There's nothing worse than waking up after a full nights sleep with either a stiff neck or a shooting pain going from your neck down to your spine. This doesn't start your day well and it can trigger other body issues such as headaches and migraines.
These pains are often initially ignored and many assume that it's a common problem that many people live with.
One of the main causes is the pillow that you sleep on, and there are several specific pillows for neck pain that help to alleviate this pain and tenderness to allow you to have a great nights sleep without the horrible pain in the morning.
We have constructed a complete A-Z guide to make it easy to discover the best pillow for neck pain that will have you sleeping pain free again.
Caloics Memory Foam Neck Pillow
Calming Breath Buckwheat Pillow
Bonmedico Shredded Memory Foam Pillow
Shredded Memory Foam
Mediflow Water Based Pillow
Snug Memory Foam Pillow
Quiesta Memory Flake Pillow
What Causes Neck Pain?
The biggest mistake people make, is that when they first get neck pain they instantly blame it on their mattress. They then go out and spend hundreds of pounds on a new mattress, yet don't change their pillows which is the root of the problem.
It's rarely the mattress that causes neck pain although it does regularly trigger back pain. It's much more cost effective to replace a pillow than it is a bed or mattress. Of course a strong supportive mattress will help give you a better nights sleep. The position that your body sleeps in doesn't worsen or cause neck pain but the pillow is the trigger.
The neck plays a significant role in the functioning of the human body. It's responsible for protecting the central nervous system which is one of the most important parts of the body and is a complex tissue of nerve cells that controls the actions of the body.
Tendons, muscles, cartilage and seven small bones make up the neck structure to form a column of bones, which forms the cervical section of the spine. This column allows the neck and head to move freely.
Within this column, the nerve cells send signals to and from the brain which are then sent all over the body. If the neck is compressed during the night, this causes pain or stiffness and the result is even worse when this happens throughout the night.
If your neck is not inline with your head and spine then you will wake up with pain and numbness in the morning. A strong pillow is a great way to provide the necessary support and keep the neck aligned.
Pillow for Neck Pain Buying Guide
There are a number of different factors you should consider and necessary features you should look for when buying a pillow for neck pain and we have outlined them below:
Always check the dimensions of the pillow that you're about to purchase . The pillow needs to be wide enough so your head and neck can fit fully. It's common that many sleepers only have their head resting on the pillow.
This leaves a space between the head and shoulders leaving the neck even more exposed to compressing. Keeping your neck on the pillow ensures it remains warm throughout the night so you don't wake up numb and stiff.
Use one pillow
A phenomenon has developed where many sleepers have begun to use more than one pillow when they sleep piling them high. Using too many pillows when sleeping causes your head to tilt forward which puts pressure and strain on the neck. If you select the right pillow, one will definitely be enough to give you a great nights sleep.
Know when its time to be replaced
Just like when you have a mattress, you have to accept when its time to replace your pillow. If your pillow is flat and has no shape then the pillow can't be restored and you must buy a replacement as it can no longer provide sufficient support to relieve and avoid neck pain. We do not recommend flipping the pillow over, and it should only be used as a short term measure.
Must suit your sleeping position
You should purchase a pillow that matches the usual position that you sleep in. You should buy a slightly thinner pillow if you tend to sleep on your back or stomach. This makes sure that your neck isn't tilted to far when you sleep which applies unnecessary pressure.
If you're naturally a side sleeper then you need a firmer pillow to maintain a straight spinal position throughout the night.
Our list takes into consideration the range of different sleeping positions people have so there will be a pillow to suit you.
Pillow contents matter
Take note of the material that the pillow is made of. Different materials have different properties and benefits. One example of this is using a pillow made of feather. Although it may be extremely comfortable it is too soft and doesn't provide you with the support you need, so it will not remedy the problem.
Memory foam and water based pillows are what you should be sleeping on if you are suffering from or trying to avoid neck pain.
Purchase a neck pain specific pillow
The pillow industry is much more complex than it seems, as the majority of pillows have a specific use for a specific set of people. If you select the wrong type of pillow it could make your neck pain worse. Whilst it would be easy to buy a different one straight away, it would be a waste of money. You can't use a travel pillow and expect your neck pain to heal.
If you're currently suffering from neck pain, the last thing you're going to be worrying about is how easy a pillow is to clean. Although the method of cleaning does not affect the quality and effectiveness of the support a pillow provides, a cleaner pillow will make the experience significantly more pleasant and healthier.
