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One question we hear time and time again is, ‘what’s the best pillow for neck pain?’
And it’s no wonder.
Around two thirds of adults will experience neck pain — either acute and/or chronic — at some point in their lives.
The neck plays the essential role of supporting and moving our heads, which, when you think that a head generally weighs on average a hefty 11 pounds, is no mean feat.
Not only that, but the delicate and complicated system of bones, nerves, arteries and muscles in the neck need to be well looked after, as neck problems can cause serious and painful issues elsewhere in the body.
Irritation of the nerves and spinal cord in the neck can cause balance problems, or problems with coordination, headaches, weakness or loss of bladder and bowel functions, plus burning pain, tingling and numbness in the arms, hands, or legs.
Because so many of us suffer from neck pain, and because the neck is such a hugely important part of our spine, it’s crucial give our necks the best support possible when sleeping. A bad pillow can exacerbate existing neck pain, and can even cause damage to our necks.
It’s vital to invest in a quality pillow to avoid neck pain and to soothe your neck as you sleep.
Let’s get straight into it — here’s our complete guide to the best pillows for neck pain.
- 1 What Causes Neck Pain?
- 2 What Type of Pillows are Best for Neck Pain?
- 3 The Best Pillows for Neck Pain
What Causes Neck Pain?
Neck pain is a common complaint among adults, but in fact it can happen at any age.
Pain can either occur suddenly, or can build up over time.
Typical causes range from bad posture — particularly if you’re hunched over at a desk all day — awkward sleeping positions that don’t give sufficient support to the neck, and even anxiety and stress which causes tension in the muscles.
Neck pain can also be caused by accident and injury, such as whiplash or an exercise related trauma.
It may manifest as a sharp, stabbing pain, a general soreness, or an inability to turn the head, as well as causing symptoms elsewhere in the body below the neck area.
Here’s a good primer on the causes and symptoms of neck pain:
What Type of Pillows are Best for Neck Pain?
The best way to combat neck pain — or at the very least, manage it — is by choosing the best pillow for neck pain.
Pillows for neck pain keep the neck in alignment with the head and spine while retaining its natural curve.
The best products will also be made from a material such as memory foam which is dense enough and at the right height in order to offer solid support throughout the night while remaining comfortable — no matter what your sleeping position.
The Best Pillows for Neck Pain
Designed and tested by chiropractors, the Double Contour by Perform Pillow features specially designed, high grade, high density memory foam, which offers firm neck support, keeps the neck correctly aligned, and which can be adjusted to suit your weight.
The contoured orthopedic design is effective in a variety of sleeping positions, so it’s one of the best pillows for neck pain if you’re a side sleeper.
The soft cover is made from 44% bamboo, and is removable and washable.
It has natural deodorization properties, and is also hypoallergenic and bacteria-resistant. This Double Contour neck pain pillow is also available in a low profile thickness for children and people with smaller necks, as well as a thicker style for adults with a broader or heavier frame.
- Durable: the foam lasts for many years
- Good for people suffering from neck pain due to injury
- Recommended by chiropractors
- Orthopaedic design made especially for neck pain sufferers
- Lightweight and portable design
- No strange odors from the foam
- Well made, high quality item
- Comfortable, soft and cuddy
- Pillow cover is removable and machine washable
- Both pillow and cover are hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant
- Quite pricey
- The thin profile version is quite flat — choose your thickness carefully!
Sleep Innovations are a reputable sleep furniture brand with experience going back over 20 years. You know their products are to be trusted for being some of the best — and best value — on the market.
Available in both higher (thicker) and lower (thinner) designs, the contoured foam is sculpted to provide excellent support for neck, head and shoulders, with slightly higher support for the neck than for the head.
The medium-firm ‘Sure Temp’ Memory Foam is specially created to absorb heat away from your skin and keep the surface of your pillow cool and comfortable while you sleep.
This foam is also moisture repellent, and allergen and dust mite resistant. A soft cotton cover that is machine washable and dryable also comes with the pillow.
- Promotes proper spinal alignment
- Scientifically developed
- Foam retains its shape well throughout the night
- Cooling to the touch
- Good quality for the price
- Made in the USA
- Cover is 100% cotton
- Foam can sometimes have an initial strange odour — the company say that this is not harmful and dissipates within 72 hours
- On the softer side compared to other foam pillows, which may not suit everyone
The medically tested Tri-Core Cervical Pillow was originally created to relieve the neck pain of patients recovering from injuries, and patients suffering from joint and muscle pain due to bad sleeping positions. T
he curious but clever design features a trapezoidal indent in the centre which gently cradles the head and keeps the neck properly aligned.
Two of the foam filled sides are higher to suit side sleepers, whilst the other two are at a height ideal for people who prefer to sleep on their backs.
The Tri-Core Cervical Pillow is filled with a hypoallergenic, high density anti-microbial fibre foam and comes in three sizes — small, medium and large — plus two different firmness levels.
- Reasonably priced
- Appropriate for all types of sleepers
- Well made and durable
- Choice of sizes to suit different sleepers
- Can also help alleviate snoring
- Made in the USA
- Very firm – may be too firm to be comfortable for some people
- Unique shape can be difficult to get used to at first
Contoured medium density memory foam offers a high level of comfort and support with excellent weight distribution and high durability.
These pillows are customizable with a choice of 4 inch or 5 inch heights to get the fit that best suit your needs.
The hypoallergenic cotton pillow cover fights off dust mites and nasty allergens, and is kind to even the most delicate skin. It can easily be removed and washed in the machine. The quality of its construction ensures that it can endure over 400 machine washes.
- Cooling gel works well
- Hypoallergenic and machine washable pillow case
- Gives good neck support
- Very comfortable and soft
- Relieves pressure points on neck
- Lifetime manufacturer’s warranty
- Foam can sometimes have an unpleasant odour which can take several days or weeks to disappear
The contoured design allows sleepers to choose between a 4 inch high or a 4.5 inch high neck support to best suit their size and weight.
The versatile shape of this pillow may make it the best pillow for neck pain for side sleepers as well as stomach sleepers.
With a medium-firm memory foam it is designed to provide neck pain relief for even chronic neck pain sufferers, and to keep the neck in the best position for the most comfortable, healing sleep possible. The zippered cover is removable for easy washing in the machine, and is allergen and microbe resistant.
- Good value for money
- Pillow holds shape well throughout the night
- Reversible design for when you don’t want the cooling gel
- Effective for reducing or eliminating neck pain
- Jersey cover is ventilating and stays cool
- High quality product
- Design may not be contoured enough for some sleepers
What’s your pick for the best pillow for neck pain?