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Best Orthopedic Pillows: Sleep Pain-Free with Proper Alignment

Updated April 24, 2021

Your sleep posture and your body support influence the degree of comfort you experience through the night. If you find that you toss and turn or wake with pain, chances are you are not being properly supported. Sometimes this has to do with your mattress choice, but many times can be simply solved by the alignment of your body influenced by the pillow you sleep upon.

Neck, back, and upper body pain are common when your spine is not in alignment, creating stress on your soft tissues and resulting in a poor night’s rest. This cervical support is crucial to overall body health, and before you decide to invest in expensive sleep options, first explore what a change in pillow may do to help with these issues. Below are some helpful tips to find an orthopedic pillow to help support you best where you need it whether your condition is caused by poor sleep posture or is a chronic ailment.

You might want to check also: Best Orthopedic Pillow

Rank Product Highlights Warranty
#1

Coisum Orthopedic Memory Foam Pillow

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  • Filling-  Solid memory foam core
  • Comfort: Side and back
  • Density: Extra-firm
  • Cooling: yes
Warranty: 30-day returns
#2

TEMPUR-Neck Pillow

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  • Filling-  Solid memory foam core
  • Comfort: Back/Side
  • Density: firm
  • Cooling:  No
Warranty: 5 year
#3

Cradle Me Cervical Pillow

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  • Filling-  Memory Foam
  • Comfort: Stomach/Back/Side
  • Density: Plush
  • Cooling:  supportive
Warranty: 100% guarantee
#4

Perform Pillow Medium Profile Memory Foam Neck Pillow

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  • Filling-  solid memory foam core
  • Comfort:  Back and Side
  • Density: Medium Firm
  • Cooling: no
Warranty: n/a
#5

Dr. Loth’s Spine Align Pillow

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  • Filling-  shredded latex foam and polyfill blend
  • Comfort: Side and back
  • Density: Adjustable
  • Cooling: no
Warranty: 90-day returns

Body Alignment

Your cervical spine should be in alignment through the night, and much of what influences this is the positioning of your head and neck in relation to the rest of your body. Support of your upper body allows your central nervous system to work as it should and influences a better night’s rest. This allows you to cycle through your sleep, influences your physical and mental health through an increase in blood flow and body rejuvenation.

Pillow Choice and Sleep Positions

The position you naturally fall into each night is personal, and often somewhat outside of your control. Each position requires unique support and can help influence a healthier position as well as a more relaxed one. Because of this, you need to look for a pillow that not only satisfies your personal preferences for comfort, but also one with the ability to support your body in the position you sleep within. Orthopedic pillows are designed specifically for this whether you are trying to solve an ongoing pain problem or simply are looking for better support.

– Back Sleep Position Needs

Thinner or soft responsive pillows help hold the head level between the shoulders and provide enough material to hold the neck in alignment and allow the soft tissues to relax.

– Stomach Sleep Position Needs

Sleeping without a pillow is best for stomach sleepers since the head will always be angled and thus compromise the spine. But if a pillow is needed, look for one that is thin, soft, and flat to help keep pressure off the lower back and hips.

– Side Sleep Position Needs

Higher profiled, firm and responsive pillows are needed to help hold the head between the shoulders and also fill the gap created by the neck. Gusseted pillow choices and well as those designed for this unique support are highly sought after for this position.

You may be interested in: Best Orthopedic Pillows for Side Sleepers

What is an Orthopedic Pillow Exactly?

Orthopedic pillows are also known as contoured or cervical pillows. These are designed for specific support of the head and neck for spinal alignment and influence the body to rest in a more natural position. Many of these choices are made from a responsive foam, or shredded foam to avoid compression and to help hold you in a stable position through the night.

Others may use softer materials with specialized construction and even adjustment capabilities for personal preferences. You may find the pillow marketed specifically for neck, shoulder, and even back pain with many available in various sizes to meet the demands of a wide range of customer needs.

Why Choose an Orthopedic Pillow?

Orthopedic pillows are designed specifically to better support your cervical spine. They are a specialized shape and size to help hold your head, neck, and occasionally shoulder(s) in a position that allows for body alignment and soft tissue relaxation. Neck and back pain, migraines, snoring, and other body stresses can all be alleviated when the body is allowed to relax in a healthier position.

