Poor posture, injury, disease, and even the choices you make concerning your bedding can all contribute to muscle tension and stress – and leave you waking with a sore neck, headaches, and other physical ailments. Your cervical alignment is especially important as you rest each night in order to allow your body to truly relax, heal, and rejuvenate.
The Sleep Judge Review Team purchased a Dr. Loth’s Spine Align Pillow in order to determine if the claims it makes surrounding proper nighttime posture support is accurate. I feel it is important to note here and probably many times through this review that it does take some time to get this pillow adjusted correctly for personal comfort – but despite that, our honest experiences can be found below.
Dr. Loth’s Spine Align Pillow Specs
Filling – shredded latex foam and polyfill blend
Loft – variable and adjustable
Comfort Positions – side and back
Warranty – 90-day returns
Dr. Loth’s Spine Align Pillow History
Dr. Loth’s Spine Align Pillow was designed by Dr. Jason Loth, a sports chiropractor with over 17 years of practice. His idea was born from his own discomforts at night to find a position that supported his spine correctly and was also still comfortable to sleep with upon. He also wanted the same for his patients of various sizes and so began his journey to find the perfect pillow to help support cervical alignment for back and side sleepers of any body shape and size.
Breakdown of the Spine Align Pillow
The Spine Align is a four-sided pillow that has separate places for neck support, head support, and for both back and side sleeping positions. The pillow overall looks a bit like an “H” with a wide middle, and it is built to be a pillow made for anyone- if you have the patience to find the adjustment that works well for you. With a soft, quilted cover, and an adjustable shredded fill blend, this is a pillow made especially for head and neck support.
Many pillows create unnecessary strain upon the soft tissues of the back and neck, which in turn keeps your body from falling into a natural, restful position. Finding one that is perfect for you can be a chore, but it’s worth the effort. This is why the attention to detail in both fill and design was important to the designer of this pillow. The fill is a conforming fill, and when combined with the shape and adjustability, it is made to specifically address body posture and overall body function.
- Reduces neck pain
- May aid in headaches and migraine relief
- Fully adjustable
- May take some time to adjust correctly
- Is not for stomach sleepers
This pillow was literally on my doorstep within three days of being ordered. I am used to an online order taking at least a week or more, so this was a pleasant surprise. The box I received was branded, but since it was a smaller rectangular box, it fitted within my porch storage bin easily- and the whole neighborhood wasn’t aware of what had arrived at my house.
Within the box was the pillow that was rolled and wrapped in plastic. It wasn’t very compressed since it was simply rolled, which was a good sign as compressed memory foam that had been stored that way may not have as much ‘spring’ as those that are allowed to rest.
There was a slight off-gassing smell to it due to the shredded foam being stored within the plastic, but it dissipated very quickly and was gone within a few hours- and was not a bother at all.
My first impression was that I could totally see how the shape of this may lend to proper neck support but was a bit put off by the size and overall firmness. I was very interested in how it might work for a side sleeper, and since it didn’t come with any instruction booklet or picture guide, I was a little confused. Also, because I am not a back sleeper, I truly did not see how it might work comfortably for me. The middle felt completely flat (because it was) and the sides were fairly firm, and to be honest, I had no idea it was adjustable at first.
Now- to give the company credit, there was a video attached to the initial email I received after it was ordered. Plus, there is a step by step guide to adjustment on their website. I just was looking for physical evidence of it out of the bag to read and had never looked that closely at the email or website in my initial research. Once I discovered it was adjustable, I had a completely different vision of its comfort. Call it operator error: this is no ordinary pillow and reading reviews, such as this, is a good idea in advance.
Features and Benefits
The creation of this pillow surrounds comfort and health, so it goes to say that all the benefit claims are specific to proper body support through the night. The features of the construction and the materials of this pillow are definitely important to what makes this pillow a good choice. We’ve broken down the details of this below with our own experiences and impressions to provide you an honest opinion.
Although the pillow is technically a ‘one size’ as measured, it actually has a small side and a large side (as seen on the respective sides of the pillow), and it is adjustable. The overall measurements are 23 x 16 inches and fit a standard/queen size pillowcase. Everything about this pillowcase is adjustable, meaning you can have a 2-inch loft or a 6-inch loft if you so choose to have it that firm.
I still found the side bolster for your neck to stay rather firm if you want it to be high enough, but still- it is very effective. So although the width and length of the pillow don’t change, the height can be fully adjusted for each compartment.
• Dynamic, Supportive Shaping
The sides of the pillow are built of varying loft heights to accommodate a wider range of people. There are two ‘bolster’ like sides for neck support when sleeping on your back along the length and two pillow-like lofts for side sleepers along the width. The middle is very thin, and although adjustable, it is meant to provide the thinner, soft support a back sleeper requires to help keep the head on a level with the shoulders.
