If you suffer from neck pain you need to have a pillow that will support your neck properly and alleviate pressure. Our guide to choosing the best pillows for neck pain will help you make the right choice. It is based on verified buyers’ reviews and extensive research.
We have all experienced neck pain at some point in our lives. Waking up with a stiff neck and in aches can make it hard for us to function even if it is not Monday morning. Neck pain can be considered one of those „modern age diseases“ that can be triggered by excessive use of technology. Spending too much time sitting in front of a computer in a wrong posture and with a bad screen position, or looking at smartphone screens constantly and bending our head and neck forward, those are our everyday activities that affect our neck making it sore and stiff. Sleeping is essential because it can help us recover during the night and alleviate the pressure on the neck. That’s why it is vital to have a proper pillow that will support the neck as a wrong pillow can be a cause of struggles.
Sleepless and rough nights are often caused by the wrong choice of pillow, so if you are having problems with neck pain, you may consider changing your pad first. The pain usually occurs from time to time, but it can become a chronic condition, that is why the choice of the right pillow is so essential. Also, we usually sleep on one pillow for a few years, and during this period it is getting a lot of use. It is crucial to be aware of the symptoms of a worn-out pillow. When your pillow starts developing indentations, sagging, sinking, losing its firmness, when you start folding it beneath your head, etc. those are all the signs that you might need a new one. But, how to find a good one when there are so many different compositions, features, shapes, and sizes? Well, that is why we are here, we have prepared reviews of the best neck support pillows, and an in-depth buyer’s guide that will point out which factors you should pay attention to.
As our first choice, we represent you an orthopedic TEMPUR-Neck pillow with an ergonomic design that follows your body curves and raises the neck while supporting it gently and adapting to your head. This pillow is made from memory foam that is described as “extra firm” which means that this pillow will not sink in overtime and jeopardize the spinal alignment. This model offers three different levels of loft thickness, 3, 4, and 4.5 inches, so that the shoppers can find a perfect match which suits their body preferences such as shoulder width, head size, and neck length. Despite being tagged as “extra firm,” this pillow is not uncomfortable, it contours and cradles your head and neck while relaxing the muscles and aligning the spine.
Memory foam base is covered with a micro vented polyester knit cover that is easily removable, machine washable and breathable. Foam core should not be washed, if anything spills over it, try blotting up as much as you can and leave it out to dry itself.
Although the average lifespan of memory foam pads is around 2 to 3 years, the TEMPUR-Neck pad is backed up with a 5-year warranty, which guarantees that this model is more durable than the other foam pads, they would repair it or replace it if necessary. It also comes with a price below the average price point, which means that you will get a quality pillow for a low price. It weighs 2.8 pounds, and its dimensions are 20 x 4 x 14 inches. The shipping is free within the contiguous US.
This memory foam pillow is infused with Gel Dough formula which keeps it cool and helps with heat regulation. Also, almost an entire surface of the pad is perforated with Zoned Technology designed holes of different dimensions. They provide airflow and thanks to them this model is probably the most breathable pillow on the market. It comes with a Tencel mesh removable cover, and this eco-friendly fabric helps as well with heat and moisture regulation. The cover is machine washable, but the pillow itself is not. If any stains occur, try spot cleaning it with a damp cloth.
The Zoned Technology design sets the focus on optimal comfort feel for the head and neck. Larger holes were placed in the middle of the pillow so that they can cradle and support the head, while the smaller holes go around that area and conform to the neck. This pillow contours your body without losing its shape and also affects the improvement of spinal alignment.
Z Zoned Gel Dough pillow comes in two different dimensions, King 16 x 35 inches, and Queen 16 x 29 inches, both options come with three loft sizes. The low-loft is 4.5 inches, the medium is 6 inches, and high is 7 inches thick. A warranty period of 5 years guarantees you that you are investing your money in a pillow that is durable more than other foam pads, and all shoppers within the contiguous US have free shipping.
