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The 7 Best Cervical Pillows for Neck Pain Relief

If you suffer from acute or chronic neck pain, overlooking your pillow would be a mistake.

A cervical pillow gently stretches and relaxes your neck and shoulder muscles, while supporting your neck and keeping your spine aligned all night.

This results in neck pain relief at night, and speedier recovery from cervical injuries and disc degeneration, while allowing you a better and more restorative sleep.

If you suffer from a military neck, herniated cervical disc, neck arthritis, neck stiffness, or any neck problem – an orthopedic neck pillow – can be very helpful.

best cervical pillows neck traction pillow reviews

But, how to choose the best cervical pillow – for the best price?

👉 Related: More ways to do neck traction at home

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In a hurry?

Through our research, here are our recommendations for the 7 best neck traction pillows of 2022. Below the table, you’ll find our full cervical pillow reviews.

Cervical PillowBest ForMaterial/DensityPrice
EPABO
Best for Military neck
100% memory foam
Polyester cover
Check Price on Amazon
Therapeutica
Best for Cervical Bulging Disc
Molded foam
Polyester & cotton cover
$89-$111 at HPFY
Or Check Price on Amazon
Tempurpedic Neck Pillow

Best for Neck Arthritis
Tempur foam
Knitted polyester cover
$109- $149 at Tempurpedic
SpignAlign Pillow
Best for Side Sleepers

CertiPUR-US® fill
Polyester & mesh cover
$149 at SpignAlign
Cradle Me
Best Butterfly Pillow
Memory foam
Polyester cover
Check Price on Amazon
Arc4life
Best for Back Sleepers
Polyester fill
No cover
Check Price on Amazon
Core 200
Best for Forward Head Posture
Fortrel fiber fill
Cotton cover
Check Price on Amazon
Comparing the best cervical pillows according to best uses, filling material, cover material, and price.

What is a Cervical Pillow?

A cervical pillow supports your neck in the neutral aligned position and lifts your head to the proper height while you sleep on your back or side. It helps your neck stay in its optimal C-Curve (lordotic curve), consistent with the rest of your spine. Both support and comfort are critical for preventing neck pain, healing neck injuries, and healthy sleep.

Cervical pillows can relieve neck muscle and joint strains, neck morning stiffness, neck arthritis, military neck, whiplash injuries, neck spinal stenosis, tension headaches, and more.

Attention
We’ve researched and found the BEST Hybrid Mattresses for back/neck pain sufferers – in 2022!

How to Choose a Pillow for Neck Pain Relief

When choosing a cervical pillow, consider the width of your shoulders and the size of your head and if you are not sure of the ideal pillow height, choose an adjustable pillow.

Also consider the pillows’ durability, shape, size, filling, and materials – to make the best decision. Here are the details:

1. Resilience & Durability

Every pillow has a shelf life. With cervical traction pillows, the shelf life depends on the quality of materials, but mostly on how dense it is.

Some pillows have less stuffing in them, which makes them less dense and therefore will break down faster. Others are denser, but because they are firmer, they could be less comfortable.

The best pillow will be dense enough to last for years, but not too dense to be uncomfortable.

To prevent your investment from disappearing in a year, look for a pillow that offers a warranty for losing shape and resilience.

For example, the Therapeutica sleeping pillow comes with a 5-year warranty for resilience.

2. Shape

Neck traction pillows come in different shapes.

You have trapeze-centered pillows, v-shape pillows, contour pillows, and ones that have a wedge extension to support your upper back.

It depends on personal preferences, but I can tell you that some pillows are not well fitted for side sleepers.

If you’re a side sleeper, choose a pillow that its side-sleeping portions (“side wings”) do not allow your head to slip back to the center while you’re sleeping, or allow your neck to be tilted either up or down.

👉 RELATED: the 2 best back sleeping pillows to train yourself to sleep on your back.

3. Size

Cervical traction neck pillows come in different sizes (usually small, medium, and large).

Sometimes the size depends upon the distance between the side of your head and your shoulder. Other times it depends on the size of your bed. For most average-sized people the medium size should be perfect.

4. Materials

Some cervical pillows are made with foam, some with memory foam, and some with Polyester fiber.

