The Best Pillows for Back Pain!

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Back pain can develop for a variety of reasons. But one thing is for sure: if you experience back pain, you can kiss a good night’s sleep goodbye. Surprisingly, pain relief can come in the form of a pillow.

Yes, it’s true, pillows can help alleviate back pain! That’s why I’ve compiled a list of the best pillows for back pain to help out. I should note, I’m not a medical professional, but my knowledge of pillows and proper neck and spinal alignment has given me some insight on how to help.

Keep reading to see my top picks!

Our Top Picks for the Best Pillows for Back Pain

Editor’s Pick – Layla Kapok

Layla Kapok Pillow

Layla Kapok Pillow

The Layla Kapok pillow combines shredded foam and natural kapok tree fibers to give you a great balance of comfort and support. You can also take out some of this fill to adjust the height of the pillow to make it work for you.

Mattress Clarity Score
4.50 / 5 starstarstarstarstar
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Accessories Details

Material
Material

Memory foam, Polyester, Viscose

Trial Period
Trial Period

120 nights

Warranty
Warranty

5-year warranty

Financing
Financing

Available

Shipping Method
Shipping Method

Free shipping minus HI and AK

Return Policy
Return Policy

Free returns

Who’s it for?

A woman handles the Lalay Kapok pillow, showing off the hexagonal design on the cover.Relieving back pain can start with getting proper alignment for your head and neck so that they’re in line with your spine. Adjustable loft pillows are a fantastic choice for achieving that neutral position because you can truly customize the pillow to you. And for that I turn to the Layla Kapok pillow.

This pillow combines shredded memory foam with plush, soft kapok tree fibers within the pillow’s inner core. Because you have the option to add in or remove the fill, you can make it as firm or soft, and as low or high as you need it to match your sleep position.

The outer removable cover has a copper infusion running through the fabric to pull away body heat. This means you’ll sleep cool on this pillow.

What Makes the Layla Kapok Pillow Stand Out?

  • You have the option to add in or remove the inner fill to adjust the pillow to your liking, which can help you achieve a neutral alignment.
  • The copper infusion in the cover will pull heat away, allowing you to sleep cool.
  • The shredded foam has that classic slow-moving feel to it, so you’ll get a proper alignment while the pillow contours to your head and neck.

Read our full Layla Kapok pillow review!

Best for Neck and Back Pain – Saatva Latex Pillow

Saatva Latex Pillow

Saatva Latex Pillow

The Saatva Pillow has an organic cotton cover that is removable. Underneath is an outer pillow made up of hypoallergenic microfibers.

Mattress Clarity Score
4.80 / 5 starstarstarstarstar
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Accessories Details

Material
Material

Latex

Trial Period
Trial Period

45 nights

Warranty
Warranty

1-year limited warranty

Financing
Financing

Available

Shipping Method
Shipping Method

Free shipping

Return Policy
Return Policy

Free returns

Who’s it for?

A woman rests on her back with the Saatva Latex Pillow.Back pain could start out as neck pain. If you want to kill two birds with one stone, the Saatva Latex pillow is a good option. This pillow has made our best orthopedic pillow and best pillows for neck pain lists and for good reason.

This soft pillow has two different materials that make it up. Within an organic cotton sateen cover, there’s a plush microfiber down alternative, which provides comfort. This surrounds a supportive shredded latex core, which prevents you from bottoming out of the pillow.

Saatva mentions that this combination of materials will help provide some pressure relief along your neck and shoulders, which can help reduce neck pain. And with keeping your head and neck in a neutral position, it should help prevent back pain from developing.

What Makes the Saatva Latex Pillow Stand Out?

  • It’s a soft pillow, but the supportive latex core keeps you in a neutral position while you sleep.
  • It can provide pressure relief and neck support, which will help alleviate neck pain.
  • It’s 100% hypoallergenic for those with sensitive allergies and looking to fight dust mites off.

Read our full Saatva Latex pillow review!

Best Memory Foam – COOP Home Goods Original

Coop Home Goods Original Pillow

Coop Home Goods Original Pillow

The Adjustable Shredded Memory Foam Pillow from Coop Home Goods is distinct in more than one way. The memory foam shredded filling is responsive and guarantees the pillow will never go flat, plus sleepers can remove as much filling as they like which makes it great for people who sleep in several positions.

Mattress Clarity Score
4.70 / 5 starstarstarstarstar
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Accessories Details

Material
Material

Memory foam, Polyester, Bamboo

Trial Period
Trial Period

100 nights

Warranty
Warranty

5-year limited warranty

Financing
Financing

Available

Shipping Method
Shipping Method

Free shipping minus HI and AK

Return Policy
Return Policy

Free returns

Who’s it for?

An image of the COOP home goods original pillow on a bed.Memory foam is a great material for people experiencing body aches and pain because it will contour around your body and provide pressure relief. The COOP Home Goods Original pillow is a good option for people who want that classic memory foam feel to their pillows.

