The 9 Best Rated Pillows for Neck Pain – 2021 Reviews

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Neck pain can range from an occasional issue to a daily ailment. The pain might evolve from a mere annoyance to a problem that affects your sleep quality and ultimately daily life. The upside is that your frustrations with neck pain should improve with the addition of thoughtfully designed products. One method is to purchase a supportive neck pillow.

These products are intended to help curb neck pain, and in the process, should improve your quality of sleep and your life.

Just as you need the right type of pillow, it’s also necessary to choose the appropriate brand that is aimed to cater to your needs most closely. In this guide, we have compiled a list of 9 best pillows for neck pain on today’s market, including what materials they are made of and the unique features that help them stand above the competition.

Top 9 Neck Support Pillows

coop home goods small product image Shredded Memory Foam by Coop Home Goods
  • Filling: Memory foam
  • Thickness: 3"
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xtreme comforts small product image Shredded Memory Foam from Xtreme Comforts
  • Filling: Memory foam
  • Thickness: 6.5"
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mediflow waterbase small product image Mediflow Waterbase
  • Filling: Water, Polyester
  • Thickness: 4.5"
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arc 4 life cervical linear small product image Arc4Life Cervical Linear Traction Neck
  • Filling: Polyester Fiber
  • Thickness: 3"
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my pillow premium series small product image MyPillow Premium Series
  • Filling: Open Cell Poly
  • Thickness: 5.1"
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core products tri core cervical small product image Tri-Core Cervical by Core Products
  • Filling: NIP
  • Thickness: 3"
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sleep innovations contour small product image Contour Memory Foam from Sleep Innovations
  • Filling: Memory foam
  • Thickness: 4.8"
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Conforma small product image Classic Brands Conforma Memory Foam
  • Filling: Memory foam
  • Thickness: 4.5"
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chiroflow premium water small product image Chiroflow Premium Water
  • Filling: Water, Hollofil Fiber
  • Thickness: 5"
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Top 9 Neck Pain Pillows

Coop Home Goods

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • GREENGAURD GOLD Certified
  • Certi-PUR US® Certified
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Made in the USA

The neck pillow from Coop Home Goods uses shredded memory foam to create a comfortable platform for your head, and it’s designed to adjust to you – not the other way around. For those who want a higher lift, this pillow comes with an additional ½-pound bag of fill to help achieve your desired height.

The pillow is available in Standard, Queen, and King sizes and includes a 60% polyester cover.

For a sleeper with allergies, the pillow is hypoallergenic with a case that’s designed to stave off dust mites. Add to that, not one but two, safety certifications that ensure this item is made without hazardous chemicals and low VOC emissions.

Why we love it

  • This product is an excellent choice for animal lovers since it is both vegan and cruelty-free.
  • The pillow is also made in the USA, making it a highly ethical product for consumers in today’s market.

Xtreme Comforts

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Certi-PUR US® Certified
  • Machine washable
  • Adjustable fill
  • 43% bamboo cover
  • Made in the USA

This memory foam pillow from Xtreme Comforts has just about everything you could want in a pillow designed to combat neck pain. It is filled with shredded memory foam, which is one of the best materials for positioning your head and neck into the ideal spot for sleeping. This is because the shredded foam pieces can easily shift and contour to your body.

The pillow’s adjustability makes it a great option for the stomach, back, and side sleepers and the product is machine washable for your convenience.

What stands out

  • The pillow’s machine washable cover is made of 43% bamboo and is designed to keep you cool, making it an ideal choice for hot sleepers or those who live in warmer climates.
  • This company believes that a quality product shouldn’t break the bank, so this pillow’s high quality and reasonable price point make it a very worthwhile product.

Mediflow Waterbase

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Adjustable water filling
  • 100% cotton cover
  • Made in the USA
  • Hypoallergenic fiber filling

This next option on our list is one of the leaders in the neck pain pillow market. As indicated by its name, this pillow uses water to provide head and support as you sleep. According to Mediflow, their product was clinically proven in an independent Johns Hopkins study to reduce neck pain and improve overall sleep.

