What are the best pillows for neck and shoulder pain in 2021? Here’s a quick answer in case you’re in a hurry. Top on our list is the Mediflow water pillow. It’s clinically proven to relieve neck pain.
The second best on our list is EPABO contour memory foam pillow. It’s an orthopedic pillow that provides therapeutic relief for all your neck and shoulder pain. Its contour design perfectly aligns your head, neck and shoulders.
In addition to sleeping on the right pillow, we recommend trying massagers too. RESTECK massagers for neck and back pain are very highly rated in 2021. It uses heat treatment to relieve neck, shoulder and back pain.
Top 10 Pillows for Neck and Shoulder Pain: Comparison Table
Mediflow Fiber Water Pillow
|Top contour pillow||
EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow
|Second best contour||
Coisum Cervical Pillow
|Cheap but still good||
MARNUR Cervical Pillow
|Best latex option||
Sleep Artisan Side Sleeper Pillow
|Best shoulder pain bed wedge||
MedCline Acid Reflux Relief Bed Wedge
|Best for stomach sleeper||
Belly Sleep Gel Memory Foam Pillow
|Microfiber Support Filling||
Nature’s Guest Adjustable Cervical Pillow
|Top buckwheat pillow||
Beans72 Organic Buckwheat Pillow
Can A Pillow Really Relieve Neck And Shoulder Pain?
Yes, the pillow you use can relieve you of neck and shoulder pain if careful considerations are made. Neck and shoulder pain is a result of a number of reasons.
Pillows help with the relief of neck and shoulder pain because of their properties. These properties provide adequate support to your neck. Such properties to look out for if you have neck pain include;
Pillows generally come in two shapes; the even surface and the curved surface. The even surface doesn’t give enough support to the neck and puts the shoulders in an awkward position.
In order to make use of a pillow with even surface, the filling material has to be of feathers or shredded memory foam. This is because pillows with this filling conform to the sleeper’s head and provide support to the neck and shoulders.
Curved surface pillows usually curve in where the head lies and is elevated where the neck lies. This provides proper comfort and support to users, taking away the tension on the neck and shoulder muscles.
The pillow loft is directly linked to how supportive and comfortable a pillow is. When considering the best loft for your pillow, there are different factors you should consider.
One of such factors is the pillow position relative to your head position. If you sleep with your pillow completely under your head, then a low loft pillow would be better for you. If you sleep with your pillow partially under your head, then a medium or high loft pillow would work best for you.
If you sleep on a mattress that sinks deeply below your body, you should consider using a low loft pillow. This is because such responsive mattresses leave little or no space between your neck and the mattress, providing support. Less responsive mattresses should be used with medium or high loft pillows to make up for space.
Those who weigh much sink deeper into the mattress and may prefer low loft pillows. Lighter individuals will feel more comfortable with high loft pillows.
Those whose head is large and heavy get better support from the use of high loft pillows. While those with smaller and lighter heads are better off with low loft pillows.
Generally, a pillow with an adjustable loft is best for use by those who have neck pain.
The filling material for pillows plays an important role in the relief of neck and shoulder pain. Feather and memory foam pillows are the best options for those with neck and shoulder pain.
This is because the materials conform close to your head and give support to your neck. All these properly align the neck with the back and shoulders, reducing pain. Other good options are latex and buckwheat pillows.
Water pillows have now become the new trend and are adjustable and supportive, they are highly recommended for use by neck and shoulder pain sufferers.
All these features of a pillow aim at achieving one thing; provide support and comfort to the spine. When the spine has the support it needs, it is free from the tension of carrying the body weight hence causing neck and shoulder pain relief.
Can A Wrong Pillow Cause Neck and Shoulder Problems?
Just like the use of a good pillow can relieve neck and shoulder pain, so also can a wrong pillow cause neck and shoulder problems. The use of a wrong pillow doesn’t provide the necessary support to the neck, head, shoulders, and spine.
This causes them to be placed at bad angles, bearing body weight. The muscles are placed under tension, become sore and lead to neck and shoulder pain.