Pillows for neck pain are constructed using the best materials and are designed to last for several years of nightly use. Simply because of the longevity of these pillows you will have to clean them. This shouldn't be the main factor in your purchase decision, but buying a pillow that has a washable removable case and an inner core material that can be wiped will make life a whole lot easier.
Best Types of Pillow Filing
There are large range of different pillow fillings in the industry however only a few can work to reduce neck pain:
Water based pillows
Water based pillows are one of the best kept secrets within the pillow market. Water pouch pillows work to provide superior comfort and help to relieve neck pain. This has a user filled water pouch which helps to support the microfibre polyester that sits above it. These two layers provide a great level of support and comfort.
By altering the amount of water that is put into the pillow, you can change the height of the pillow. This also allows you to change the firmness and shape which further helps for back and neck pain relief.
It can take a few nights to find the right level of firmness, but once you do you can say goodbye to neck pain.
Memory foam pillow
Visco elastic foam, or memory foam as it's commonly reffered to, is polyurethane material which has additional human safe chemicals added to it to create a lovely firm dense material. This was first created by NASA and has since made its way into the everyday home.
Memory foams key benefits is that it reacts to changes in body heat and then moulds and contours to the shape of your body in just a few minutes. This is perfect for sleeping at night.
The first brand to commercialise memory foam were Tempur, but since then there have been a large number of companies that now specialise in memory foam production and retailing both for pillows and mattresses.
Memory foam pillows are usually shaped like regular pillows but sometimes are slightly thicker and larger. This is to ensure that the head and neck can both fit and be supported to relieve pressure and pain.
Memory foam differs to water based pillows because the height is non adjustable. Shredded memory foam and contoured memory foam are two of the main variants. Memory foam is also extremely smooth and contains no lumps, whilst also being durable and long lasting.
This type of pillow has been popular around Asia for many years, and has recently become popular in the US and now it's slowly making its way to the UK. Buckwheat pillows are filled with Buckwheat husks which is a fruit.
Buckwheat husks provide support and mould and contour so the pillow will fit to the shape of your head and neck. It is also possible to add husks to make the pillow higher. These pillows are extremely useful for people who require the extra support to relieve any existing neck or back pain.
1. Caloics Memory Foam Neck Pain Pillow
This is the thrid generation of memory foam pillows manufactured by Caloics using slow rebound memory foam sourced from Germany. This pillow is perfect for neck pain because the memory foam contains breathable holes which put the head in a comfortable position and provides essential support.
Each batch of memory foam undergoes rigorous testing before it's manufactured into pillows. It restores to its original shape 3-6 seconds after squeezing.
Even the pillowcase is high quality, using high grade velvet to give a warm stress-relieving feeling. helping to soothe headaches and discomfort.
Benefits of Caloics memory foam neck pain pillow
- Allieviates neck and head pain
- The pillow meets all UK regulations and is non toxic and environmentally friendly.
- Breathable design to ensure it contours as well avoiding overheating.
- Includes a 100% money back guarantee
In the picture, it initially looks like an odd shaped pillow however once you sleep on it once you'll realise that this is the position we should all be sleeping in. Coupled with its 100% money back guarantee you have nothing to lose by purchasing it and taking the first step to relieving you neck pain.
2. Calming Breath Buckwheat Neck Pain Pillow Review
Buckwheat is a natural and effective alternative to traditional memory foam as it is extremely versatile so it can suit people who sleep in any position, whilst helping to relive tension, neck and back pain.
During production the Buckwheat is triple cleaned as well as being organic. The Buckwheat remains cool in summer whilst being warm in the colder winter months. It is supplied with a thick organic cotton cover which removable so it can be easily washed.
Each pillow comes with a 7 night guarantee, and if you aren't sleeping better then you can return the pillow for a refund including postage. No questions asked.
Benefits of Calming Breath Buckwheat neck pain pillow
- Made from 100% organic buckwheat which relieves neck pain
- Ideal for all sleeping positions.
- 7 night sleep money back guarantee
- Doesn't have the off putting new smell that memory foam often has for the first week.
Buckwheat is still not largely known within the UK, however this is set to become bigger than memory foam when it comes to relieving neck pain when sleeping. This is perfect for any sleeper no matter the position that you sleep in.
3. Bonmedico Shredded Memory Foam Neck Pain Pillow Review
The Bonmedico Pillow was designed with the sole goal of improving sleep quality of users enabling you to start the day feeling refreshed and relaxed.
