Best Pillow For Neck Pain

UPDATED OCTOBER 2018​

The best pillow for neck pain isn’t necessarily the best pillow in general.

BEST PILLOW
FOR NECK PAIN 2018

BOTTOM LINE

Designed for all types of sleepers, this orthopedic pillow can help you get the rest that you need. The pillow uses memory foam and supports all areas of your upper body, including your neck and shoulders.

PROS

Specifically designed for those dealing with neck pain, this pillow has a contoured area that supports your neck as you sleep and keeps you from tossing and turning. You can use it while sleeping on your stomach, side or back.

CONS

Some shoppers found that this pillow was too hard for them and that it felt uncomfortable. Other reviews claimed that it was too firm.

BOTTOM LINE

Mediflow did years of research before releasing its Water Pillow to the market. Though you may have some issues filling it the first time, the water inside will cushion your neck and help you sleep through the night.

PROS

When you fill the inside of this pillow with water, you’ll have a comfortable place to rest your head and neck. The water moves as you do to provide you with maximum support.

CONS

A small number of users found that regular use of the pillow made their pain worse. You may have some problems filling the pillow with water too.

BOTTOM LINE

Contoured pillows like this one are a solid choice for anyone who struggles with neck pain. You can choose which side to use based on which one feels the most comfortable.

PROS

This contoured pillow has a thinner area and a thicker area that let you get the amount of support that you need. Made from memory foam, it will mold to your head as you sleep too.

CONS

Regular use can wear down the pillow and change the amount of support that it offers. A small number of shoppers complained that the pillow was too firm.

BOTTOM LINE

Those looking for a softer neck pillow will prefer this AOOU pillow because it’s both thicker and softer than others on the market. It features dozens of pockets inside that help the pillow spring back after you use it.

PROS

With 40 spring pockets inside, this pillow provides support and comfort for all types of sleepers. Those springs add more support and make the pillow feel softer and fluffier.

CONS

This pillow may be too soft and not as firm as you need. It doesn’t offer as much support as other neck pillows do.

BOTTOM LINE

No matter how you sleep, you can use this cervical pillow to support your head and back. The specially designed support areas and thick material work together to help you get in a comfortable position.

PROS

Recommended by medical experts, this pillow offers lots of cervical support. It has five specially designed support areas across the front for those who sleep in any position.

CONS

The two main complaints about this pillow are that it’s too firm and that the firmness wears down over time. You may find that it offers less support after a few months of use.

Shopping Guide for Best Pillow for Neck Pain

Neck pain can cause so much discomfort when you go to bed that you can’t sleep through the night. You may find yourself tossing and turning in bed or waking up frequently because of that pain. The best pillow for neck pain is one that cushions your upper body and supports your neck. Our list of the best pillow for neck pain for 2018 includes those that use memory foam. You’ll also find others that offer less support but still cradle your head. Look at all the pillows for neck pain for 2018 to help you find one that will let you sleep all night long.

There are a number of different medical conditions that can cause neck pain. You may also experience some mild to moderate pain because you pulled a muscle. Those who sleep on their sides are more likely to suffer from neck pain too. Choosing the right pillow will help you get all the sleep that you need before you decide whether to make an appointment with your doctor. Our list focuses on the top five pillows that are suitable for those who sleep on their sides and those who experience pain in their necks and shoulders.

Shopping Guide for Best Pillow for Neck Pain

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Selection Criteria

Neck pain can occur for any number of reasons. No matter why you suffer from pain, you’ll find that you have a hard time sleeping. You can experience a sharp and shooting pain that travels through your neck to other parts of your body or a dull ache that keeps you from falling asleep. We know that millions of people just like you suffer from neck pain, which is why we tracked down the top five pillows that can help you cope with that pain.

Finding the best pillows is something we did some serious research on. We found customers like you who suffered from pain and looked at what they had to say. Using Amazon, we identified the best pillows around and then weeded through those pillows to find models designed specifically for neck pain. We then compared the star ratings on those products and looked at customer reviews. All the pillows on our list have an average rating of at least four stars.

The chart at the top of this page goes over the five best pillows and gives you a short list of the pros and cons of each product. Read on to find detailed reviews of the top pillows.