Most orthopedic pillows retain their shape so you don’t have to reshape or fluff for comfort. This also keeps them from shifting through the night to allow you to be held securely in one position without creating pressure points if you do move. These types of pillows are also generally highly recommended by chiropractors and other health care physicians that deal with chronic and temporary spinal pain.

Orthopedic Pillow Materials

These pillows use all sorts of materials in their overall design, but the most important is the material filling. As mentioned, foams are most often used as they hold their shape well, reduce pressure points, and are responsive to movement without sacrificing support. Memory foam, latex, and polyurethane are all used as solid and shredded options to provide variables in soft and firm areas of the pillow design.

What to Consider When Choosing an Orthopedic Pillow

Just because you purchase an orthopedic pillow doesn’t mean you have the best one for you. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all pillow, and body shape, size, weight, height, and your own personal preferences should all be taken into consideration prior to investing in a quality sleep product. Take into account the following:

  • What is your sleep position?

As explained above your sleep position is very influential to your overall comfort and a pillow needs to reflect the amount of support you need. Many of these pillows focus on back and side sleepers as they are the most common slept in, but look carefully over the details of the pillows you are interested in to see what the company recommends for use.

  • Do you sleep warm?

Foam has a tendency to retain heat, and since it is generally the main filling choice for a shaped pillow, this could create an uncomfortable sleep situation. Look for those pillows that address this concern with the addition of gel infusions, colling cover materials, and designs that help with air flow.

  • Do you wake with aches and pains?

If you are considering one of these pillows due to existing pain, then you probably already know what types of pillows aren’t working. You also may want to check with your chiropractor or healthcare practitioner to address any possible underlying causes of your pain. Also, be aware that new pillows can take up to 30 days to adjust to.

  • Do you snore or suffer from migraines or headaches?

These types of afflictions can be due to poor spinal support and the stress on soft tissues. This often results in poor blood flow as well and since shaped pillows are designed to address poor posture and help alleviate these stressors, you may see a decrease in headaches, migraines, and snoring.

Our Top 5 Orthopedic Pillow Reviews

The following reviews are some of the most popular pillows with consumers. Some are even from our own top picked, personally reviewed choices to help provide you a detailed account of their use.

Coisum Orthopedic Memory Foam Pillow

Specs:

  • Filling-  Solid memory foam core
  • Comfort: Side and back
  • Density: Extra-firm
  • Cooling: yes
  • Warranty: 30-day returns

The Coisum Orthopedic Memory Foam Pillow uses a high quality, dense memory foam to provide a unique shaping for back and side sleep support. Designed to alleviate back, neck, and shoulder pain, this pillow provides a cradling effect to help hold your head in alignment through the night and allows for proper contouring for whole body support.

A washable, breathable bamboo cover provides a cooling effect, while the inner mite casing keeps your foam protected and fresh. Resistant to mildews and dust mites, this pillow has excellent airflow for all night comfort. The slow rebound memory foam allows you to ride and move back into position without causing any pressure points.

Pros

  • Relieves neck stiffness
  • Holds shape very well
  • Does conform well for combo sleepers

Cons

  • Takes time to get used to
  • Offgassing at first

Who Should Purchase this Pillow:

Perfect for back and side sleepers who suffer from back pain, this unique pillow is made specifically to help address your sleep position and help with spinal alignment.

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TEMPUR-Neck Pillow

Specs:

  • Filling-  Solid memory foam core
  • Comfort: Back/Side
  • Density: firm
  • Cooling:  No
  • Warranty: 5 year

Tempur-Pedic offers much more than their famous memory foam mattresses. The Tempur-Neck pillow was made specifically to aide in neck pain and provide support for spinal alignment and soft tissue relaxation. Whether you are dealing with a chronic issue or are recovering from injury, this choice can help you get a more restful night. Designed for back and side sleepers, the various lofts of each side can accommodate a wide range of body types and preferences. The softer center alleviates pressure points as well.

Available in three sizes: small, medium, and large, you can find your perfect fit with their handy guide. If you would like to see a more detailed account of this pillow, we have personally reviewed it here at The Sleep Judge and you can review our findings in this article.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Sizing chart accurate
  • Alleviates neck pain

Cons

  • Slight off-gassing
  • Maybe too firm for some people
  • Contouring will be affected by room temperature

Who Should Purchase this Pillow

Perfect for back and side sleepers, this is made to line out your whole body and can be helpful in alleviating snoring and other back and neck pain you may suffer from. The extra firm feel does provide a responsive feel with excellent contouring properties.

