Get the Best Pillow for Neck Pain (Reviewed & Compared)
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March 19, 2021
If you suffer from neck pain, you know you’re not alone. This problem affects up to 70% of all adult Americans at least once during their lifetimes to the point where everyday chores become difficult. And for 30%–50% of them, that pain can become a more frequent occurrence.
That being said, when looking for the best pillow for neck pain, you should look for a product that meets certain criteria:
- It supports your neck, head, and upper spine
- It has the right amount of loft
- It’s made from the right materials
- It’s made with neck pain management in mind
- It has the right size, shape, and firmness
- It relieves pressure in all the right places
To find out more, go ahead and check out our detailed reviews!
The 11 Best Pillows for Neck Pain
Two distinct sides
3 firmness options
750 fill power
Best heat management
Copper fabric improves hygiene
No-frills, reliable design
Certified foam, eco-friendly materials
Great reviews from users
Adjusts to your needs
Ideal for back and side sleepers
Unique pressure relief
Available in three sizes
Accommodates all sleeping positions
Great for hot sleepers
Grid-like material has great heat-dissipating qualities
Best pillow for large people with neck pain
Exciting new design
Durable, no need for flipping
Great cooling characteristics
Plush and supportive
CertiPUR-US and UL GREENGUARD GOLD certified
Organic fill, organic cover
Zippered cover for easy customization
A healthy option with no fumigants or chemicals
Best for back and side sleepers with neck pain
Approved for ages 13 and up
Choosing the Best Pillow for Neck Pain: Reviews and Details
Naturepedic Organic 2-in-1 Adjustable Latex Pillow Review
- Best Latex Pillow for Neck Pain
- Free shipping
- 30-day money-back guarantee, free returns
- One-year limited warranty
- From $99.00
- Two distinct sides
- Certified organic
- Made in the US
- Takes time to get used to
Looking for the best organic pillow for neck pain? If you want a latex option, chances are, this will be ideal. The pillow features a shredded organic latex core that you can adjust to reach the level of support you need to ease your aches.
Naturepedic’s 2-in-1 Pillow offers a unique package with two unique feels. On the cover, there’s a quilted side and a stretch-knit side, with the former featuring a PLA fiber and latex combo. The smooth side is great with contouring, meaning it responds better to your shape, improving your head, neck, and spine alignment.
According to users, this might not be the best pillow for a stiff neck—at least, not for everyone. The majority of buyers liked it. Nevertheless, the more critical consumers said that they had a hard time finding the exact amount of filling they needed, and they had problems folding the pillow over.
Generally, people are satisfied with the pillow, mentioning that it does a great job of soothing their pressure points and giving their necks the well-deserved rest they need, even if it takes a bit of time to acclimate to.
Parachute Down Pillow Review
- Best Down Pillow for Neck Pain
- Free shipping
- 60-day return policy
- 750 fill power
- From $89.00
- Three different firmness options
- 750 fill power
- Luxury pillow
- Not great for hot sleepers
While a down pillow isn’t necessarily a chiropractor-recommended pillow to combat neck pain, Parachute’s models give it a worthy shot—and the two available sizes and three firmness levels help sleepers find the right feel for their needs.
The 750 fill power European down delivers the plushness and airiness associated with down while still giving your neck, head, and shoulders the support they need throughout the night.
The soft firmness is most suited to stomach sleepers who need a plush pillow that keeps their necks in a neutral position. For back sleepers, the medium-firm option will be the best pillow for neck pain, and side sleepers will want the firmest variant. These varying firmness levels will each deliver the right amount of loft to keep a sleeper’s spine, neck, and head perfectly aligned based on their sleeping position.
Feather and down products are by no means therapeutic pillows for neck pain. However, those who prefer them will find that Parachute’s Down Pillow is great at providing support and comfort.
Those who opt for Parachute’s pillow should know that down may cause allergic reactions in some users. Not to mention, the feathers can get displaced over time, become compressed, and lose some of their support.
Layla Kapok Pillow Review
- Best Cooling Pillow for Neck Pain
- Free shipping
- 120-night money-back guarantee
- 5-year warranty
- From $99.00
- Customizable height
- Best heat management
- Copper fabric improves hygiene
- Not ideal for stomach sleepers
Introducing our best-rated pillow for neck pain, Layla’s Kapok Pillow is known to provide superior comfort and support. What’s more, it keeps sleepers cool in every situation, ensuring a good night’s sleep.