They all have their pros and cons, but some say that memory foam is less than ideal, because as you sleep and the pillow gets warm – your head sinks into the pillow and spinal alignment is reduced.

The foam will feel “harder” than Polyester but will support your neck a bit better.

For example, the arc4life cervical linear traction pillow is stuffed with Polyester fabric, while the Therapeutica pillow is made of foam.

The Top 7 Cervical Pillows for Neck Pain (& Headaches)

Here are the pros and cons of all the cervical pillows:

1. EPABO Pillow – Best for Military Neck/Neck Fusion Surgery 

best pillow for military neck

EPABO contour memory foam pillow – view on Amazon

  • Material: 100% memory foam
  • Size 3 sizes (small/queen/”high” queen.
  • Cover – hypoallergenic rayon/polyester proprietary blend
  • Warranty – 30-day trial

The Epabo memory foam neck support pillow is Amazon’s best-seller in neck pain pillows and is made with breathable memory foam, in 3  different sizes.

This pillow’s special design allows you to take out a removable piece of memory foam at the bottom of the pillow if it feels too high for you.

However:

This mainly applies to stomach and back sleepers. The height on the sides stays the same. See the image below:

epabo pillow review

Control the height of the pillow with this special design

We also find this pillow is the best pillow for a military neck, see the image below:

EPABO – helps to relieve and heal military neck

EPABO neck pillow Pros (According to Consumers)

  • Firm enough to support the neck during the night, yet comfortable
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Fits all sleep positions, even stomach sleepers find this pillow comfortable.
  • Good customer service

Cons

  • You may experience some discomfort during the first two weeks while your body is trying to adjust to the correct position

 Pricebest price found on Amazon

2. Therapeutica Pillow Best for Cervical Bulging Disc

best neck traction pillow for cervical bulging disc

Therapeutica Sleeping Pillow – view on Amazon

  • Filling – eco-friendly molded foam
  • Cover – polyester/cotton machine washable zippered pillow cover (included)
  • Size – 5 sizes (Child/Petite/Average/Large/XL)
  • Warranty – 5 years

The Therapeutica orthopedic cervical pillow incorporates 2 pillow shapes into one with different heights for back and side sleeping. Although it has an odd shape, it correctly positions the head and neck, both when sleeping on the side and back.

The center tongue, which supports the neck towards the area between the shoulder blades, works very well and gives the gentle stretch you need to relieve a bulging/herniated disc during your sleep. 

A unique feature of this pillow is the wedge extension which supports your upper back as well.

Resilience – the Therapeutica pillow is made of foam, which is dense and won’t crumble easily. In any case, this pillow has a 5-year warranty for shape and resilience.

Side Sleeping – this is one of the best cervical traction pillows for side sleepers, thanks to its excellent side wings, which are easy to keep your head on when you’re sleeping on your side, and won’t make your head tilt forward or slide back down to the center.

👉 RELATED: The Best pillows for side sleepers with neck pain (including buckwheat pillows, latex pillows, and more!)

cervical neck traction pillow

 Price – $89-$111 at HPFY or check the price on Amazon (but it’s more expensive there)

Therapeutica Pros (According to Consumers) 

  • This pillow is very comfortable to sleep on while aligning your neck and spine – either on your back or on your side.
  • It takes no getting used to, and the side wings are better than any other pillow we’ve tried.

Cons

  • This pillow would probably not be comfortable for someone with a reversed cervical curve, or an immobile neck. For most everyone else it can be the perfect cervical pillow.

3. TEMPUR Neck Pillow – Best for Neck Arthritis

best pillow for neck arthritis

TEMPUR-neck pillow – extra firm – view at Tempurpedic

  • Filling – Tempur high-density foam
  • Cover – Polyester Knit Hypoallergenic cover (included)
  • Size – 4 sizes (Small/Medium/Large/Travel)
  • Warranty – 5 years

The TEMPURPEDIC neck pillow is designed to follow the natural curve of your body and keeps the neck aligned for back and side sleepers all night – without any more bells and whistles. This neck alignment is very important for preventing neck arthritis pain at night.

The extra firm contoured TEMPUR material keeps your neck from sinking into the pillow, and the 3 sizes you can choose from make it fit for all body types and sleep positions.

