Chronic neck pain can severely impact your quality of sleep- and, as a result, quality of life. Unfortunately, waking up sore and tired is a reality for too many people, and in most cases, it’s their pillow to blame. That’s why pillows for neck pain can be a really quick and efficient solution for chronic discomfort. These pillows offer optimal support for your neck (regardless of the sleeping position you prefer), make sure that your cervical spine is properly aligned, and give you the comfort you need for a good night’s rest.
When it comes to the shape and materials of pillows for neck pain, there are different designs that accommodate the unique needs of sleepers. To make sure you’ll get rid of neck pain once for all, it’s crucial to pick a pillow that fits your sleep preferences the best.
|#1||Mkicesky Contour Memory Foam Pillow||
|#2||Coop Home Goods Adjustable Pillow||
|#3||Sleep Artisan Side Sleeper Pillow||
|#5||BLISSBURY Thin Memory Foam Pillow||
BCOZZY Adults Chin Supporting Travel Pillow
|#7||Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Ergo Neck Pillow||
|#8||Dr. Loth’s SpineAlign Pillow||
Best Pillows for Neck Pain
1. Mkicesky Contour Memory Foam Pillow
- Type: Cervical pillow
- Fill material: Memory foam
- Loft: Medium to high
- Dimensions: 25 x 16 x 4.2/5.3 inches
Made from premium quality slow rebound memory foam, this cervical pillow for neck pain will cradle your head and support your neck to ensure optimal sleeping posture- particularly if you sleep on your back or on your side. Ergonomically designed, this memory foam pillow responds to your body and contours to your neck and head shape to make sure you get tailored support throughout the night and its medium to high loft ensures that your neck will be in line with your spine if you sleep on your side or follow natural curvature when you sleep on your back.
Versatile and comfy, this pillow features two different heights to accommodate different needs so it will suit a wide variety of sleepers. To boot, in addition to helping deal with neck pain, the unique shape of this pillow makes it uniquely suited to help prevent snoring and reduce sleep apnea symptoms.
Who Should Purchase This?
If you sleep on your back or side- or, better yet, switch between these positions through the night- you will love this cervical memory foam pillow. Designed to offer support and comfort to side and back sleepers, it will help align your cervical spine and relieve pressure and pain from key pressure points.
2. Coop Home Goods – Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow
- Type: Shredded memory foam pillow
- Fill material: Memory foam and microfiber
- Loft: Low to high (adjustable)
- Dimensions: 30 x 20 x 8 inches (Queen),36 x 20 x 8 inches (King)
There is no “one size fits all” pillow- everyone has a different perspective on comfort and requires different levels of support- but this adjustable pillow is as close as a pillow can get to a universal fit. Filled with a proprietary blend of microfiber and high-quality memory foam, this pillow will cradle your head and neck and at the same time, give you better spinal support to reduce strain and tension.
A particularly great feature of this pillow is the fact that it is fully adjustable: it comes with an additional ½ pound bag of fill to help you fluff up the pillow to your liking. Medium-firm, it will suit any sleeping position- just add more fill if you sleep on the side or take out some of the memory foam shreds if you sleep on your stomach and need a thinner pillow.
Who Should Purchase This?
When you’re unsure what type of pillow for neck pain will feel comfy to sleep on and still resolve your discomfort issues, this adjustable memory foam pillow is an excellent choice. Shipped with an additional bag of fill, it can be easily tweaked to suit any sleeping position- and any firmness preferences, without compromising on the support it offers to your cervical spine.
3. Sleep Artisan Side Sleeper Pillow for Neck & Shoulders
- Type: Curved pillow
- Fill material: Natural latex and microfiber
- Loft: High
- Dimensions: 28 x 17 x 6 inches
Best pillow for neck pain for side sleepers
Sleeping on your side comes with a set of challenges, but the most difficult one is finding a pillow that’s actually comfortable- and supportive at the same time. Designed particularly for the needs of side sleepers that are suffering from neck pain, this curved pillow is filled with a proprietary blend of natural latex and microfiber down alternative for luxurious comfort and unparalleled support. As a result, this pillow will retain its original shape for longer- but still, have a certain give that adapts to your neck curvature.