In terms of neck pain, this copper-infused, shredded memory foam and kapok-fiber pillow has a loft of 5.5″–6″ when fully filled. Straight out of the box, it’s a great choice for back and side sleepers who need a well-filled pillow for proper alignment.
The soft kapok fibers and the open-cell memory foam are a formidable duo when it comes to support and comfort. If you’re looking for the best pillow for neck and shoulder pain and want a soft, airy feeling with all the benefits of moldable memory foam, Layla’s pillow is your best bet.
Is there a downside? Some stomach sleepers might struggle to find the right amount of fill to ease their aches. Also, the pillow isn’t really on the budget-friendly side. However, experts and users all agree that the pillow caters to everyone with neck problems.
Nest Bedding Easy Breather Pillow Review
- Best Memory Foam Pillow for Neck Pain
- Free shipping
- 30-night trial
- From $49.00
- Easily adjusted
- No-frills, reliable design
- Certified foam, eco-friendly materials
- Great reviews from users
- Foam gets compressed over time
Often, consumers find that the best pillow for shoulder and neck pain encompasses all the traditional features that help a great deal with support, comfort, and proper alignment.
The Easy Breather has a classic memory foam construction with a breathable cover, combining the best of what an adjustable and responsive yet cool pillow brings to the table.
Memory foam can be the best pillow for neck pain, reviews show, when it comes to effective pain management. One-piece foam pillows are either a hit or a swing and a miss for sleepers, depending on the shape of their body. However, adjustable pillows with shredded foam let them fine-tune both the firmness and loft (and the Easy Breather shines in this aspect).
So is this pillow the best memory foam pillow for neck and shoulder pain?
With ease, this no-frills shredded memory foam pillow managed to grab a high spot on our list. It resonates exceptionally well with users. Even the most critical reviewers like that the pillow could be adjusted to their liking—although some have mentioned that the filling can get compressed over time.
SpineAlign Pillow Review
- Best Pillow for Spinal Alignment
- Free shipping
- 60-night sleep trial
- Five-year limited warranty
- From $169.00
- Adjusts to your needs
- Sleeps cool
- Ideal for back and side sleepers
- Arrives flat, needs to be fluffed up
This is a definite contender for the best pillow for neck and back pain due to the way this pillow helps to align the spine while you’re sleeping. It reduces pressure on both the neck and back, which will help to ease any discomfort or pain caused while you’re sleeping.
One of the many great things about this pillow is that it’s adjustable. You can decide on the level of filling in the pillow. There are zips on the side that allow you to slide your hand in and remove or add fill. And when you get the pillow, if you’re not happy with the amount of foam fill, SpineAlign will send you some additional fill for free. Being able to adjust the SpineAlign pillow makes it one of the top pillows for neck problems.
The pillow is made from safe materials that are certified non-toxic. The filling is CertiPur-Certified and the cover is made from soft polyester with mesh. The areas of mesh on the sides also make this pillow breathable and helps it to stay cool throughout the night.
Tempur-Pedic Neck Pillow Review
- Best Pillow for Side Sleepers With Neck Pain
- Free shipping
- Five-year limited warranty
- From $89.00
- Washable cover
- Unique pressure relief
- Available in three sizes
- No returns
Tempur-Pedic’s pillow comfortably cradles the head without the feeling of sturdy pressure that similarly designed pillows are known for. This memory foam neck support pillow is a no-fluff, no-frills ergonomic product that caters to side and back sleepers who need proper cervical alignment.
One of the largest downsides with most ergonomic products is the fact that they can’t be customized. Tempur-Pedic, meanwhile, created three different sizes (small, medium, and large) to help sleepers find their ideal solution—of course, three options can still feel limited.
So what makes this an outstanding orthopedic pillow for neck pain? First of all, it was created by experienced doctors. Second, it has a five-year warranty—more than what’s usually offered with a memory foam pillow.
The trade-off? Those who managed to find the best size and firmness combo swear by the pillow, praising the shape and the amount of support and comfort it provides.
However, those who prefer a more customizable option don’t consider it the best pillow for neck pain, reviews show. While this might be more of a problem of personal preference, a greater issue arises when we realize that the seller doesn’t take returns.
Coop Home Goods The Original Pillow Review
- Best Pillow for Neck Pain for a Stomach Sleeper
- Free US shipping
- Free returns in the US
- 100-night trial
- From $59.99
- Highly customizable
- Great for hot sleepers
- Accommodates all sleeping positions
- Tends to flatten out quickly
This particular bamboo pillow, for many, is the best pillow for neck pain and headaches. It’s breathable, cool, highly adjustable, and lightweight—all the characteristics that make your pillow a life-saver with neck pain.