Size and neck height: 

tempur contoured neck pillow

TEMPUR-Neck Pillow pros (According to Consumers)

  • Durable and firm – doesn’t lose shape over the years, supports and aligns the neck well
  • Good customer service, established brand
  • Comfortable – the softcover balances out the firm material

tempur neck pillow review

👉 RELATED: The Best Tempurpedic Pillows for back/neck pain

Price – $119 at Tempurpedic, or check the price on Amazon

Cons

  • Does not fit the stomach sleepers

4. Cradle Me Cervical Pillow – Best Butterfly Pillow for Neck Pain

best butterfly pillow for neck pain

Cradle me butterfly neck traction pillow – view on Amazon

  • Filling – non-toxic memory foam
  • Cover – 100% Polyester Blend Cover (included)
  • Size – 17 x 15 x 5 inches
  • Warranty – 111 nights trial

The Cradle Me cervical contour pillow is made with high-quality and odorless memory foam that stays firm no matter how long you use it.

The versatile butterfly design (with the “wings”) cradles your head and supports any sleep position (except stomach sleeping), with multiple heights you can choose from while supporting the natural neck curvature.

We love that the neck support under the neck doesn’t dig in when you sleep on your back, and the pillow doesn’t shove your head forward either. The butterfly wings just seem to cradle your face without squishing your cheeks in.

Patent-pending butterfly design

We love the fact that this pillow is made in the US, and the company has great customer service. We also

Cradle Me Cervical Pillow Pros (According to Consumers)

  • Firm enough to support your neck yet has a soft, comfortable cover
  • 100% money-back guarantee from the company
  • Made in the US
  • Fits all sleep positions, except stomach sleeping

Price – best price is found on Amazon

Cons

  • Some users feel that the pillow is too soft, and some complained that it has flattened out after a few months.

5. SpineAlign Pillow – Best for Side Sleepers

best pillow for side sleepers with neck pain

SpineAlign Pillow – most adjustable – view at SpignAlign

  • Filling – blend of CertiPUR-US® fill
  • Cover – soft polyester fabric with strips of mesh built into the sides
  • Size – 23″x17″x6″
  • Warranty – 60-night trial, 5-year warranty

The SpignAlign pillow was designed by Dr. Jason Loth, a sports chiropractor with many years of experience. The 3 strategically placed zippers on the back of the pillow allow you to adjust the shredded fill blend (CertiPUR-US® certified) in any way you want to, meaning you can have a 2-inch loft or a 5-inch loft if you choose.

When you take the SpineAlign pillow out of the box, it seems like the middle part (head section) is flat while the sides are somewhat firm.

But make no mistake, everything about this 4-sided cervical pillow is adjustable and customizable.

(There is a step-by-step guide for adjusting the pillow – on the official site).

spine align cervical pillow review

Adjustable for all neck sizes

This four-sided pillow has separate places for head support, neck support and for side and back sleeping, and a soft quilted cover that feels great against the skin.

The only con is that it takes some time to find the right adjustment, and it’s not a good choice for stomach sleepers.

Price – $149 at SpignAlign or check the price on Amazon

6. Arc4life Cervical Pillow – Best for Back Sleepers

arc4life neck traction pillow

Arc4life Cervical Linear Traction Pillowview on Amazon

  • Material: nonallergenic polyester fiber
  • Size – 3 sizes (small/king/ queen)
  • Cover – doesn’t come with a cover (only a dust cover)
  • Warranty – 30-day trial, 5% fee for returning and shipping not refundable

The arc4life cervical pillow is a V-shaped cavity center pillow. The special “V” shape in the neck pillow cradles your head and gently lifts your head away from your shoulders.

At the same time, the neck roll underneath supports your neck. While sleeping on your side, the soft wings keep your head at the right height from the mattress, to relieve strain on your neck and shoulders.

Resilience – through my research, I’ve found that the arc4life starts to lose shape after 12 months. I found no warranty.

Comfort – the pillow keeps your neck in proper alignment so it’s awkward, but after a couple of nights, it becomes very comfortable.

Price – We found the best price on Amazon.

Arc4life Pros (According to Consumers)

  • Through our research, the arc4life traction pillow is quite comfortable and is especially well fitted for people sleeping on their backs.
  • You can use the traction side for sleeping – thus giving your cervical spine a gentle stretch or the support side for sleeping.
  • The V is not prominent, it is subtle, just enough to keep your head and neck in the proper position. However, if you have a short neck you may find this pillow not right for you.

