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Best Pillow For Neck Pain 

In this article you will find out everything you need to know about the best pillow for neck pain alongside the most effective treatments for the neck.

Many times, people figuratively point out to the others as being a real ‘pain in the neck.’ Usually, this term is used to refer to those people who have been annoying or pestering others for a long time. 

If people could be so annoying that they are being compared to a particular type of body pain – just imagine how annoying or uncomfortable that body pain would actually be for the people who suffer from it! 

All things put aside, neck pain is indeed very severe in nature and can cause many problems in the daily life of the poor people who have to face it daily. 

Chronic neck pain can be a real issue in these people because it does not let them bend, extend, and flex their necks peacefully without stimulating a feeling of sharp pain or discomfort in the affected region. [1]

Furthermore is the issue with sleeping – seldom will you come across people who will say that they can sleep peacefully without having to deal with infinite twists and turns, and adjustment of sleeping positions throughout the night that will finally lead them to adjust in such a position that keeps them comfortably tucked in during the night. So, it is obvious that neck pain can be a ‘real pain in one’s neck’ for sure! 

The Association Between Neck Pain And Sleep

Sleep is precious to everyone. One’s bedtime is finally that time of the day when you embrace and relish the peace and comfort that you had been craving for the whole day! Yet, all that you want at that moment right away is to snuggle in your bed and let sleep come over you before it gets too late. 

But is it really possible? Especially when you have been harbouring a stiff neck that refuses to rest during the night? Well, it does not exactly seem to be that way, but it can be very much attributed to your sleep style as well. [2]

Other people develop chronic neck pain as a result of ergonomic conditions. There are several – or rather, the majority- professions that believe in long working hours and require their employees to be typing and working on their computers and laptops for longer durations. [3]

In such conditions, it often becomes difficult to give rest to your neck, or even if you do, it is for such a short duration that the neck muscles find little to no time to be free from the constant state of stress and thus, it becomes natural for people to develop neck pain or discomfort over time. 

People have different positions that they sleep in – some are stomach sleepers, some are side sleepers, and others are back sleepers. In all cases, the sleeping position greatly determines the reasons that could directly or indirectly contribute to your neck pain, shoulder pain, or back pain. [4]

It is important to see the position of your spine alignment for any disturbances or additional stresses on it that alters its natural curve and predisposes it to develop pain in it over time. Of course, there are other reasons as well that lead to the development of chronic neck pain, but a bad sleeping position is also among the top ones.

Therefore, in such cases, it becomes obvious that these people should look for the right pillow and mattress that lets them rest their spine and neck through the night. 

The Best Type Of Pillow For Neck Pain 

Of course, your search for the right pillow and the best mattress would not last overnight. A lot of research is needed for it, and only after these trials and errors can you come across the right kind of pillow that leads you to sleep peacefully and comfortably. [5]

Some of the shortlisted pillows that have been designed to cater to people with back, neck, and shoulder pain are discussed below. These pillows are among the top sellers on Amazon, and one can easily find them anywhere online and offline if they are interested in buying these pillows for themselves. 

So, let us see what these pillows have in store for you and how they can help you deal with your neck pain better! 

Memory Foam Pillow

A memory foam pillow is a special type of designed firm pillow that both aligns and supports the cervical spine. Once bought, it may appear to be the usual firm and hard pillow like any other pillow, but this pillow usually gives in to the contours of your head and neck and obviously becomes gentle on the body with time. [6]

The word ‘memory’ is used to depict the condition of the pillow – although it allows you to rest your head on it comfortably like the other normal pillow, it does not give in or become saggy after some time. Rather, it retains its characteristic firmness and stays the same way for a long time, allowing your neck and spine alignment to get used to it while providing firm support to your neck and back at all times. 

The firm support of the memory foam pillow helps with spinal support. A contour memory foam pillow literally ‘cradles’ or conforms to the head and neck structure, and for an aching and sore neck, this is the right kind of comfort needed. Although for some side sleepers, it might be a turn-off since it gives them little space to breathe through them. [7]

The best memory foam pillow is undoubtedly the one that comes with a cooling gel placed inside of it. It is a natural latex pillow that allows you to provide a soothing and comforting feeling to your neck and all other stressed pressure points. 