Within the bamboo cover, there’s a medium-firm blend of microfiber and memory foam (CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD Gold-certified). Sleepers can then customize the amount of loft, support, and comfort they need. This filling makes not only for a comfortable experience but a cool one as well.
The shredded memory foam and microfibers create a large number of air pockets, which help with air movement, and the quilted cover only improves that airflow. This makes this product the best pillow for neck support for those who tend to heat up during the night.
The manufacturer claims that the pillow is great for back and stomach sleepers. However, expert reviewers found that with a few loft adjustments, it’s also a great pillow for side sleepers.
So is this the real deal? While it does a fairly good job of dissipating heat, and its highly customizable nature offers pain relief for nearly everyone, those who want a pillow more specifically designed to fight neck pain may end up choosing another model. Users also mentioned that finding the perfect loft, comfort, and support was too time-consuming.
The Purple Pillow Review
- Best “High-Tech” Pillow
- Free Shipping
- 100-night trial
- One-year warranty
- Price: $109.00
- Grid-like material has great heat-dissipating qualities
- Best pillow for head and neck pain for large people
- Exciting new design
- Durable, no need for flipping
Sometimes, to find the best sleeping pillow for neck pain, you have to venture into new territory and experiment with new technologies. Such is the case with the Purple Pillow, an exciting new construction featuring hyper-elastic polymer, a proprietary gel-like material. It’s highly responsive, needs no fluffing, and is sturdy.
The material sports a grid-like design, and the pillow comes with a moisture-wicking cover and polyurethane foam boosters, which can help you reach your ideal pillow height.
From the perspective of neck support, the customizable height is a huge plus, giving sleepers a chance to create their ideal loft. On the other hand, the gel-like material gently responds to the contours of your shoulders, neck, and head, forming a supportive cradle around them and eliminating pressure points.
According to reviewers, this isn’t the best pillow for a stomach sleeper with neck pain as it will only compress under people with a larger frame. At first, the same can be said for side sleepers. However, removing or adding boosters can help balance the loft, support, and comfort.
Mixing and matching the boosters definitely helps with neck pain—also according to users, whose biggest overall complaint was the weight of the pillow. At 11.7 lbs, it’s truly heavy for a pillow and can be a real deal-breaker for those who want something lightweight.
Tuft & Needle Original Foam Pillow Review
- Best Foam Pillow for Back Sleepers
- Standard shipping
- 100-night sleep trial
- Three-year limited warranty
- From $75.00
- CertiPUR-US and UL GREENGUARD GOLD certified
- Plush and supportive
- Great cooling characteristics
- Not great for stomach sleepers
Tuft & Needle’s Original Foam Pillow could be the best pillow for back and neck pain if you’re also looking for cooling features but want to avoid the sense of sinking too far into your pillow.
That being said, this product is somewhat of a wild card—it tends to have that latex-like bounce, with none of the contouring or cradling characteristics of memory foam. The nice and lofty 5″ profile and the medium-firm ventilated foam provide a solid combination of comfort and support if you sleep on your side or back.
This pillow shines the most for back sleepers, as it provides superior alignment and relieves pressure in the neck and shoulders without letting your head sink in too deep. As a note, those looking for orthopedic pillows for neck pain that offer a little more variety (or a traditional memory foam feel) might need to look elsewhere.
With its latex-like memory foam feel, you end up with a great product that caters to some but will definitely leave others wanting something more traditional. Some users mentioned that the pillow’s maintenance isn’t ideal, with a machine-washable cover that must be air-dried while the foam should only be spot-cleaned.
PineTales Cotton Buckwheat Pillow Review
- Best Traditional Japanese Pillow for Neck Pain
- Free shipping
- Full refunds within 45 days of purchase
- Made in the US
- Price: $129.99
- Organic fill, organic cover
- Zippered cover for easy customization
- Easy maintenance
- A healthy option with no fumigants or chemicals
- May be too firm for stomach sleepers
When it comes to pillows for neck and shoulder pain, buckwheat filling holds a unique place. It’s not necessarily a pillow for neck support. Nevertheless, it’s a highly customizable option in a rather firm package. It might actually sound intimidating, yet when it comes to the head and neck areas, these pillows adjust surprisingly well.
That’s the case with PineTales’ buckwheat pillow. It’s a rather firm pillow (even when some of the buckwheat’s removed) that manages to cradle the neck and head nicely, ensuring that they align the spine—a plus for back sleepers especially.
