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Choosing the best pillow for neck pain may not be as easy as it sounds. Some neck pain can be the result of natural causes, such as age or a lifetime of athletic activity. Luckily, you can find often find relief as easily as changing your sleeping position or the type of pillow you use. Along with seeking appropriate medical care, changing your pillow proves to be one of the quickest and simplest ways to reduce neck pain.

Some people prefer a pillow that is stiff and thick; some want their pillow thin and wispy. Obviously, both options cannot have the same impact on your bones and muscles, and both will not relieve your pain. The best pillow for neck pain will allow you to relax completely with your neck and spine in proper alignment. It should support your head at a neutral angle while removing pressure from your shoulders and upper back.

Comparison Table

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Sleep Position Factors That Effect Neck Pain


Is there a best and worse sleeping position to combat neck pain? Most specialists seem to agree that the two positions that put the least amount of strain on the neck are on the side and the back. Sleeping on your back requires a pillow that will be thick enough to fill the space between your neck and the mattress. At the same time, it needs to be thin enough not to force your head away from the mattress and into an uncomfortable position.

Sleeping on your side makes it essential to have a pillow that gives only slightly more support to your neck than your head. This will keep your neck from being pushed to the side and cause compression in your spine on the side opposite the mattress. Sleeping on your stomach is not recommended as it not only arches the spine backward, but it also requires you to turn your head, adding further stress to the neck.

Often, when we are sitting for an extended period, we may fall asleep sitting up. Sometimes it may even be something you can plan for. Taking an extended trip in a plane or a long car ride may require that you have support for your neck whether you fall asleep or not. Even if you're watching TV on your sofa, it may be necessary to support your neck if you are dealing with neck pain issues. Many experienced travelers carry a horseshoe-shaped neck support pillow that can keep their head from falling to the side should they fall asleep.

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Types of Pillows


You can easily find modern pillows filled with everything from foam designed for space travel to old favorites such as feathers and buckwheat husks. While some of these fillers may be very comfortable under normal circumstances, you may have to put them aside if you're experiencing minor neck pain.

The best pillow for neck pain should be pliable and still offer support. Your head and neck lie at different distances from the mattress. Therefore, your pillow must be thick enough below your neck to provide support to keep your spine straight. It must also be thin enough below your head as to not to put force against it, causing it to bend the spine upward.

How We Compiled This List


To determine the best pillow for neck pain, we had to forego the usual sales statistics from such retailers as Amazon, Walmart, Target, and individual manufacturer web pages. For this topic, the advice of medical professionals weighed much more heavily. We consulted various medical publications, the recommendations of osteopaths, and the Harvard Medical School’s recommendations and used that information to identify pillows that conform to those recommendations. Naturally, we also considered the reports and comments on the first-hand experiences of actual users of these pillows.

The Best Pillow for Neck Pain by Manufacturer


We present here the best from many of the top manufacturers of orthopedic and cervical comfort pillows. In some cases, the entire inventory of some companies would deserve mention here, however. Listed in no particular order of advocacy, are ten of the highest rated and best-recommended pillows to help relieve neck pain.

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Best pillow for neck pain by The Sleep Factory

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Explicitly designed for head and neck support, The Sleep Factory premium down and feather pillow shines among the best. This high-quality pillow is also hypoallergenic, 550 fill power down filled, and extra thick for total support and a good night’s sleep. The tightly woven fabric, with the help of the TSF protection liner, will prevent the feathers and down from poking through the pillow and into your dreams.

Note that because these pillows are down-filled, this pillow will be warmer than a pillow allowing airflow. This could be considered a fault by some. However, as it reflects more radiant body heat to the source of the neck pain, the increased warmth on your sore neck muscles may also be considered beneficial.

Best pillow for neck pain by Snuggle-Pedic

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The Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Bamboo shredded memory foam pillow offers the comfort of a feather pillow, but without the compression that can make a feather pillow tend to go flat. Built of memory foam, it will conform to the shape of your neck and head to offer even and consistent support. The Kool-Flow soft micro-vented case is made in the US and is completely machine washable. Constructed of bamboo, polyester, and Lycra, the cover allows air to circulate and keeps you cool while offering excellent support.

Best pillow for neck pain by UTTU

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Designed for those who sleep on their sides, the UTTU adjustable dynamic memory foam pillow provides neck and back support. This contour pillow provides pressure relief and will not go flat. Constructed of memory foam, this pillow comes with a high contour of 4.7 inches and a low contour of 3.9 inches. You can also adjust it to 3.5 inches and 2.8 inches by removing the middle layer of memory foam. 

