Sometimes, chronic neck pain is the result of years of a misaligned area of your spine called the “cervical spine.” This area at the very top of your spine connects your neck to your upper back. Luckily, there are pillows out there that can help you achieve proper alignment.
I’ve tested some of the best cervical pillows out there and curated a list of the five best! Keep reading to see what they are!
Editor’s Note: This article is intended for educational purposes only. It should not be taken as medical advice. If you are facing chronic, severe neck pain, please consult your doctor.
Our Top Picks for the Best Cervical Pillows
- TEMPUR-Neck – Best Cervical Pillow for Neck Pain
- Zamat Butterfly Button Shaped Cervical Pillow – Best Cervical Memory Foam Pillow
- Zamat NekGenic – Best Chiropractic Cervical Pillow
- Sutera – Best Cervical Pillow on Amazon
- Cushion Lab Ergonomic Cervical Pillow – Best Cervical Pillow for Side Sleepers
Best for Neck Pain – TEMPUR Neck
The ergonomic shape to the TEMPUR-Neck pillow makes it an ideal pillow for anyone dealing with neck pain. This solid slab of memory foam will contour to your head and neck, giving you good support and will alleviate neck pain.
Mattress Clarity Score
3.90 / 5Read Full Review
Who’s it For?
When it comes to neck pain relief, people often turn to their pillows. The TEMPUR Neck pillow is TEMPUR-Pedic’s answer to helping those with a crick in their neck. This pillow features an ergonomic shape, also called a “contour” shape, which can help support your neck and upper back and relieve neck pain.
This area of your spine is called the “cervical” spine, and this pillow’s shape follows the natural curvature of your neck. It’s made of a single piece of TEMPUR Material, which is TEMPUR-Pedic’s proprietary foam.
It feels firm, but will still have that slow-moving foam feel to it that makes it comfortable to sleep on.
What Makes the TEMPUR-Neck Pillow Stand Out?
- Its ergonomic shape is intended to support your neck and upper back, which will alleviate neck pain.
- The TEMPUR-Neck is made of a single piece of firm, but slow-moving TEMPUR material.
- You can opt for a cooling cover or a larger size depending on your needs.
Read our full TEMPUR-Neck pillow review.
Best Memory Foam – Zamat Butterfly Button Cervical Pillow
Zamat Butterfly Button Shaped Cervical Pillow
The Zamat Butterfly Button Shaped Cervical Pillow has a unique design. It cradles your head and follows the curvature of your neck and spine for a proper alignment while you sleep.
Who’s it For?
Cervical pillows are easy to identify because they have a shape that you don’t see very often. The Zamat Butterfly Cervical pillow features a “butterfly” design that has cutouts on the side to accommodate your hands and arms for side and stomach sleeping.
It is made of a single piece of foam that feels very soft and plush, but still responsive and supportive. This makes it easy to move around and change positions if you’re a combination sleeper.
The dip in the middle of the pillow will cradle your head while the rest of the pillow supports your neck and upper back to help find a natural alignment while you sleep.
What Makes the Zamat Butterfly Cervical Pillow Stand Out?
- The unique design to this pillow was built around supporting your neck and upper back.
- It’s made of soft, but supportive memory foam.
- Zamat mentions it has a “hollow” design and a breathable cover so it won’t trap heat.
Best Chiropractic – Zamat NekGenic
NekGenic Neck Pillow
the NekGenic Neck pillow is a great option for people looking to reduce neck pain. Use it for 8-10 minutes a day and the pillow will stretch our your neck and upper back to reduce neck pain!
Mattress Clarity Score
4.90 / 5
Who’s it For?
Even if you’ve invested in a pillow to help out with neck pain, some people want relief all throughout the day. If you’ve got time in your day to squeeze in a quick 10 minute nap, the Zamak NekGenic is an ideal choice for your cervical spine.
Though it may not look like one, the NekGenic is indeed a pillow! It is made of firm, dense foam that you can rest your neck on to help relax its muscles to find additional relief. There are also raised points along the pillow to massage your neck.
Because it’s a therapeutic pillow, you only need to use it for roughly 10 minutes a day. It’s also small and compact enough to be stored in luggage for those who want its help on the go.
What Makes the Zamat NekGenic Pillow Stand Out?
- Though it’s not meant for long sleep, the NekGenic can be effective at relieving neck pain with just a 10 minute nap.
- It’s made of very dense, firm foam with raised points to massage your neck.
- The cover is infused with magnetic particles to provide “magnetic therapy” which can help with blood flow.
Read our full Zamat NekGenic pillow review.
Best on Amazon – Sutera
The Sutera pillow has a unique contoured shape that will keep your spine in its natural, curved state. All three sleeping positions will enjoy this pillow due to its soft foam feel and unique contoured shape.
Mattress Clarity Score
3.90 / 5
Who’s it For?
Chances are, if you’re looking for a pillow to help with your neck alignment and neck pain, you want that relief at the click of a button. Amazon has, quite literally, everything you need, including the Sutera Dreams Cervical pillow.
Because you can find this pillow on Amazon, you’ll be able to get it lightning fast with Amazon’s shipping. And if you’re lucky enough, you’ll be able to find it discounted, too. But even without sales, this pillow does have a fairly affordable price.
It’s made of a single piece of foam that has “butterfly wing” cut outs on the side. These will accommodate your hands and arms if you sleep on your side or on your stomach. The foam is comfortable and contouring, but still supportive and easy to move around on.
