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Best Pillow For Neck Pain

Updated August 16, 2019

Please excuse the pun, but some pillows can be a real pain in the next. If you suffer from chronic neck pain, you know how quickly a fluffy pillow can turn into a mortal enemy. Nothing disrupts a peaceful night’s sleep quick like a sore neck. It’s not just a momentary problem either. Disrupted sleep cycles can lead to all sorts of longterm health problems that will affect the quality of your life.

It’s easy to feel hopeless when struggling with these sorts of problems, but that needn’t be the case. There are pillows out there specifically designed to help those who find themselves suffering from sleep-disrupting neck pain. How is this possible? Well, the best pillows designed to protect your neck help support overall spinal alignment to offer relief from your most troubling symptoms. Believe it or not, there are pillows out there designed to ensure that you can still get a perfect night’s sleep despite your chronic neck pain.

Now, which pillows are they and how will they address your specific spinal issues? Don’t worry. The Sleep Judge has the answers. Just keep on reading, follow our advice, and before you know it you’ll be sleeping like a baby again!

What Causes Neck Pain?

Neck pain can be caused by many factors, with some easier to address than others. Pain that is caused by poor posture is often temporary, and will usually go away on its own after a few days. Poor neck support while sleeping, bending over a computer, having to sit a hard surface for extended periods of time, etc… are all situations that may cause this temporary discomfort as your soft tissues attempt to align your spine and support your body.

Other, more serious underlying causes, such as accidents that have damaged vertebrate, or created inflammation from trauma, or even nerve compression and arthritic complications should all be monitored by your healthcare provider. Injuries may heal with time and/or surgery, whereas others may be more chronic in nature, and cause long lasting pain.

No matter the cause, and how long it lasts, your attention to relieving the pain is part of the overall healing process and a way of controlling the problem. Your choice of sleep products is an important part of this process as your body heals and rejuvenates each night, and getting the rest you deserve can help you deal with, and even feel less, pain through the day.

 

Head and Neck Alignment

Your neck has a very important job: it holds up your head, and contains the gateway between your brainstem and the rest of your body through the cervical spinal column. This is part of your central nervous system, and damage to your neck can have long lasting effects on the rest of your body. Spinal alignment is an important part to staying healthy, and as you sleep you need to pay particular attention to where your head and neck lay in relation to your spine, or you may either wake with pain in your neck, or exasperate an existing problem. The correct support promotes blood flow and healing, allows your brain to cycle through the sleep stages, and allows you to function in a healthy manner.

 

Sleep Position and Pillow Comfort

Creating support for spinal alignment depends on the choices you make surrounding your sleep position and the products specific to your unique body shape and size. Since you fall into a sleep position each night fairly naturally in relation to what is most comfortable for you, you need to pay close attention to how this influences your spinal column. Some sleep positions are more healthy than others, and your recognition of these details will lead you to making a good decision for support.

 

Back Sleep Position Needs

Sleeping on your back requires a slight lift and enough pillow filling to provide support to the gap your neck creates. This is actually considered the healthiest sleep position you can choose as it helps to naturally align the spine and provide a relaxation of the soft tissues along your spinal column. Thinner, responsive pillows, those that target neck support, and adjustability for personal preferences are all types of pillows to consider when sleeping on your back.

Stomach Sleep Position Needs

Although laying flat helps align your spine, this position is the worst you can sleep in. You always have to turn your head and it is hard to keep your head level when laying on your stomach. The fact that many people also tuck their arms up under their body further places strain on the tissues of the back. A lack of pillow under the head, and a thin one placed under the hips does help, but many people do require head comfort, so a choice of thin, soft, and responsive pillows are often the best for stomach sleepers.

Side Sleep Position Needs

Side sleepers make up the highest percentage of sleep positions, and because of this most pillows offered in stores are geared towards this. Side sleepers require to keep their head between their shoulders, and also need to fill the gap that opens between their head and shoulders for the soft tissues of the neck to relax. Higher profiled, firmer pillows are often the most popular for side sleepers, especially if they are made from a conforming and adjustable fill for a more personalized fit.

What to Consider When Choosing a Pillow for Neck Pain

The benefits and features of pillows almost exclusively make comment on the support they lend to sleep position to support spinal alignment. But there are many pillows that have a main focus on construction to purposely address neck pain and cervical spine needs. What it all comes down to pertaining to an alleviation of neck pain is a combination of support, and personal comfort options. Since everybody has a unique shape and weight, no pillow is a true one size fits all no matter what sort of claims they make.