Handcrafted in America, this pillow has a unique curved shape that is meant to alleviate discomfort for side sleepers in the neck and shoulder region. As an additional bonus, the fill in this pillow can be removed (or added for a higher loft) to control firmness and the height of the pillow to suit your preferences.
Who Should Purchase This?
For those that prefer sleeping on their side, this unique curved latex pillow is just the thing: it will eliminate the strain and pressure you would normally feel in your neck and shoulder region and ensure natural curvature for pain-free rest.
4. Therapeutica Pillow
- Type: Corrective orthopedic pillow
- Fill material: Foam
- Loft: Medium
- Dimensions: 25 x 15 x 4.75 inches (Average), 2.5 x 10.5 x 4 inches (Child), 26 x 15 x 4.8 inches (Large), 23.5 x 10.5 x 4.5 inches (Petite), 20 x 18 x 6 inches (Extra Large)
Best pillow for neck pain for back sleepers
Most back sleepers sleep both on their back and on their side throughout the night, so a cervical pillow with a versatile design does the trick- but, if you exclusively sleep on your back, you’ll need a pillow specifically made to support back sleepers and prevent neck pain. This corrective orthopedic pillow will re-establish the natural curvature of the spine and cradle your head to reduce the strain and tension on the neck and shoulder area of the body. It is made from firm molded foam and it comes in 5 different sizes: you’ll have to measure your shoulders to ensure a perfect fit.
While it takes some getting used to, this orthopedic pillow is the perfect solution for back sleepers with neck pain and snoring issues. Achieving the perfect spinal alignment- without compromising on comfort- doesn’t have to be a problem anymore.
Who Should Purchase This?
If you sleep on your back and wake up sore and tired, this corrective orthopedic pillow is what you need for a good night’s rest. Made from firm molded foam, it will ensure your body follows the natural curvature of the spine for optimal support.
5. BLISSBURY Thin Stomach Sleeping Memory Foam Pillow
- Type: Flat memory foam pillow
- Fill material: Gel-infused memory foam
- Loft: Low
- Dimensions: 26 x 16 x 2.6 inches
Best pillow for neck pain for stomach sleepers
Some experts recommend sleeping without a pillow if you are a stomach sleeper that suffers from chronic neck pain, but ditching your pillow for good can be a difficult change to adapt to. That’s why this slim memory foam pillow is such a clever alternative: it will still give you the comfort you crave but make sure that the tension is lifted from your shoulders and neck leveled with your spine to eliminate pain. The low loft is ideally suited for stomach sleepers, and the special cooling gel-infused memory foam ensures that even hot sleepers will find this pillow comfortable to sleep on.
Adaptable and supportive, this memory foam pillow will cradle your head without elevating it in a way that would disrupt your natural spine curvature- and cause neck pain and back pain.
Who Should Purchase This?
For those that sleep on their belly, the next best thing to no pillow at all is a flat low loft pillow such as this one. Made from memory foam and just 2.6 inches thick, it will make sure you sleep comfortably and wake up rested and without strain and soreness in your neck.
6. BCOZZY Adults Chin Supporting Travel Pillow
- Type: Travel pillow
- Fill material: Siliconized polyester fiber
- Dimensions: 9.84 x 11.02 x 4.72 inches (Large), 9.41 x 8.7 x 2.4 inches (XL)
Best travel pillow for neck pain
Anyone who has issues with neck pain knows that trying to sleep while you travel is bound to intensify your problems- and ruin your trip. While cheap travel pillows might seem like a convenient solution if you want to avoid sore shoulders and a stiff neck after a long flight or a nap in the car, go for a travel pillow designed to prevent neck pain. This chin-supporting ergonomic travel pillow takes the pressure off your neck and shoulders for the duration of the trip and makes sure you don’t feel strained or tense afterward.
Fully adjustable, it can be molded to suit your preferences, whether you are a side sleeper that requires a higher loft or want full, all-around support. Machine washable and convenient to carry with you, this travel pillow should be on any neck pain sufferer’s to-pack list.
Who Should Purchase This?