In addition to the water filling, the pillow includes a hypoallergenic fiber filling and a 100% cotton cover to complete the experience. Because this product is made in the USA, you can get some extra comfort in helping the local economy as well.

Why we chose it

  • The pillow’s unique water design is also very practical for neck support. The water adjusts to your head and neck, which means it should work well for all sleeping positions. Not only that, you can adjust the water levels to your liking and what feels most comfortable.

MyPillow Premium Series

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Adjustable interlocking fill
  • Multiple heights
  • Machine washable
  • Made in the USA

The MyPillow company is looking to make neck pain after a night’s sleep a thing of the past with their unique pillow design that they claim improves overall sleep and even reduces snoring.

The MyPillow features an adjustable interlocking fill made with feather-down blends that is designed to adjust to your unique shape and needs, providing easy comfort. The company also says its patented interlocking fill prevents the pillow from going flat.

For added convenience, this pillow is both machine washable and dryable, taking the stress out of cleaning and maintaining the product.

Why did it make our list?

  • This pillow is available in four unique loft (height) levels. These varying pillow height levels allow you to choose the best size that works for your body.
  • This product is 100% made in the USA in the company’s home state of Minnesota.

Tri-Core Cervical by Core Products

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Unique concave design
  • 50% polyester, 50% cotton
  • Good for back sleepers
  • Multiple sizes
  • Made in the USA

The Tri-Core pillow’s unique shape is a significant factor in determining its place on our list of the top neck pain pillows. The product features a concave center that is meant to cradle your head while the pillow’s outer rolls support your neck. This position also helps to restore the proper curvature of the spine.

The pillow’s shape is ideal for back sleepers. For stomach or side sleepers, another product on this list would be better suited for your needs.

The pillow’s cover is a mix of polyester and cotton and the product comes in three different sizes and several colors.

Why did we pick it?

  • This orthopedic pillow is purposely made very firm in order to provide optimal therapeutic support for sleepers with neck pain.
  • While this product works best for back sleepers, the softer ends of the pillow can be used for side sleeping when need be.

Contour Memory Foam from Sleep Innovations

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Multiple sizes available including travel
  • 100% cotton
  • Machine washable cover
  • Two support levels
  • Memory Foam made in the USA

This next product is one of the least expensive on our list, but despite the modest price, the Contour Memory Foam from Sleep Innovations has plenty of positive attributes.

Made with 100% cotton in the USA, this pillow uses a solid piece of foam to contour to your head. The design should work to keep your head in an optimal sleeping position and your spine in proper alignment as you rest.

Why do we love it?

  • Not only does this item come in different sizes for your bed, it’s also available in a convenient travel size to allow for better neck and head support while on the road.
  • The product offers sleepers two different support levels. You can choose between the higher or lower contour level based on your individual comfort needs.
  • This pillow is an ideal choice for side and back sleepers.

Arc4Life Cervical Linear Traction

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Multiple size options including travel
  • Polyester fiber fill
  • Best for side and back sleepers
  • Two support levels

The Arc4Life Cervical Linear Traction Neck Pillow is made so that its unique design should keep your head in a comfortable sleeping position.

There is a ‘V’ at the bottom of the pillow which cradles your neck and thick edges on the sides that are designed to work nicely for those who sleep on their side. Whether you’re a back or stomach sleeper, this pillow should alleviate neck pain by keeping your spine aligned properly and preventing your head from moving into awkward sleeping positions throughout the night.

What stands out

  • This product comes in three sizes: king, queen, and travel. The travel size makes it an ideal option for those who need to travel often for work.
  • With two support levels, you can choose either the neck roll side or the traction ‘V’ side, with the neck roll side being the softer of the two.

Classic Brands Conforma

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Multiple size options
  • Ventilated memory foam
  • Removable, washable cover
  • Good for back and side sleepers
  • Different loft options

A common concern when using memory foam is the possibility of getting too warm during the night, but the Classic Brands pillow has managed to skirt around this issue with the use of ventilated memory foam.

