Do you often wake up with neck pain? Are you wondering “why does the back of my neck always hurt”?

Well, waking up with neck pain or back pain isn’t ideal — your morning defines your day and waking up with neck and back pain can really throw you off balance. It can set you in a bad mood and ruin the rest of your day, thus affecting both your social and professional life.

Do you often find that you suffer from neck and back pain after waking up? If so, you probably suffer from neck pain because of your sleeping position or the quality of your pillow or both!

In this article, we discuss the root cause of neck pain after sleeping, the best sleeping position for upper back and neck pain, and the best pillow for neck and back pain.

Root Cause of Neck Pain After Sleeping

Most people don’t really think about their sleeping position or the kind of pillow they use. Most people simply sleep in whatever position comes naturally and only think of pillows as something to rest their heads on.

But your sleeping position and quality of pillow have a huge role in your neck and back’s health. The wrong sleeping position or an unsuitable pillow for your position may trigger terrible stiffness, neck pain, and back issues.

According to research, improper sleeping position is the root cause of at least 5% of all new chronic neck pain cases. If you wake up with neck pain, it’s possible that you’re not sleeping correctly. The good news, however, is that it’s extremely easy to alleviate neck pain and back pain by fixing your position!

Best Sleeping Position for Upper Back and Neck Pain

There is no single sleeping position that’s ideal for upper back and neck pain. In fact, it’s unrealistic to expect you to completely change your sleeping position because we often fall into our favored positions subconsciously while sleeping.

However, the following is a quick overview of how you can modify your sleeping position to alleviate neck pain and back pain:

  • Back sleepers should lay their heads on a medium-loft or high-loft pillow and consider putting down a pillow under their lower back as lumbar support.
  • Side sleepers should preferably sleep in the fetal position as it extends your spine and prevents disc herniation. While doing this, use a high-loft pillow to support your neck.
  • If you’re a side sleeper who doesn’t like the fetal position, you can also stuff a pillow between your knees to facilitate spinal alignment.
  • Sleeping on your stomach is highly discouraged because there’s no support for your back and it leads to immense spinal misalignment. However, if you must sleep on your stomach, either sleep without a pillow or use a low-loft pillow under your neck with another pillow under your abdomen.

Now that you understand what is the proper way to sleep to avoid neck pain, read on for a detailed overview of some of the best pillows for neck pain and back pain.

Elite Rest Slim Sleeper — Best Pillow for Neck Pain

This is an extremely thin low-profile pillow with a loft height of only 2.75 inches. As such, when you rest your head on it, your neck doesn’t rise up and it keeps you stable. Furthermore, this pillow is made of natural latex material, which is a fairly firm yet soft material.

If you suffer from neck pain, there’s a high possibility that you’re a stomach or back sleeper with a pillow that has an extremely high loft. Your primary goal while sleeping is to facilitate spinal alignment — your neck, back, and hips should be in a straight line.

However, if you sleep on a high pillow on your back or stomach, your neck rises up and throws your entire spine out of balance. That’s where the Elite Rest Slim Sleeper comes in.

This is an extremely thin low-profile pillow with a loft height of only 2.75 inches. As such, when you rest your head on it, your neck doesn’t rise up and it keeps you stable. Furthermore, this pillow is made of natural latex material, which is a fairly firm yet soft material. It’s comfortable but it doesn’t allow your head to sink in, which is perfect for spinal alignment.

Coop Home Goods — Best Pillow for Back Pain

Coop Home Goods is an adjustable neck support pillow. It’s made of shredded memory foam, which helps alleviate your back pain. With this adjustable memory foam pillow, you can rest comfortably no matter what your sleeping position may be.

When it comes to back sleepers, different people have different loft height preferences. Furthermore, you suffer from back pain if your spine is thrown out of alignment if your neck is either too low or too high in relation to your body.

Coop Home Goods is an adjustable neck support pillow. It’s made of shredded memory foam, which helps alleviate your back pain in two ways. First, the memory foam material conforms to the shape of your body, which supports your head no matter how you’re sleeping.

Second, you can add or remove as much memory foam as you need, which means you can adjust the loft height according to your needs. As such, if you’re a side sleeper, you can add extra memory foam or if you’re a stomach sleeper, you can remove memory foam.

With this adjustable memory foam pillow, you can rest comfortably no matter what your sleeping position may be.

Contour Memory Foam Pillow By Elite Rest — Best Cervical Pillow for Neck and Back Pain

Contour Memory Foam Pillow By Elite Rest is ideal for neck and back pain for one simple reason. This pillow is perfect for side sleepers because the high contour carefully supports your neck and shoulders, closing the gap between the mattress and your head.

Contour Memory Foam Pillow By Elite Rest is ideal for neck and back pain for one simple reason — it’s a cervical pillow, i.e., a neck support pillow. This pillow is contoured with a 4” loft at the sides and a 2.75” loft in the middle. As such, when you sleep, the contours support and nestle your head in the middle.

This pillow is perfect for side sleepers because the high contour carefully supports your neck and shoulders, closing the gap between the mattress and your head. However, this pillow isn’t ideal for stomach sleepers because the rounded corners will constrict your airways and get in the way.