Cons

  • It takes a couple of nights to get used to but then becomes very comfortable.
  • If you are a side sleeper, you should know that the side wings are not firm enough to keep your head in them and you may find your head sliding back to the center (and out of alignment) when you’re side sleeping.

Pro Tip

Use a high-quality neck massager pillow to immediately relieve your cervical muscle pain during the day. We reviewed and compared the 5 best shiatsu massage pillows 

7.  Tri-Core Cervical Pillow – Best for Forward Head Posture

best cervical pillow for back sleepers with neck pain

Tri-Core Cervical Pillowbest price on all sizes – on Amazon  

  • Material: fortrel fiber
  • Size – 3 sizes (small/medium/large)
  • Cover – 100% cotton
  • Warranty – 30-day trial, 5% fee for returning and shipping not refundable

The Tri-Core Cervical Pillow has a unique trapezoid center that gently cradles your head and supports the neck in its natural position. The head cradle combined with the neck support can help correct forward head posture while you sleep.

It is also a reasonably priced pillow, compared with others on this list.  For example, the Core 200 costs half of the Therapeutica and Arc4life neck pain pillows price. Check today’s price.

tri core cervical pillow review

The Tri-Core neck support pillow comes in 2 firmness levels. The large one is about 3-4 inches high (lifting your head).

To be exact – on the wider side, it is about 3″ deep and about 5″ across to the indentation. On the narrow side, it is less than an inch deeper and about 6″ across to the indentation.

It may not be comfortable in the first few days, but later it becomes very comfortable.

Tri-Core Pillow Pros & Cons (According to Consumers)

The Tri-Core 200 is a comfortable pillow, even for side sleepers. The side wings are firm enough to keep your head well supported and in good alignment, but not too firm to be uncomfortable.

This is quite a firm pillow so if this is what you need or your doctor recommends – it delivers. It’s as firm as it can be without being hard.

✅ Price – check today’s price on Amazon

What is the BEST Cervical Pillow? 

The Therapeutica Cervical pillow is the best cervical pillow for neck pain. It positions your head and neck perfectly, both when sleeping on the side and on your back. The wedge extension supports your upper back like no other pillow, it’s comfortable and comes with a 5-year warranty for losing shape. It’s the winner!

The runner-up is the popular Tempur-Neck pillow.

Note: If you want to take neck pain relief up a notch, we recommend buying a high-quality neck heating pad to relieve your pain naturally – during the day.

More Ways to Relieve Neck Pain At Home

👉Here’s our review of the top 3 neck and shoulder heating pads of 2022.

👉 Here’s how to do neck traction at home.

How to Use a Cervical Pillow

If you are a back sleeper, make sure to bring your shoulders up to the pillow, with the neck wedge side close to you, and rest your neck on the contoured neck wedge. If you are a side sleeper, rest your face on the elevated sides. If you are a stomach sleeper, you may want to consider a flatter pillow.

Here’s a short video explanation, showing you the Epabo Pillow:

Do Cervical Pillows Work?

A systematic review of 11 studies with 309 participants has shown moderate evidence that a contoured pillow design, 7-11 centimeters of the central pillow height, and a cooling surface (all typical to cervical pillows) can improve sleep quality, spine alignment and decrease sleep-related neck pain.

Who Can Benefit from a Cervical Pillow?

Anyone suffering from neck stiffness, neck muscle pain, cervical herniated/bulging disc, pinched nerves, neck arthritis, military neck, and degenerative disc disease can benefit from cervical pillows.

To your health and happiness,

The Back Pain Relief Products Team

Studies

Ahmed Radwan, Nicholas Ashton, Trever Gates, Austin Kilmer, Michael VanFleet,
Effect of different pillow designs on promoting sleep comfort, quality, & spinal alignment: A systematic review,
European Journal of Integrative Medicine, Volume 42, 2021, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eujim.2020.101269.

Meital James
 

Meital James, Founder and CEO of 4 healthy living blogs, has a background in Naturopathic medicine, research, journalism, and nutrition. Her blogs are the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and experience and all the posts are verified by scientific findings.

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