Selection Criteria - WITH TEXT

No matter how you sleep or how often you move as you sleep, this pillow will help you stay in a comfortable position all night long. It features a central cavity or well that lets you lay your head down and get support for your neck, which can help with your pain. Raised areas on each side keep your head and neck give you more support as you move. It also features wedges on both sides that act as extensions and support your spine. If you have neck pain caused by spine problems, this is the best pillow for you.

Another benefit to using this pillow is that it can help open up your airways. If you suffer from neck pain caused by TMJ or other issues relating to your mouth and jaw, you’ll find that this pillow aligns your upper and lower body. This keeps your airways open and helps you breathe as you sleep. Many customers also like that this pillow uses memory foam because it molds to their own heads and bodies. The included case comes off easily and is machine washable.

In-Depth Product Review MARNUR Memory Foam Orthopedic Pillow

Causes of Neck Pain

When you suffer from neck pain, you may want to get to the root cause of that pain. Some of the more common causes of neck pain include:

  • Whiplash
  • Pinched nerve
  • Herniated disc
  • Muscle strain/pulled muscle
  • Infection

Neck pain can also occur because you suffer from TMJ, which is a medical condition that affects the jaw. Symptoms and signs of TMJ can include:

  • Trouble chewing or speaking
  • A cracking or popping sound that occurs when you move your mouth
  • Pain that shoots from your jaw to different areas of your head and neck
  • A feeling like your jaw might not close

Changing your pillow and the way you sleep can help you significantly reduce the neck pain that you experience. A new pillow can also help with any of the other related symptoms that you have. You need a pillow that lifts your neck and head off your bed and one that will cushion and support your neck. All the top products on our list of the best neck pillows will help you sleep better. Getting more sleep can also help your body fight back against infections and viruses that cause an increase in your symptoms.

Causes of Neck Pain

WARNING

If you experience neck pain that lasts for more than 10 days or neck pain that worsens, make an appointment to speak with your doctor.

A unique pillow for neck pain that we came across is the Water Pillow from Mediflow. Mediflow picked the name water pillow because you’ll add water to the inside before using it. Using cold water can help you stay cool on a hotter night. You can also use warmer water on a colder night. It comes with a tool that functions as a funnel. You’ll insert this wedge into a special area on the pillow, add your water and then remove the wedge once you finish filling it. Mediflow recommends using between 60 and 130 quarts of water based on the firmness that you need.

Once you add water, you’ll find that this pillow functions just like a waterbed. The liquid inside completely surrounds your head to provide you with support exactly where you need it. When you move around at night and change positions, the water will move with you and provide some support. You can use this with any pillowcases that you already own to get the softness that you want around your face and head. Mediflow gives you detailed instructions on how to both fill and use this pillow.

In-Depth Product Review The Water Pillow by Mediflow

Benefits of Sleeping On Your Side

If you suffer from neck pain, you may find that sleeping on your back or stomach makes that pain even worse. Sleeping on your side can significantly reduce your neck pain. Experts generally recommend sleeping on your left side rather than on your right. Some of the benefits of sleeping on your side can include:

  • Circulation: Side sleepers have better circulation than those who sleep in other positions do. If you suffer from poor circulation in your lower body, try sleeping on your side.
  • Reduce stomach discomfort: Acid reflux is a medical condition that causes bile to back up into your esophagus. Some people experience a burning sensation in their chests. Instead of just changing your diet or taking certain medications, you can reduce acid reflux symptoms when you sleep on your side.
  • Improve digestion: The stomach cramps and nausea that you feel at night can occur because you suffer from some digestion problems. Studies found that those who sleep on their sides can improve their digestion.
  • Organ support: Sleeping on your side can also help you support certain organs and improve the health of those organs. Changing your position helps blood pump and flow better through your body.
Benefits of Sleeping On Your Side

Cons of Sleeping On Your Side

Can put too much pressure on one side of the body.
May worsen certain types of pain.
Can cause a pins and needles sensation.

