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Many people with back pain go through their lives just suffering with the aches and stiffness, but it isn’t necessary to let yourself suffer because the pain is ‘bearable’ or ‘too expensive to fix’. There are many simple ways to take care of back problems now which won’t make a dent in your budget, the first is just visiting a doctor to get their opinion, the second is simply buying a new pillow specifically designed to alleviate these pains. For those who have back problems, are currently pregnant, and wanting to be more comfortable in their old age, we’ve reviewed and listed the best pillows for back pain.
Depending on your physician’s suggestion or your personal idea of your back needs, our list of the best back pillows has been designed to show you the benefits and drawbacks – if any – of each of the following products. Some of the features we considered in our review were the size, weight, and firmness of each pillow; additionally, we considered materials and pillow design some of the most important factors in making back pillows particularly good for alleviating your nagging and debilitating pains. Based on them, the Snuggle-Pedic Body Pillow got our Editor’s Choice nomination.
In researching these pillows, their brands, and the purpose of the features included in their design, we approached many manufacturers, sleep experts, physicians, and even verified customers of the reviewed products. The following guide is designed with a product chart that lists the details for each pillow, next we’ve included a buying guide which further explains certain features and offers examples of which pillows are best in certain ways; frequently asked questions are answered at the end.
More features: micro-vented bamboo cover, CertiPUR-US certified, machine-washable pillow
This shredded-style combination pillow includes Kool-flow non flattening gel for breathability and airflow along with memory foam that’s removable for the ideal level of comfort and incline. Its conforming shape is designed for orthopedic-level support while sleeping on your side, back, stomach, and anywhere in between.
Additionally, it includes a roll-up function which allows you to add or remove foam and give your pillow a lower profile or wider length on your bed. It’s total longest length is 54 inches for a full-body length. Purchase comes with an extra-breathable micro-vented cover made with 43% Viscose of Bamboo. The cover is fully machine washable, hypoallergenic, and dust-mite resistant.
Offering a 120-day trial with a money-back guarantee and additional 20-year warranty, this is a very trustworthy brand that values their customers and has faith in their product. Also, these pillows are highly ECO-friendly and made without ozone depleters, mercury, lead, and other heavy metals; your purchase even comes in a vacuum sealed eco-friendly package.
What are its best features?
Purchase is backed by a 120-night sleep trial
Additionally purchase is covered by an exceptional 20-year warranty
This pillow can extend to a full-body length of 54 inches
What could be improved?
This pillow may be a little too plushy for stomach sleepers
Not specifically designed to help with spine realignment
More features: machine-washable velvet cover, zipped outer and inner covers
The Queen Rose Pregnancy Pillow offers one of the most innovative sleeping designs for mother and child. This pillow entirely encompasses your body for ideal back and side sleeping which protects your baby and gives comfort back to your sleepless nights during that final trimester.
It’s U-shape follow the natural shape of the pregnancy while also allowing you to stretch out and relax when you’re not sleeping; additionally it’s highly effective for relieving back pain, soreness of limbs and swelling, as well as neck pain. The way it holds your neck and sides of your body while asleep on your back is perfect for ideal realignment of the spine and better posture during pregnancy.
Filled with medium-low dense hypoallergenic polyester fibers, in addition with a good mattress this pillow will have you sleeping in no time and will also work to prevent pregnancies typical gastric reflux, congestion, and even tossing and turning. Made with 100% pure velvet, the cover is super comfortable, removable, and completely machine washable.
Last but not least, this pillow comes in two sizes – 55-inch or 60-inch – with an additional 6 different color options.
Why is it special?
Best pillow for pain reduction during your pregnancy.
Unique shape is designed to provide comfort during all 3 trimesters.
Cover is machine washable and completely hypoallergenic.
What are the flaws?
This pillow is best only for back pains during pregnancies.
Made of lower density polyester-fiber materials; not memory foam.
More features: 45° angled thigh ramp, removable, machine-washable velour cover
This uniquely shaped pillow is specifically designed to elevate and angle injured legs and knee joints so they can heal or rest after long hikes, long days working, or recent injury. By elevating your leg you’ll greatly reduce swelling and pain by limiting blood flow to the injured area.
