If you are, or have ever, suffered from neck pain, you are most definitely not alone, with a Gallup poll showing 65% of adults seeking care for neck pain at some point in their lifetime. Whilst the causes and severity vary greatly, neck pain from incorrect pillow use, whether it’s the cause or aggravating an existing issue, can be avoided or minimised using the correct pillow.
Just like a good mattress, a pillow plays a significant role in the quality of your sleep. However, even with an ever-growing body of knowledge on the subject, research✓ shows that people often make poor pillow choices leading to poor sleep quality. Therefore, understanding the best pillows for neck pain UK has available and factors to consider are crucial in making the correct decision.
(Important Facts, Studies, Advice, Considerations & FAQs in Conclusion)
|PILLOW||TYPE||TRIAL & WARRANTY||PRICE|
|The Original Groove Neck Pillow||Memory Foam||NA Nights|
|Cervical Memory Foam Neck Support Pillow||Memory Foam||NA Nights|
|Dormeo Memosan Anatomic Pillow||Memory Foam||NA Nights|
|Tempur Original Pillows||TEMPUR® Material||30 Nights|
|Kally Neck Pain Pillow||Memory Foam||14 Nights|
|Ergoflex HD Pillow||Memory Foam||NA Nights|
|Una Latex Pillow||Latex||100 Nights|
1. The Original Groove Neck Pillow
|• Thousands of reviews|
• Cruelty-free, vegan and recyclable
• Removable machine-washable cover
|• Sleepers wanting to prevent tossing and turning|
• Those looking to stop slouching
• Back and side sleepers
The Original Groove Pillow from Groove is designed to relieve neck pain, reduce headaches, helps reduce arm numbness and ultimately improve sleep. This ergonomic pillow has thousands of reviews that support this pillow as one of the best pillows for neck pain UK has to offer.
This neck pillow includes a central dip for back sleepers and a lateral raise for side sleepers making it suitable for most sleeping positions. With its unique design, it is made to promote a neutral spine alignment, improving posture and counteracting the effects of slouching.
No additional chemicals are embedded into the materials. It is kept as natural as possible which is why they have only used memory foam, polyester and cotton. The zip is even made from recyclable plastic. For ease of use the cover is removable and machine washable.
2. Cervical Memory Foam Neck Support Pillow
|• Memory foam with AirCell technology|
• Specialised zonal support
• Dual-layer washable pillowcase
|• Individuals with a tighter budget|
• Side, back and front sleepers
• Those who want the option of two heights
The Cervical Memory Foam Neck Support Pillow may be a good option if you are looking for an inexpensive ergonomically designed pillow. This pillow is shaped to contour the spine's natural curvature, whether you are a back, side, or front sleeper. The head, neck and arms are supported, with specialised zones allowing for optimal spinal alignment. In addition, this butterfly-shaped pillow is designed with two heights to accommodate the sleepers individual preferences.
A slow bound memory foam with AirCell technology ensures that your head and neck receive the necessary comfort and support. In addition, the dual-layer pillowcase is stain resistant, soft, breathable, and removable for easy cleaning.
Manufacturers mention that the Cervical Memory Foam Neck Support Pillow may be particularly helpful for those who toss and turn in their sleep.
3. Dormeo Memosan Anatomic Pillow
|• Uniquely designed memory foam|
• Removable machine washable cover
• Two heights design
|• Those with a lower budget|
• People who prefer a narrower pillow
• Individuals prone to dust mite allergies
The Memosan pillow may be a good option for those experiencing neck pain. Its anatomic shape with two heights allows it to contour around the neck, providing adequate support for the head and keeping the spine in correct alignment.
The uniquely designed memory foam, first developed by NASA, is thermoregulatory, resistant to dust mites, and reasonably priced. In addition, the cotton and polyester cover is removable and machine washable. Whether you sleep on your side or back, this pillow has the potential to relieve any pressure points and provide the necessary support and comfort for the head and neck.
Worth noting that this pillow is slightly narrower than some of the others discussed in this article, so if you’d rather have a broader and longer pillow, this one might not be for you. Reviews are mostly positive, and customers would recommend this product.