The design features a contoured head and neck support that encourages the ideal sleeping position whilst being allergy free. The pillow naturally shapes to the spine supporting and aligning it. this prevents the unnatural bending of the spine during sleep.
Shredded memory foam is a little different to traditional memory foam and relieves pain and pressure by evenly distributing neck and back pressure.
Also included is a removable bamboo cover which can easily be washed. The foam takes just 20 minutes to expand once you remove it from the box.
Benefits of Bonmedico shredded memory foam neck pain pillow
- Made from a antimicrobial, hypoallergenic and antibacterical bamboo blend to provide a superb sleep
- Shredded memory foam moulds to the shape of the head to support and comfort whilst aiding the correct alignment of the spine.
- Suitable for all types of sleepers no matter the position you sleep in.
This pillow will not disappoint if you're suffering from neck pain regardless of the position you sleep in. This is especially effective if you are environmentally conscious and want an organic option which also protects you if you're sensitive to allergens.
4. Snug Memory Foam Coolmax Pillow Review
Made from high quality elastic vicso memory foam, Snug have designed an extremely cost effective pillow which has a huge amount of reviews which testify to its effectiveness for relieving neck pain
It also comes with a zipped Coolmax machine washable cover which is also dust mite resistant and hypoallergenic. The main feature of Coolmax technology is to maintain a strong level of airflow to ensure you don't get too hot throughout the night and wicks away moisture.
Benefits of Bonmedico shredded memory foam neck pain pillow
- Cradles the head and neck to provide exceptional support
- Dust mite resistant and hypoallergenic
- Coolmax technology to avoid heat build up
- 1 year manufacturers guarantee
This would be our budget choice, and the product also has over 1000 positive reviews which shows its effectiveness at reducing neck and head pain. The 1 year guarantee also provides you with the opportunity just to try it out, and if it doesn't work for you, you can move onto the next product to try.
5. Mediflow Water Base Neck Pillow Review
Introducing the Medifow water base pillow which has been clinically proven to not only improve the quality of sleep, but also to remove neck pain. It is a little different to the traditional pillow and is constructed using a layer of soft hypoallergenic polyester which covers a water layer which brings the user added support and comfort.
These two layers respond to any changes in your sleeping position and support and contour to your shape. You can easily adjust the height and firmness of the pillow using the easy instructions that are included showing you how much water you need to fill for each desired level of support.
In a clinical study, the Mediflow Waterbase pillow was ranked as the number one pillow in terms of how much it improved the users quality of sleep. The subjects tested reported that they fell asleep faster, were disturbed less often and woke up feeling more refreshed when using the Mediflow pillow.
Benefits of Mediflow Waterbase Neck Pain Pillow
- Clinically proven to reduce neck pain and improve quality of sleep
- Allows you to choose custom levels of firmness and height.
- Adjusts to the shape of your body.
If you desire a truly custom experience then the Mediflow pillow should be your choice. This will allow you to experiment with different levels of firmness and height until you find the combination that works best for you. This means you don't have to try a number of different brands or waste any additional money.
6. Quiesta Memory Flake Pillow Review
This Quiesta memory flake combines the softness of a down pillow with the firmness of a memory foam pillow to support your neck and head which prevents and reduces pain and stiffness. The pillow is dust mite free, anitbacterial and hypoallergenic and is constructed using 100% Vesco shredded memory foam.
Also included is a bamboo case which is soft and has air flow technology so unlike normal memory foam mattresses, air can pass through the pillow ensuring that you don't overheat and moisture is wicked away.
Benefits of Quiesta Memory Flake Neck Pain Pillow
- 100% money back guarantee
- Shredded foam brings softness whilst also providing a firmness to support your head and neck
- Contours to the shape of your body whilst you sleep
- Doesn't have the initial smell that memory foam usually has
- Available in two sizes depending on your circumstances
- Suitable for back, side and stomach sleepers
This is a solid choice if you're in the market for a pillow that will reduce neck pain. It has extremely strong reviews which shows that real life customers are very happy with the purchase. It is also suitable for all types of sleepers no matter the position you usually lie in.
We've left no stone unturned in our quest to find the best pillow for neck pain, and to be honest any pillow on the list can be effective for reducing or preventing you neck pain. However choosing the wrong pillow can make the problem worse.
So please ensure that the pillow you choose matches you sleep position, size and firmness requirements. We have removed all the leg work with this guide to make your journey to a pain free sleep easy.