If your neck pain is intensified (or only happens) when you travel, this ergonomic travel pillow will be the answer to your woes. Fully supportive, it lifts your chin up and maintains natural posture while you sleep seated- allowing you to go through long flights and road trips without neck pain and tension.
7. Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Ergo Neck Pillow
- Filling: Solid memory foam core
- Loft: Dependent on the size choice
- Comfort Positions: Back/Side
Best Memory Foam Pillow for Neck Pain
The Tempur-Pedic neck pillow is designed to address cervical support and neck problems. This particular pillow is designed to help alleviate neck pain and is made with a solid foam memory core with two raised sides and a low center to cradle the head within. It comes in various sizes to meet the needs of a wide array of body shapes and sizes, and is created specifically for side and back sleepers.
The cooling polyester knit cover is designed to help improve airflow and create a comfortable surface that helps draw away heat from the body. Removable, it can be laundered without the worry of shrinkage or loss of cooling properties. It also provides a hypoallergenic surface to sleep on.
Who Should Purchase This?
This is an excellent choice for side and back sleepers looking for comfort and pain relief. Be sure to choose the size that is suggested for your body to ensure the best fit.
8. Dr. Loth’s SpineAlign Pillow
- Filling: Shredded latex foam and polyfill blend
- Loft: Adjustable
- Comfort Positions: Side/back
Best Customized Pillow for Neck Pain
Designed by a chiropractor to recommend to his patients, this unique, chambered and the adjustable option is filled with shredded latex foam and soft fiber. Responsive and comforting, you can remove and adjust the filling within each chamber to customize the entire pillow to create support for the head and neck no matter which sleep position you sleep in.
Created specifically to support cervical alignment, it works with all body shapes and sizes, and boasts a cooling, breathable cover. Made from a breathable polyether and mesh blend, it influences airflow and works with the shredded fill for a more cooling feel.
Who Should Purchase This?
Created for side and back sleepers, enough fill can be removed for stomach sleepers as well. It does take time to find the perfect adjustment, and is suggested that customers allow for 30 days to get used to the unique feel.
Causes of Neck Pain
Neck pain can be caused by many reasons. Poor posture, poor neck support, injury, chronic inflammation, nerve compression, arthritic complications, damaged vertebrae, and trauma could all be underlying causes of your discomfort. Whatever the cause, you need a supportive and comforting pillow that helps create proper spinal alignment through the night.
Why Head and Neck Alignment is Important
Your neck houses the gateway between your brainstem and the rest of your body via the cervical spinal column. Sleep is essential to the healing process, and getting a proper night’s rest is crucial to help alleviate neck pain and improve blood flow. If your neck is poorly supported, or hurts due to your pillow choice, you need to address the issue before it disrupts your night even further. When you lose sleep due to discomfort, you won’t just be physically in pain, you also will begin to suffer mentally from sleep fatigue. Over time this can affect blood pressure, weight, and your immune system.
Sleep Position and Pillow Comfort
The type of mattress and pillow you choose should always be dependent upon your natural sleep position. Creating support for spinal alignment is highly dependent upon these products, so understanding the way your body supports itself through the night is important to understand. It is also important to know which types of pillow shapes and materials will provide you with the best options.
— Back Sleeping Needs
Back sleepers don’t need a high profile pillow, but they do need a pillow that will support the head and neck to help keep the spine in alignment. Back sleepers who experience neck pain often do so because they have their head lifted too high or have too hard a surface.
— Stomach Sleeping Needs
Stomach sleepers already move their spine out of alignment due to having to turn their head to the side. Stomach sleepers should work to influence a better sleep position, such as a side option using a body pillow to help hold the body in a better position.
— Side Sleeping Needs
Side sleepers need a high enough profile pillow to help cradle the head and support the neck. This is important to help avoid added stress on the neck and the rest of the body that creates muscle strain.
What to Look for in Pillows for Neck Pain
While pillows for neck pain can be a literal lifesaver, they do have an unusual shape and feel, and it will probably take some getting used to before your experience the benefits of so-called contour or cervical pillows. However, if you choose wrong- that initial adjustment period won’t pass, and instead you’ll end up with a pillow that feels uncomfortable to sleep on and can actually worsen your issues. That’s why it’s important to consider all of the factors before you pick- and make sure that your new pillow actually helps with neck pain and doesn’t aggravate it.
