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The Best Pillows For Back Pain, Reviewed by Forbes Vetted Experts

The Joint’s Dr. Kevin Lees, D.C. is an expert resource in a Forbes article on the best pillows for back pain.

Original article published by Forbes on February 28th, 2024 on Forbes

By Camryn Rabideau

The best pillows for back pain are crafted to support your head, neck and spine while you sleep. For most people with aches and pains, we recommend the Saatva Latex Pillow because of its supportive latex core and customizable height. Read on to discover the rest of our top picks for 2024, designed to meet different sleep positions and preferences.

Best Pillow For Back Pain Overall

A Supportive Latex Pillow That Comes In Two Heights

Fill: Shredded latex core with microdenier fibers

Size(s): Standard/queen or king

Firmness: Medium-firm

Warranty: 1 year

The Saatva Latex Pillow has a shredded latex core that provides responsive head and neck support throughout the night, helping to keep your spine in alignment to prevent back pain. This pillow comes in two heights—the standard option is better for back and stomach sleepers, while the high option is ideal for side sleepers—and there are two pillow sizes to choose from as well. The supportive core is wrapped in a layer of down-like microdenier fibers for a more plush feel, and this outer layer can be removed and machine-washed to keep your pillow looking and feeling clean.

What the reviews say:“The best sleep I've had in a long time. I have back and neck issues, and honestly have not been more comfortable as a back and side sleeper. So to anyone contemplating the investment, it's worth it.”


  • Available in two height options
  • Shredded latex core provides head and neck support
  • Outer layer and cover are machine-washable


  • More expensive than most pillows

Best Value Pillow For Back Pain

A Set Of Plush Pillows With Removable Inserts

Fill: Down alternative

Size(s): Standard, queen or king

Firmness: Plush

Waranty: N/A

The Eversnug Adjustable Pillows come in a set of two and are a budget-friendly option that can be easily tailored to your comfort level. They’re filled with a down alternative fiber that gives them a plush feel, and each pillow has three removable layers inside, allowing you to customize to the exact pillow height you desire. These pillows come in three different sizes—standard, queen and king—and they can be machine-washed for easy maintenance.

What the reviews say:“After a long search for the right pillow, I have finally found them. They are very comfortable—no more neck or shoulder pain. They keep their shape, and the price is right for two.”


  • Comes in a pack of two
  • Available in three sizes
  • Removable inserts allow for height adjustment


  • May be too plush for some sleep positions

Best Pillow For Neck And Back Pain

A Supportive Foam Pillow For Side And Back Sleepers

Fill: TEMPUR foam

Size(s): Small, medium or large

Firmness: Firm

Waranty: 5 years

If you end up sleeping in weird positions during the night, your spine may not be in proper alignment, which can lead to neck and back pain. The TEMPUR-Neck Pillow helps to keep your upper body properly positioned thanks to its contoured design, which follows the natural curve of the head and neck. It’s made from a firm memory foam and comes in three different sizes. Sleeping on it can help keep your neck and shoulders supported and relaxed throughout the night.

What the reviews say:“I have had neck and shoulder pain most of my life. This pillow allows me to fully relax those muscles with great support from the pillow. [It’s] completely comfortable and I'm virtually pain-free.”


  • Ergonomic shape keeps neck and spine in alignment
  • Three sizes available to suit different frames
  • Backed by a 5-year warranty


  • Brand doesn’t allow pillow returns
  • May take some time to adjust to pillow shape

Best For Side Sleepers With Back Pain

A Contoured, Adjustable Pillow With Space For Your Shoulder

Fill: Shredded latex and polyfiber

Sizes: Standard

Firmness: Adjustable

Warranty: N/A

This pillow from Eli & Elm is specifically designed to keep your spine in an ergonomic position when you are sleeping on your side. It has a U-shaped cutout that provides room for your shoulder and is filled with supportive shredded latex and plush polyfiber that conforms to your head and neck. You can also remove filling from the pillow as needed to achieve the perfect height and firmness level for your preferences—and if you want a thicker pillow, the brand also sells bags of extra fill.