Do you ever find yourself constantly adjusting your pillow at night? With this CR Sleep pillow, you can get all the comfort and support that you need. This pillow has a contoured design and two unique edges. One edge is much higher than the other. You can use either side under your head to lift your neck to a comfortable height. This helps you feel better when you first lay down and as you sleep. Despite having a unique shape, this pillow will work with the cases you already have. It also comes with a soft outer cover that you can slide off for cleaning.

Two of the top features of this pillow are underneath that cover. The first of those is a memory foam core that uses a special type of gel. This foam and gel combo gives you extra support without feeling too firm. It also comes with an inner cover that sits on top of the foam and beneath the outer case to extend the life of the pillow. You can purchase one pillow or a two-pack.

In-Depth Product Review CR Sleep Contour Memory Foam Pillow

Types of Pillows for Neck Pain

Feather Pillows
Feather pillows are quite popular with those who suffer from neck pain. The feathers inside actually move and shift each time that you move. This allows the feathers to surround your neck and offer more support. You can choose between real feathers or synthetic feathers. Real feathers come from actual animals, but these pillows are often more expensive. Those that use synthetic or artificial feathers are more affordable. When shopping for feather pillows, always read the reviews that you see. Some manufacturers leave the ends on those feathers. When you toss and turn, you might feel the sharp edges poking against your skin.

Memory Foam Pillows
A good choice for anyone suffering from neck pain is a memory foam pillow. Originally designed for the military, memory foam is a type of foam that is very thick and firm. When you press down on the foam, you’ll see the imprint of your hands on the surface. As soon as you let go through, the foam will return to its original shape. When you put your head down on one of these pillows, the memory foam will mold to the shape of your head and support your neck. It will keep changing as you move to offer constant support.

Neckroll Pillow
Neckroll pillows are quite unique because they look more like the bolster cushions used on couches than the pillows you use on your bed. You can choose from different shapes and materials, but many look like plush snakes. The idea is that you can put the roll behind your neck to get the support that you need. You can use one when relaxing on your couch as you watch television or while sleeping at night. Some neck roll pillows use small plastic beads inside and are more flexible, but others use memory foam or another firm material.

Wedge Pillow
If you read in bed, you shouldn’t lay in a flat position. Keeping your head and neck lifted off the pillow to focus on your pages or screen can put pressure on your neck and worsen your pain. Using a wedge pillow is a good alternative. Wedge pillows use foam and other firm materials and look like a large wedge. You can put one right up against your headboard and lean against it while reading or watching television. If you need more support, you can use a small neck pillow or another cushion on top of the wedge and/or behind your head.

Types of Pillows for Neck Pain - WITH TEXT

Though many people with neck pain prefer pillows that are harder or firmer, some prefer pillows that are softer and fluffier like this one from AOOU. When you first see it, you might think that it looks like the standard pillows you already use on your bed, but it actually offers much more support than traditional pillows can. It uses a type of breathable mesh that keeps the pillow feeling cool to the touch. This mesh also helps you regulate your own body temperature. AOOU claims that the mesh will also keep cool air circulating through the pillow and that it will prevent problems caused by dust mites.

When you press down on this pillow, you’ll find that it quickly flattens, but when you release your hands, it pops right back up. It does the same thing when you wake up in the morning. The sides cushion your head and neck to help you feel more comfortable. This pillow also has an ergonomic design that features 40 pocket springs inside. Those springs work in the same way as the ones on your mattress does to offer more support and to cushion your upper body.

In-Depth Product Review AOOU Ergonomic Bed Pillow

Tips for Treating Neck Pain at Home

In addition to using a pillow for neck pain, you can try some other home remedies. Some of the top home treatments for neck pain include:

  • Use heat: Many heating pads today have automatic shut off features that turn the pads off after a certain amount of time. You can apply one to the back of your neck or anywhere you experience pain for up to 20 minutes at a time.
  • Apply ice: Ice may work even better than heat does, especially at the first sign of an injury. Applying an ice pack to your neck essentially freezes the muscles to eliminate pain.
  • Do stretches: Stretching out your neck muscles can help you cope with pain too. Try something simple like rotating your neck in small circles in one direction and then in the opposite direction.
  • Get a massage: Getting regular massages can help too. If you cannot afford to make an appointment with a massage therapist or specialist, you can use home massage tools. These tools come in different sizes and use either AA or AAA batteries. You can use one to target all the sore muscles in your neck.
Tips for Treating Neck Pain at Home

WARNING

Do not use ice packs for an extended period of time or fall asleep with one on your neck. The ice can actually burn your skin.