In ways getting a pillow for your leg can also help with your back problems by giving a bum-knee or previous injury time to heal so that you can have better posture later on and better support for your back. Created with a 45 degree angled ramp, this pillow hugs your thigh and keeps your leg in place while both awake and sleeping. Crafted from supple polyurethane foam, this ramp leg channel pillow has a medium-high density which will greatly reduce your pain. The cover can be removed via a zipper and is made from machine-washable velour.
Depending on some cast sizes and physician recommendations you may want to choose a different pillow for you bed rest and leg elevation, however for the money this is an excellent choice for regular aching and swollen limbs after work.
What are its best features?
Keeps your injured leg in place while awake and sleeping
Very cheap solution for aching limbs, sprains, and older healing leg injuries
Very comfortable raised channel for your leg
What could be improved?
Specifically a pillow for your legs and lower support of aching or injured limbs
For freshly injured legs you need a much higher elevation to keep blood from moving toward your ankles
More features: removable and machine washable 60% polyester/40% bamboo made cover, dust mite resistant and hypoallergenic, adjustable-height design, 5-year warranty
With a unique adjustable height design, this pillow allows you to add or remove middle memory foam to create a high contour fit for your back, or low contour for your neck. In fact, depending on how you want to sit up, rest, or sleep you can adjust this pillow to just the right height and curvature that you prefer.
Made with UTTU DYNAMIC foam, the body of this pillow conforms to the natural curve of your body to ensure superior comfort which assists in realignment of your spine. This foam also relieves force on your pressure points with an ergonomic design that alleviates shoulder stiffness, relaxes muscles, and gradually prevents continuing back pains. Unlike most memory foams, the patented foam used in this design will retain a consistent firmness for a comfortable feel every time you rest; this pillow will never harden over time or because of cold weather.
Pillow comes with a bamboo cover that’s 40% bamboo and 60% polyester with a dust mite and hypoallergenic design; highly breathable air circulation is guaranteed so that you’ll sleep in comfort and wake up feeling refreshed and recharged. Additionally, the pillow case is machine washable, the entire pillow is certified by the ISPA, and it’s design and materials are all uniquely patented for back relief and sleeping purposes.
Why did it make our list?
Very lightweight pillow with removable foam for differing contouring.
Dust-mite resistant and hypoallergenic cover.
Amazing 5-year warranty.
What is not ideal about it?
Memory foam may have a chemical smell for the first few nights.
Finding the right shape for your shoulder width can take some time unpacking and repacking the foam.
More features: rayon cotton cover, hypoallergenic & dust mite resistant CertiPUR-US certified foam, machine washableу pillowcase
This pillow comes in three prime comfort sizes: standard, queen size, and king size. Its design is fashioned from breathable rayon cotton with shredded gel memory foam stuffing that’s adjustable for all levels of comfort by manually adding or removing foam. All foams are very breathable and cooling with a medium-soft firmness, though materials are made entirely hypoallergenic and without harmful substances such as mercury and other heavy metals.
Designed to be fully hypoallergenic for an uninterrupted sleep and easy breathing, this pillow also rebuffs bacteria, pet fur, and even pet dander. The ergonomic high-density foam is specifically designed for one major purpose, to help keep the body perfectly aligned and ultimately enhance posture and prevent neck and back pain. With its multiple size options and adjustable foam amounts, this is easily one of the best pillows for sleeping in any position, especially when you’re pregnant.
Purchase comes with a money back guarantee and machine washable pillow case. All products come in ECO-Friendly Shipping straight to your door.
What are its best features?
Best pillow for neck and back pain
Hypoallergenic solution for an easy sleep
Comes in three different sizes
What could be improved?
Foam odor may persist for the first few days of use
Fairly simple design
Some customers don’t like the texture of the rayon cotton cover
More features: CertiPUR-US certified, more than 4 lying positions, 1-year limited warranty, washable cover
Designed for use in your bed, this system offers you over 4 different lying positions and multiple different pillows and wedge types to help you achieve the ideal level of comfort and pain resistance. From the bottom up: the leg wedge pillow promotes adjustable support and elevation to help ease aching pressure points.
The curved back wedge pillow follows the natural curve of a person’s spine to create proper alignment. The additional back scoop wedge slides in for adjustable lumbar support. And lastly the half sphere pillow attaches to provide ideal neck comfort; additionally the neck pillow can be detached and used on its own for the lowest inclined sleep support.
