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Best Pillows for Neck Pain

Danielle Mcleod

Chronic neck pain can severely impact your quality of sleep, and as a result, your quality of life. Unfortunately, waking up sore and tired is a reality for too many people. In most cases, it’s their pillow that’s 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 which 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 be rid of neck pain once for all, it’s crucial to pick a pillow that fits your sleep preferences the best.

RankProductHighlights
#1Mkicesky Contour Memory Foam Pillow

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  • Type: Cervical pillow
  • Fill material: Memory foam
  • Loft: Medium to high
  • Dimensions: 25 x 16 x 4.2/5.3 inches
#2Coop Home Goods Adjustable Pillow

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  • 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)
#3Sleep Artisan Side Sleeper Pillow

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  • Type: Curved pillow
  • Fill material: Natural latex and microfiber
  • Loft: High
  • Dimensions: 28 x 17 x 6 inches
#4Therapeutica Pillow

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  • 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)
#5BLISSBURY Thin Memory Foam Pillow

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  • Type: Flat memory foam pillow
  • Fill material: Gel-infused memory foam
  • Loft: Low
  • Dimensions: 26 x 16 x 2.6 inches
#6

BCOZZY Adults Chin Supporting Travel Pillow

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  • Type: Travel pillow
  • Fill material: Siliconized polyester fiber
  • Loft: N/A
  • Dimensions: 9.84 x 11.02 x 4.72 inches (Large), 9.41 x 8.7 x 2.4 inches (XL)
#7Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Ergo Neck Pillow

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  • Filling: Solid memory foam core
  • Loft: Dependent on the size choice
  • Comfort Positions: Back/Side
#8Dr. Loth’s SpineAlign Pillow

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  • Filling: Shredded latex foam and polyfill blend
  • Loft: Adjustable
  • Comfort Positions: Side/back

Best Pillows for Neck Pain

1. Editor’s Choice – Mkicesky Contour Memory Foam Pillow

SPECS:

  • 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 side. Ergonomically designed, this memory foam pillow responds to your body and contours to your neck and head shape. It will give you 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 for back sleepers.

Versatile and comfy, this pillow features two different heights to accommodate different needs, so it will suit a wide variety of sleepers. In addition to helping deal with neck pain, the unique shape of this pillow makes it suitable to prevent snoring and reduce symptoms of sleep apnea.

ProsCons
  • Suits both back and side sleepers
  • Slow rebound memory foam
  • Machine washable cover 
  • Two heights
  • CertiPUR certified foam
  • Takes a while to get used to

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2. Runner Up – Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow

SPECS:

  • 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 at the same time, and give you better spinal support to reduce strain and tension. 

A particularly great feature is the fact that it’s 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 your side, or take some out if you sleep on your stomach and need a thinner pillow. If you’re unsure of what type of pillow will feel comfy to sleep on and still resolve your neck discomfort, this adjustable memory foam pillow is an excellent choice. It can be easily tweaked to suit any sleeping position and firmness preference, without compromising on the support it offers to your cervical spine.

ProsCons
  • High-quality memory foam
  • Adapts to your needs
  • Suits all sleeping positions
  • Supportive
  • CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD Gold certified
  • Made in the USA
  • Can become lumpy with time

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3. Best for Side Sleepers – Sleep Artisan Side Sleeper Pillow for Neck & Shoulders

SPECS:

  • Type: Curved pillow
  • Fill material: Natural latex and microfiber
  • Loft: High
  • Dimensions: 28 x 17 x 6 inches

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 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 enough give that adapts to your neck curvature.

Handcrafted in the U.S., this pillow has a unique curved shape that’s meant to alleviate discomfort for side sleepers in the neck and shoulder regions. 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. It comes with a generous 3 year warranty from the manufacturer, and you can also take advantage of the 30-day free trial to see if this pillow is really for you.

ProsCons
  • Ideally suited for side sleepers
  • Blend of natural latex and microfiber
  • Adjustable firmness and loft
  • Organic cotton, hemp, and poly pillowcase
  • Made in the U.S.
  • 3 year manufacturer warranty, 30 day trial
  • Not machine washable

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4. Best for Back Sleepers – Therapeutica Pillow

SPECS:

  • 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)

Most back sleepers sleep both on their back and on their side throughout the night, so a cervical pillow with a versatile design usually does the trick. However, 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 strain and tension in the neck and shoulders. It’s made from firm molded foam and comes in 5 different sizes: you’ll have to measure your shoulders to ensure a perfect fit.

While it may take some getting used to, this orthopedic pillow is the perfect solution for back sleepers with neck pain and snoring issues. Achieving perfect spinal alignment without compromising on comfort doesn’t have to be a problem anymore!

ProsCons
  • Perfect for back sleepers
  • Eliminates neck and shoulder pain
  • Therapeutic properties
  • Comes in 5 sizes for customized support
  • Non-allergenic and non-toxic
  • Takes several weeks to adapt to the pillow

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5. Best for Stomach Sleepers – BLISSBURY Thin Stomach Sleeping Memory Foam Pillow

SPECS:

  • Type: Flat memory foam pillow
  • Fill material: Gel-infused memory foam
  • Loft: Low
  • Dimensions: 26 x 16 x 2.6 inches

Some experts recommend sleeping without a pillow if you’re a stomach sleeper that suffers from chronic neck pain, but ditching your pillow for good can be a difficult adjustment. That’s why this slim memory foam pillow is such a clever alternative. It will still give you the comfort you need, but make sure that the tension is lifted from your shoulders and neck to level with your spine and eliminate pain. The low loft is ideal for stomach sleepers, and the special cooling gel-infused memory foam ensures that even hot sleepers will find this pillow comfortable.