This pillow offers the comfort of a down pillow, but unlike the down pillow, this one will not lose its shape over the time due to the mix of different types of shredded foam. The foam that this company uses for pillows comes from excess foam used for their mattresses. They combined hypoallergenic and CertiPUR-US certified foam which is very low in V.O.C. with Biogreen foam. These pillows filled with small pieces of foam are incredibly soft and comfortable, but also resilient and lighter than other cushions from shredded foam. Dense memory foam is naturally dust mite resistant, which makes it the most comfortable and hypoallergenic material in bedding.
The Kool-Flow Micro-Vented Bamboo cover is made from polyurethane and bamboo viscose, and it is hypoallergenic, soft and highly breathable, so it is going to keep you cool all night long. The whole pillow can be machine washed and dried, so there is no need to worry about cleaning because it is very easy to maintain. Its adjustable loft suits everyone providing the right amount of comfort and support that will please your neck and release the stress of the muscles.
This pillow is super lightweight with only 1.01 pounds, and it comes in three cut sizes, Standard 26 x 19 inches, Queen 28 x 20 inches, King 35 x 20 inches. But its dimensions and loft thickness are adjustable and can be easily personalized by gathering or spreading out the foam. The company recommends shipping the pillow back to them if there is a need for customization, to remove or add some extra foam, the shipping is free. With such excellent customer service, very affordable price, 120 nights sleep trial and a 20-year warranty, Snuggle-Pedic Bamboo Pillow is one model that is hard to beat.
For all of you who are searching for a more innovative pillow design, we represent you the Purple pillow, constructed with the company’s signature Smart grid design. The company started with mattresses, and then they adjusted their design to other products and cushions. Their unique design of open Hyper-Elastic Polymer mesh allows free air flow which provides maximal breathability, and it is antimicrobial. This rubbery-like material contours to your body without losing its shape. Reinforced firm edges will support your neck properly while the soft middle part cradles the head.
The key material used for this pillow is a polymer, which by itself is not a very breathable material, but when it is used to create a triangle-grid structure with air pockets, that results with air moving freely even when you are lying upon it. Construction of this pillow makes it a top cooling pad, but it is important to say that sleeping cool is a relative category, because on the overall body temperature can also influence our pajamas, mattress, blanket, etc.
The polyester and bamboo blend was used for a cover which is removable and can be machine washed and dried, the polymer grid is attached to a firm base layer of polymer, and it can be hand-washed and air-dried.
This unusual pillow is a bit heavier, it weighs 10 pounds, and it comes in one size 16.3 x 8.4 x 6.9 inches. There is a sleep trial period of 100 nights so you can try it out and feel if it is the right one. Also, it comes with a 1-year warranty and free shipping within the contiguous US.
The Coop Home Goods Travel and Camping pillow was created for all travelers and campers who are not into inflatable pads but are looking for the comfort of a standard sleeping pillow. Although it has a smaller shape, this pillow is made out of the same materials as their best-selling standard pillows. Comfortable, shredded memory foam is CertiPUR-US certified and blended with a poly fiberfill, and you can increase or decrease the filling to reach that perfect loft size, you do get a package of extra stuffing with it. These and the fact that it can be compressed are the reasons why this pillow will be your new inevitable travel companion. It works for every sleep position, and it will give you the right amount of neck support even in the upright posture.
For the cover, they used bamboo-derived viscose and polyester blend which is quilted for increased airflow. The cover is hypoallergenic, dust mite resistant and breathable, not to thin so that it provides a cozy and soft comfortable feel. Both cover and the pillow with its filling are machine washable and dryable, but it is important to dry it out completely. We also recommend washing it with cold water, do not use fabric softeners, and make sure that the foam filling is completely dry. Shredded foam is easier to dry than the regular one-piece dense foam pillow, so this is a huge advantage when it comes to maintaining your pad.
This travel size pillow comes with a stuff sack which saves the space and decreases the size of the pad, its dimensions are 19 x 14 inches, and it can be compressed to 10 x 6 inches, so it saves a significant amount of space, perfect for campers and travelers. And with a 5-year warranty, you are sure that you have made a good choice.
