Best Pillows for Neck Pain

All parts of the body are important, but the muscles in the neck are crucial for supporting the rest of your body. Unfortunately, they're also the most strained due to long hours in the office or lengthy commute.

Proper body alignment is essential to prevent pains in your neck muscles or tension headaches. Without a contour pillow, your neck might rest at an unusual angle throughout the night, which exacerbates the pain. With the right pillow, however, you'll wake up feeling rested and at ease.

Top 5: Pillows for Neck Pain Review

Memory Foam Neck Pillow - Orthopedic Contour - Chiropractor Designed and Approved - Soft Bamboo Cover - Made in USA - Great for Neck Pain, CertiPUR-US (Large)

Made by Perform Pillow, this low-profile cervical pillow is one of our favorite products for better sleep. Not only is it one of the only contoured pillows designed for people with smaller necks, but it's also chiropractor-approved. Its bamboo cover is another important feature because it allows you to breathe freely without worry of allergens.

The Memory Foam Neck Pillow fetches a premium price, but it also offers premium support that gives it the spot it deserves at the top of our list.

Design

The Memory Foam Neck Pillow has two model types: low profile and large. Both measure at 19 inches long and 14.5 inches wide. The large differs by being five inches tall compared to 3.75 inches on the low profile model.

Memory Foam Neck Pillow - Orthopedic Contour - Chiropractor Designed and Approved - Soft Bamboo Cover - Made in USA - Great for Neck Pain, CertiPUR-US (Large)

On the inside, this chiropractor-approved pillow contains solid memory foam. It bends as it should to form around your body, and it springs right back to its normal shape when unused. Unlike shredded memory foam pillows, you won't have to worry about lumps forming in unusual places.

The foam doesn't contain any harmful substances like heavy metal, and the removable cover excels at airflow. This means you'll get the breath you need even if you sleep with your face pressed against it. Truly, this pillow facilitates good health in all aspects.

Pros

  • This product uses quality memory foam in its construction.
  • There are no chemical odors.
  • The cover is removable, so you can wash it separately.
  • There are different models for differently sized necks.
  • These pillows are naturally hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites.

Cons

  • This pillow is one of the more expensive products reviewed.
Coop Home Goods - Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow - Hypoallergenic Cross-Cut Memory Foam Fill - Lulltra Washable Cover from Bamboo Derived Rayon - CertiPUR-US/GREENGUARD Gold Certified - Queen

The Coop Home Goods Pillow contains shredded memory foam inside, which facilitates good airflow compared to solid memory foam. One thing we love about this pillow is the fact that you can adjust the shredded filling to raise it as much as you want.

Construction

The inner case that holds the filling is made by Interlock, resulting in a smooth, tightly-knight surface. It's much thinner than the removable Bamboo cover.

Overall, it's a soft and supportive pillow that contours to fit your neck at any given moment. That means there's support even when you change positions in the middle of the night.

Coop Home Goods - Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow - Hypoallergenic Cross-Cut Memory Foam Fill - Lulltra Washable Cover from Bamboo Derived Rayon - CertiPUR-US/GREENGUARD Gold Certified - Queen
Coop Home Goods - Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow - Hypoallergenic Cross-Cut Memory Foam Fill - Lulltra Washable Cover from Bamboo Derived Rayon - CertiPUR-US/GREENGUARD Gold Certified - Queen

The manufacturer recommends sticking the pillow into the dryer for 10 minutes once per month. This process helps an otherwise flat pillow fluff up once again.

Comfort

Even though the filling is shredded, you won't notice the individual pieces while you use the pillow. They work together as a single piece, but they offer more adjustment ability and lenience compared to a single block of foam.

Truly enjoying this pillow requires that you're comfortable sleeping on memory foam, though; it offers no illusion that it's made of anything else. Some don't enjoy how this feels, and they would not love the Coop Home Goods pillow.

Pros

  • This pillow offers customizable support for differently sized necks.
  • It uses breathable shredded memory foam.
  • The construction is great with good use of materials.
  • It's another hypoallergenic option that doesn't cost as much as the Perform Pillow.

Cons

  • It feels very much like memory foam, making the transition from feather pillow difficult.
Wonwo Memory Foam Pillow, Orthopedic Sleeping Pillow Contour Cervical Bed Pillow for Neck Pain, Back Stomach Side Sleepers with Washable Pillowcase

Wonwo is another company that makes a great pillow to contour around your neck. It's designed to support the neck, the back, and the shoulders of differently-framed people thanks to its two different heights. Try the higher side if you're a side sleeper, and use the lower side if you prefer resting on your back.