If you experience pain in your head, neck, shoulders and other parts of your upper body, you may suffer from a spine misalignment. Cervical support pillows help align the different parts of your body to bring an end to your neck pain, which is why we recommend this model from Nature’s Guest. It has a unique design with a small channel in the center of the pillow. When you sleep on your back, you can lay down flat on that channel to get more support. The pillow also has areas specifically designed for those who sleep on their sides. You can use either one based on whether you sleep on your right or your left.

Another nice feature of this pillow is that it has two dedicated neck support areas. One sits at the top of the pillow and offers more support. The other sits along the bottom and offers less support. You can turn the pillow around to get the neck support that you want. Two zippers located on the sides let you open up the pillow to add more filling or to remove filling. This lets you change the firmness to make the pillow work for you.

In-Depth Product Review: Nature's Guest Cervical Support Pillow ​

Signs That You Need a New Neck Pillow

  • Aches and pains: The most common sign that you need a new pillow is when you wake with more aches and pains in your upper body than you had before going to bed.
  • Flattened pillow: A pillow that looks flat when you get up in the morning or when you lay down at night will not offer the support that your neck needs. If you can push your hands against the pillow and completely flatten it, you need a new one.
  • General discomfort: Another sign that you need a new pillow is when you experience general discomfort when trying to sleep. You may find yourself tossing and turning for hours or feeling a dull ache in your neck.
  • Worsening pain: Keep an eye out for any worsening pain too. When you wake, you should feel comfortable. If you get up and notice that your neck pain is worse, you need to replace your pillow.

Talking scales are scales that have a voice feature, which will state out loud how much you weigh and any other features that it monitors and records. While some people like these scales, you may find that you feel self-conscious with hearing your weight spoken. You may feel even worse if you share your home with others. The voice feature on this scales can fail before any of the other features do too.

Signs That You Need a New Neck Pillow

Pro Tip

If you use a contoured pillow and find that one side doesn’t give you as much support, simply flip it over and use the firmer side.

How Much Should a Neck Pillow Cost?

Many people do not realize how expensive pillows are until they actually start looking for a new one. You can get a cheap pillow for less than $10, but those pillows will quickly wear down. You might notice that the plush material inside doesn’t spring back and that the pillow flattens down after just a few months. Pillows that cost between $20 and $30 are better for most sleepers.

Some companies make hotel pillows that look and feel just like those you used when staying in an upscale hotel. It can cost $100 or more to buy a hotel pillow, but these pillows will last much longer. You’ll feel comfortable sleeping on one for a year or more.

Most of the pillows for neck pain that appear on our list retail for between $40 and $60. The Nature’s Guest Cervical Pillow is the most expensive at $60, but this pillow allows you to sleep in any position. Even if you toss and turn or change positions at night, it will still support your neck. To get a pillow designed for neck pain, we recommend spending no more than $60. You can find pillows in the $30 range that support your neck too.

How Much Should a Neck Pillow Cost

How Long Do Pillows Last?

A good pillow will last for up to three full years of use, while you will need to replace a cheaper pillow after three to six months.

Frequently Asked Questions

A: A travel neck pillow is one designed for use on the go. These pillows often have a C-shape or a U-shape. You’ll place one on the back of your neck and wrap the ends around your neck. Travel neck pillows are great for those who fly or travel by car.

A: A body pillow is a large type of pillow that you can actually wrap yourself around as you sleep. These pillows are usually two-foot to three-foot-long, though you may find some that are a little larger. Using one can help with neck pain and discomfort because it helps align your upper and lower body.

A: Dust mites are small creatures found in many homes today. These little creatures typically live inside your mattress and pillows. Some people have a dust mite allergy and develop red marks on their bodies when exposed to the creatures. Some of the pillows on our list have covers and cases that protect against dust mites.

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