I’ll admit that it was kind of fun to play with the adjustment of the pillow to see how the different firmness levels and loft could accommodate your body. Since the overall design looks a bit like a ‘cradle,’ my youngest son even took it upon himself to curl up within in to read a book as it supported his back, legs, and sides. The overall concept is very innovative, and despite it taking me a little bit of time to warm up to it, I do appreciate the effort behind the idea.
• Adjustable, Shredded Latex Foam and Fiberfill Blend Filling
Shredded latex foam provides all the contouring and comfort of a solid memory foam core but has the added air space for increased breathability. It also is highly malleable, provides excellent springback, and when blended with softer materials, such as poly fiberfill, can feel similar to a feather and down pillow.
Often when this filling is used, it is also adjustable to create an even more personalized touch to the overall pillow comfort. This is one of my favorite fillings as it does mimic a firmer feather and down pillow, (which is my first choice of pillow fill) and relieves pressure points very well.
• Tencel Cover with Breathable Mesh Sides
Tencel is a similar to bamboo as it is derived from the cellulose fiber of wood pulp. Although a more natural material, it does require a synthetic process to be finally made into a fabric. The resulting material is a plush thick fabric that is highly breathable, soft, and naturally hypoallergenic. This cover is not removable and is built into the construction of the pillow design with three separate zippers for adjustability within the three main compartments of the pillow. This whole position helps keep my head straight and in between my shoulders for proper cervical spine alignment. There is both a larger and smaller side to this to fit a greater number of different people.
It is thick and quilted, as well as incredibly soft and comforting. It also repels dirt very well and does spot clean excellently. The sides are a finely woven mesh as well to increase airflow, plus these easily mark the larger and smaller neck support of the pillow. With reinforced stitching along the separate compartments, the cover is a very important part of the overall comfort.
• Comfort Claims
The designer of the pillow claims it is the only pillow you will need and that it will fit a large number of different body types and sleep styles (barring stomach sleepers: you are out of luck, but you may want to consider one of these choices instead). The long edge of the pillow boasts two shorter bolster-like pillows which can be adjusted for firmness – although it is important to ensure you get enough under your neck for soft tissue relaxation. These are made specifically for back sleepers.
For side sleepers, you can take advantage of the two edges. They are gently curved to rise up under your neck and help keep your head properly elevated. You can also sleep on the whole of the edge by turning the pillow (see my explanation below).
Because of the adjustability, you really can manipulate this pillow to work for whatever feels most comfortable for you. I’ve described a bit of how I took advantage of it below as well.
• Care: Spot Clean Only
Unfortunately, most foam and shredded foam pillows are not washable as they do not dry easily, and the moisture breaks down the foam. It also can lead to bacterial growth and mold. Usually, the covers of these types of pillows are machine washable and occasionally dryable, but this pillow does not even have a removable case.
As mentioned, Tencel spot cleans easily with a little soap and water, but it is suggested to keep your pillow protected. Protective pillow covers and pillowcases are generally more than enough to help keep your pillow protected from body oils and moisture.
• 90-Day Returns
The Spine Align Pillow comes with a 90-day return policy. The company is very positive that if you give the pillow the true chance it deserves, and adjust it correctly, you will fall in love. But if for some reason you don’t, you can have it returned, minus the shipping costs, for a full refund.
This is a great deal among the rise of return policies many companies have been applying to such personal items. Support concerning poor materials and workmanship are typically handled internally, but to be offered a sleep trial of sorts allows you to check out a quality item (albeit not one-size fits all) to see if it works for you. Honestly, I considered returning the pillow at first. I was not impressed with my first night’s sleep with it but choose to truly adjust it as it should be and give it another chance. And I’m seriously glad I did!
Even though this is a fairly young company, the pillow has racked up a large number of reviews online, mainly leaning towards the positive. There are no reports of poor quality, seams falling apart, or anything of that kind of sort. The only real issues that have come to light surround the size and firmness of the neck bolsters- as well as the strange shape and use that takes some time to get comfortable with (if at all in some cases).
This pillow is highly sought after by those who suffer from neck and back issues, as well as people recovering from injury. It seems to lend itself well to whole body posture, and the adjustability and soft cover is a definite perk for those who like a plush, soft- yet supportive, feel.
Even with the adjustment, I found the neckroll to be a bit too firm and high for my liking. Since I am not a back sleeper, this may be why I struggled to find it comfortable. I felt I needed a truly honest opinion from somebody who sleeps on their back and passed the pillow off to a back sleeping husband and wife team of varying weight and size.
Trial #1 is a tall average-sized male who has an old back and shoulder injury. He receives regular chiropractic work and was advised to use more support under his neck when sleeping to help alleviate the tension he feels on his shoulders. Currently, he uses a thinner memory foam pillow that provides an adequate place for his neck to rest upon. His results are as follows:
“I stuffed the pillow side pretty firm and was very happy with how well it filled the space between my head and shoulders. I left a little bit of foam in the center for my head to rest back against, and at first, I felt like my head was too far back, but the filling relaxed against my neck, and I just settled into the pillow well. I really didn’t have to adjust the foam much, just added some to the middle. I actually prefer the shredded foam over the solid foam I have. Plus, I like that I can change the feel. It took a few nights to get it right where I wanted it, but I did sleep well each night and never felt the pillow created any stress on my back or shoulders.