4. Tempur Original Neck Support Pillow
|• Specialised TEMPUR® memory foam|
• Removable machine-washable cover
• 30-day trial
|• Individuals with a higher budget|
• Those wanting the option of different pillow height
• Back and side sleepers
The Tempur Original Pillow’s ergonomic design offers comforting head and neck support. Its unique design follows the natural curvature of the spine, which may make it a good option for those with neck pain. It is available in three different heights - medium, large, and extra-large, and comes with a removable and washable soft fabric cover.
This pillow is composed of specialised TEMPUR® visco-elastic cells (memory foam) that mould and adapt to your head, neck and shoulder, providing pressure-relieving comfort, making it a good potential choice for back and side sleepers.
This brand is made in Denmark and offers a 30-night pillow trial, 3-year guarantee, and free delivery and returns to the UK mainland. The Tempur Original Pillow is pricey; however, customers generally rate it highly and are satisfied with their purchase.
5. Kally Neck Pain Pillow
|• Orthopaedic butterfly shape|
• Slow rebound memory foam
• 14-day trial
|• Those who prefer a small pillow |
• Individuals who prefer medium-firm firmness
• People prone to allergies
The Kally Sleep Neck Pain Pillow is ergonomically designed to adapt to the contours of your head and neck, allowing for adequate support and comfort. In addition, the orthopaedic butterfly-shaped pillow has the potential to optimise spinal alignment and makes it a good possible option for those with neck pain.
The pillow is composed of soft, slow rebound memory foam, which retains its shape over time and offers a medium to firm firmness (described as a 7/10 by manufacturers). It is suitable for back and side sleepers and is covered with a quilted breathable cotton fabric with anti-allergy and antibacterial properties.
It is worth noting that this pillow is slightly smaller than standard pillows. Kally also offers a 14-night sleep trial, and customer reviews are generally very positive, and people are satisfied with their purchase.
6. Ergoflex HD Pillow
|• ACPT™ memory foam|
• TENCEL™ removable and washable cover
• 2-year guarantee
|• People with allergies|
• Those who prefer a firm-feel pillow
• Individuals looking for a mid-range price tag
The Ergoflex HD pillow gently shapes to provide comfortable pressure-relieving support to the head and neck, making it a good potential option for those with neck pain.
This firm-feel pillow is composed of anti-allergenic and antimicrobial high-density proprietary ACPT™ visco-elastic memory foam, and manufacturers promise that no ‘pillow plumping’ will ever be required. In addition, it has an all-natural breathable TENCEL™ cover that is removable and machine washable.
The Ergoflex HD pillow falls into the middle of the range price-wise, and the manufacturers offer a 2-year guarantee with free next day delivery. Also, worth noting this ergonomic pillow fits standard pillowcases.
7. Una Latex Pillow
|• 100% organic latex foam |
• 100-day trial
|• Individuals who want different height options|
• People with sensitive skin
• Those with a higher budget
The Una Latex Pillow may be a good eco-friendly option for those suffering from neck pain. This 100% organic pillow is breathable, cooling and height adjustable (made possible by removing one of the two inner pillows).
This pillow is composed of all-natural latex foam flakes made from natural Hevea tree sap (known for its water-resistant feature) and claims to be gentle, supportive, and pressure-relieving. With the proper care, it could last for up to 20 years. The pillow cover is made of 70% organic cotton and 30% organic wool and could be a good idea for those with sensitive skin.
The Una Latex Pillow is designed and engineered in Germany and made in India. A 100-night trial is offered as well as a 5-year guarantee. Although it is on the pricier side, independent reviews show this pillow is highly rated by customers.
Neck Pain Explained
Neck pain is essentially any time your neck hurts and something that we have all experienced at one point or another in our lives. The literature✓ reveals that the overall prevalence of neck pain in the general population to be 23.1%, and something that is becoming increasingly common.
In addition, data from a study✓ examining the global, regional, and national burden of neck pain in the general population showed that:
The largest increases in age-standardised annual incidence of neck pain per 100 000 population from 1990 to 2017 were in the UK (9.1% (6.1% to 12.4%)).
If we take a moment to think about the complex and intricate anatomy of the neck✓, a lot is going on in a relatively small area. You have your seven cervical vertebrae cushioned by intervertebral discs and connected by facet joints, as well as muscles, tendons, ligaments, organs, and tissues. Your neck serves as the connection between your head and the rest of your body, and structures within the neck are responsible for breathing, speaking, swallowing, regulation of metabolism, support and connection of the brain and cervical spine, and circulatory and lymphatic inflow and outflow from the head.