The secret of the success of pillows for neck pain is their shape, ideally tailored to elevate your neck and head into the perfect position and align your cervical spine- but depending on the position you sleep in, not all shapes of pillows for neck pain will be able to give you the same amount of comfort and support.
Back sleepers should look for pillows with an indentation for better alignment of the cervical spine, as their position requires their neck to be slightly elevated for proper spinal alignment, whereas the head lies flat.
In case you prefer sleeping on the side, go for pillows that are higher than you’d normally choose: it will position your head and neck in a way that makes them in line with your back, giving you pressure-relieving support that relaxes your muscles and ensures healthy sleeping posture. Furthermore, those that switch sleep positions during the night- for instance, from sleeping on their back to their side- can benefit from versatile cervical pillows that have indentations and groves meant to support both sleeping positions with the same success.
Finally, those that sleep on their stomach often experience strain and pain in the neck and shoulder region because their sleeping position doesn’t go along with the lines of the natural spine curvature. As a result, they need pillows that could help maintain neutral spine alignment- thinner pillows that are less than 3 inches high.
A pillow’s loft is actually it’s height, and it plays an important role both in the experience of comfort and the aspect of orthopedic support. There are three loft levels: low, medium, and high loft. Pillows considered to be low loft are less than 3 inches tall and are particularly suited for stomach sleepers that prefer thinner pillows. Medium loft pillows are between 3 and 5 inches thick and can be good for stomach and back sleepers both, whereas high loft pillows (5 inches and higher) are thought to be best for side sleepers. However, a lot will depend on the firmness and the materials, too- you can get a high loft pillow filled with down that will sink to a lower loft as soon as you put your head on it, or get a medium loft pillow made from foam that feels too firm for comfort if you sleep on your stomach. When considering the loft, be sure to consider other factors that could influence your experience as well.
Comfort doesn’t lie in the same features for all people. Whereas some love nothing more than a big, fluffy pillow they will sink into as they fall asleep, others prefer their sleeping surface to be firmer and more supportive. In terms of neck pain sufferers, the firmness level recommended to alleviate discomfort and pain is medium. Medium-firm pillows should be firm enough to prop your neck and head up and give your support, but soft enough to gently cradle them to ensure pressure and tension are relieved from your neck and shoulder region. This is why memory foam is the preferred material for pillows for neck pain: its unique properties allow it to strike that perfect balance between comfort and support.
There are many pillow fill materials on the market: from natural options such as feather down and buckwheat to innovative materials like memory foam and latex. Pillows for neck pain are most often made from memory foam as it is ideally suited for the design- it keeps its form to offer support but still has a give that ensures your pillow will contour to the natural curvature of the neck and spine.
Things to Consider
When choosing a pillow for neck pain, you want to take into account the style and design being offered to help support your head and neck in a manner that allows your body to relax. You want to find a balance between comfort and support to help you find the best option for your needs.
What is your sleep position?
Based on the info explained above, be sure to choose a pillow that provides the support your body needs. Adjustable choices are also often popular to help you find a more customized fit.
Does the rest of your body ache as well?
If you aren’t struggling with chronic pain, then you need to address your spinal alignment. Support under the hips and knees can help with your pillow to provide you the overall body support you need. You also may want to consider the firmness of your mattress to make sure it is supportive enough.
Do you snore or suffer from migraines or headaches?
These are all indicative of poor blood flow or oxygen reduction. The best pillows also support an open airway to help alleviate snoring and improve blood flow to reduce headache symptoms.
Pillows for neck pain are designed specially to provide support for the cervical spine, ensuring proper spinal alignment and tension-free, pain-free sleep. There are numerous designs available, from neck pain pillows for side sleepers to neck pillows for hot sleepers and everything in between, so it is important to consider all the features and pick a design tailored to your needs.
October 25, 2021: The Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Ergo Neck Pillow and Dr. Loth’s SpineAlign Pillow have each been added to our list of recommendations due to increased consumer popularity.