There can be pain during, especially when getting a trigger point to release, but not after. The vagus nerves are nearish the sternocleidomastoid muscles which run from the ear down the sides of the neck. It is easy to upset them which can lead to vomiting.
This book has been a lifesaver for me for home self release :
Anything with the neck needs to be gentle. It is easy to do permanent damage to the neck. When I get bodywork done, it sometimes takes an hour or two for them to get all of the muscles to stop spasming, and some of the deep ones are quite painful to release. But after the massage, I’m floating on a cloud and go to sleep for hours. I drink a ton of water to help flush the muscles and I’m beyond refreshed and pain free.
There is something not right about her experience. They should at least be concerned about making the experience more tolerable and reducing her pain. Find someone else.
This is the one I landed on after trying half a dozen pillows from Amazon. It's not perfect but it's good for the price. It was good enough that I didn't want to try any more pillows, lol.
Let us know. If you feel short term relief, it might be worth keeping. Otherwise, probably junk.
I say this as a person who has one of those....somewhere. Didn't help me.
This is still my pillow after countless rejects:
Feels like sleeping on a soft sofa, and doesn't trigger my allodynia as much as any other pillow I've tried. It is a hard pillow by far. But that is a good thing for me.
Too many pillows that I've sunken into that end up making my head feel like it was a city sewer cap in the middle of a very busy street.
The middle part can be folded in to make a very high neck pillow. I don't normally use it like that, but it is a feature worth mentioning. Also yeah, there is no blue. That's photoshop to show you things. It is all gray.
Also helps with smell triggers. I rub a bit under my nose. But I also use nose filters at times.
This is what I bought a few months ago and have been happy with it. I have C5-C7 fused so I also have a hard time with pillows. I went and tried about half a dozen from Amazon until I settled on this one.
The hardest thing is actually finding them on your body. I learned a bit from physical therapy, therapudic massage. And YouTube. There is also books about them. But once you find them you pretty much just massage them until they go away. I would get so excited when I would find one. They can be in the least expected places like your legs and I even had one in my head. This tool also helps so your fingers don’t get hurt.
Key thing, learn to recognize how a trigger point feels and look for them everywhere.
I’ve been super fortunate as a teacher that I have amazing ass insurance. I’ll continue to share any stretches or techniques they give me! Also, dry needles help a lot for the muscles. I recommend getting that at the chiropractor and getting a neck/shoulder heating pad. Weighted Heating Pad for Neck and Shoulders, Comfytemp 2.2lb Large Electric Heated Neck Shoulder Wrap for Pain Relief - 9 Heat Settings, 11 Auto-Off with Countdown, Stay on, Backlight - 19"x22" https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RNBCH6K/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_i_6BPVGZ0DMYE9GKXPFQ4R?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
This is the pillow I'm using - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08J2B8G8Z?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share
My neck is pretty wrecked so I need a firmer pillow to avoid severe neck pain (C5-C7 fused from the front and back). I've tried a bunch of different pillows and at least for me this pillow shape works the best. I think I tried and returned about 5-6 different pillows this year before I settled on this one.
I'm lucky in the fact that I can usually fall asleep within 5 minutes unless my pain is a 7/10 or higher. But I never feel rested so that part sucks... I sleep on my side as that tends to be the least painful position for me.
Not sure how helpful any of that is. I'm not a typical ON sufferer though, my ON is permanent nerve damage from my Chiari Malformation. I also fractured C5 on a trampoline when I was a teenager which snowballed into my neck issues/herniations/fusions.
This contour pillow was interesting but it limited my movement when sleeping and was a bit uncomfortable because of that. If you do not toss and turn like I do, it could be worth a try and it looks like they have a sale going. Contour Pillow
I also sleep with a pillow between my legs to help alleviate stress on my back. Just wanted to mention since you mentioned back pain.
My regular pillows I use are these:
I love these little half moon pillows. Half Moon Pillow
I usually find them at CVS as a single though and they can come in a variety of softness. I like something that is firm with a little bit of give so it can lightly/gently cradle my head without aggravating my pain I get around my ears.
So when I sleep I usually sleep on my side with my arm over a pillow and then the half moon between my arm and my head.
I have tried a bunch of pillows and so far this has been the best for my pain. The only other one that came close was the ‘boyfriend’ pillow where it is like a candy cane shape and it offers a little more support in front of your face but I felt that was pushing my head back putting too much pressure on my skull.
This one has worked great for me: https://www.amazon.com/iReliev-Combination-Stimulator-Arthritis-Strength/dp/B011J79PNK/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=TENS%2FEMS&qid=1598359364&sr=8-4
I like it because it has different types of pulses, for both TENS and EMS. I haven't tried any others, so a cheaper one might be fine, I don't think spending any more would get you anything better though as this one actually feels better than the one I've used in the past at chiro/PT.