sleeping and it will stay there.
The Memory Foam Leg Pillow is on the softer side. This is a good thing because you wouldn’t want a very firm pillow between the knees; otherwise, you may wake up with sore knees. However, those who are bulkier may find the pillow getting compressed under the weight of their knees. If this happens, it would defeat the very purpose of using it. (Knee pillows as you may know are there to keep the knees apart.)
The cover is machine washable, which is a definite advantage. Another plus point is that the pillow is dust mite resistant and hypoallergenic.
Like other memory foam pillows, this one too smells when it’s new. The good thing is the smell, sooner or later, does go away.
Comfilife Orthopedic Memory Foam Knee Pillow
This ergonomically designed knee pillow fits comfortably between your knees and provides maximum support and comfort at night that helps relieve sciatica pain and pressure on the lower back
Made with 100% premium quality durable cut memory foam to provide long lasting comfort for hours, superior to other pillows it won't go flat over time. And a breathable zippered cover ensures the pillow does not get warm. This pillow is easily cleaned by simply throwing
KNEE-T 100% Memory Foam Knee Pillow
This is a soft pillow, and it is also not as thick as many other knee pillows. If you are on the shorter side or have thin legs, you will find that it keeps the thighs comfortably apart but not too much apart. This is good news, because many knee pillows are downright uncomfortable for shorter and slimmer people, because they create too big a space between the thighs.
However, as the pillow is quite soft and not adequately thick, you are likely to feel it going flat if you are of normal size and weight. For those who are bulkier or bigger, the pillow may fair even worse.
The memory foam used in this pillow is CertiPUR Certified, just like foam used in other KNEE-T foam pillows. This means that the pillow was made using 100% safe materials. If you are stickler for buying completely safe products, you might like to give this pillow a serious consideration.
The Knee-T 100% Memory Foam Pillow is hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant, and so is suitable for people who have asthma or are more likely than others to develop an allergy.
Memory Foam Knee Pillow - by Everlasting Comfort
The 100% Memory Foam Knee Pillow by Everlasting Comfort utilizes an ergonomically curved design that keeps your keeps separated by the ideal spacing and support necessary to align your legs, hips and spine. This is a must have for someone with hip or knee pain,
This pillow is perfect for side sleepers and popular with pregnant women due to support and comfort it provides.
This foam knee pillow also has an adjustable and removable strap and comes with a pair of ear-buds. Although the earbuds wont improve yous posture, we appreciate the added touch.
We were impressed with the quality of the product and this pillow comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee