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8 Best Pillows for Neck Pain – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

Waking up with neck pain is the problem more common than you think. The sad part is that not many people realize that one of the reasons why they might be waking up with neck pain is because they’re sleeping on the wrong type of pillow. It is true that neck pain can be caused by a series of other problems but one can’t rule out the possibility that maybe a new pillow is needed. Today, we are going to explore some of the best pillows for neck pain, but not before we understand a bit about the potential causes.

best for side sleepers
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Neck Pillow Firm Support
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Neck Pillow Firm Support

This ergonomic pillow is formed to follow the natural curve of your body for conforming, therapeutic support.

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best for combination sleepers
EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow Orthopedic Sleeping Pillows
EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow Orthopedic Sleeping Pillows

Breathable memory form provides better air circulation to keep you cool and dry.

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most interesting design
Pancake Pillow - The Adjustable Layer Pillow
Pancake Pillow - The Adjustable Layer Pillow

300 Thread Count Outer Zippered Case

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best neck support
Double Core Select Foam Cervical Support Pillow
Double Core Select Foam Cervical Support Pillow

Fits a standard pillowcase. Washable cotton/polyester cover included.

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editor’s choice
Core Products Tri-Core Cervical Support Pillow for Neck Pain
Core Products Tri-Core Cervical Support Pillow for Neck Pain

The body may need several weeks to adjust to this pillow.

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best organic pillow
Sachi Organics Buckwheat Cylinder Neck Pillow
best water pillow
Mediflow Fiber: The First & Original Water Pillow
Mediflow Fiber: The First & Original Water Pillow

This pillow is made with a fully sealed and insulated water pouch with a resilient polyester fiber layer on top, encased in a 100% hypoallergenic cotton shell, providing exceptional comfort for the head

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firmest support
Therapeutica Pillow -  Firm Orthopedic Support
Therapeutica Pillow - Firm Orthopedic Support

This is a sized product. Sleeping on the wrong size pillow may increase neck pain

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Potential Neck Pain Causes

Let’s assume for a second that your neck pain isn’t the cause of sleeping on the wrong pillow. What are some of the actual medical explanations related to neck pain?

  • As you grow older, your neck joints will start to deteriorate, which naturally causes pain overtime. This medical condition is known as osteoarthritis, and it is a consequence of the cartilage between the vertebra wearing down. As a result, bones spurs start to form, which is what causes the pain.
  • Strained muscles can also be a cause for neck pain. They are often a consequence of spending too much time in the wrong position and it’s a very common problem among people who work by sitting at their desk the entire day. Teeth grinding can also cause strained muscles, but so can awkward sleeping positions.
  • Sometimes, neck pain is the consequence of a body injury. It can be a very common problem among people who have suffered an automobile accident and it is particularly noticeable when jerking the head back-and-forth.
  • Compressed nerves can also lead to neck pain. People who have compressed nerves will develop this type of pain because they have spinal problems that prevent the nerves from fully extending. This type of pain is most common in people who suffer from conditions such as herniated discs.
  • There’re also some diseases that can naturally cause neck pain, such as spinal meningitis or cancer.

Neck Pain and Pillows

As we have mentioned in the beginning of the article, one can’t simply rule out the possibility that neck pain might be a consequence of a wrong pillow choice. As a matter of fact, the type of pillow that you sleep on has a major impact on pain relief. What does that mean, specifically?