Best Pillows for Neck and Shoulder Pain in 2021: Reviews
#1 Mediflow Fiber Water Pillow
Top Rated Pillow for Neck Pain
It is clinically proven to relieve neck pain and improve sleep.
Made with water as the filling material, you have guaranteed support for your head and neck.
Sleep with no more toss and turn at night as the water pillow gives you an illusion of sleeping in the clouds.
No matter your sleeping position, this pillow supports your neck. You can customize the Mediflow water pillow to your taste as its loft and firmness are adjustable. It’s covered with hypoallergenic cotton to prevent you from allergic reactions.
- Best pillow for neck pain
- Made with water which conforms to the head and neck, offering support
- Good for all sleeping positions
- Adjustable loft and firmness
- Has a hypoallergenic pillowcase
- It is a bit heavy
#2 EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow
Best Contour Memory Foam Pillow
It allows you to get the perfect loft for your comfort by being adjustable.
For all sleeping positions, the ergonomic contour design gives your head, neck, and shoulders great alignment so that you can sleep without pain.
The filling material is of breathable memory foam, allowing internal air circulation so that you can sleep cool. You do not have to worry about allergies because its pillowcase is also hypoallergenic.
Easily care for your pillow and keep it clean by washing the pillowcase as often as you are comfortable with.
- Made with memory foam material
- Contour design that gives alignment to your head, neck, shoulders, and spine
- Provides you with comfort and cool sleep
- Breathable memory foam helps with better internal air circulation for cool sleep
- Hypoallergenic pillowcase
- Sleeping on this pillow can cause you discomfort initially. You need some time to get used to it
#3 Coisum Contour Neck Pillow
Second Best Memory Foam Pillow For Neck and Shoulder Pain
It has two sides with different heights for the respective sleeping positions to ensure you have support and comfort for a sound sleep.
Back sleepers with neck and shoulder pain can sleep on the higher side of the pillow where there are two horns to hold your head in the right position.
Back and side sleepers can also sleep on the low side with cutout areas to position the arm and be comfortable. Made with firm memory foam, your head and neck are adequately supported, taking the pressure off your spine.
You can easily remove and wash the pillowcase, allowing you to maintain and keep it clean. The pillowcase is breathable and so you can sleep better without being clammy at night.
- For both back and side sleepers
- Made of firm memory foam
- Cervical support to hold the head and neck in a correct posture
- Breathable pillowcase
- Easy to wash the pillowcase
- Provides support to the head and neck
- It might be too hard if you like soft pillows
#4 MARNUR Cervical Pillow
Cheaper Contour Memory Foam
Its contours support you no matter your sleeping position.
It properly aligns your spine so that you sleep without causing pain. Its loft isn’t adjustable but there are two sides of different thicknesses so you can make your choice.
It’s made with memory foam, making it durable and breathable. It is also hypoallergenic so you can sleep peacefully without worrying about allergies.
- Made with memory foam material
- Breathable and hypoallergenic
- Removable and washable pillowcase for better care and maintenance
- Different heights on both sides to satisfy your preference
- Ergonomic design to provide support for the neck and shoulders
- Too soft if you prefer harder pillows
#5 Sleep Artisan Pillow
Best Latex Pillow
You have the power to adjust the pillow loft to suit you by taking out or adding the fill material.
The perfect loft ensures perfect alignment of your head and neck so that you sleep without pain.
Its curved design and shoulder support allow it to provide support for your neck and shoulders. All these help in reducing your neck pain and prevents future occurrences.
It’s filled with latex. This gives it the properties of being hypoallergenic, dust mite resistant, anti-microbial and non-toxic so that you can sleep peacefully.
- Pillow for side sleepers
- Adjustable loft
- Latex material
- Provides great support and comfort
- Hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant
- Curved side with shoulder support
- Helps with the relief of neck and shoulder pain
- Could harden with use
#6 Medcline Acid Reflux Bed Wedge And Body Pillow
Best Wedge Pillow
Due to its design, you can put your arm in a pocket taking the pressure off your shoulder and arm.
Now you can sleep at a comfortable angle, with the pillow rather than your spine bearing your body weight. It is made with memory foam and provides you with great support and is hypoallergenic.