The COOP Home Goods Original pillow is an adjustable pillow, which allows you to take out or add in the shredded foam fill. The company also provides you with an extra bag of fill in case you need it to be firmer or taller. Because of the adjustability, you can make it low and flat for stomach sleeping, or tall and firm for side sleeping.

Because you can get the right firmness and height, and this pillow conforms to your head and neck, you’ll find that correct, neutral alignment while you sleep.

What Makes the COOP Home Goods Original Pillow Stand Out?

  • The soft, slow-moving memory foam provides great contouring around your head, neck, shoulders, keeping them properly aligned.
  • It also comes in a body pillow version for more full body support.
  • The option to take out or add in fill makes it a win for all three sleeping positions.

Read our full COOP Home Goods Original pillow review!

Best for Side Sleepers – Eli & Elm Side Sleeper

Eli & Elm Side-Sleeper Pillow

Eli & Elm Side-Sleeper Pillow

If you’re a side sleeper looking for a supportive and comfy pillow, the Eli & Elm Side Sleeper Pillow has you covered. This U-shape pillow was specifically designed to alleviate neck pain and promote the proper spinal alignment.

Mattress Clarity Score
4.30 / 5 starstarstarstarstar
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Accessories Details

Material
Material

Polyester, Spandex

Trial Period
Trial Period

45 nights

Warranty
Warranty

5-year warranty

Financing
Financing

Not Available

Shipping Method
Shipping Method

Free shipping

Return Policy
Return Policy

Free returns

Who’s it for?

A woman rests on her side with the Eli & Elm side sleeper pillow.When it comes to sleeping on your side, pillows need to be very tall, and a little bit on the firm side. However, some pillows just don’t work well to fit your neck and shoulders, which can feel uncomfortable and put strain on your upper back. With the uniquely shaped Eli & Elm side sleeper pillow, you’ll be able to sleep in a comfortable position on your side.

One side of this pillow has a U-shaped cut out which will accommodate your shoulder. This shape is also designed to help promote a proper spinal alignment, which will help alleviate any back pain you may have.|

This is another adjustable pillow, so if you have narrower shoulders, you can take out some of the latex noodles within the pillow to lower its loft. But if you have broad shoulders, you have the option to add in additional fill, or even select that option at check out!

What Makes the Eli & Elm Side Sleeper Pillow Stand Out?

  • The U-shaped cutout on one side of the pillow is designed to accommodate your shoulder and promote spinal alignment.
  • You can take out or add in the fill to get the loft and firmness you need, which can also accommodate short or broad shoulders.
  • All the materials in this pillow are OEKO-Tex certified, meaning no harsh chemicals went into the production of this pillow.

Read our full Eli & Elm Side Sleeper pillow review!

Best Body Pillow – Yana 360

Yana 360 Body Pillow

Yana 360 Body Pillow

This U-shape pillow offers excellent lumbar support. Plus, its durable construction gives it a long lifespan.

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Accessories Details

Financing
Financing

Not Available

Who’s it for?

A woman sleeps on her side on the Yana 360 body pillowOne of the best ways to combat back pain, especially if you have lower back pain, is with a body pillow. Some you have to hug, but there are some body pillows that can hug you back with 360 degrees of support. Which is exactly why the Yana 360 body pillow was named as such!

The Yana pillow is a full body support pillow that wraps around your back, shoulder, and comes down your front. It has an organic bamboo cotton cover which feels very soft to the touch, and you have the option to have cooling gel memory foam or latex foam for the fill. Either should be a good option for hot sleepers.

Because this pillow goes along your back, you’ll be able to get a good amount of lumbar support while side sleeping. But this pillow is massive, and it can be made into different shapes and configurations that work for back and stomach sleepers, too.

What Makes the Yana 360 Pillow Stand Out?

  • It’s a great option for anyone dealing with lower back pain, or pregnant individuals who may be facing back pain during pregnancy.
  • It’s a cooling pillow – it’s made of many breathable components and won’t trap heat.
  • It’s ideal for side sleeping, but there are configurations that work for back sleeping or stomach sleeping.

Read our full Yana 360 pillow review!

Best Wedge – MedCline Shoulder Relief System

MedCline Shoulder Relief System

MedCline Shoulder Relief System

This three-part pillow system alleviates shoulder pain and can help with acid reflux symptoms.

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Accessories Details

Warranty
Warranty

1-year warranty

Financing
Financing

Not Available

Return Policy
Return Policy

Flat-rate return fee

Who’s it for?

A woman rests on her side using the MedCline Shoulder Relief pillow systemWhen it comes to chronic back pain, sometimes it takes more than just a regular pillow. Wedge pillows are great for alleviating back pain because they elevate your back and support spinal alignment. The MedCline Shoulder Relief System is a three-part body pillow that includes a firm, dense wedge to elevate you.

At the top of the wedge, there’s an open hole for you to put your arm through, which feels super comfortable and can even help alleviate some shoulder pain!

The main body pillow wraps around your back, or front depending on how you prefer to use it, which also provides exceptional back support. This combination of lumbar support and elevation makes for a pain-free night of sleep.