What Makes the Sutera Dreams Cervical Pillow Stand Out?
- Because you can purchase through Amazon, you’ll get this pillow very quickly and often for a deal.
- It features the “butterfly” shape to allow for all sleeping positions.
- It’s made of a single piece of memory foam that feels very responsive and easy to move around on.
Best for Side Sleepers – Cushion Lab Ergonomic Cervical Pillow
Cushion Lab Ergonomic Cervical Pillow
The Cushion Lab Ergonomic Cervical pillow is a single piece of foam that can stretch out your cervical spine, an area in your neck and upper back. This can help you sleep in a more natural and neutral position.
Who’s it For?
Side sleeping is the most common sleeping position, and for those who need help with their neck and spinal alignment, the Cushion Lab Cervical pillow is an ideal choice. This pillow was designed by a physical therapist with the intention of cradling your head, supporting your neck, and enhancing your spinal alignment.
Cushion Lab uses a proprietary memory foam called Hyperfoam™, which will feel much firmer and more responsive than your standard memory foam. Because it’s so firm, your head and neck won’t sink too far into the pillow. This is ideal for side sleeping, because side sleepers need to keep their heads elevated while they sleep.
What Makes the Cushion Lab Cervical Pillow Stand Out?
- It was designed by a certified physical therapist to fit into your cervical spine and keep your head and neck supported.
- It’s made of a type of memory foam called Hyperfoam™, which is responsive and easy to move around on.
- The loft should work well for side sleepers who are looking for a cervical pillow.
What is a Cervical Pillow?
Cervical pillows are designed to support an area of your spine called the cervical spine. This is the top most portion of your spine, which includes your skull, the vertebrae that make up your neck, and the beginning of your upper back.
Because our spines have a natural curve to them, cervical pillows are designed to follow that natural curve. This makes cervical pillows look much different from the standard pillow, often having groves and divots to contour to your head, neck, and upper back.
How to Use a Cervical Pillow
When it comes to sleeping with a cervical pillow, there could be some confusion. As I mentioned, they don’t look like the standard, rectangular pillows. These types of pillows often have cut outs or divots that are specifically designed to cradle your head and neck. So if you’ve never used one before, you might not know where to place your head.
Luckily, most brands who make cervical pillows will include maps on the product listing to show you where your head and neck should go. Often, there’s going to be a dip or a basin in the middle of the pillow, which is where your head goes.
Along the long sides, one side should have a section that dips downward, which is where you’ll rest your neck. This combination of features are designed to follow the curvature of your neck, and help stretch out this area of your spine.
Cervical Pillow Benefits
Just like the best pillows for neck pain, the best cervical pillows can help you relieve chronic neck pain. They do this by stretching out your neck while following the curvature of your cervical spine. This can help you find a more comfortable and natural position to rest your head while you sleep.
Finding a proper, neutral alignment is the best way to combat chronic neck pain, especially if your pillow is to blame. The loft of a pillow is important to consider to avoid developing neck pain. But cervical pillows are different in that they’re shaped specifically for your neck.
When you’re using a pillow with the incorrect loft, be it too tall or too short, you cause your neck to bend in a direction it’s not intended. For side sleepers, this could be a pillow that’s too short. Cervical pillows can help support the neck and cradle the head, preventing it from dipping too low.
Back sleepers might be using a pillow that’s too tall, causing their chins to jut into their chests. Cervical pillows help extend your neck and pull your head back to find a more neutral alignment.
Some cervical pillows are also intended for stomach sleeping. Pillows like the Sutera have a slight decline on the other side of the pillow, which can help stomach sleepers out by keeping their head from craning upwards.
|TEMPUR-Neck||Best Cervical Pillow for Neck Pain|
|Zamat Butterfly Button Shaped Cervical Pillow||Best Memory Foam Cervical Pillow|
|Zamat NekGenic||Best Chiropractic Cervical Pillow|
|Sutera||Best Cervical Pillow on Amazon|
|Cushion Lab Ergonomic Cervical Pillow||Best Cervical Pillow for Side Sleepers|
Do cervical pillows work?
For some, yes! They’re often used as a remedy for chronic neck pain. They work by following the curvature of your neck, which helps stretch it out and keeps you sleeping in a neutral alignment.
Where can I buy a cervical pillow?
Just about anywhere! You don’t need a prescription to purchase a cervical pillow. Some brands sell them online, and most can be found on Amazon as well.
Of course, if you’re dealing with chronic neck pain and a cervical pillow can’t help, I highly recommend reaching out to your doctor.
Are cervical pillows good for side sleepers?
They are! Many cervical pillows are tall enough to support your neck and keep your head from dipping too far up or down. However, if you’re not ready to invest in a cervical pillow, check out our list of the best pillows for side sleepers.
Can using a cervical pillow be painful?
Though many cervical pillows are designed to help with neck pain, if you’re not resting on them correctly, you could develop some neck pain. Many brands provide infographics or maps on how to use a cervical pillow, and where your head and neck should be placed.
Tony is a staff writer at Mattress Clarity where he analyzes sleep products and appears in review videos. He earned a B.A in English from Sam Houston State University and a M.A in Mass Communication from Texas State University.
When he isn’t writing about sleep products, Tony loves to unwind with a good book or can be found playing Pokemon Go outside with his friends, or cuddling with his cat, Penguin. He’s always down to try a new, local restaurant and try new foods.