Each piece in this set can be used together or on its own, these wedges are all constructed from supportive medium-density foam with a 1-inch core layer of Visco Memory Foam for extra comfort. The covers are all made from micro-velvet super soft fabrics and can be easily removed; machine washable.
These three pieces are a steal and they work together in harmony to support your body while laying down or sitting upright during extended bed rest or late nights with a book or television.
What are its best features?
4 pieces can be used together or separately for different comfort needs
Covered in softly textured micro-suede fabrics
1-year limited warranty
What could be improved?
This is one of the more expensive back pain solutions
Total weight for all three pillows is 13.5 pounds; which can make moving them out from under you hard when you’re falling asleep
Things to Consider
The remainder of our guide is dedicated to explaining the major applications of pillows on back pain and how/why they work to alleviate bursts of pain, constant aches, swelling from pregnancy, etcetera. Additionally this section explains many of the previously listed features and includes a segment answering frequently asked questions.
Know the reason – what can cause back pains?
Common sources of back pain aren’t necessarily part of a health problem or existing condition, for example old age typically results in back pain as well as minor to major swelling.
However, some major reasons which might explain your back problems include things like strained muscles (or ligaments) which have merely been stretched the wrong way (often through incorrect lifting) and therefore they result in some pain. Another problem which you should consult your physician on are bulging or impacted disks, these are ring-shaped pads which cushion the vertebra along your spine and when swollen will press against the nerves in your back and cause shooting pains.
Arthritis is another common source of back pain, this condition afflicts the joints and some types of arthritis can specifically target the lower back. Osteoporosis creates similar pain, however it’s the result of pores forming in your bones and making them more brittle and more susceptible to pain. Finally, it’s possible that with some back pains you may be experiencing skeletal irregularities –scoliosis can cause these – and the result is chronic muscle aches, shooting or stabbing pains, and an especially limited range of motion. Of course, pregnancy back pains are something else entirely, and often the pain is due to your body producing a hormone which over relaxes your muscles and ligaments allowing you to injure yourself easily doing even the smallest tasks; of course the posture and weight changes also have a major role to play.
Sleep position to the rescue
Sometimes the swiftest way to correcting back pain is to change or correct the way you sleep, especially when certain conditions (such a pregnancy) make it impossible to sleep on your stomach and sometimes even your side. For reaching optimal comfort and relieve back and neck pains, consider some of the following suggestions:
Try sleeping on your stomach with a pillow between your pelvis. Doing this will relieve stress only along the neck and back disks (especially great for those suffering from bulging or impacted disks). However, for most people sleeping on the stomach can actually worsen existing back pains.
The fetal position with both knees tucked; this solution bends your upper body toward your knees and likewise expands your spine and moves impacted or swollen disks away from your spine. Throughout the night you may want to change sleeping from side to side, this is a great way to achieve ideal realignment along your spine.
Side sleeping with a pillow between your knees helps to align your hips and pelvis with your spine (an especially great realignment technique during pregnancy and for those suffering from scoliosis. Additionally, in this position make sure your body makes contact with the mattress between your shoulder and hips.
Tips on choosing a pillow filling
Where sleeping positions alone don’t do anything to improve your sleep and reduce your back pain, pillow fillings will also assist the healing and sleeping processes. However, with such a wide selection of pillow fillings this can be very confusing for many non-sleep-experts. For instance, one such filling – Buckwheat – actually creates good support and a breathable sleep, however it’s often too dense for most sleepers and can’t be changed out or altered for varying levels of support. Additionally, pillows with this filling are highly priced and quite heavy to move around.
A pillow with something like down on the other hand results in an adjustable density with a low flat-lying shape that’s extremely soft; yet these pillows often don’t provide enough support for those with back pain, and also they lose their shape the quickest.
For just back problems the best fillings are those with a medium-high density that conform slightly to your weight and shape. These are pillows filled with latex elements, gels, foams, and especially high density memory foams. The level of support and comfort they provide is ideal for realignment and propping yourself up on.
Consider these features while choosing the pillow for back pain reduction
As you’ll have noticed, many of the following features were listed in the above reviews of the best pillows for back pain. For questions relating to any of these features, or for great suggestions of pillows which best represent feature specifics, please read in the following section.