  • People who sleep on the back and people who are side sleepers have different requirements from a pillow. The latter category requires additional spinal support as sleeping on the side causes major spinal misalignment. For side sleepers, the best types of pillows and those that are elevated under the neck and have a proper indentation under the head. Back sleepers, on the other hand, are much better off with a dual pillow sleeping system. They would find more comfort by sleeping on a flat pillow under the head, with a rounded pillow to support the neck.
  • Another important issue to consider is the fact that stomach sleepers generally have a very hard time avoiding pain due to this sleeping position. Because you cannot lie face down on your mattress, stomach sleeping requires tilting your head to the side which naturally causes neck pain. Now imagine having your neck elevated when sleeping on your stomach. This further increases the chances of muscle strain, which is why stomach sleeping is the worst possible position. Don’t be fooled into buying pillows that promise comfort for stomach sleepers, because the best thing you can do is switch to another sleeping position.
  • Some of the best pillows for neck pain are made from memory foam. This material is highly adaptive to the natural curves of your body, as they compress under pressure to take the shape of your head, your neck, and your shoulders. Because of how memory foam works, it is highly contouring and provides amazing pressure point relief. The only other type of pillow that can do that is the feather pillow. These types of pillows will also conform to the shape of your head.
  • People that suffer from neck pain should avoid pillows that are too stiff or too high. The thickness of the pillow needs to be precise because otherwise, you can put a lot of strain on your neck.
  • If you are a person who spends a lot of hours on public means of transportation and often ends up sleeping in transit, this further increases your chances of ending up with neck pain. The best thing you can do this purchase a special travel pillow which can easily be recognized thanks to its horseshoe shape.

Top 8 Best Pillows for Neck Pain

1. Tempur-Pedic Pillow

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People who like to sleep on their side require proper elevation for the neck and a good indentation for the head area. The Tempur-Pedic can deliver both of those things thanks to a product with an intelligent design and curves that adapt to the needs of your body. The pillow is available in three sizes, all of which have different thickness levels. For instance, if you opt for the small pillow, the thickest point measures three inches, while the largest pillow has a thickness point of 4.75 inches.

The inside of the pillow is a large block of memory foam that compresses under pressure to provide you with good contouring and amazing pressure point relief.

The pillow is wrapped up in a breathable cover which is most likely made from polyester (the product page fails to specify which is the fabric of choice for the cover) and it is removable and machine washable. There is also a travel-size available, but we think is way better suited as a pillow for use between the legs.

Who Should Buy This?

The Tempur-Pedic pillow is made from adaptive memory foam and is contoured to provide amazing support for side sleepers.

best for side sleepers
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Neck Pillow Firm Support
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Neck Pillow Firm Support

This ergonomic pillow is formed to follow the natural curve of your body for conforming, therapeutic support.

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Pros:

  • Highly-adaptative foam.
  • Removable and washable cover.
  • Great for side sleepers.
  • Three thickness options available.
  • Travel size available.

Cons:

  • Slight off-gassing.

2.EPABO Pillow

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Let us continue with a pillow designed for people who often tend to switch sleeping positions during the night, meaning that they need a product that is designed to provide comfort and not put any strain on the neck regardless of whether they are back or side sleepers. This pillow is designed to offer therapeutic relief for sleepers with neck pain, but also for those who want to avoid it.

The cover of the pillow is made from bamboo fiber and features a perforated design for superior breathability. The memory foam inside it promises to be highly adaptable and to make sure that you get the support you need, but also the pressure point relief that we all crave when we’re sleeping.

When you unzip the cover, you gain access to a 0.8-inch layer of memory foam that can be removed for better loft adjustment. The pillow is made with the use of any questionable chemicals that we keep hearing so much about. It is available in three different sizes.

Who Should Buy This?

If you are a sleeper who likes to switch between side and back sleeping, the Epabo pillow is the best product to help provide comfort and support regardless of the position.

best for combination sleepers
EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow Orthopedic Sleeping Pillows
EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow Orthopedic Sleeping Pillows

Breathable memory form provides better air circulation to keep you cool and dry.

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Pros:

  • 3 available sizes.
  • Quality bamboo cover.
  • Breathable cover.
  • Adaptative memory foam.
  • Removable foam layer.

Cons:

  • Wrongly advertised as being a cervical pillow.

3. Pancake Pillow

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 We are eager to explain how this pillow works, although the name of the brand is pretty suggestive. Imagine having five a stack of really thin pillows and removing layer by layer until the pillow reaches the desired height. That is basically what the Pancake pillow can do for you: provide you with better control over the loft.