Small holes in the foam allow for airflow without compromising the ability of the product to support your head. Also, those with allergies will be pleased to discover this foam is hypoallergenic.

 Why we picked it

  • This product includes a removable, machine washable cover, which makes for easy maintenance.
  • The pillow’s design is an excellent choice for both side and back sleepers.
  • The product comes in different sizes and either 5-inch or 6-inch loft levels for height. These varying size and loft choices also provide you with more options for firmness. Consumers can choose their pillow to be plush, medium-plush, or firm based on their individual needs.

Chiroflow Premium Water

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Adjustable water filling
  • Thermal insulator
  • Polyester and polyester-blend
  • Hypoallergenic fiber filling

The Chiroflow is another water-filled pillow on our list of top products for neck support, and with a reasonable price tag, the cushion is accessible for consumers with a limited budget.

Because you can control how much water is put into it, you will be able to adjust the firmness and thickness to suit your needs and preferences. Add the desired amount of water to the pillow and you’re ready to go.

In addition to the water, this pillow also features a hypoallergenic fiber filling that is an excellent choice for any sleeper who have allergies.

What makes it special

  • This product’s convenient adjustability is one of the top reasons to consider using a water pillow, allowing you to create the best sleep position to help curb neck pain.
  • The pillow’s cover material is a mix of polyester and polyester blend for a soft feel against your head.

What Causes Neck Pain at Night?

Generally speaking, neck pain can be caused by an awkward sleeping position. Of course, what is considered ‘awkward’ will vary significantly from person to person, as all of our bodies are unique. When stomach or side sleeping, it's easy to slide into an odd position or turn your head at an angle that could cause your neck muscles to cramp.

However, you probably already know what kind of sleeping position is comfortable for you at night, and what type of pillow may lead to neck pain for you. You know your body better than anyone, so trust your instinct when trying to settle into a comfortable sleep position each night.

 

animated man trying to ease neck pain by massaging painful spot

When shopping for a good option for sleeping, you should be looking for a pillow material that is going to make it easy for you to find a comfortable sleeping position for your head and neck. If you like to have your head well up off of the mattress, that may mean choosing a firm option such as memory foam pillows. Or, if you prefer to lay mostly flat, you might like a softer choice.

Whatever the case, always keep your personal needs and preferences in mind as you shop. The reviews of other buyers are helpful, but their opinions should never get in the way of making a choice that is right for you, as your sleeping positions and preferences may vary.

Cervical Pillow Buyer's Guide

If you decide to search for a cervical pillow to alleviate your neck pain by merely heading to Amazon or another site and searching ‘pillow for neck pain’, you are going to receive an overwhelming number of results. It is incredible to see just how many different neck and shoulder support pillows are on the market today.

Going into this shopping process without a general idea of what you are looking for might not be the best approach. Our buyer's guide aims to answer any questions you may have about the best neck pain pillows and where to find them, taking into consideration your sleeping positions and preferences.

Material Options

The first thing to understand is the different pillow materials that are used for pillow fill for neck and shoulder pain. By far, the most popular option is a memory foam pillow. As you know, memory foam is already a commonly used material in mattresses, and it is now one of the leaders in the pillow world as well.

There are therapeutic neck traction pillows made from substantial chunks of memory foam, and also some made from shredded memory foam. Even if you don’t wind up purchasing a memory foam one, it would be wise to at least consider this category as you shop.

illustration of a lady sleeping with her neck properly supported

Surprisingly, water pillows are another option for those suffering from chronic neck pain and headaches. You may not think about water as being a viable option for pillow fill material, but it works quite well when used correctly.

Water cannot be compressed, so it is almost always going to offer a firm feel when you lay your head down at night (depending on the specific design of the pillow you select). Depending on your sleeping positions, using a water-based pillow may seem a little odd, especially while side sleeping, but don’t write this option off until you take a closer look at how it works.

Other popular options include latex pillows, which are breathable, durable, and often long-lasting. A latex core may not always provide the firm support that you are looking for like memory foam pillows, however.