It’s no wonder that any disruptions to any of the above parts or structures can leave us with pain that can range from mildly uncomfortable to debilitating. While many episodes of neck pain resolve in days or weeks, it can become a chronic condition that adversely affects the quality of life. Neck pain may interfere with day-to-day life, including your ability to sleep, be productive, and enjoy certain activities. It is also not always centralized in the neck and can result in referred pain experienced in the shoulders, arms and chest and can even cause headaches.
Common Causes And Symptoms Of Neck Pain
Causes of neck pain are varied and may include injury (whiplash or nerve compression), health/chronic conditions (arthritis, spinal infection), daily habits/lifestyle (weight, stress, poor posture, too many hours sitting in front of a computer). The symptoms of neck pain are also hugely varied and are, of course, related to the cause itself but often include:
- General soreness
- Sharp pain
- Muscle spasms
- Poor sleep quality
- Neck stiffness (soreness and difficulty moving the neck)
- Radicular pain (pain that radiates along a nerve from the neck into the shoulder, arm, or chest)
- Cervical radiculopathy (neurological deficits such as problems with reflexes, sensation, or strength)
If you have severe pain or are unsure what’s causing your neck pain, it’s best to see a doctor to rule out any underlying conditions. It’s worth noting that research✓ has shown that physical inactivity and a high body mass index (BMI) are associated with an increased risk of chronic neck pain in the general adult population.
Did you know?
Research✓ shows that more women in the UK suffer from neck pain than men.
Best Pillow For Neck Pain And Sleep
We’ve most likely all experienced some discomfort after sleeping “funny” or “wrong” at some time in our lives. Or at least have heard of someone who has. Irritated ligaments and spasms of your neck muscles can be the cause of this (a symptom known as torticollis).
There are 26 muscles in the human neck.
Given that we supposedly spend one-third of our lives sleeping, your sleep position should not be the cause or exacerbate existing neck pain. Sleeping on the wrong pillow can lead to discomfort during the night, resulting in waking up and neck pain. A pillow for neck pain can promote correct neck and spine alignment. Your pillow may or may not be solely responsible for your neck pain, although choosing the right pillow and finding the optimal sleeping position can help relieve pressure on the neck. Your pillow will not last forever and is therefore essential to replace once it has lost its support. One of two things may likely be the problem if you are waking up with neck pain. Your pillow may not be correct, or your sleeping position may be putting pressure on your neck or both.
What To Consider When Purchasing The Best Pillow For Neck Pain
Sleeping with the correct pillow could be a big step towards living a life free from neck pain. Like most bedding, choosing the best pillow for neck pain will be dependent on your individual needs and preferences. It's a good idea to familiarise yourself with available options so that you can make the most well-informed decision. Certain factors should be taken into consideration when choosing the most well-fitted option for yourself.
- Loft: The loft essentially refers to the height of the pillow. A too high or too low pillow can force your neck to bend at an unnatural angle, causing stress and pain over time. The correct pillow will keep your spine in a straight line from the very top to the bottom and cause no strain to your neck. It is also a good idea to keep your sleeping position and the width of your shoulders in mind when making your choice.
- Firmness level: The right pillow firmness for you will depend on how heavy your head is, the loft of the pillow, your sleeping position, and the firmness of your mattress. Pillows that are too firm may cause pressure points, and pillows that are too soft may sag under your head and fail to provide proper support. It is important that your pillow does not cause any pressure points and that it contours to your neck to provide enough support.
- Shape: A wide variety of ergonomic options are available these days, and pillow shape preference comes down to a matter of personal choice. Some people prefer a pillow that adapts to the head and neck shape, and others may even choose to use two pillows instead of one.
- Price: The price of pillows varies hugely and will depend on the materials used and design. As with other bedding, bear in mind that certain types of pillows may last for years, whereas others may lose their loft or support more quickly.
- Quality of materials: The materials used play a significant role in choosing the pillow best suited for you. In addition to adequate support and comfort, other factors such as the longevity of materials, washing instructions, hypoallergenic properties and temperature control will be important determining factors.
