Best Pillows for Back Pain

Authored by: Dr. William Kemp

Good alignment of your spine is just as important when you’re lying down as it is when you’re standing up. So if you suffer from back pain, the first thing to consider when lying down is if you have enough support.

Having the right pillow matters — and that means making sure you have a pillow that supports good alignment of your head, neck, shoulders and back. The goal is to reduce pressure on your spine and promote blood circulation.

Next consider your pillow’s interior materials — that dictates the level of support and comfort. Depending on how you sleep, you should consider choosing between memory foam, latex and down.

And don’t forget to take into account HOW you sleep. If you’re a stomach sleeper or have a light frame, go for the soft to medium soft pillows. Side or back sleeper? Seek out a medium-firm pillow. Medium firmness offers contouring to align the head and neck. Side sleepers and those with a heavier frame should seek out a firm to extra firm pillow because they provide added support since the extra resistance keeps the head from sinking into the pillow — especially important for those with severe neck pain.

And finally, look for the right pillow size. The basic rule is the pillow’s height should allow for your head and neck to be aligned with your spine. You may need to test them out. Sometimes finding the right pillow means a little trial and error — but it’s well worth it and can mean the difference between waking up with or without pain.

If you’re on a tight budget, consider a basic cervical contour pillow with height options so you get the most bang for your buck like this one or the Anvo pillow which has soft and firm options:

Here are some other favorites:

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