What is your sleep position?

Obviously your sleep position is going to drive your initial pillow choices. Back and stomach sleepers need to focus mostly on thinner choices that have a responsive fill. Side sleepers need to find a loft that fits their size to provide the correct height for their head to rest at.

Do you wake with aches and pains in other parts of your body?

If waking with aches and pains is common and you know you do not have an underlying inflammation, arthritic, or other pain problem, then it is pretty common to find that spinal alignment is part of your problem. The soft tissues of your body will stay under constant stress to help keep the spine in place, making your sleep product choices even more important than ever. Using pillows in other strategic places, such as under or between the knees and hips, can help alleviate some of this strain as well.

Do you suffer from arthritis or other disabilities?

If you know you have an underlying problem and are on the search for the best pillow for neck arthritis or other pain causing issues, be sure to discuss with your healthcare providers for their suggestions to help you get more comfortable. Many times spinal specialists and chiropractors can give you a few leads on your exact needs since they will be familiar with your x rays.

Do you snore or suffer from migraines or headaches?

Snoring, migraines, and headaches are all symptoms of poor blood flow, a reduction of oxygen, airway blockage, and other issues related to poor sleep posture. The best pillows for neck support help provide proper airway in their respective sleep position claims. These can help alleviate snoring and other painful, secondary issues that go hand in hand with neck pain.

Top 5 Best Pillow for Neck Pain Reviews

The follow provides our own best pillow for neck problems reviews that The Sleep Judge Review Team has been able to personally take a close look at to assess for comfort and pain relief when applicable. These choices were picked from the hundreds of current pillow choices as those we felt deserved a closer look at, and which also happened to make the grade concerning some of the best pillows for neck support.

TEMPUR-Contour Breeze Side-to-Side Pillow

OVERVIEW

  • Filling- Solid memory foam core
  • Loft: 4 – 5.5 inches
  • Comfort Positions: Side
  • Warranty: 5 year

TempurPedic specifically created this pillow to address cervical alignment by providing higher profiled sides to rest your neck upon, and a gentle sink in the middle for your head. This high density memory foam provides an extra firm surface with a slow, conforming sink to help provide a customized contour to your head and neck. The design was created to address the needs of side to side sleepers to allow a consistent height and comfort as you shift position from side to side through the night.

Obviously made to address side sleepers, the solid foam core has two differing heights from one side to the other to better address a wider range of body types and sleep preferences. It also has a cooling gel layer to hep draw heat from your body, and help avoid the heat sinks that often occur with a memory foam type material.

Pros

  • Very comfortable and supportive
  • Firm contour for side sleeping
  • Supports neck well

Cons

  • May be too firm for some
  • Smaller bodies may find it too high
  • May have slight off-gassing

Who Should Purchase this Pillow

Our own trials determined that this was a pillow that may take some getting used to, but the design is well thought out concerning overall quality and support. Larger, heavier body types were better able to take advantage of this pillow, and it also lent itself well as a back sleeping choice for some people. Please see our own detailed review for more information.

Read our full review.

TEMPUR-Neck Pillow

OVERVIEW

  • Filling- Solid memory foam core
  • Loft: Dependent on size choice
  • Comfort Positions: Back/Side
  • Warranty: 5 year

The Tempur-Neck pillow is another design made specifically to address the needs of cervical support and common neck problems. Unlike the Side to Side model, the Tempur-Neck has a wider range of comfort considerations, and comes in three different sizes to better address a wider range of sleep needs. Your choice is based on not only your sex, weight, and height, but also your sleep position to better match you with your perfect pillow to alleviate neck discomfort.

This solid foam core has two raised sides, and a lower center for the head to rest within. The foam is of a more responsive firm choice, allowing for a quicker contouring effect with a slightly softer center area. Like the Side by Side, it also offers two differing heights for both side and back sleepers of various needs.

Pros

  • Long lasting
  • Sizing chart very accurate
  • Helps alleviate neck pain

Cons

  • May have slight off-gassing
  • May be too firm for some people
  • Contouring will be affected by room temperature

Who Should Purchase this Pillow

This pillow very much stands up to the hype as a best pillow for neck pain. Our own trials with the pillow were very favorable, and very impressed with the comfort it lent to the head and neck to help alleviate tension through the spine and shoulders. To read up more closely on our results, please take a look here.

Read our full review here.

