The Best Pillows for Neck Pain, According to Customer Reviews
When you're crouched over your laptop during the workday or scrolling through social media on your phone at night, good posture is probably not the first thing on your mind. But over time, poor posture can lead to chronic neck pain and sleepless nights. This is also true if you're using an unsupportive pillow, but switching to one that promotes proper alignment can help alleviate symptoms. That's why we browsed thousands of online reviews and found 14 pillows that customers recommend for neck pain.
The 14 Best Pillows for Neck Pain in 2021
- Most Comfortable: Tempur-Ergo Neck Pillow
- Best for Back Sleepers: Core Products Cervical Support Pillow
- Best for Side Sleepers: Sleep Artisan Luxury Side Sleeper Pillow
- Best for Stomach Sleepers: Belly Sleep Gel-Infused Memory Foam Pillow
- Best Wedge Pillow: Coop Home Goods Bolster Pillow
- Best Contoured: Nature's Guest Orthopedic Cervical Pillow
- Most Supportive: Cradle Me Cervical Pillow
- Best for Travel: K Ka Ua Cervical Bolster Pillow
- Best Cooling: Layla Kapok Pillow
- Best for Headache Relief: Nature's Guest Adjustable Cervical Orthopedic Pillow
- Best Shredded Memory Foam Pillow: Coop Home Goods Eden Shredded Memory Foam Pillow
- Best Adjustable Pillow: Pancake Pillow The Adjustable Layer Pillow
- Best Water Pillow: Mediflow Fiber The Water Pillow
- Best Organic: Avocado Organic Molded Latex Pillow
Common Causes of Neck Pain
Research shows that about 30 percent of the population experiences neck pain at some point during their lives, typically during middle age. It's a very common cause of discomfort that can affect people of all ages, says W. Christopher Winter, MD, president of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine.
Neck pain isn't usually a cause for concern, but rather an annoyance. In younger people, neck pain is more commonly caused by injuries from exercise, Dr. Winter says. As we get older, degeneration starts to set in, and arthritis, pinched nerves, and herniated discs can all contribute to neck pain. And certain environmental factors—like the way you sit at a desk, exercise, and sleep—can make matters worse.
In particular, if you've been using the same old pillow every night for years, it may not be doing you any favors. "Many people are using pillows that have not been selected for their own body size and neck configuration," Dr. Winter says. "It's just the pillow that was around."
The good news is that you can relieve some of that neck pain—or prevent it from happening in the first place if your sleeping position is the cause—by investing in a supportive pillow that'll improve your nighttime posture. A 2019 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that improper neck support can cause stiffness in the neck, but patients with chronic neck pain were able to reduce it by switching to a pillow that helped them maintain the correct cervical curve.
What to Look for in a Supportive Pillow
According to Dr. Winter, latex and memory foam pillows are best for achieving the proper sleeping alignment, and experts say that those who slept with latex or memory foam (rather than feather) pillows woke up less and had better sleep quality.
Dr. Winter recommends choosing a pillow that's designed for your sleeping position of choice, as well as one that is specific to the size of your body and your sleep position. And aside from the medical considerations, the choice of a proper pillow is about comfort, which can be highly personal.
Keep reading to learn why shoppers say these soft-yet-supportive options are the best pillows for neck pain.