Best pillow For Neck Pain Materials
The type of pillow and pillow fill often comes down to personal preference. So long as your neck is not under any strain and you feel the optimal balance of comfort and support, you are less likely to experience any pillow-related neck pain. Certain materials have specific qualities that can offer you the optimal combination of these things, as well as other benefits.
- Memory Foam: Memory foam contours to the exact shape of the head, relieving pressure, distributing weight evenly, and providing cushioning and support. Memory foam pillows are hypoallergenic, hygienic, inexpensive and durable. They are, however, known to retain heat may therefore not be ideal for hot sleepers.
- Buckwheat: Buckwheat pillows adapt to head and neck shape, providing both comfort and support. This plant-based filling is breathable, hypoallergenic, durable, and environmentally friendly. However, they tend to be on the expensive side and may also be too firm for some.
- Feather: Duck feather pillows, goose down pillows, and feather imitation pillows tend to be soft and conform excellently to the shape of the head and neck, have the potential to last a long time, and can be reasonably priced. The downside is that they tend to lose their support and loft over time, feather quills may poke, and they may have an odour unpleasant for some.
- Latex: Latex pillows are known for being soft and supportive, making them a good potential choice for neck pain sufferers. They are biodegradable, flame resistant, quiet, and resistant to mould, mildew and dust mites. They are durable and also help with temperature regulation. Disadvantages may be that you cannot shape them to fit, so if the height is not correct, you cannot adjust it. They may also be heavy, and they tend to be on the expensive side.
Pillows And Sleep Positions For Neck Pain
Neck pain can interfere with our quality of sleep and general well being; however, research✓ suggests that our sleep posture can prevent or at least minimise it. It has been well established that if you're battling with neck pain, the best positions for sleep are on your back or your side.
- Back sleepers: If you sleep on your back, you ideally need a pillow to support the natural curve of your neck and cushion your head. Pillows with a medium loft that elevate the head just enough to sit in line with the neck are a good option. This support can also be achieved by using a small rounded pillow under the neck for extra support and the main pillow supporting the head. There are many available options with built-in support and an indentation for the head.
- Side sleepers: To avoid neck pain, keeping the head aligned with the spine is important - essentially filling the gap between the bed and your neck. Like back sleepers, not all pillows may support the higher curve of the neck when sleeping on your side. The best pillow for side sleepers with neck pain should have a high enough loft so that the head is neutral with the chin straight ahead but not so high that the upper ear is pushed towards your shoulder. Note, people with bigger shoulders usually need a higher loft. Pillows that offer an elevated area under the neck may be a good choice for side sleepers with neck pain.
- Stomach sleepers: If you're dealing with neck pain, it's best to try and avoid sleeping on your front as the spine is arched and forces the head to one side for many hours at a time. This position can add unnecessary strain to muscles and joints and cause excess stress on the neck. If stomach sleeping is unavoidable, it may be best to choose a thin pillow or no pillow at all.
The purpose of pillows is to support the head and neck. Failure to do so correctly can cause or exacerbate existing neck pain, resulting in poor sleep quality, which research✓ shows can make it more challenging to recover from neck pain! There is no one-size-fits-all solution; however, being aware of the different pillow types, materials, and factors to look out for can put you in a better position to make the most well-informed decision.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best pillow for neck pain?
Choosing the best pillow will be dependent on your individual needs and preferences. Certain factors such loft, firmness, shape, price, and quality should be taken into account, as well as the materials used and position in which you sleep. If your neck is not under any strain and you feel the optimal balance of comfort and support, you are less likely to experience pillow-related neck pain.
What is the best pillow for side sleepers with neck pain?
For side sleepers to avoid neck pain, keeping the head aligned with the spine is vital - essentially filling the gap between the bed and your neck. The best pillow for side sleepers with neck pain should have a high enough loft so that the head is neutral with the chin straight ahead but not so high that the upper ear is pushed towards your shoulder. Pillows that offer an elevated area under the neck may be a good choice for side sleepers with neck pain.
What is the best memory foam pillow for neck pain?
The best memory foam pillow for neck pain will be one that contours best to your head shape, relieves pressure, distributes weight evenly, and provides adequate cushioning and support.