For sleepers with neck pain, loft size is an important thing, that is why the Easy Breather pillow with its adjustable loft can be their perfect choice. This pillow contains shredded memory foam combined with polyfill like substance, and this material blend can be easily removed or added through the zipped cover, to customize the loft height. There is only one thicker cover layer, so it is not really removable like most of the other covers.
This material mix mimics the comfort feel of a feather and down pillow, it cradles the neck and head, provides optimal support and contour. No matter how much of a filling you remove or add, this pillow is still going to provide proper contouring and comfort. Due to its stuffing, this pillow has free air flow, and the Tencel blended cover adds up extra breathability to it. Tencel comes from eucalyptus pulp, and it is considered as an alternative for cotton although it has to go through some synthetic processes to create a fiber which can be used for fabric. For this cover, Tencel is combined with polyester, and the plushy surface is quilted to create that luxury appearance and feel.
Easy Breather sleeping pillow is eco-friendly, owns a CertiPUR-US certificate, and it is free from flame retardants, phthalates, heavy metals, or anything that could harm your health. The only downside of this pillow is the fact that it cannot be machine washed or dried, it can only be spot cleaned, including the cover. So we suggest using a pillowcase over it for easier maintaining and more hygienic sleep surface. The pillow comes in three sizes: Standard 24 x 16 inches, Queen 27 x 16 inches, and King 32 x 16 inches. There is a 100-night sleep trial period, 2-year warranty, and free shipping within the contiguous US.
After we have introduced you to our top picks of pillows for neck pain, now it is time to get to that more painful subject. Neck aches can lower the quality of your daily activities and jeopardize your mental and physical condition. Usual symptoms of chronic neck pain are constant headaches, stiffness, reduced motion range of head and neck, spasm, muscle strain, etc. In most cases, neck pain does not require medical treatment, but we suggest speaking to your doctor if you are experiencing severe and constant aches, pain that is followed by numbness, tingling, or it migrates to the shoulders, arms, or any other areas of your body. Some of the most common causes of neck pain are:
Pillows are made from different materials, constructions, and can have a significant impact on your neck by either aggravating the current condition or making an improvement and relieving the aches and pressure. For people with pains in their neck, too high and stiff cushions are not appropriate because they are not comfortable enough and can cause muscle strain. Memory foam pillows are an excellent choice for a sensitive neck, and the foam will contour to your body shape and cradle your neck and head. Feather pillows are also a good option because they as well conform closely to the body contours, but they tend to flatten quickly and must be replaced often because flat pillow can aggravate neck pains. So if you are not ready to buy a new pad each year or two, you might as well skip the feather filled pillows. For neck pain sufferers, pillows with adjustable loft can be the right solution. They are filled usually with shredded memory foam which contours the body curves correctly, and that foam can be added or removed by sleeper’s desire, adjusting the loft and giving him the maximal custom experience.
It is recommended that people with neck pain should sleep on their side or back, as those two sleeping postures are the best for their condition. We are now going to give you our advice for each sleep position and suggest a matching pillow.
If you are experiencing neck pain, there are three main pillow features which you should pay attention to when choosing the right one for yourself. Those three categories are size, loft, and shape; we will start with the size.
There are six standard pillows sizes and an extra “small” size for orthopedic memory foam pillows that have elevated neck support. In the table down below we listed pillows by their size and features, all measures are in inches, the first number stands for width and the second one for length.