The memory foam pillow is a good choice for people who suffer from neck and back pain and are immobile. It also has the advantage of being a hypoallergenic pillow, meaning that people with asthma or allergies can rest on it easily, without worrying about getting themselves triggered by any suspicious material stuffed inside the pillow. 

Down Pillow

Down Pillows are downright one of the best and favourite types of pillows among many people. They are soft, comfortable, breathable, and one of the best supports for people with neck and back pain. 

With the right amount of care and the correct usage, these down pillows can turn out to be your companions for a long, long time. These pillows are known to retain the warmth after you have lied on them and remain warm for some time afterward. [8]

Down pillows are also preferred for their durability and long-lasting nature, and people easily prefer using them for their neck pain. It is also recommended that people should cover their down pillows with a silk pillowcase or cotton cover as it further helps in making them more breathable and comfortable than it already is. 

Cervical Neck Pillow

As the name suggests, cervical pillows are specially designed to provide comfort and ease to the cervical neck region, thus helping people with cervical support and resolving chronic neck pain. Opting for a cervical pillow from a good brand can help you with pain relief and help ease the symptoms of neck pain. [9]

A cervical pillow has a designated spot where the neck is supposed to be placed. This indented part of the cervical pillow helps in easing the tense neck muscles while also improving the blood flow, which further helps with pain relief. 

This specific type of pillow helps correct and adjust the neck and spine alignment in a better way for people dealing with neck and back pain issues. 

Support Pillow

As the name suggests, these pillows are built to provide maximal neck support to your aching neck muscles. The ‘Tempur-pedic’ is one of the most famous names in this category of pillows. It is a well-known brand of support pillow that comes with the added benefit of coming under a set warranty period which means that you may get it changed in case of any defects. [10]

Support pillows are the best option for back and stomach sleepers. These pillows are said to be soft like cotton and, at the same time, serve to provide comfort to the neck and back of the person using them. 

Support pillows are also extremely travel-friendly. Their compactness and added softness make it easier for them to fit into your luggage if you are traveling, so there is no need to worry about missing your pillow or the comfort that it brings into your life by leaving it back at home – what a win-win deal! 

Orthopaedic Pillow

As their name suggests, orthopaedic pillows have only been designed keeping medical problems in mind. They are meant especially to deal with providing support and care to those body parts that have been held under stress or whose alignment has been in jeopardy due to various physical or internal reasons. [11]

An orthopaedic pillow might appear to be uncomfortable for many people, but it indeed has therapeutic potential, especially for those who deal with neck pain. 

Low Loft Pillow

The ‘loft’ of a pillow refers to the height of your pillow when it is in its compressed state with your head resting on it. There are different types of adjustable lofts of a pillow, depending upon how firm or soft they are in nature. 

A low loft pillow means that the pillow’s height is three inches or less. This type of pillow varies in its firmness and can be both soft and hard. For others, a medium-firm loft pillow has the same effect as that of a low loft pillow. [12]

The types of loft do not define the level of support and comfort that a particular type of pillow will provide you with. Rather it is just a means of determining the ideal height that you will find suitable according to your height and sleeping style. 

Which Is The Best Type Of Pillow For Neck Pain

As far as the question pertains to finding out the best-suited type of pillow for dealing with neck pain, it has no perfect answer. The best way of finding that out is through a trial period of opting for a particular pillow and seeing if it helps you find the pain relief that you were looking for or not.

This is especially true in those cases where people have been dealing with chronic neck pain for a long time and still have found no remedy to resolve their pain. 

Even if you have been a regular visitor to a chiropractor, they would have probably suggested you do the same – to find out what sleeping position you are sleeping in for most of the night and then try to adjust it according to the radiation of your pain levels in such a way that your neck and spine both find maximal comfort and support in that position. 

The type of pillow will further help in determining whether your sleeping position is correct or not. These pillows have a specific design according to the people’s needs, and people should select them only when they are sure that the given type of pillow is indeed the correct choice. 

By now, you would have already learned that it is not just the softness or hardness of a pillow that determines the level of comfort that you will get from a specific kind of pillow. Rather, there are several other pillow features as well that determine what could be done to ease off your neck pain. 