Dr. Loth’s Spine Align Pillow

OVERVIEW

  • Filling- shredded latex foam and polyfill blend
  • Loft: Adjustable
  • Comfort Positions: Side and back
  • Warranty: 90 day returns

Dr. Loth’s Spine-Align pillow was designed by Dr. Loth himself, a chiropractor searching for a pillow he could recommend to help with all his patients needs. The pillow’s unique contouring design is made as such to contain 3 separate, adjustable chambers. The filling is a shredded memory foam and soft fiber blend to allow for pliable comfort and easy contouring, and can be manipulated within each chamber to adjust the level your head sits at, the support your neck receives, and to customize your own personal feel.

The pillow is designed specifically to address the cervical alignment of back and side sleepers of all body types, and has almost endless comfort options if you have the patience to find what works best for you. The thick, breathable cover is an excellent touch and helps hold and distribute the fill very nicely under pressure.

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

This is an excellent pillow that helps reduce pain associated with headaches and migraines, allows for a reduction in snoring, and works to keep your spine in proper alignment through the night. Back and side sleepers can manipulate this pillow for a customizable experience, as our own results show here.

Read our full review here.

Coop Home Goods Adjustable Loft Bamboo Cooling Pillow

OVERVIEW

  • Filling- Shredded memory foam
  • Loft- Adjustable
  • Comfort Positions- All
  • Warranty- 30 day trial period

Adjustable pillows have become an increasingly popular pick for many sleepers due to their abilities to be customized for any sleep position, and the respective support needed. As with any adjustable pillow, they may take a little bit of time to find the perfect fit, but the patience provided is well worth it to have your head at the correct height, and your neck relaxed. The shredded memory foam found within the Coop Home Goods Bamboo Cooling Pillow allows for a shapeable comfort that contours nicely under weight without sacrificing support.

With excellent airflow and breathable qualities due to the various sizes of foam found within, and the natural fiber bamboo, you also get a cooler night’s sleep. The healthy amount of fill found within the pillow truly does allow for almost anyone to take advantage of it through the removal of shreds when needed.

Pros

  • Fully adjustable to all sleep positions
  • Washable
  • Great for heavier bodies

Cons

  • Slight offgassing
  • May become lumpy overtime
  • Firm feel with higher loft

Who Should Purchase This Pillow

Our own trials yielded favorable results, and this quickly became one of our favorite adjustable choices due to how well it breathed and allowed for support in all sleep positions. The unblended foam allowed for a bit more of a firm feel overall which was wonderful for neck support. You can see our details pertaining to comfort and cooling here.

Read our full review here.

Hullo Buckwheat Pillow

OVERVIEW

  • Filling- Buckwheat
  • Loft- Adjustable
  • Comfort Positions- All
  • Warranty- 60 day money back

Buckwheat pillows have been used for centuries within Asian countries to address the balance between body and health, and is considered an unparalleled support for the spine and airways while you sleep. The buckwheat hull is a cup shaped, durable cover of the buckwheat seed. It has a gently springy give and when used together by the pound (no kidding, these pillows are HEAVY), provides a shapeable, cushioning, yet firm and contouring hold within which your head and neck can rest.

The husks work upon pressure points to help alleviate pain and create comfort, and the support it lends helps keep airways open, and allow for cervical alignment that stays constant through the night. The Hullo Buckwheat Pillow is also adjustable, making it wholly customizable to your body shape and type. It also can be refreshed this way, making it an investment that will last for many years.

Pros

  • May work for some stomach sleepers
  • Helps with migraines
  • Shapes extremely well

Cons

  • Heavy weight
  • Noise and feel takes time to get used to

 Who Should Purchase this Pillow

Any sleep position can take advantage of this pillow, and although our trials found it may take some time to get used to, it provides an excellent solution to snoring, and an alleviation to headache and neck pain. To take a closer look at it, please visit our review here.

Read our full review here.

Conclusion

Each of the above pillows provides an excellent overview of the types of products, construction, shape, and fills available to you to help support your neck to alleviate, or avoid, neck pain and pressure. When reading through the best pillows for neck support reviews, be sure to keep in mind your own needs and preferences, as well as patience- as some of the pillows need to be properly adjusted to provide the best support possible.

Hopefully this article has provided you with an idea of what can help you get a better night’s rest, and allow you the support you need to have a pain free experience. If you have any questions or comments about any of the pillows presented, please take a closer look at each of their reviews, and let us know in the comments what you need answered.