The cover is of high quality, it’s made entirely out of cotton and features a thread count of 300, which ensure good durability in the long run. What even more interesting about this cover is the fact that the zipper runs along three sides, making it way easier for you to remove the cover and gain access to the multiple pillow layers inside.

When at maximum loft, you have six layers that are stacked on top of each other, and each of the layers can be removed to your own liking. The cover can be removed and washed, but you can also wash the layers inside, provided that you follow the cleaning instructions as not to damage the pillows.

Who Should Buy This?

The Pancake pillow offers a high level of height adjustability because it is made with six thin pillows stacked one on top of the other. The end result is a pillow for those looking for high adjustability, but also for a product that is fully machine washable.

most interesting design
Pancake Pillow - The Adjustable Layer Pillow
Pancake Pillow - The Adjustable Layer Pillow

300 Thread Count Outer Zippered Case

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Pros:

  • Interesting design.
  • Cotton cover.
  • 300 thread count.
  • Fully machine washable.
  • High loft adjustability.

Cons:

  • Too soft.

4. Core Products Pillow

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We move on to another very good pillow for neck pain, but this time it’s a product with a bit of a twist. The design of this pillow is interesting, to say the least. It comes with interchangeable cores that allow you to adapt the level of support for your neck region.

Each of the four rolls of foam is color-coded so you know which is which: the white roll is for gentle support, the black one is for firm support, the blue one offers medium support, while the golden one is from extra-firm support. What the manufacturer recommends is that you increase the firmness of the rolls as your neck adapts to the pillow. You can start off by using the white roll, and then switch for a firmer one every time you feel like your neck should have more support.

The pillow is made from soft memory foam and provides great pressure point relief. It comes with a cover that’s made entirely out of polyester fabric and it can be washed in the washing machine.

Who Should Buy This?

The Core Products pillow is designed for people who need adaptive neck support, as it provides four rolls with different firmness levels which can be inserted in the neck support region.

best neck support
Double Core Select Foam Cervical Support Pillow
Double Core Select Foam Cervical Support Pillow

Fits a standard pillowcase. Washable cotton/polyester cover included.

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Pros:

  • Progressive support.
  • Different firmness levels.
  • Washable cover.
  • Color-coded foam rolls.

Cons:

  • Not durable.

5. Core Products Tri-Core Pillow

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We’ve added this Core Products Tri-Core Pillow to our series of reviews because of its interesting concept and the fact that there are so many people who have praised it and what it can do for their neck pain. What we’re looking at is an orthopedic firm pillow with a special indentation right in the middle to help the head feel comfortable, while the neck is being supported to the fullest.

It is important to keep in mind that pillows like this one over here will take some time to adjust to, so don’t get frustrated if you feel like you’re not getting the right amount of comfort in the first few nights or if your neck pain isn’t gone the very next morning.

Available in three different size options, the pillow also has a petite version, designed for children between the ages of six and 10. The cover is made from a cotton blend that provides superior breathability and softness when the pillow is used without a cover.

Who Should Buy This?

The Core Products Tri-Core Pillow is a product suitable for people looking for a firm product with an innovative design that provides a special gap for the head to rest, but also proper elevation to support the neck in multiple sleeping positions.

editor’s choice
Core Products Tri-Core Cervical Support Pillow for Neck Pain
Core Products Tri-Core Cervical Support Pillow for Neck Pain

The body may need several weeks to adjust to this pillow.

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Pros:

  • Innovative design.
  • Breathable cotton cover.
  • Three size options.
  • Children’s size included.

Cons:

  • Short lifespan.

6. Sachi Organics Buckwheat Cylinder Neck Pillow

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We move on to something a little bit different from the other products on your list. This is a cylinder pillow with a rather unusual fill material and designed to be completely organic. The Sachi Organics pillow is made with a cotton canvas that blends organic fibers much to the delight of eco-conscious shoppers but also pleasing those who are worried about pillows being imbued with questionable chemicals.