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Cradle Me Cervical Pillow

Specs:

  • Filling-  Memory Foam
  • Comfort: Stomach/Back/Side
  • Density: Plush
  • Cooling:  supportive
  • Warranty: 100% guarantee

The 3D comfort offered by the Cradle Me Cervical Pillow provides a unique butterfly shaped pillow that was created to support back and side sleepers but also can accommodate a surprising number of stomach sleepers who use it to support their upper body as well. The pillow is plush and responsive, and also highly breathable for a cooler nights sleep. The gel infused memory foam core conforms to your head, neck, and shoulders to cradle you and provide spinal alignment.

Pressure relieving, this is a pillow that adjusts for a wide variety of sleep needs, and the removable, washable cover lets you keep your pillow stay clean and fresh. Although it is an odd shape, it can fit into a standard queen size pillowcase if needed.

Pros

  • Very supportive
  • Exceptionally contouring and comforting
  • Sleeps cool

Cons

  • Loft might be too high for smaller bodies
  • The foam may settle over time

Who Should Purchase this Pillow:

If you are a combo sleeper or simply are looking for a more support pillow, this is a great choice to consider as it fits a wide variety of body shapes and weights, and is a softer, yet supportive option.

buy now

Perform Pillow Medium Profile Memory Foam Neck Pillow

Specs:

  • Filling-  solid memory foam core
  • Comfort:  Back and Side
  • Density: Medium Firm
  • Cooling: no
  • Warranty: n/a

The Perform Contour Pillow is made with your neck support in mind and is designed for back and side sleepers to provide proper spinal alignment. The foam is considered contouring and provides a soft give to help hold your head and neck in position through the night. Available in three size options, you can find the one that works best with your body shape and specific support needs. Each pillow also offers slight variances from one side to the other for an even more personalized feel

The solid memory foam core stands up against compression with use and allows for neck relaxation. It is a dense foam that does take a little bit of your body heat to truly settle into a good contour, but it is considered an excellent choice for head and neck crabbing without creating pressure points. The soft removable bamboo cover allows for easy laundering as well.

Pros

  • Great contouring to head and neck
  • Good size options
  • Soft, breathable bamboo cover

Cons

  • Not for combo sleepers
  • Takes time to soften and conform

Who Should Purchase this Pillow:

Perfect for back and side sleepers, the size options and roll size choices makes it easy to find what fits your body type best. Although the foam is dense and takes your body heat to truly conform, it is considered a truly comforting pillow.

buy now

Dr. Loth’s Spine Align Pillow

Specs:

  • Filling-  shredded latex foam and polyfill blend
  • Comfort: Side and back
  • Density: Adjustable
  • Cooling: no
  • Warranty: 90-day returns

Designed specifically for spinal alignment by a chiropractor, this pillow has multiple chambers filled with shredded memory foam and soft fiber blend and is fully adjustable through a series of zippers. Each chamber can be individually adjusted to fit your specific needs for head and neck support. Made for all sleep positions, body types, and personal preferences, this is a pillow that allows for an amazing array of comfort options.

Although originally designed for side and back sleepers, the adjustability makes it easy to manipulate for just about any need. It does take time to find exactly what you are comfortable with, but it is easy to adjust. Our own personal review with our detailed use can be seen here.

Pros

  • Reduces neck pain
  • May aid in headache and migraine relief
  • Fully adjustable

Cons

  • May take some time to adjust correctly
  • Is not for stomach sleepers

Who Should Purchase this Pillow:

Wonderful for cervical alignment, the Spine-Align Pillow is backed by chiropractic studies and allows for a very wide range of people to take advantage of it for a better night’s sleep. Our own trials and review highlight the many comforts it provides.

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You may want to read: Best Orthopedic Wedge Pillow Reviews

Conclusion

It is important to remember that there is no true one size fits all pillow, especially when it comes to shaped pillows such as these orthopedic choices. Luckily most companies offer various sizes and adjustability to help you get exactly what you need. If you suffer from restless nights, and discomfort, whether chronic or occasional, you should consider what sort of support your pillow offers. An orthopedic pillow option might be exactly what you need.

Be sure to review your own personal needs and preferences prior to purchase, and don’t be afraid to allow yourself some time to adjust to a new sleep surface. Also, many offer return policies to back their comfort guarantees that are worth researching in advance of your investment.