This could be the best pillow for neck and shoulder pain for those who require a firmer alternative. While most reviews mention that it helps sleepers eliminate neck pain, some noted that they found it hard to fine-tune the filling amount. Also, when the pillow is empty enough, some users found that the buckwheat hulls move to the sides, compromising neck support.
SleepEasy The Original EasySleeper Pillow Review
- Best Value for an Ergonomic Pillow
- Standard shipping (3–5 business days)
- Full refund within 30 days
- Price: $39.95
- Ergonomic pillow at a great price
- Anti-bacterial, vegan
- Approved for ages 13 and up
- Customer support issues, not customizable
A specially designed pillow for neck pain, any side sleeper or back sleeper should find the EasySleeper a handy memory foam option.
The single-piece memory foam pillow sports a rather unique shape that aims to provide improved support by aligning the neck and spine perfectly, while the grooved midsection cradles the head.
Awarded the title of Best Pillow for Neck Pain in 2020 by The Sleep Foundation, this particular product might hold one more clear advantage when compared to other ergonomic pillows: the price point. Value seekers should consider taking a more thorough look at this item since it’s rather difficult to find something so sophisticated with this price tag.
When researching pillow reviews for neck pain, the EasySleeper is definitely among the best options when it comes to mitigating neck issues. Users were notably satisfied with this pillow, typically leaving five-star reviews on the manufacturer’s website, Amazon, and Trust Pilot.
The biggest drawback (based on the reviews) comes with the ordering process. Some users waited weeks for their pillow to arrive, mostly due to customer service issues. Others mentioned packaging as a problem—the pillow comes vacuum-sealed and needs approximately 24 hours to reach its shape.
While these issues don’t necessarily interfere with the product’s quality, for some, it can mar the overall experience.
How to Find the Best Pillow for Neck Pain
– Buying Guide –
Your neck plays a crucial physical role since it bears the entire weight of your head, meaning it should always be kept well protected. Indeed, it’s among the leading causes of disability in the country, and experts estimate 15% of the population suffers from chronic neck pain.
Getting the right pillow can be a huge step forward in eliminating neck pain. The best neck pillow for you should be chosen based on your own individual needs. However, you should know about the best materials, shapes, firmness levels, and other characteristics that can help you the most.
To give you a better idea of what you need to consider when shopping for pillows to help with neck pain, here are a few pointers:
It probably goes without saying that support is one of the most important factors. Therefore, a special pillow for neck pain should ensure that your spine and neck are properly aligned and don’t endure additional pressure.
This determines at what angle your head is in relation to your spine. Pillows with the wrong loft will push your neck into angles that lead to strain and unnecessary pressure. Put simply, the best type of pillow for neck pain shouldn’t be too high or too low for your body shape, thus keeping your spine and neck properly aligned. Luckily, some pillows are adjustable, allowing you to change the loft.
Furthermore, when deciding on the loft of your pillow, you need to consider your preferred sleeping position.
Stomach sleeping often leads to sleepers bending their heads at an unnaturally sharp angle. This unnecessarily arches the spine, which will ultimately lead to unwanted pressure build-up in the neck. That said, people who favor this position should look for pillows for sore necks that have a low loft so there’s no unnecessary pressure.
If you sleep on your back, you need a medium-loft pillow to raise your head such that it lines up with your neck perfectly. If you have bigger shoulders, finding a pillow that supports the higher curve of your neck may be difficult. To combat this, look for a smaller, rounded neck support pillow that you can put right under your neck.
To keep their head, neck, and spine perfectly aligned, a side sleeper should look for pillows with a loft that will fill in the area from ear to shoulder. The only problem with this is that people with larger than average shoulders need a higher loft. Proper alignment can also be achieved with the use of the best cervical pillows, as they sport an elevated region under the neck, ensuring better alignment. Therefore, this type might be the best pillow for neck pain for side sleepers.
The right level of firmness mostly depends on the position you sleep in the most and the weight of your head—even your mattress’s firmness can play a role. Overly firm pillows may cause additional pressure, while overly soft pillows may not give enough support. Your best choice might be to test out the pillows you’re interested in or to look for models recommended for your sleeping habits (for example, the best pillow for side sleepers won’t be great for stomach sleepers).
Choosing the right shape can also help you. Brands nowadays offer different ergonomic pillows that give more support as they adapt to the contours and shape of your neck and head.
A good pillow for neck pain should help you ease pressure as it contours to critical pressure points and ensures proper support and alignment. In this respect, good pressure relief can be best defined as a perfect mixture of firmness, support, shape, and size that perfectly balances the weight of your head and aligns your neck and spine.