|Small||20 x 12 inches||Varies||Special sizes||This size is for memory foam curved pads, which are shorter than standard pillows|
|Standard||20 x 26 inches||$||Standard 20-21 x 30-32||The most common and compact pillow size|
|Super Standard||20 x 28 inches||$||Standard 20-21 x 30-32||Longer than standard, but it fits the standard pillowcase|
|Queen||20 x 30 inches||$$||Standard 20-21 x 30-32
Queen 20-22 x 30-34
|This size is longer, which is great for sleepers who turn and toss|
|King||20 x 36 inches||$$$||King 20-21 x 36-41||Great size for those who sit and read in bead; also for sleepers who turn and toss|
|Euro||26 x 26 inches
24 x 24 inches
22 x 22 inches
20 x 20 inches
18 x 18 inches
16 x 16 inches
|$$||Euro (Varies)||Their square shape makes them a great backrest or headrest pillows|
|Body Pillow||54 x 20 inches
48 x 20 inches
|$$$||Body Pillow (Varies)||Great for pregnant women and side sleepers|
Right after the size, the next feature you should consider is the shape of a pillow. For sleepers with neck pain curved or flat surfaces are the best as they will provide them with the right amount of support and pain alleviation.
The loft or thickness of a pillow is another category that you should have in mind, based on your body features you should choose a loft that suits you. Your head size, shoulder width, personal weight, preferred sleep position, mattress, are all important factors which when combined with appropriate loft size can round up a perfect sleeping experience. We are going to summarize down below which loft suits the best all of those factors so that you can quickly figure out which one is perfect for you.
There are three different loft sizes:
When it comes to sleep position, people who tend to sleep mostly on their back usually prefer medium-loft pads because they offer the right balance between thickness and softness. Side sleepers typically go for high-loft to compensate that extra space between their pillow and neck, but the medium-loft can suit some of them as well, for example, sleepers with narrow shoulders. Stomach sleepers often sleep even without the pillow, but when they use it, it should be the low-loft one because that is the most comfortable thickness for them. Although we have to point up one more time that sleepers with neck pain should avoid this sleeping posture.
Pillow position is something that we did not mention before; there are two types of positions. Sleepers who sleep with a pillow partially beneath their head should go for medium-loft or even high-loft for better neck support and spinal alignment. On the other hand, those who sleep with pillow entirely under their head should suit the best low-loft or even medium-loft thickness.
Finding a perfect match pair of mattress and pillow can be a challenge. Although pads and mattresses are often sold in a pair, sometimes the pairing that company made may not suit your needs. For low-loft pads, the best mattress type is memory foam or latex model, because they sink deeply below the sleeper so that there is less space between the sleep surface and neck and head. Medium and high-loft pillows go well with innerspring mattresses and hybrids because they are less responsive, so there is more space between the surface and sleepers head and neck.
Body weight is important for mattress choice, but it can also be a factor for the selection of loft thickness. Sleepers who are heavyweight (above 230 pounds) usually sink in too much into their mattress, so for them, a low-loft or a medium-loft pillow is a must. On the other hand, average and lightweight sleepers cannot sink in as much, so they should go for medium-loft or even high-loft thickness to fill the gap better.
People with smaller head should use low-loft or medium-loft, while the ones with larger and heavier heads will find better support and less sinkage while sleeping on the high-loft pillows.
Sleepers with broad shoulders have a bigger gap between their neck and head and sleep surface, so for them, high-loft is the most comfortable option. For those sleepers with more narrow shoulders, low-loft or medium-loft should be enough thickness for proper support.
As we have mentioned before, adjustable pillows can provide different and custom loft thickness, so they are a somewhat universal solution that can suit all sleepers with neck pain, regardless of their body features.
In a particular section, we would like to highlight different types of pillow materials that are most common among pillows and try to seclude which ones are the best for neck pain. We are going to go through seven mostly used pillow materials.
So, to summarize our material review, memory foam and feathers turned out to be the best choices for people with neck pain. Buckwheat and latex pillow can also come in option, but their high price and lack of some features earned them a lower score. Materials such as polyester, down and down alternative, are at the bottom of our list after comparing different pillow materials for neck pain sufferers, so we highly recommend people with aches to avoid them.
At the very end, we would like to mention one popular and somewhat innovative pillow for sleepers with neck pain. That is the pillow with inner water chambers that can be drained or filled to personalize the loft thickness. They conform closely and are pretty popular among neck pain sufferers.