What Makes the MedCline Shoulder Relief System Stand Out?

  • This three-part body pillow includes a wedge that can help elevate your back to promote proper spinal alignment.
  • It works very well for side sleepers who might be dealing with shoulder pain, too.
  • Because the MedCline comes to you in separate pieces, you could just use the body pillow if that’s all you prefer to use.

Full review to come!

Best Orthopedic – Sutera

Sutera Pillow

Sutera Pillow

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 starstarstarstarstar
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Accessories Details

Material
Material

Memory foam, Polyester

Financing
Financing

Not Available

Shipping Method
Shipping Method

Free shipping

Return Policy
Return Policy

Free returns

Who’s it for?

An image of the Sutera pillow resting on a bed.When it comes to orthopedic pillows, the word “cervical” is often associated with these types of pillows. Here, the word cervical refers to an area in your neck and upper spine. Sutera is a popular orthopedic pillow that targets that cervical spine to help promote a healthy alignment.

In the middle of this pillow, there’s a divot that cradles the natural curve of your neck, which is how it works to get your head and neck in that neutral position. It’s made of a single piece of foam that feels medium-firm. You’ll get a great amount of support, while still feeling rather comfortable on this pillow.

And because it’s an orthopedic pillow, it can help with neck and shoulder pain as well. The sides have two “butterfly wing” cut outs for you to place your arms for side sleeping. This helps take some pressure off your shoulders, too!

What Makes the Sutera Pillow Stand Out?

  • The unique shape to this pillow promotes a healthy alignment for your head and neck, which in turn can help alleviate upper back pain.
  • It’s designed to be an orthopedic pillow to help with shoulder pain as well.
  • It’s a great option for both side and back sleepers who are looking for an orthopedic pillow to help with aches and pains.

Full review to come!

How to Choose the Best Pillows for Back Pain

Before I get too detailed here, I should note that I’m not a medical professional, and my knowledge of pillows should not be taken as medical advice. But it does provide me with some insight on how to help. If you are facing chronic or severe back pain, please consult your doctor.

A pillow might not be the first thing you’d think of when looking for ways to alleviate back pain. Sometimes, a crick in the neck can work its way down your spine and cause aches and pains to develop along your back.

Best Mattress For Back Pain - Lumbar Pain

When it comes to choosing the right pillow to help with back pain, consider where the back pain is first. If it’s upper back pain, near your shoulders and neck, the solution could be as simple as picking a pillow with the right loft for your sleeping position.

Back sleepers need something around 4”-5” tall, side sleepers 5”-6” tall, and stomach sleepers need something no more than 3” tall while sleeping. These heights will keep most sleepers’ spines aligned in each position. Side sleepers need to keep their head elevated, and firm pillows do a better job of that because you won’t sink too far into one.

A man sleeps on his back with the Avocado Molded Latex Pillow

However, if the back pain is more towards the lumbar area or your lower back, body pillows are a good option. Body pillows are designed for full body support and can help lift your hips up if you use them in front of you. Or they can provide some good lumbar support if they run down your back.

Of course, sometimes back pain can develop from an old or sagging mattress, and that’s where a pillow might not be as useful to help. Be sure to look at the best mattresses for back pain if this is the case for you.

Pillow Position for Back Pain

When it comes to positioning your pillow to help with back pain, just like choosing the right pillow, location matters. For shoulder and upper back pain, a standard pillow will do, you just need to make sure you’re picking the right pillow for your sleeping position. Look at the loft of the pillow, see if it’s an adjustable pillow, and go from there.

A woman sleeps on her side with the Tuft & Needle body pillow

When it comes to the lumbar area and lower back pain, body pillows are more equipped to help. If the body pillow can wrap around your shoulder, having it run along your back can provide great back support. In the case of the Yana pillow, it surrounds your body entirely, so you can play around with a position that works best for you.

FAQs

Are body pillows good for back pain?

In a word, yes! Body pillows are designed to provide full body support. Some can fully surround your body, like the Yana 360. This support can keep your spine in a natural alignment. It can take a little trial and error to find the right position that works best for you, but the name of the game here is achieving a natural spinal alignment, which will help alleviate back pain.

Is sleeping without a pillow good for back pain?

For some, sleeping without a pillow can help reduce back pain. If you’re a stomach sleeper, removing a pillow can help straighten and elongate your spine. Without the incline of a pillow, your spine can achieve that proper alignment a bit easier. Back sleepers may also do better without a pillow, but most will need some loft to keep their neck and spine aligned. Side sleepers, however, should still use a pillow.

For more information, we have a full article on sleeping without a pillow.

Does a knee pillow work for back pain?

Knee pillows are just a pillow you fit in between your knees, and they can help with reducing back pain. While side sleeping, placing a pillow in between your knees can help elevate one side of your hips, and could bring your spine into a more natural alignment. Knee pillows are also a great option if you face hip pain while you sleep, too.

Gravatar for Tony Klespis

Tony Klespis

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.