Therapeutic pillows are pillows which are designed to provide some sort of therapeutic benefit, usually in the form of support. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles, with designs catering to everyone from pregnant women to people suffering from neck pain. Medical suppliers typically carry therapeutic pillows, and they can also be obtained through chiropractors, massage therapists, orthopedic doctors, and other health practitioners.
The design of a therapeutic pillow is usually intended to provide support for a body part. In some cases, the pillow may prevent injury by promoting correct posture and reducing strain, while in other instances, the pillow may be intended to support an injured body part so that it heals more quickly. Many therapeutic pillows are quite firm, and they are often made from foam so that the shape will not deform. Soft pillows are usually not desirable for therapeutic purposes because they fail to provide support, and they may cause a relapse into bad posture.
A number of environments are suitable for therapeutic pillows. In the bedroom, people use therapeutic pillows to maintain good sleep positions, such as pillows which support the head and neck to prevent sleep apnea, or pillows which support a pregnant belly so that a woman's back does not become strained in the later stages of pregnancy. Wedge pillows can be used as therapeutic pillows to support or elevate various limbs in bed as well.
Around the house, people may use therapeutic pillows to provide support when they sit in armchairs, or to create a headrest which can be used in the bathtub to prevent neck strain while lounging. Contoured pillows for sitting are commonly used to alleviate pelvic and back pain by relieving pressure and encouraging people to sit comfortably. Therapeutic neck pillows are designed to be heated or cooled and draped around the neck or over the back to alleviate pain and stress.
Therapeutic pillows also have a place in the office and in the car, promoting good posture to increase comfort, safety, and productivity. Some people also like to take their pillows to the beach, and to locations like theaters and restaurants, where the seating is sometimes less than optimal for people with chronic pain and musculoskeletal problems.
Sometimes, a doctor may recommend a therapeutic pillow, in which case he or she will fit a pillow to a patient and provide use instructions. Alternative health practitioners may also recommend therapeutic pillows as part of an overall plan to deal with a specific condition, and people may opt to seek out therapeutic pillows on their own in response to chronic pain or a perceived need for support.