Materials

Each pillow by Wonwo uses safe, premium materials that don't harden during the cold winter months. Not only is the pillow comfortable, but moisture evaporation and air circulation both help the product last. However, as comfortable as it is, the pillow does have a slow rebound returning to its original shape.

Wonwo Memory Foam Pillow, Orthopedic Sleeping Pillow Contour Cervical Bed Pillow for Neck Pain, Back Stomach Side Sleepers with Washable Pillowcase
Wonwo Memory Foam Pillow, Orthopedic Sleeping Pillow Contour Cervical Bed Pillow for Neck Pain, Back Stomach Side Sleepers with Washable Pillowcase

The inner and outer covers are both skin friendly, allowing you to get a full night's sleep without waking up in discomfort. Also, the pillow itself is dust-proof and machine-washable.

Pros

  • It comes with a two-wave design, so you can use the lower side or the taller side.
  • This pillow has good ergonomic design.
  • The materials are premium for the price, and they're safe to breathe in all night.

Cons

  • The high-density memory foam has a slow rebound when not in use.
Mediflow Fiber: The First & Original Water Pillow, clinically Proven to Reduce Neck Pain & Improve Sleep. Therapeutic, Ideal for People Looking for Proper Neck Support

For most people, getting water on your pillow sounds like a nightmare scenario. In this case, it's the best thing you can do with your MediFlow Waterbase Pillow.

Clinically shown to improve sleep hygiene and pain relief, the Waterbase pillow could pass as a standard pillow until it's flipped around. Here, you'll find the water chamber, which comes with a blue nozzle that helps you open the cap. Those with long nails and weak grips can rejoice!

Mediflow Fiber: The First & Original Water Pillow, clinically Proven to Reduce Neck Pain & Improve Sleep. Therapeutic, Ideal for People Looking for Proper Neck Support

As much as the pillow can help, some users report that their pillows will leak in the middle of the night. This is why it's important to make sure the waterbase chamber is tightly sealed. Be sure to keep the nozzle that you used to open it and use it to get a tighter close.

Pros

  • The pillow has above average relief potential.
  • It comes with an adjustable loft and contouring support.
  • There is hardly any odor when you first buy it.

Cons

  • When filled, this pillow can feet heavy.
  • Longevity is questionable.
Royal Therapy Memory Foam Pillow, Neck Pillow Bamboo Adjustable Side Sleeper Pillow for Neck & Shoulder, Support for Back, Stomach, Side Sleepers, Orthopedic Contour Pillow, CertiPUR-US

The Royal Therapy Memory Foam Pillow works uniformly to eliminate pinching and painful pressure points. It gently cradles the neck and head, and you can adjust its loft to suit your needs.

Keep in mind that there's a certain smell when you first open the pillow, so we recommend giving it a full 24 hours to air out first. It remains faintly for a few days afterward, but it definitely goes away.

Royal Therapy Memory Foam Pillow, Neck Pillow Bamboo Adjustable Side Sleeper Pillow for Neck & Shoulder, Support for Back, Stomach, Side Sleepers, Orthopedic Contour Pillow, CertiPUR-US
Royal Therapy Memory Foam Pillow, Neck Pillow Bamboo Adjustable Side Sleeper Pillow for Neck & Shoulder, Support for Back, Stomach, Side Sleepers, Orthopedic Contour Pillow, CertiPUR-US

Once that scent is gone, you'll relish the Bamboo cover, especially if you're prone to allergies. The materials also help prevent the formation of dust mites, fungus, mold, and bacteria.

Though Royal Therapy does make firmer pillows, the Memory Foam Pillow won't go flat in the same way typical pillows do. In fact, you'll be pleasantly surprised to find the pillow is still in the same shape when you wake up.

Pros

  • It's naturally hypoallergenic.
  • The pillow keeps its shape all the way until the morning.
  • Uniform pressure allows the pillow to efficiently relieve your pain.

Cons

  • The pillow has a faint smell for the first few days.
  • It's not as firm as other memory foam pillows.

Top Pick

Our top recommendation is the Memory Foam Neck Pillow. Designed by a chiropractor, it may very well be your best fighting chance against back and neck pain. It's even a great choice for those who suffer from regular year-round allergies.

If you're suffering from lower back pain, shoulder pain, or neck pain, you'll find great comfort with the Perform Pillow cervical pillow. Users report better sleep and waking up in either less or no pain at all. The compression feels just right for people who sleep in all kinds of sleeping positions.