What the reviews say:“The shape of this pillow is very supportive to my neck without having a hard preformed shape like many other side sleeping neck support pillows. I was hopeful it would help decrease neck and shoulder pain, and it has met all expectations.”


  • U-shape leaves room for your shoulder
  • Higher loft is ideal for side sleepers
  • Filling can be removed to adjust height and firmness


  • Standard pillowcases may not fit

Best Memory Foam Pillow For Back Pain

Regulates Temperature While Offering Support

Fill: TEMPUR-Blend

Sizes: Queen or king

Firmness: Medium-soft

Warranty: 5 years

Shredded memory foam pillows offer both comfort and support, making them a top choice for anyone who has neck or back pain. The Tempur-Cloud Adjustable Pillow is filled with a blend of three different types of memory foam to deliver proper support for your head and neck, as well as ample cushioning and temperature regulation throughout the night. You can unzip the pillow and remove (or add) filling to adjust its height and feel, making it well-suited for any sleep position. Plus, the brand backs its pillows with a 5-year warranty against defects—significantly longer than most other pillows.

What the reviews say:“The Tempur-Cloud Adjustable Pillow allows you to adjust the pillow's loft or height to accommodate your sleeping style. This design is particularly helpful if you have neck or back pain or sleep with your head elevated.”


  • Suitable for all sleep positions
  • Foam blend provides support and temperature regulation
  • Filling can be removed to adjust height and firmness


  • Brand doesn’t allow pillow returns

Best Pillow For Lower Back Pain

A Lumbar Pillow For Under Your Spine

Fill: Memory foam

Sizes: Standard

Firmness: Firm

Warranty: Lifetime

If you’re experiencing lower back pain, it could be because your lower spine isn’t adequately supported during the night. The Comfilife Lumbar Support Pillow is designed to be used underneath your back while sleeping, and it helps to maintain the natural curve of your spine to relieve lower back aches in the morning. It’s made from a tapered block of memory foam with a washable cover, and you can comfortably use it while sleeping on your back or side. Some people also use it for support under their knees to alleviate pressure across other parts of the body.

What the reviews say:“This pillow is the most helpful design for low back pain of anything that I have tried. The lower profile is the perfect height and is comfortable for back, side or stomach sleeping.”


  • Provides lower back support
  • Can be used in several positions
  • Backed by lifetime warranty


  • May be too large for shorter individuals

Best Pillow For Upper Back Pain

A Cervical Pillow To Keep Your Head Stable During The Night

Fill: Memory foam

Sizes: Standard, queen or king

Firmness: Firm

Warranty: N/A

Pain in the upper back and neck can be caused by an unnatural positioning of the head during the night, and while it may look unconventional, the Donama Cervical Pillow’s unique shape helps keep your head and neck properly aligned as you sleep. Its cervical shape is suitable for all sleep positions, featuring arm rests for stomach and side sleepers, and it even has a divot under the head area to keep you from overheating during the night. Its shape may take a few nights to get used to, but it’s ideal if you need to keep your head stabilized.

What the reviews say:“I was having a period of constant neck and upper back pain from sleeping wrong and trying to fix it with a bunch of pillows but still waking up sore with strained neck/shoulder muscles. [I] bought this pillow and it immediately stabilized everything and made it much easier to sleep comfortably and relax properly.”


  • Contoured design helps keep head and neck aligned
  • Integrated armrests for side and stomach sleepers
  • Open center for breathability


  • May take some time to adjust to pillow shape

Best Cooling Pillow For Back Pain

A Breathable Option That Comes In Three Heights

Fill: GelFlex layer and latex core

Sizes: Standard or king

Firmness: Medium-firm

Warranty: 1 year

If you’re a sleeper who runs warm to hot, the Purple Harmony Pillow has a breathable design to help prevent you from overheating at night. It has the brand’s signature “GelFlex Grid,” which doesn’t absorb heat, and the inner core is filled with breathable latex for a supportive yet plush feel. Not only are these materials temperature-regulating, they’re also more durable than polyfiber and other common fills, ensuring the pillow lasts longer. Plus, the Harmony is available in three height options, allowing you to choose the size that best suits your regular sleeping position.