Take advantage of its design and get comfortable as you sleep. You do not have to wake up in shoulder pain every morning. Wedge pillows are also known to stop or reduce snoring, so that’s a nice bonus.
- Made with memory foam
- Takes off pressure from your shoulder and arm
- Gives you adequate support and lets you sleep comfortably
- A bit pricey
#7 Belly Sleep Gel Infused Memory Foam Pillow
Best Pillow for Neck Pain Stomach Sleeper
Made with memory foam, it has gel infused into it to ensure you sleep cool.
At a thickness of approximately 2.5 inches, your neck and back remain in a neutral position as you sleep, bearing no weight.
It supports your spine, allowing for even pressure distribution so that you wake up feeling refreshed and healthy.
It is soft to provide you with comfort, yet firm to give you support. Sleeping just got comfier.
- Made with memory foam
- Thin and provides support for stomach sleepers
- Soft pillow but yet firm
- Memory foam is gel-infused to ensure cool sleep
- Quite expensive
#8 Cradling Sleeper
Best Shoulder + Spinal Alignment
Then this is the product for you.
Cradling sleeper is a pillow designed for side sleepers. It’s made to take off the pressure from your shoulders as you sleep, giving you relief from muscle soreness.
Cradling pillow is made from memory foam material, with enough firmness to give your body support. Unlike other pillows, it’s used on the torso as its function is to raise the torso for better spine alignment and takes the pressure off the shoulders.
To ensure you do not derail from your set posture, it has a curved design that cradles your body as you sleep.
- Supports the torso for good spine alignment
- Takes the pressure off the shoulders to prevent pain
- Compact and can be carried on journeys
- Easy to use
- For side sleepers
- Made with memory foam
- The design doesn’t accommodate the shape of a woman properly
#9 Nature’s Guest Adjustable Cervical Pillow
Best Microfiber Support Filling
It gives you relief from neck problems and prides itself as a therapeutic pillow for pain in the neck.
It’s an adjustable cervical pillow that allows you to make use of it at the loft that is most comfortable for you.
The contoured pillow design ensures that as your head rests lower, your neck gets proper support. This way, your spine is aligned taking the pressure off your cervical vertebrae.
Get a peaceful sleep free from allergies as this is made from natural hypoallergenic materials. No skin rashes or odors.
The cervical pillow is made with an approved design from chiropractors and orthopedic doctors, so you are sure that your health is secure. This design is made with back and side sleepers in mind.
- Recommended design by chiropractors and orthopedic doctors
- Contoured design provides optimum cervical support
- It maintains the head, neck, and spinal alignment
- Made for back and side sleepers
- Fully adjustable to suit your firmness and loft
- Made with microfiber filling
- Filling moves around in the pillow
#10 Beans72 Organic Buckwheat Pillow
It provides you with good support so that you wake without any form of muscle pain, stick neck or tension in your muscles.
Made with buckwheat as filling material, it’s also adjustable as you can take out hulls until you are comfortable.
As you lay on it, it conforms to your head, making you comfortable and still providing you support.
This takes the pressure off the muscles of your neck, shoulders, and spine, allowing you to sleep without being sore. It promises better sleep with its breathability so you do not wake up feeling clammy.
- Made with buckwheat
- Provides relief from muscle pain, stiff neck, and tension
- Gives you support and comfort
- Durable pillow
- Can get noisy when repositioned
What Causes Neck and Shoulder Pain?
1. Bad Sleeping Position
Bad sleeping position is one of the major causes of neck and shoulder pain. This is because you strain your muscles by putting them under a lot of tension. At a bad position, your neck, shoulder, and spine bear your body weight uncomfortably and become sore.
2. Worn Joints
With age, the joints in your neck wear down. The intervertebral discs in your cervical vertebrae deteriorate and spurs form in your bone. These spurs affect joint motion and cause you pain
3. Compressed Nerves
Nerves branching from your spinal cord can become compressed by the vertebrae. This is due to the formation of spurs or herniated discs.
Injuries due to a motor accident where there is collision cause a sudden backward jerking of the neck. This forceful backward jerk can injure the muscles of the neck causing neck pain
Neck pain can be caused by some diseases. Examples of such are rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis and also cancer.