Memory Foam Neck Pillow - Orthopedic Contour - Chiropractor Designed and Approved - Soft Bamboo Cover - Made in USA - Great for Neck Pain, CertiPUR-US (Large)

We also think this pillow works great no matter what position you sleep in. Side sleepers, stomach sleepers, back sleepers, and combination sleepers alike can enjoy the relief from pain that this pillow provides.

Check out the Memory Foam Neck Pillow at Amazon!

Commonly Asked Questions

Is a Firm Pillow Better for Neck Pain?

Soft pillows don't cause neck pain all on their own; in fact, they make a great choice for those who sleep on their stomach. The problem with soft pillows happens when you pair them with the wrong sleeping position.

Sleeping on your side with a soft or absent pillow means your neck cranes down towards the bed, keeping it completely out of alignment with your spine. The weight of your head would quickly sink into a soft pillow and achieve the same result as not having any pillow at all. This is why neck pain occurs in side sleepers.

What's the Healthiest Sleeping Position?

If you experience neck pain while sleeping on your side, you might wonder if you should adjust your position. Fortunately, there are benefits to sleeping on your side, and it's actually considered one of the healthiest positions to sleep in. With the right pillow, side sleeping supports your spine, stops acid reflux, and helps pregnant women keep comfortable. Experts also recommend the position for those who would otherwise snore.

That said, if you continue to experience neck pain even when you pick the right pillow, it could be time to sleep on your back. Sleeping on your back also prevents acid reflux along with facial wrinkles. If you tend to snore or experience lower back pain, though, you should avoid this position.

The mattress could also be to blame for your sleep pains. Mattresses that are too firm elevate you too high, and then your neck ends up craning down into your pillows. The best mattress for side sleepers is a soft to medium mattress because they allow room for the body and its pressure points to sink for the benefit of your spine.

How Do You Get Rid of Neck Pain from Sleeping Wrong?

Fortunately, it's not difficult to alleviate neck pain caused by sleep. The best thing you can do is use the right pillow for the position you sleep in.

Side sleepers need firm pillows that support the proper neck and head alignment with the spine. To achieve this without sacrificing comfort, look for pillows made of natural latex foam or memory foam that give you enough sink for the amount of weight your head puts on it. A contour pillow or orthopedic pillow for your head can also help, while extra padding under the neck provides even more support.

Back sleepers can also benefit from firm pillows that keep the neck straight. For best results, we would recommend contour loft pillows that are designed with neck divots for additional support.

If you're someone who transitions between the back and side sleeping positions, then you'll find more relief with pillows that have dents in the middle for your head.

Stomach sleepers, on the other hand, need a soft and thin pillow. Even so, you might find that you have neck pain because you have to sleep with your head turned to the side. This puts your spine out of alignment.

No matter which pillow you choose, be sure to measure its height to gauge whether it will work for your spine. To assess this, have someone help you measure the length from your neck to your shoulder. Most people need a pillow that is between four and six inches tall.

Those who suffer from neck pain should avoid pillows filled with buckwheat, down, or feathers. The benefit of memory foam is that you can adjust the pillow for your needs, especially with shredded memory foam. To use feathers when you cannot adjust them means having a pillow that inevitably flattens and never returns to its original shape.

How else can you alleviate neck pain? Be sure to maintain good posture during the day, and consider exercising and staying hydrated as well. Also, an ergonomic desk chair can help ensure you don't hunch over your computer or phone, which will protect your spine further during the day.

What's the Worst Way to Sleep?

Experts generally consider stomach sleeping to be the worst sleeping position because it flattens the spine where it is supposed to naturally curve. This results in lower back pain during the day. It's also not good for your spine to sleep with the head turned to one side.

If you prefer this position, consider using additional pillows to help train yourself to sleep on your side instead. For example, you can use a pillow under your hips if you experience twinges of pain in the lower back. This provides a boost to your lower spine.

Sleeping on the back comes with its own potential drawbacks as well. Snoring and sleep apnea are far more common in the supine position. In fact, doctors treating sleep apnea even consider side sleeping to be a worthy prescription.

Sleeping on our backs allows gravity to pull down the tongue into the airway, which results in snoring and causes breathing obstruction.

At the same time, the lungs and stomach come under pressure if you regularly sleep on your left side. However, alternating sides helps reduce the strain on your organs. Also, as nearly every side sleeper knows, the position almost inevitably leads to numb arms in the morning.

No matter the health benefits or consequences, people will generally sleep the way they find most comfortable. It doesn't hurt to experiment with your sleep positions, so give them all a try and figure out what feels the most comfortable for your body. Unless a doctor specifically recommends a certain position, your body will know what feels best.

Final Verdict

To recap, our top 5 memory foam pillows are:

REFERENCE & RESOURCES


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