Before you get too excited about what we’ve said so far, it’s very important that you understand all the specifications and features of this pillow. This is a product suitable for people who are looking for very firm neck support. The inside of the pillow is filled with organically-grown buckwheat hulls, which are in no way contouring or soft.

While the cylindrical shape is meant for neck support, there is a slight chance that the pillow might be a bit too high for some of you. The loft can be adjusted, which means that you can add more

Who Should Buy This?

The Sachi Organics is a product for eco-conscious shoppers, but also for those looking for very firm neck support in the form of a cylindrical pillow.

best organic pillow
Sachi Organics Buckwheat Cylinder Neck Pillow

Pros:

  • Organic cotton cover.
  • Organic buckwheat hulls fill.
  • Good price.
  • Adjustable loft.

Cons:

  • Very firm.

7. Mediflow Fiber Pillow

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You must have heard about water mattresses by now, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to your that water pillows exist as well. But what exactly can you expect to get from such a pillow and how does it work?

The pillow is designed to adapt to the shape of your head as the water inside will spread around depending on the level of compression applied. You can opt for a pillow that has either fiber, down or memory foam. At the base of the pillow, there is a layer of water that supports the height of your head, shoulders, and neck.

The water pouch is fully insulated, so you can rest assured that there will be no spills in your bed. The pouch is made from a layer of polyester fiber on the top side. The case of the pillow is made from hypoallergenic cotton.

Who Should Buy This?

The Mediflow water pillow is designed for people who aren’t yet sure what type of head and neck support they need and could benefit from a pillow that manages to adapt using this amazing water-based construction.

best water pillow
Mediflow Fiber: The First & Original Water Pillow
Mediflow Fiber: The First & Original Water Pillow

This pillow is made with a fully sealed and insulated water pouch with a resilient polyester fiber layer on top, encased in a 100% hypoallergenic cotton shell, providing exceptional comfort for the head

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Pros:

  • Multiple pack options.
  • Good for combination sleepers.
  • Adaptive support construction.
  • Cotton outer shell.
  • Fully insulated water pouch.

Cons:

  • Prone to mildew in the long term.

8. Therapeutica Pillow – Firm Orthopedic Support

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We decided to end our series of reviews with one of the best pillows for neck pain designed for people who are looking for firm support. Available in five different sizes, the Therapeutica pillow is an excellent product with orthopedic features and indentations in very well-through of locations.

One particular thing that we really appreciated about this product is that before you actually buy it, you are given a series of specific instructions that will show you how to determine which of the available sizes is best suitable for you. This is just honest marketing practice and it can avoid people being infuriated with having chosen a pillow in the wrong size.

The pillow is designed with raised side panels to accommodate the shoulders while you are sleeping. The center cavity provides excellent support for your head if you are a back sleeper. The cervical contour will make sure that your neck is fully supported. The wedge extension is just a bonus that supports your thoracic spine.

Who Should Buy This?

The Therapeutica pillow is a product designed for people who need firm support, but also for those who are willing to try out a pillow with a different type of design that offers targeted support for heads, necks, and shoulders.

firmest support
Therapeutica Pillow -  Firm Orthopedic Support
Therapeutica Pillow - Firm Orthopedic Support

This is a sized product. Sleeping on the wrong size pillow may increase neck pain

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Pros:

  • Raised side panels.
  • Wedge extension.
  • Multiple size options.
  • Clear buying guide.

Cons:

  • Takes a while to get used to.

Bottom Line

Finding the right pillow for neck pain can be complicated because when the pain kicks in, we all want an immediate solution. The truth is that most of the products we’ve shown you today might need an adjustment period, so you can’t expect miracles when it comes to bedding products that just take away the pain.

Make sure you shop intelligently, don’t spend money on products that promise miracle pain relief from the very first night, and understand what each material and fabric can do for the comfort of your sleep.