View Our Full Guide: Best Latex Pillows

Shape is Important

In addition to the material that a pillow uses as fill, another variable you will want to watch is the shape of the pillow itself. Curved pillows are commonly seen in this market as they can contour with the shape of your body.

Different shapes and models of pillows that ease neck pain

Due to the shape of your head and neck area, it can be difficult to lie comfortably on a flat surface without developing neck pain (or shoulder pain), so a thin pillow may not be in your best interest, especially if you plan on stomach sleeping. Using a contour shaped pillow, such as a cervical support pillow, can potentially solve this problem. These types of pillows may not work as well for stomach sleepers and can often only be used while back or side sleeping. Additionally, if you're a warm sleeper, they are often not flippable.

Cervical pillows do a nice job of filling the space between your neck and the mattress, providing the support you need throughout the night, reducing neck pain, and are considered to be among the best pillows for neck problems.

Don’t Underestimate Sleep

In the modern world, it has somehow become ‘cool’ to go without much sleep. Many adults see sleep as laziness, and they try to prove how hard-working they are by talking about how little they sleep. This is nonsense. Rest is an essential human function, and it is vital to your overall health. If you would like to be at your best on a daily basis, you need to get your sleep – it is just that simple.

Illustration of a Man Who Suffers from Exploding Head Syndrome

Finding a great ergonomic pillow that can help reduce your chronic neck pain is an efficient way to improve your sleep each night. Not only will you enjoy waking up without a stiff neck, but you will also be likely to sleep better during the night because you won’t be awoken by pain or a throbbing migraine headache.

People who sleep well tend to report lower levels of stress, greater happiness, and an improved sleep quality. It might be hard to believe that something like a head and neck support pillow could have such a profound effect on your life, but it’s true. Pick out an excellent pillow for neck pain, and you may see your life improved in ways you would have never imagined.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is an Orthopedic Pillow?

A lot of different pillows are stamped “orthopedic” but there is no one set definition of what that means. However, you can be safe assuming that some sort of thought process went into designing a construction that can help you maintain proper alignment while sleeping.

Some of these choices incorporated clinical data and input from spine specialists to create a pillow that can support your head, neck and shoulders so that your sleeping posture remains straight, helping to keep your spine aligned and alleviate chronic neck pain.

It's likely a safe bet that the best pillows for neck pain will fall into this category.

Which shape is best for my sleeping position?

The right pillow shape for you will largely depend on personal preference, but you might consider paying attention to your doctor’s medical advice based on your sleeping position. Alleviating neck pain often has much to do with maintaining proper spine alignment, which may be more difficult for stomach sleepers.

Many pillows are made to accommodate a variety of sleep positions, so whether you prefer sleeping on your back or are among the side sleepers, the needed support for your neck is similar. For stomach sleepers, there are still options that may help, though training yourself to sleep on your side may be more helpful for neck pain in the long run.

Learn More: How To Properly Sleep On Your Side

Keep in mind that while some options will include more mobility than others to combat neck stiffness, others will keep you more rigid. Your choice is up to preference and preferably advice from a medical professional.

Conclusion

With the assistance of the list above, you should be well on your way to finding the best pillow for neck pain for your needs. When you do order a new orthopedic pillow, give yourself a bit of time to adjust to it before you expect significant results. At times you may experience more neck pain to start as your body adjusts.

Consulting with a doctor is a great way to make sure your discomfort isn't a sign of a bigger issue. It can be hard to make the transition to a new neck traction pillow, even if that pillow is a quality product which fits your needs nicely. Give the new pillow some time to become comfortable, and you will very likely be pleased in the long run.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by our 2021 neck pain pillow buying guide. We hope you found the information you needed to make a significant buying decision. Happy shopping, and sleep well!

Content Writer | + posts

Jill Zwarensteyn is a content writer for Sleep Advisor and is enthusiastic about providing helpful and engaging information on all things sleep and wellness.

Based in Los Angeles, she is an experienced writer and journalist who enjoys spending her free time at the beach, hiking, reading, or exploring new places around town.

She’s also an avid traveler who has a personal goal of being able to successfully sleep on an airplane someday.

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