Adaptable and supportive, this memory foam pillow will cradle your head without elevating it in a way that would disrupt your natural spine curvature, causing unwanted neck and back pain.

ProsCons
  • Low loft ideal for stomach sleepers
  • Gel-infused memory foam suited for all seasons
  • Cooling bamboo textured pillowcase
  • CertiPUR-US certified
  • Some off-gassing at first

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6. Best Travel Pillow – BCOZZY Adults Chin Supporting Travel Pillow

SPECS:

  • Type: Travel pillow
  • Fill material: Siliconized polyester fiber
  • Loft: N/A
  • Dimensions: 9.84 x 11.02 x 4.72 inches (Large), 9.41 x 8.7 x 2.4 inches (XL)

Anyone who has issues with neck pain knows that trying to sleep while you travel is bound to intensify your problems – and even ruin your trip. While cheap travel pillows might seem like a convenient solution to avoid sore shoulders and a stiff neck after a long flight, 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’re 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.

ProsCons
  • Unique ergonomic design
  • Machine washable
  • Easy to carry
  • Fully adjustable
  • Not comfortable for everyone

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7. Best Memory Foam – Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Ergo Neck Pillow

SPECS:

  • Filling: Solid memory foam core
  • Loft: Dependent on the size choice
  • Comfort Positions: Back/Side

The Tempur-Pedic neck pillow is designed to address cervical support and neck problems. This pillow can help to alleviate neck pain and is made with a solid foam memory core with two raised sides, as well as 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 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.

ProsCons
  • Durable and doesn’t compress with use
  • Sizing chart very accurate
  • Very comforting and alleviates neck pain
  • It may be too firm for some people

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8. Best Customized – Dr. Loth’s SpineAlign Pillow

SPECS:

  • Filling: Shredded latex foam and polyfill blend
  • Loft: Adjustable
  • Comfort Positions: Side/back

Designed by a chiropractor to recommend to his patients, this unique pillow with an adjustable loft is filled with shredded latex foam and soft fibers. Responsive and comforting, you can remove and adjust the filling within each chamber to customize the entire pillow, providing support to the head and neck no matter which position you sleep in. 

Created specifically to support cervical alignment, it works with all body shapes and sizes and includes a cooling, breathable cover. Made from a breathable polyester and mesh blend, it promotes airflow and works with the shredded fill for a cooling feel. It was originally designed for side and back sleepers, but enough fill can be removed to be suitable for stomach sleepers as well. It does take time to find the perfect adjustment, and it’s suggested that customers allow 30 days to get used to the unique feel. 

ProsCons
  • Customized feel to help reduce neck pain
  • Helps reduce headache and migraine occurrences
  • Easy to adjust
  • Adjustment may take time

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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 is 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 is in pain due to your pillow choice, you need to address the issue before it disrupts your sleep further. When you lose sleep due to discomfort, you won’t just be physically in pain, you may also begin to suffer mentally from sleep fatigue. Over time, this can negatively affect your blood pressure and 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 throughout the night is important to understand. It’s also important to know which types of pillow shapes and materials will give you 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 a surface that’s too firm and unsupportive.

— 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 gradually adopt a more optimal 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 lifesaver, they do have an unusual shape and feel, and it will probably take some getting used to before your experience the benefits of contour or cervical pillows. However, if you choose incorrectly, 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 neck issues. That’s why it’s important to consider all of the factors before you pick, and make sure your new pillow actually helps with neck pain and doesn’t aggravate it.

• Shape

The secret to 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.

If you prefer sleeping on the side, go for pillows with a higher loft than you’d normally choose. This will position your head and neck that makes them in line with your back, giving you pressure-relieving support that relaxes your muscles and ensures a healthy sleeping posture. 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 grooves meant to support both sleeping positions.

Finally, those that sleep on their stomach often experience strain and pain in the neck and shoulder region, because their sleeping position doesn’t align with their natural spine curvature. As a result, they need pillows that could help maintain neutral spine alignment, such as thinner pillows that are less than 3 inches high.

• Loft

A pillow’s loft is actually its height, and loft plays an important role both in the experience of comfort and for orthopedic support. There are three loft levels: low, medium and high. Pillows considered to have low loft are less than 3 inches tall, and are particularly suited for stomach sleepers who prefer thinner pillows. Medium loft pillows are between 3 and 5 inches thick and can be good for both stomach and back sleepers, 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 if you sleep on your stomach. When considering the loft, be sure to consider these other factors as well.

• Firmness and Materials

Where some sleepers love nothing more than a big, fluffy pillow to 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 regions. This is why memory foam or latex are the preferred materials of pillows for neck pain. Their unique properties offer that perfect balance between comfort and support.

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 that allows your body to relax. You’ll also 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 information explained above, be sure to choose a pillow that provides the support your body needs. Pillows with an adjustable loft 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 should 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 may also want to consider the firmness of your mattress to make sure it’s supportive enough.

Do you snore or suffer from migraines or headaches?

These can each be indicative of poor blood flow or potential oxygen reduction. The best pillows also support an open airway to help alleviate snoring, and improve blood flow to reduce headache symptoms.

Conclusion

Pillows for neck pain are designed specifically to provide support for the cervical spine, ensuring proper spinal alignment and tension-free, pain-free sleep. There are numerous designs available that specialize in neck pain relief, from pillows made for side sleepers, to pillows that are ideal for hot sleepers and everything in between. It’s important to consider all of the features that your body may need, and pick a design tailored to your unique preferences.

Recent Updates

February 25, 2022: Verified availability of all products. Additional Resources and FAQs have also been included to address common customer queries.

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.

Additional Resources