The 7 Best Cervical Traction Pillows for Neck Pain
If you suffer from acute or chronic neck pain, overlooking your pillow would be a mistake.
A cervical traction 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 – a cervical (neck) pillow – can be very helpful.
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?
👉 Jump to the top 7 cervical pillows for neck pain
- 1 What is a Cervical Pillow?
- 2 How to Choose a Pillow for Neck Pain
- 3 The Top 7 Cervical Pillows for Neck Pain (& Headaches)
- 3.1 1. EPABO Orthopedic Memory Foam Pillow – Best for Military Neck/Neck Fusion Surgery
- 3.2 2. Therapeutica Sleeping Pillow – Best for Neck Arthritis
- 3.3 3. TEMPUR-Neck Pillow – Best Extra Firm Orthopedic Pillow
- 3.4 4. Cradle Me Cervical Pillow – for All Sleep Positions
- 3.5 5. SpineAlign Pillow – Most Adjustable
- 3.6 6. Arc4life Cervical Pillow – Best for Side Sleepers
- 3.7 7. Tri-Core Cervical Pillow – Best for Back Sleepers with Neck Pain
- 4 What is the BEST Cervical Pillow for Neck Pain?
- 5 Cervical Traction Pillow FAQ
What is a Cervical Pillow?
A cervical traction 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.
How to Choose a Pillow for Neck Pain
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.
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.
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.
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 should be perfect.
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)
Through our research, here are our recommendations for the 7 best neck traction pillows of 2021. Below the table, you’ll find our full cervical pillows reviews.
|EPABO||Best for Military neck||Check Price on Amazon|
|Therapeutica||Best for Neck Arthritis/Bulging Disc|
or neck fusion surgery recovery
|$83 - $104 at HPFY |
|TEMPUR-Neck Pillow||Best Extra firm||$109- $149 at Tempurpedic|
|SpignAlign Pillow||Most Adjustable|
For people tossing and turning
|$149 at SpignAlign|
|Cradle Me||For all sleep positions|
The "wings" support all positions
|Check Price on Amazon|
|Arc4life||Best for Side sleepers||Check Price on Amazon|
|Core 200||Best for Back sleepers||Check Price on Amazon|
1. EPABO Orthopedic Memory Foam Pillow – Best for Military Neck/Neck Fusion Surgery
- 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 pillows’ 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.
This mainly applies to stomach and back sleepers. The height on the sides stays the same. See the image below:
We also find this pillow is the best pillow for a military neck, see the image below:
EPABO neck pillow Pros
- 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
✅ Price – best price found on Amazon
- You may experience some discomfort during the first two weeks while your body is trying to adjust to the correct position
2. Therapeutica Sleeping Pillow – Best for Neck Arthritis
- 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.
A unique feature in 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: pillows for side sleepers with neck pain (including buckwheat pillows, latex pillows, and more!)
✅ Therapeutica Pillow Price – See prices for all 5 sizes – at HPFY
- 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.
- 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 Extra Firm Orthopedic Pillow
- 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. The extra firm contoured TEMPUR material keeps your neck from sinking into the pillow, and the 3 sizes you can choose from makes it fit for all body types and sleep positions.
Size and neck height:
TEMPUR-Neck Pillow pros
- 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
Related: The Best TEMPUR Pillow for back/neck pain
✅ TEMPUR-Neck Pillow Price – check today’s sale prices on the official site
- Does not fit the stomach sleepers
4. Cradle Me Cervical Pillow – for All Sleep Positions
- 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, with multiple heights you can choose from while supporting the natural neck curvature.
We love the fact that this pillow is made in the US, and the company has great customer service.
- 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 position
✅ Price – best price is found on Amazon
- Some users feel that the pillow is too soft, some complained that it has flattened out after a few months
5. SpineAlign Pillow – Most Adjustable
- Filling – blend of CertiPUR-US® fill
- Cover – soft polyester fabric with strips of mesh built in 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).
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.
✅ SpineAlign Pillow Price – check today’s price At SpignAlign!
6. Arc4life Cervical Pillow – Best for Side Sleepers
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 slide back to the center (and out of alignment) when you’re side sleeping.
7. Tri-Core Cervical Pillow – Best for Back Sleepers with Neck Pain
- 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 next in its natural position. The most obvious difference between the Tri-core cervical pillow and the other pillows mentioned here – is the price.
The Core 200 costs half of the Therapeutica and Arc4life neck pain pillows price. Check today’s price.
Comfort – 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
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 for Neck Pain?
Through our 2021 research, 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 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 next best choice would be 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
👉Here’s our review for the top 3 neck and shoulder heating pads of 2021.
👉 Here’s how to do neck traction at home.
Cervical Traction Pillow FAQ
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 traction 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.
How Do I Use a cervical traction pillow?
To benefit from the effect of the neck pillow, all you have to do is sleep the entire night on it, while staying in a back sleeping posture or sleeping on your side.
Have you ever tried a cervical traction pillow to relieve your neck pain? what’s your experience? Share with all of us in the comments below.
To your health and happiness,
The Back Pain Relief Products Team
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.