The loft of a sleep pillow, its material (foam-fill, cooling gel, microfiber polymer, etc) , its position in accordance with your sleeping style, and the position in which your head, neck, and spine are aligned once you lie down on it all help in finding out the ideal match for you! 

It is better to opt for medicated and specifically designed pillows for neck pain instead of the standard pillows – feather pillows, soft pillow, or sleeper pillows. These normal pillows do little to provide comfort to your neck and if anything, can even put it under a great deal of stress. 

The Bottom Line

It is evident that neck pain is indeed a very deadly and uncomfortable type of body pain to deal with. It can significantly alter your daily ability to work and perform your chores and progressively make you unable to work as effectively as you should. 

However, at the same time, the type of pillow that you use daily plays an important role in resting your muscles adequately and resolving your pain complaints. Unfortunately, there are several people who do not change their pillows even after they have lost all their firmness and quality. A new pillow is often the best solution for your neck pain.

It is important to routinely change your pillows and switch to options that relieve your pain and turn out to be the best ones for you in the long term. Moreover, always go for machine washable covers instead of opting for pillowcases that do little to nothing but are harsh on your skin and keep you tossing or turning all night long. A cotton cover is the best go-to option in this case. 

There are countless pillow options to choose from, but it is better to do your research, get pillow reviews from people who would have used those pillows, and find out which option works perfectly well for you. Another great option is to go for the ‘top picks’ from Amazon in this category – you bet it isn’t going to disappoint you in the slightest! 


  1. InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Neck pain: Overview. 2010 Aug 24 [Updated 2019 Feb 14]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK338120/
  2. Lee, W. H., & Ko, M. S. (2017). Effect of sleep posture on neck muscle activity. Journal of physical therapy science, 29(6), 1021–1024. https://doi.org/10.1589/jpts.29.1021
  3. Grooten, W. J. A., Mulder, M., & Wiktorin, C. (2007). The effect of ergonomic intervention on neck/shoulder and low back pain. Work, 28(4), 313-323.
  4. Scarabottolo, C. C., Pinto, R. Z., Oliveira, C. B., Tebar, W. R., Saraiva, B., Morelhão, P. K., Dragueta, L. D., Druzian, G. S., & Christofaro, D. (2020). Back and neck pain and poor sleep quality in adolescents are associated even after controlling for confounding factors: An epidemiological study. Sleep science (Sao Paulo, Brazil), 13(2), 107–112. https://doi.org/10.5935/1984-0063.20190138
  5. Minganti, C., Quaranta, F., Pistone, E. M., Fagnani, F., Fiorilli, G., & Giombini, A. (2016). Effectiveness of a new cervical pillow on pain and sleep quality in recreational athletes with chronic mechanical neck pain: a preliminary comparative study. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 57(9), 1154-1161.
  6. Soal, L. J., Bester, C. M., Shaw, B. S., & Yelverton, C. (2019). Changes in chronic neck pain following the introduction of a visco-elastic polyurethane foam pillow and/or chiropractic treatment. Health SA = SA Gesondheid, 24, 1099. https://doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v24i0.1099
  7. Stavrou, V. T., Koutedakis, Y., Astara, K., Vavougios, G. D., Papayianni, E., Stavrou, I. T., … & Gourgoulianis, K. I. (2022). Memory Foam Pillow as an Intervention in Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome: A Preliminary Randomized Study. Frontiers in Medicine, 454.
  8. Siebers, R., Nam, H. S., & Crane, J. (2004). Permeability of synthetic and feather pillows to live house dust mites and house dust. Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 34(6), 888-890.
  9. Shields N, Capper J, Polak T, et al. Are cervical pillows effective in reducing neck pain? 2006. In: Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet]. York (UK): Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK); 1995-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK73379/
  10. Persson, L., & Moritz, U. (1998). Neck support pillows: a comparative study. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 21(4), 237-240.
  11. Her, J. G., Ko, D. H., Woo, J. H., & Choi, Y. E. (2014). Development and comparative evaluation of new shapes of pillows. Journal of physical therapy science, 26(3), 377-380.

Ren, S., Wong, D. W., Yang, H., Zhou, Y., Lin, J., & Zhang, M. (2016). Effect of pillow height on the biomechanics of the head-neck complex: investigation of the cranio-cervical pressure and cervical spine alignment. PeerJ, 4, e2397. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.2397

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