What the reviews say:“It does an especially good job of staying cool overnight. I got a solid night's rest and woke up without any neck, shoulder or back pain.”


  • GelFlex Grid provides better airflow throughout the night
  • Pillow comes in three heights for different sleep positions
  • Materials retain their shape for longer


  • Some people may not like the texture of the pillow

Best For Combination Sleepers With Back Pain

A Plush Pillow For Sleeping On Your Side And Back

Fill: Polyester

Sizes: Standard

Firmness: Plush

Warranty: N/A

It can be tricky to find the right pillow if you alternate between multiple sleep positions, but the Company Essentials Duo Sleep Neck Posture Pillow is actually designed for both side and back sleeping. The plush polyester-filled pillow has a lower area in the middle that cradles your head and supports your neck while sleeping on your back, but the sides are higher, keeping your spine appropriately aligned when you roll onto your side. As a result, you don’t need to fold the pillow during the night as you switch positions, and the whole thing is machine-washable for easy cleaning.

What the reviews say:“This is the perfect pillow for this back and side sleeper, and trust me, I've been looking for years. [It provides] perfect neck support for a medium-sized woman who changes her sleeping positions.”


  • Allows you to easily switch sleep positions
  • Provides extra support on neck contours
  • Entire pillow is machine-washable


  • May not be firm enough for some people

Best Adjustable Pillow For Back Pain

A Popular Product With Shredded Foam Filling

Fill: Shredded memory foam

Sizes: Queen or king

Firmness: Medium-firm

Warranty: 5 years

The Coop Home Goods Bed Pillow is one of the most popular adjustable bed pillows out there today. It’s filled with plush yet supportive shredded memory foam, and the side of the pillow zips open, allowing you to remove fill to adjust the height of the pillow. The brand also includes a bag of extra fill with your purchase, making it easy to refresh your pillow if it ever starts to feel flat. This pillow comes in both queen and king sizes, and there’s also a U-shaped version available for side sleepers.

What the reviews say:“I’ve had my Coop pillow for over a year now and just bought this one for my husband. We used to struggle with back pain and neck pain before getting these, and now we rarely feel pain.”


  • Filling can be removed or added to adjust height
  • U-shaped versions available for side sleepers


  • Can get warm during the night

Why Trust Forbes Vetted

The editors and contributors at Forbes Vetted know how difficult it can be to find the best products for your bedroom and personal sleep preferences, especially when you’re shopping online. To help make your purchases easier (and avoid the need for returns), the Forbes Vetted team has extensively researched and reported on the best sleep products available today, using both firsthand testing insights from our professional product testers as well as expert input from top medical experts. We’ve put together multiple lists of the best pillows, best mattresses and much more to help you design the most comfortable, ergonomic space to rest that suits your needs and budget.

In addition to surveying the details of all the products included, we also spoke to Dr. Kevin Lees, D.C., director of chiropractic operations at The Joint Chiropractic about how pillows can sometimes contribute to back pain. He explained what factors can lead to back pain in the morning and how to select the right pillow to prevent these aches from occurring.

How We Chose The Best Pillows For Back Pain

The best pillow for back pain varies from person to person, as it largely depends on your size, preferred sleep positions and individual needs. To provide options that work for most people, we looked for pillows that come in multiple sizes and heights. We also prioritized options that are made from supportive and durable materials, such as memory foam and latex—as these help keep your head and neck in the appropriate position overnight and are less likely to become packed down over time.

What To Look For In The Best Pillows For Back Pain


If you’re experiencing back or neck pain in the morning, it may be because your pillow is too tall or too short. Ideally, your pillow should help keep your spine and neck in a neutral position—that means your neck shouldn’t be tilted up or down when you’re resting your head on the pillow.