Death of bone tissue due to limited blood supply can cause pain in the shoulder
7. Injury of the Brachial Plexus
An injury to the network of nerves supplying the shoulders and upper appendages can cause pain to the shoulder.
8. Broken Arm
A broken arm causes pain which can be felt in the shoulder.
Cervical, Contour, Therapeutic, Orthopedic, and Ergonomic Pillows: What Are They & What’s The Difference?
They are all pillows that help to maintain the correct sleeping position to prevent the occurrence of neck and shoulder pain. Using them also gives relief to existing pains.
They are all the same thing because they all perform the same function. They all aim at preventing muscle soreness and pain from a bad sleeping position.
They have a design that is different from regular pillows so as to help take the bodyweight off the neck, shoulders, and back as you maintain the correct sleeping position.
Firm Vs Soft Pillow – Which One Is Better For Neck Pain?
The best pillow for you depends on your sleeping position. If you are a side sleeper, firm pillows will be best for you.
Stomach sleepers prefer a soft to medium pillow as it is most comfortable. For back sleepers, soft pillows are the best for neck pain.
What Else Helps Tight Neck And Shoulder Muscles?
RESTECK Massagers for Neck and Back
You can use it to massage your neck and shoulders wherever you go as it is portable and convenient to carry.
You have control over the heat and it is very easy to use.
Accutrig Neck and Shoulder Muscle Relaxer Pillow
It also reduces your neck and shoulder pain by allowing you to relax naturally.
Please note – slthough it says pillow, you are not to fall asleep in it. It is meant to reduce your muscle soreness by using for about 15minutes.
There are several stretching exercises that you can perform to give you relief. The aim of these exercises is to help you loosen up and relax your muscles. Effective stretches you can do include the forward stretch, side stretch, and diagonal stretch.
There are muscles relaxing devices that help with tight neck and shoulder muscles.
If you cannot afford them, you can get a massage from a professional or from someone close to you for free. The aim is to get into those muscles and take away the tension they carry.
When Should You See A Doctor?
Most neck and shoulder pains get better with home treatment. You should, however, see a doctor if the pain is caused by an injury from an accident.
You should also see a doctor if the pain is severe, stays on for days or weeks without relief, spreads down the arms, comes with headache, numbness, weakness or tingling feeling.
Why does my shoulder hurt at night?
Shoulder pain at night occurs as a result of poor sleeping position support.
Sleeping on your side or stomach puts excess pressure on your neck and shoulder muscles. Bad mattresses or pillows can also contribute to causing shoulder and neck pain.
How should I sleep at night with shoulder pain?
Try to sleep on your back and not on your belly. If this doesn’t help, sleep on the unaffected shoulder while using a good pillow to support your head. You can also use a body pillow to prevent yourself from moving around on your sore shoulder.
Should the pillow be under your shoulders?
The pillow is not supposed to be under your shoulder. You should put down your pillow next to your shoulders but not lay them on the pillow.
How do you sleep with shoulder Tendonitis?
You may find sleeping in a redirected position more comfortable than lying on your back. You can lie on your back with the affected side propped up with a pillow or lie on the unaffected shoulder.
What causes neck pain that radiates to the shoulder blade?
Inflammation of any of the nerves or joints in the neck can cause radiating pain to the shoulder blade. It could also be as a result of sprains and strains from sports overexertion or incorrect posture.
How should I sleep with neck arthritis?
Avoid sleeping on your stomach. Choose the right pillow that is wide enough to support the distance between your shoulder and neck. For side sleepers, your pillow should be high enough to fill the space between your mattress and ear.
Is massage good for arthritis in the neck?
Yes. It helps to reduce pain and stiffness, easing anxiety and improving the range of motion in joints. This promotes restful sleep.
Having neck and shoulder pain can be really frustrating. What is even more annoying are the bad pillows that flood the market, causing you much discomfort as you sleep.
The use of Mediflow Fiber Water Pillow, EPABO contour memory foam pillow and Coisum Cervical Pillow amongst others that have been reviewed here have proven to be the best pillows for neck and shoulder pains.
Now you can sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed as you make your choice among these best picks.