Best pillow for neck pain by Sweetnight

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If the idea of an adjustable pillow appeals to you, the Sweetnight pillow may be what you are looking for. Constructed of hypoallergenic CertiPUR gel memory foam, this high-quality pillow will offer maximum neck support and help improve your body’s posture. The Sweetnight pillow isn't just adjustable but fine-tuned by removing or adding foam stuffing to bring it in line with your personal preferences. Made with a combination of 90 percent shredded gel memory foam combined with 10 percent comfort foam, the Sweetnight also comes with a gel pillow cover to keep you cool.

Best pillow for neck pain by Malouf

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Sometimes, waking up in a sweat contributes to the cycle of lack of sleep and pain. Under these circumstances, the Malouf Z Shoulder Zoned dough memory foam pillow may be the answer. The unique design of the Malouf Z offers side sleepers varying support of the neck, shoulders, and head. The Malouf Z, infused with bamboo charcoal, the Zoned Dough® memory foam, and breathable Tencel® cover, will keep you comfortable and cool all night. 

Best pillow for neck pain by Nature’s Best

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One of the few on this list not made with memory foam or feathers, the Nature’s Best cervical support pillow is constructed of microfiber and has a contoured design. Recommended by chiropractors and orthopedic doctors, this pillow provides support for side sleepers, back sleepers, and those who change positions several times a night. Fully adjustable, you can add or remove stuffing to accommodate your personal comfort preferences with the Nature's Best

Best pillow for neck pain by Coop Home Goods

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The Coop Home Goods company makes just one pillow, and it is a good one. Made of shredded memory foam to provide comfortable support, the Coop Home pillow comes in standard, queen, and king size. Made in the US, it boasts of a 40 percent bamboo cover and CertiPUR-US Certified Foam. Machine washable, the Coop Home Goods pillow comes with a five-year warranty. 

Best pillow for neck pain by Xtreme Comforts

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The Xtreme Comforts slim hypoallergenic memory foam pillow, engineered and produced for relieving neck and back pain, can help keep your head and neck in a comfortable position while you sleep. The shredded pieces of memory foam will not go flat and can move within the pillow to perfectly cradle your head and neck. Machine washable and made of 43 percent bamboo to keep you cool, it comes with a money-back guarantee.

Best buckwheat pillow for neck pain

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The GODXMDD buckwheat cervical pillow, by design, seems like the perfect solution for support and a good night’s sleep. The filling is firm but can mold and conform into any configuration you desire for increased comfort and support. It will remain firm and cool all night. The buckwheat hull filling is entirely antibacterial, hypoallergenic, eliminates pressure points, and provides ventilation to stay cool.

Customers give it very high marks, and I can tell you from personal experience that the support helps prevent neck and back pain, even following cervical surgery. Taking all the pressure off your head and neck allows the muscles to relax and renew entirely during slumber. You can also add or remove as much or as little of the buckwheat hull fill as you like to fine-tune the pillow perfectly to your preferences. 

Best travel pillow for neck pain

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There are many versions of the traditional “horseshoe” travel pillows available everywhere from pharmacies to truck stops to convenience stores. Most are just foam cut in that familiar shape and covered with some soft material. The BCOZZY chin-supporting travel pillow checks in a cut above the best of those, and as different from the worst as night and day.

The BCOZZY is the only pillow that prevents your head from falling forward as you sleep. Also, by rotating the pillow on the neck, you can adjust the firmness on different parts of your head or neck. Because the thickness varies in different parts of the pillow, you can manipulate it to set up more support just where you need it to sleep while traveling. If you are forced to lean to your right or left based on the person sitting next to you or on your seat location, the BCOZZY allows you to accommodate that.

Durable and machine washable, you can attach it easily to your luggage either with a snap strap or placed to wrap around a handle. It measures approximately 12 inches by 10 inches and nearly 4 inches thick for adults, and just over 9 inches by 8 inches by just under 3 inches for children. Customer survey comments indicate that COZZY customer support is very helpful should you have any questions about the product.

Avoid a Pain in the Neck


Sleeping Woman in pink top facing front

All the best of the best pillows we examined for neck pain relief comprise this list. That doesn't mean that there may not be one out there that you would personally find better fits your preferences and desires. 

The important message to take away from this list is to do your research. Base your purchase on the type of discomfort you are experiencing as well as your personal pillow preferences. If you are already sleeping on a foam pillow, the change to feathers or wheat husks may be just what you need to alleviate the problem. In any case, don’t make a bad situation worse. It is always a good idea to coordinate with your health professional, osteopath, or orthopedist to determine which is the best choice for you and your situation any time you are making changes based on a health issue.

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