The best cervical pillow for neck pain

Mattresses & Pillows

Most professionals recommend seeing a doctor if your neck pain continues to worsen for several weeks after transitioning to a cervical pillow.

The best cervical pillow

Few things contribute to a good night’s sleep as much as a comfortable and supportive pillow, and this is doubly true if you suffer from neck pain. Cervical pillows’ design tackles that problem by keeping your neck and spine in the proper alignment throughout the night.

The Coop Home Goods Half Moon is the best choice for many due to its sheer versatility combined with its high-quality memory foam fill. However, we have some other great recommendations for people who prefer a more traditional contoured shape, and you can find out all about them in this helpful guide. We’ll also cover some of the most important factors to consider when choosing a cervical pillow for neck pain.

What cervical pillow materials are best for neck pain

Cervical pillows are firmer than their traditional counterparts because the design holds the head at the proper angle throughout the night. At the same time, they still need to be comfortable. With that in mind, there are a few materials that offer the best balance of these two properties.  

Memory foam

Often considered one of the best materials for cervical pillows, memory foam molds to the body to provide customized support. It is also hypoallergenic, which makes it an ideal choice for many people. However, it responds slowly to pressure, so if you often toss and turn throughout the night, you might find that memory foam doesn’t offer the level of comfort you desire. It isn’t very breathable either, so you may be better off choosing a different material if you sleep hot.

Polyfoam

Polyfoam isn’t as dense as memory foam, so it is softer and responds quickly to pressure, but you’ll be sacrificing some support for these properties. While more affordable, polyfoam pillows tend to lose their loft over time, so you’ll have to replace them more often than some other materials. Like memory foam, polyfoam is hypoallergenic but also traps heat.

Buckwheat

While not the most common material, buckwheat is an excellent choice for people who tend to get hot when sleeping. Unlike synthetics, it is very breathable and doesn’t trap heat. The shape of buckwheat hulls naturally interlock with one another, so pillows made with it offer good support. However, they aren’t very soft, which can take time to acclimate to for the user. Buckwheat is an eco-friendly option, but it also tends to be an expensive one.

Latex

Latex has a very springy texture that some people love but others dislike. It is very durable, will retain its loft for years and is more supportive than polyfoam. However, latex allergies are common, so it isn’t suitable for everyone. Also, unless the latex material is perforated for airflow, it tends to trap heat, making it too warm for some.

Water

One of the best features of water-filled pillows is their adjustability. You can easily add or remove water to increase or decrease the firmness and support, making them suitable for both back and side sleepers. Due to their weight, they tend to stay in place throughout the night no matter how much you toss and turn, and some kind of fiberfill will usually surround the water-filled core to add some cushioning.

Features to consider when choosing a cervical pillow

Firmness and loft

Firmness and loft are two of the most important aspects to consider of any pillow, as these will have the most direct effect on support, comfort and neck positioning. 

Firm pillows offer the most support but can be uncomfortable, and you may have an adjustment period. Therefore you should buy a pillow that provides the right balance of these two properties for your needs. If you like soft cushions, you should choose one of the softer cervical pillow materials, such as memory foam or polyfoam. Conversely, if you like hard pillows, you may want to try a latex or buckwheat pillow.

Loft refers to the height of the pillow. Much like firmness, loft plays a vital role in the comfort and the positioning of your neck. A pillow that is too high will hold your neck in an unnatural position, and one that is too low will not provide the right amount of support. Some cervical pillows allow you to adjust the loft by adding or removing some of the fill material. 

Shape

One of the most notable differences between cervical pillows and standard pillows is the contoured shape. The traditional form is two parallel upward curves, with a downward curve between them. However, these days, there are many other shapes to choose from, ranging from half circles to winged pillows with raised edges and a dip in the center. Frequently these unusually-shaped pillows will be the most versatile and better suited to people that tend to sleep in several different positions. 

Cooling technology

If you tend to sleep hot, you should choose a cervical pillow that features cooling technology, such as perforations for airflow or a gel infusion. This can help with nighttime sweating and improve the quality of your sleep.

Cover

Because of their unusual shape, most cervical pillows come with a perfectly fitted cover. However, some don’t, and for these, it can be challenging to find a cover that fits well. Ideally, you should choose one that includes a cover that is easily removable for cleaning.

How much can you expect to spend on a quality cervical pillow

Cervical pillows start around $20 for the smallest and most budget-friendly options and can reach up to $150 for large, high-end models with cooling gel and luxurious cover materials. 

Cervical pillow FAQ

How long will it take to notice results from switching to a cervical pillow?

A. There is no definitive answer for this, as everybody’s body is different. However, most people should begin to see the benefits of using a cervical pillow within just a couple of days. Others may need a week or more to see results.

How often do I need to replace my cervical pillow?

A. How often you should replace your cervical pillow depends on the fill material. Polyfoam pillows tend to last the shortest amount of time before losing loft, usually just a year or so. Memory foam and latex pillows can easily last several years. A good rule of thumb is to replace your cervical pillow when you begin to notice it flattening out and losing too much loft.

What is the best cervical pillow to buy?

Top cervical pillow

Coop Home Goods Half Moon

Coop Home Goods Half Moon

What you need to know: The half-moon shape of this pillow makes it a versatile choice that you can use to support several body parts.

What you’ll love: A removable memory foam insert allows you to adjust the loft to fit your needs.

What you should consider: It has a strong chemical smell that takes time to fade.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top cervical pillow for the money

Roscoe Indented Contour Cervical Pillow

Roscoe Indented Contour Cervical Pillow

What you need to know: Equally suited to back and side sleepers, this affordably-priced polyfill pillow will serve many users well.

What you’ll love: It works with most standard pillowcases so that it won’t look out of place with the rest of your bedding.

What you should consider: Some may find it a little too firm.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

UTTU Sandwich Pillow

UTTU Sandwich Pillow

What you need to know: A flexible option, the UTTU pillow features a removable middle layer to customize the loft to your preference.

What you’ll love: It’s CertiPUR-US certified, made with hypoallergenic materials and comes with a breathable bamboo cover. 

What you should consider: The price is high compared to many others.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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