Size and shape
Picking the size and shape of the pillow you need greatly depends on where your pain is located or what is causing it. For instance, if your back pain is being caused by a third trimester pregnancy than an obvious solution for fixing the back pain would be the QUEEN ROSE Pregnancy Pillow. This pillow has an ideal shape for holding back sleepers and side sleepers while protecting the extended womb and offering a level of support which is also great for realigning your spine. Other sleepers might experience their pain while sitting up or leaning back and watching TV, rather than while laying flat, for these sleepers a great suggestion is the Avana Orthopedic Support Pillow which has an ideal size and shape for propping your back up for a variety of situations.
For back pain specifically, the best firmness is achieved with a pillow that provides a medium-high density. These pillows typically use foam or gels to provide you the support you need with enough give to conform around your neck and shoulders. Ideal comfort is achieved from being slightly cushioned but not sunk into a pillow. For instance, the Sweetnight Pillow is filled with shredded foam that’s dense enough to create necessary alignment while still cushioning ever so slightly around your neck.
Thickness and filling
Different filings will result in varying thicknesses. A feather pillow or pillow stuffed with down will typically sink quite low and lose its shape once you’re lying down. These pillows aren’t typically the best for your relieving back pain because they offer very limited support; though down and feather pillows are nicer on your neck. Therefore the best pillow fillings which will assist in your recovery and help with back pain are those which are marginally thicker – foams and gels – that still offer sinking comfort at night.
The pillows on our list all use fabrics which are machine washable and hypoallergenic. In replacing these covers, buying new ones, or choosing pillows outside of this list, know that the best covers are machine washable and assist your breathing by decreasing dust attachment, pet dander, allergic materials, and bacteria growth.
Better warranties for expensive pillows last at least 2 or more years, otherwise there is some risk in purchasing a pillow which may or may not help reduce your back pain. Money-back guaranteed options are by far the best, this is because not every pillow solution will fit your needs, and for some there are certain back pillows which actually further exacerbate a problem. Rule of thumb: pick the warranty that gives you time to test your pillow out and ensure it helps sooth your pains while also performing well over multiple nights.
For side sleepers full length pillows do the most good quickly by forcing your body to maintain a straighter shape while sleeping; a shape that’s ideal for spinal alignment and expansion of your spine away from impacted or swollen disks. Additionally, full length pillows give your arms something to brace up against and pull to you which will cause natural structure and allow you to breathe easier throughout the night. For tough pregnancies the best side pillow is the QUEEN ROSE Pregnancy Pillow. For other side sleepers the Snuggle-Pedic Body Pillow is a great sleeping solution which will help to relieve existing pains.
Sleeping on your back can be a great position when you’re suffering from back pains, this is because the position forces your back to remain straight and aligned throughout the night. However, it’s worth noting that a pillow can throw off this perfect alignment. If your back pain is all lower pain, just above your hips, a pillow with a steep incline will actually force your head too far forward and put your neck in an unnatural position which in turn place strain on your neck, shoulders, and eventually the lower back.
This does not mean ‘sleep without a pillow’, instead it means that the ideal pillow is one which allows you to lie down and maintain the natural curve of your cervical spine. These ideal pillows have a slight angle (usually 30 degrees) and a medium level of firmness and support (your head should only sink slightly).
It’s never a mistake to consult your doctor and ask about the solutions which might be best for your existing back problem. Additionally it’s a great idea to ask about specific pillows you have in mind to gauge whether a certain pillow will work for you or not. However, if you do not currently have a doctor, or you believe your back pain is fairly minor and caused by improper stretching or recent lifting, then its probably just fine for you to purchase one of the pillows on our list.
In closing, we like to leave our readers with the top three products from our list. When you can’t choose between different pillow types or you’re stuck between two options, it’s our opinion that you can’t go wrong with any of these highly rated pillows. They are easily the best pillows for back pain.
The Snuggle-Pedic Body Pillow is great for people who need orthopedic support and want a pillow that is adjustable to their needs. The cover is also machine-washable, making it easy to keep clean. The 120-day trial and 20-year warranty make this a very trustworthy purchase.
The QUEEN ROSE Pregnancy Pillow is an excellent pillow for expectant mothers. It is highly effective in relieving back pain, neck pain, and swelling. Additionally, it helps to prevent gastric reflux and can be used to support the back and sides while sleeping.
The Milliard Foam Leg Elevator Cushion is good for people with back pain and swelling. It is made from soft materials and the cover can be removed for easy washing. The pillow has a medium-high density which will help reduce pain making it one of the best pillows for back pain.