Choosing the Right Material
Regardless of pillow type, if you want a great pillow that alleviates neck and shoulder pain, your choice should be firm enough to keep your head in the right position and at the same time eliminate extra pressure in crucial areas.
These pillow fillings all have distinct characteristics, and knowing them can help you find your best bet.
- Memory Foam: Just like the best memory foam mattress, a solid memory foam neck pillow should contour to the shape of your head, neck, and shoulders, forming a supportive cradle. Happily, these pillows are usually inexpensive and hypoallergenic, even in the case of shredded memory foam. As a note, they aren’t as durable as other options, and because memory foam needs time to adapt to your body’s contours, they may not work for all combination sleepers. Also, they can potentially trap heat.
- Buckwheat: This breathable, durable material rates well among the best pillows for neck support, as the buckwheat hulls tend to interlock and maintain their shape. Unfortunately, they also tend to be pricey and on the firmer side. Combination sleepers may also find them noisy when they change positions.
- Latex: This material can minimize pressure while holding your neck in an optimal position. To fight heat-trapping, some manufacturers put pincore holes in the pillows. It can be a great sustainable and natural alternative for the more eco-conscious, although organic variants usually come with a higher price tag. Also, they’re usually one-piece pillows, meaning you can’t really customize them.
- Feather & Down: Though less popular, the best down pillows can also make good pillows for neck pain—you can adjust the loft by either adding or removing the filling. Made from the inner goose and duck feathers, they’re known to be lightweight, soft, and on the more expensive side. Unfortunately, the feathers can get compressed or displaced, and the pillows lose their loft. Also, pure down can cause allergic reactions in some sleepers.
Always make sure that the pillows you buy are made from quality materials. Certain pillows may require different cleaning techniques or have different lifespans. While not a rule, pillows from reputable brands with higher-quality products should last longer without losing their conforming characteristics.
The best neck pillow for sleeping should be seen as an investment, so make sure you research the market regarding different designs and materials. On the other hand, be sure to read an expert neck support pillow review or two before making a decision.
Wrapping It Up
As you can see, the best pillow for neck pain should encompass a fine blend of different characteristics that will keep your head, spine, and neck in an optimal position that caters to your sleeping style. Hopefully, our guide and reviews have helped you make your decision or at least given you more insight into what considerations you need to make while pillow-hunting.
What is the best pillow for side sleepers with neck pain?
To give a more generalized answer, the best options for side sleepers who experience shoulder and neck pain are those that provide just enough support, contouring, and pressure relief. They should keep the head at the best angle to manage pain in the most crucial pressure points.
Most often than not, sleepers will prefer ergonomic options designed to help reduce stiffness in crucial areas.
What is the best pillow for cervical neck pain?
The best options for cervical neck pain can be highly individual. However, many experts would agree that a highly contoured memory foam option can be a life-saver. Usually, the contours provide the right amount of support and pressure relief without sacrificing comfort.
The only problem is, some designs tend to include a “dip” that helps keep the neck and spine aligned. This can be uncomfortable for some, so looking for the best shape for your needs should be one of your main concerns.
Is it better for your neck to sleep with or without a pillow?
In some cases, sleeping without a pillow can help you alleviate pain, like when you sleep on your stomach.
When you’re in this position, you have your head turned to one side, leaving your neck extended backward to a certain degree. This alone is enough to cause discomfort and even pain. However, it minimizes the strain on your spine, which would otherwise be increased with the use of a pillow.
All in all, this is more of a hypothesis since adequate research is missing.
When it comes to other sleeping positions, ditching your pillow can wreak havoc on your body. For instance, you might overextend your neck too far. Also, without a neck support pillow, the muscles in your neck will experience uneven pressure, which can lead to even more stiffness, pain, and headaches down the road.
What is the best pillow for neck pain and headaches?
In some cases, headaches are directly linked to unnecessary tension in the neck and too much pressure.
Most of the time, headaches induced by neck pain are a result of tensed suboccipital muscles (which are found in the base of the neck). These muscles directly refer nerves to different parts of the skull, most notably in the area around the eyes and the front of the head.
As a result of poor alignment and insufficient support, these muscles can tense up and transfer pain into the head area, giving sleepers tension headaches.
To combat this phenomenon, you should use a pillow that’s not too high and keeps your neck aligned with your spine. Furthermore, rounding your body forward can add tension to your neck muscles and cause you unnecessary headaches (literally).
However, if you experience these symptoms or feel them worsen over time, apart from using the best pillow for neck pain, reach out to your doctor to get your condition evaluated.