Neck pain is an extremely common issue that affects at least two-thirds of all people at some point in their lives. While neck pain usually occurs during one’s middle age, it can impact anyone at any age. In most cases, neck pain is temporary, but if you’re not careful, it can also turn into chronic neck pain.

One of the biggest causes of neck pain is improper sleeping position and wrong choice of pillows and bedding. If you’re wondering “why does the back of my neck always hurt,” you may not have to look further than your pillow.

Choosing a pillow that works with your sleeping position is extremely important. Furthermore, if you suffer from neck pain, you need to find a neck pillow that alleviates pressure from your pressure points. There are various factors to consider when choosing a pillow.

In this article, we discuss how to find a neck pillow for neck pain and what’s the best neck pillow for your sleep position.

Choosing a Pillow — How to Stop my Neck Pain?

If your neck pain is caused by an incorrect sleep position or pillow, you can alleviate neck pain by using the correct pillow. The following are some factors to consider when choosing a pillow for neck pain.

Sleep Position

Your sleep position is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a pillow. You should only get a pillow that corresponds to your sleep position or it may do more harm than good.

The following is a brief overview of different sleep positions and the pillows to go with them.

  • Side Sleeping: If you sleep on your side, you need a neck pillow that has a high loft so that it can cover the distance between the mattress and your head. Otherwise, your neck will crane downwards and get sprained.
  • Back Sleeping: If you sleep on your back, you need a neck pillow that has a medium or high loft, depending on your neck’s natural elevation. You should try out different pillows until your head rests in a neutral position with the rest of your body. The pillow should also be medium-firm or firm so your head doesn’t sink.
  • Stomach Sleeping: This is the worst position for neck pain because it keeps your neck flexed and cranes it to the side. However, if you must sleep on your stomach, you should use an ultra-thin low-loft pillow so your neck isn’t considerably elevated. The pillow should also be firm to ensure stability. Furthermore, you may also consider placing a pillow under your stomach to facilitate spinal alignment.


You can find a lot of different types of neck pillows with different shapes. The following are some of the most common shapes of neck pillows.

  • Rectangular: Most common pillows are rectangular. These are perfect for stomach or back sleepers, especially if you can punch them into a shape you find comfortable.
  • Cervical Pillows: These are contoured pillows that have elevated and ergonomically rounded corners to support your neck. They’re generally ideal for side sleepers and back sleepers.
  • Horseshoe Neck Pillows: These are horseshoe-shaped pillows that you can wrap around your neck if you’re sleeping sitting up while traveling in a bus or flight. It prevents your neck from rolling on the side and keeps it upright.


Finally, you must also consider the material composition of the neck pillow because different materials offer different levels of support.

  • Memory Foam: This material offers the greatest support because it contours to the shape of your neck and shoulders. It’s ideal for side and back sleepers.
  • Natural Latex Foam: This material also contours to your body but it’s also extremely firm and doesn’t compress, which makes it perfect for stomach sleepers:
  • Water: These pillows are completely adjustable and they’re firm because water isn’t compressible. As such, they make for great neck pain pillows for all types of sleepers.

Best Neck Pillow for your Sleep Position — Top 3 Picks 2019

Contour Memory Foam Pillow By Elite Rest — Best Pillow for Side Sleepers

Contour Memory Foam Pillow By Elite Rest is a cervical pillow made of memory foam and cover with a 100% cotton pillowcase. The higher contour has a 4” loft height and the lower contour has a 2.75” loft height — the elevated ergonomically rounded corner acts like a natural neck roll. You can lay your neck on it so your head is nestled in the crater in the middle, which helps facilitate spinal alignment. The memory foam also conforms to the shape of your body for complete neck support.

Coop Home Goods Premium — Best Neck Pillow for Combination Sleepers

Coop Home Goods Premium is the best neck pillow for combination sleepers because it’s made of shredded memory foam. You can unzip the pillow to add or remove the shredded memory foam filling to adjust the loft height. As such, depending on how much memory foam you keep in the pillow, you can use it for stomach sleepers, back sleepers, and side sleepers. This pillow comes with a 100% removable machine washable cover made of bamboo-derived rayon so it’s also extremely breathable.

TravelMate Neck Pillow — Best Neck Pillow for Travelers

TravelMate Neck Pillow is one of the best memory foam pillows for travelers. This is a horseshoe-shaped pillow that you can wrap around your neck to prevent your neck from falling to the side while you’re sleeping in an upright position. It comes with a luxurious machine-washable plush velour cover that’s also breathable and soft to the touch. As such, if you’re a frequent traveler, this is the best neck pillow for you.