Trail #2 is a short, heavier female who suffers from lower back and hip pain. She feels much of her discomfort is due to poor posture and added stress to her back through the night. The chiropractor has suggested to her that she place a soft pillow under her knees to help alleviate pressure to her back and to try to keep her head as levelled to her shoulders as possible. Her results are as follows:
“I was excited to try this pillow out as my husband very much enjoyed it. I especially looked forward to how I could adjust it. I don’t have a lot of space under my neck, being shorter and all, so it is important that I be able to reduce the amount of fill in the pillow. It was kind of difficult to get my fingers up the side of the bolster compartment, but I was able to remove what I needed and stored the extra fill in a large ziplock bag as there really wasn’t any place to put it. I found it very comforting and slept well on it once I had it adjusted to my preference.”
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My Sleep Trial Experiences
I’ve mentioned that I am a stomach and side sleeper, and I do nap on my back from time to time, so I figured I could give this pillow a good try. I first tried to find a comfortable fit for back sleeping, as I was interested to see how adjustable the neck bolsters really were based off my friends’ trial runs. At 5 foot 4 inches and of average build, I assumed I’d have different experiences than the first two trials since we are all of such different body types. My own results are found below:
I had to really play with the filling to find a good balance in between for my head and neck without it feeling too firm. It WAS difficult to remove fill from the side bolsters, but it is doable. I had to place a bunch of filling in a large ziplock as there just wasn’t any room to put it on the pillow when I reduce the firmness. It was a little messy but not horribly so. Since I don’t do much but rest on my back or take short naps, I felt I got it comfortable enough for my personal use.
Normally, a poor fitting back sleeping pillow will cause pressure points and neck aches pretty quickly, but this one didn’t. I do see where it would take a little getting used to though, as it is a different shape than what you might be used to. Our earlier trials didn’t seem to have any problems with this, however.
Even though there is a specific way you should use this pillow for side sleeping, I ‘discovered’ (I’m taking credit because I can’t find where anyone else published this) another way to take advantage of the comfort, mainly because I don’t like such a narrow amount of space to rest my head upon- although, it truly DOES provide plenty of room.
I did have to do a little filling adjustment (about 3 handfuls) to find what worked best for me, but, as you can see, as I lay my head along the side, the slight ‘lip’ that is present helps tuck up to support my neck and chin.
This whole position helps keep my head straight and in between my shoulders for proper cervical spine alignment. There is both a larger and smaller side to this to fit a greater number of different people.
Although it is not narrow, per se, it is much more narrow than what you might be used to for side sleeping and so I got to thinking about how I REALLY wanted to take advantage of the whole end of the pillow. Despite there being a larger and smaller end, it does not slope, so by allowing the pillow to fold up my headboard, I was able to comfortably rest my head on the pillow. The shredded filling really contoured well to my head and neck to hold it in place, and I slept very comfortably like this. I know this might not be how it is suggested to sleep with, but it really worked wonderfully well; plus it allowed me to take advantage of it like this when laying back to read without having to readjust (always a bonus).
Even though the designer of the pillow is a chiropractor and is against anyone indulging this sleep position- if you are a stomach sleeper, you know you can’t help yourself. There are a few things you can do to take the strain off your spine when sleeping on your stomach: using a thin pillow, a body pillow, and placing a pillow under your hips all can help.
Since this is an adjustable pillow, I knew I could get it comfortable enough for me to use.
With a lot of filling removed from the short end, I took advantage of it in the alternative side sleeping position I used above. It was VERY comfortable like this as shredded foam doesn’t really loft up around your face, plus I made it thin enough to work.
The idea behind this pillow is truly unique and really does stand up to the claims of meeting a wider range of sleep needs for various body types. Although it may not work for everybody, with a little patience and thought, I feel many people would find this to be a comfortable, supportive pillow design.
Despite some initial misgivings, the more I found out about this pillow, the more I liked it. I actually slept with it one night and then put it to the side to come back to. I didn’t even give it a fair go until I received it back from loaning it out for a second opinion- and they were impressed enough that I decided I really did need to give it the proper time required to get used to it. I was glad I did since it is a very comforting pillow and holds up to its features well.
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The adjustment process may take a bit, and what may seem comfortable for you as you drift off to sleep, it may not be quite as comfortable after an entire night of rest. The 90-day sleep trial does help you by giving the time to seriously determine if you can get the right adjustment, but if you can’t, at least you can get the bulk of your investment back. Adjustable pillows aren’t for everyone due to the patience that it occasionally require, plus not everyone likes to store the filling- but they do provide a truly customized sleep experience.
The pillow is not washable either, nor is the casing, so be sure to keep it protected even though it does repel dirt well. It may spot clean, but a protective pillowcase and your own personal casing are suggested to get a long life out of the product.