There’s no one-size-fits-all pillow height that works for all people, which is why you may want to look for either an adjustable pillow or an option that offers multiple heights. In general, those who sleep on their sides often require a thicker pillow, while back and side sleepers require less loft.

Sleep Position

Your preferred sleep position is also a key factor when selecting a pillow: “Pillow choice should be decided by sleeping position,” recommends Lees. “Someone who sleeps on their back typically doesn’t need a thick pillow unless they have a lot of upper back curvature. Side sleepers usually require more loft, or a thicker pillow, to accommodate their shoulder.”

“Stomach sleepers—although not a recommended position—typically need a very thin pillow or sometimes no pillow at all,” he says. He also notes that cervical pillows, such as the Donama Cervical Pillow, are good for keeping the spine in an ergonomic position, but they can be hard to adjust to if you’re used to the shape and feel of a standard pillow.


To ensure you’re getting an appropriate level of support throughout the night, you want to look for a pillow that can hold up your head without being squished down too much. “Supportive material is important for both side and back sleepers, and firmer material, like latex or memory foam, reduces the chances of the pillow compacting and waking up with a stiff neck,” says Lees. Stomach sleepers, on the other hand, often need a softer, more plush pillow. Thin fiberfill pillows are often preferred for this sleep position.

Understanding Types Of Back Pain

There are a wide range of factors that can contribute to back pain, including your mattress, sleep position and pillow. If one of these factors is at fault, you likely experience acute back pain, which only lasts for a few days or weeks, and the aches will go away once you resolve the issue. On the other hand, if you have long-lasting or severe back pain, you should consult with your doctor to figure out the cause.

How can you tell if your pillow is causing your back pain? If your pillow is to blame, your pain is likely in your upper back or neck: “Neck stiffness in the morning is usually an early indicator that the pillow isn’t supporting the neck as it should,” explains Lees. Using a pillow that’s the wrong height or doesn’t offer comprehensive support could lead to waking up with aches and pains that linger throughout the day.

If your pain is lower in your back, chances are it’s a problem with your mattress. “If the person is experiencing mid to low back pain, looking at the mattress would be a good start,” he says. “It may be noticeable if the mattress has a divot or low spot where the support is worn down.” If this is the case, it may be time to invest in a new mattress that appropriately supports your spine.

What Kind Of Pillow Is Best For Lower Back Pain?

Lower back pain can occur when your lower back isn’t adequately supported during the night—often the result of a mattress that’s too soft. To help keep your spine supported, you may want to try sleeping with a lumbar pillow like the Comfilife Lumbar Support Pillow. When tucked under your lower back, the slightly elevated pillow keeps your spine in its natural shape while you’re resting on your back or side.

Is A Higher Pillow Better For Back Pain?

The best pillow height to prevent back pain largely depends on your sleep position. If you sleep on your side, you likely need a taller pillow to keep your head and neck properly supported. One option to consider is the tall version of the Saatva Latex Pillow, which is 6 to 7 inches in height and can improve back alignment when sleeping on your side.

However, those who sleep on their back won’t necessarily benefit from a taller pillow. Instead, you may want to try a contoured pillow like the TEMPUR-Neck Pillow, which is designed to shape to the curves of the body, resulting in alignment and improved comfort.

What Is The Best Body Pillow For Back Pain?

The best body pillows can help provide some relief from back pain—they’re especially popular among pregnant women, as they provide more support for a growing baby bump. In particular, the Queen Rose Pregnancy Pillow is recommended for back or hip pain, as it has a U-shaped design that provides support on all sides.

Is Sleeping Without A Pillow Better For Back Pain?

If you predominantly sleep on your stomach, you may find that sleeping without a pillow helps to reduce your back pain. In this sleep position, your head needs to be low to maintain proper spine alignment, which is why the best pillows for stomach sleepers tend to offer very little loft. However, for back and side sleepers, sleeping without a pillow isn’t recommended, as your head needs to be elevated to maintain a neutral spine position.

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