Best Orthopedic Pillows for Pain-Free Sleep

By Amanda Lasater

Feb 3rd, 2023

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If there is one thing we know, it is that sleeping on one of the best pillows can improve your sleep significantly. If you ever wake up in the morning or during the middle of the night with back or neck pain, then you are likely using the wrong pillow.

The role of a pillow is to help support your head, neck, and upper back, and to keep your spine in a neutral alignment – however, orthopedic pillows take this job to the next level. The support that orthopedic pillows provide relieves pressure points on vulnerable areas of the body, reduces pain, increases blood circulation, and ultimately results in a better night’s sleep.

Keep reading to see our top picks for the best orthopedic pillows and to learn more about how to choose one that helps you have more pain-free nights of sleep.

The Best Orthopedic Pillows

Tempur Pedic TEMPUR Neck Pillow

Best Orthopedic Pillow Overall

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Neck

If you’re suffering from neck pain you need a pillow that maintains ideal spine alignment while you’re sleeping on your side and back, so you’re not in a strained position all night. The TEMPUR-Neck pillow is a great option for this, as it supplies good support for your head and neck, with a contoured design that follows and cradles the natural curvature of your body.


The pillow is made of firm, slow-moving memory foam and comes in three sizes—small, medium, and large—which vary in loft to support different spans between neck and shoulder. It’s got a hypoallergenic polyester knit cover that you can remove and machine-wash.



  • Ergonomic design
  • Firm support for your neck
  • Machine-washable cover


  • Memory foam tends to trap heat
Shredded Foam Cooling Pillow Press Lifestyle

Best Cooling Gel Orthopedic Pillow

Brooklyn Bedding Cooling Memory Foam

This memory foam pillow not only supplies excellent cooling throughout its cotton-polyester blend cover and copper-infused gel foam core, but it also provides next-level support for back and neck problems. If you like the firm hug of contouring memory foam, you’ll likely get a good night’s sleep on it.


While it’s not ergonomically shaped with a built-in curve like many orthopedic pillows, it does an effective job at supporting your back and neck and providing good relief at your pressure points. The pillow is available in high loft and low loft so you can get the best fit for your body type and position.



  • Highly responsive for a memory foam pillow
  • Multiple cooling technologies do an effective job at keeping you cool
  • Two levels of loft


  • Not a good fit if you sleep on your stomach or prefer a soft pillow
Lagoon The Fox Pillow

Best Sustainable Orthopedic Pillow

Lagoon Fox Pillow

The Fox Pillow has an adjustable fill, so you can calibrate the amount of height and support you want by adding or removing its shredded memory foam. This can help you maintain a comfortable, neutral spine alignment in any sleep position— no matter your body type—so you wake up with fewer aches and pains.


The Fox is made from eco-friendly materials, like CertiPUR-US Certified foam and bamboo, that are designed to be long-lasting and durable so you can hang onto your comfy pillow as long as possible.



  • Customizable if you remove or add foam
  • Breathable materials
  • Cover, liner, and fill can be machine-washed


  • Not ergonomically shaped
Brooklinen Marlow Pillow

Best Adjustable Orthopedic Pillow

Marlow Pillow

The Marlow also has an adjustable fill, but in this case customizing the pillow involves zipping and unzipping its two zippers so that you can get a higher or lower loft. This allows you to set the height of the pillow to where you want it—which is generally high for side sleeping, medium for back sleeping, and low for stomach sleeping, with exceptions for personal preference.


The pillow doesn’t have an ergonomic shape with built-in curvature, but it’s generally easy to get good support from it, due to its adjustability and general medium firmness. It’s also a good choice for those seeking relief from night sweats, as it’s made from a gel-infused cooling foam and has mesh gussets at the sides for breathability.



  • It’s easy and quick to adjust the loft
  • Effective cooling
  • Great for back sleepers


  • Not ergonomically shaped
  • Not well-suited for stomach sleepers

What are Orthopedic Pillows?

Orthopedic pillows are pillows specifically designed to improve your sleeping position in order to improve your sleep health. Orthopedic pillows come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and can help adjust all kinds of sleeping positions.

Some are designed to go in between the legs to provide better spine alignment for side sleepers, while others are meant to mold to the head, neck, and shoulders to provide ideal, custom support.

Who are Orthopedic Pillows Good for?

Orthopedic pillows are good for anyone who wakes up with aches and pains or isn’t happy with their sleeping position, due to pain, sleep apnea, snoring, and more. Sometimes people want to change their sleep position because it can cause pain or make sleep apnea and snoring worse, and orthopedic pillows can help by encouraging your body to maintain a specific position throughout the night.

Pros and Cons of Orthopedic Pillows

The biggest benefit of orthopedic pillows is that they can help adjust your sleep position and relieve pain to get you better quality sleep. Since we spend nearly one-third of our lives asleep, it’s incredibly important that we sleep well, and orthopedic pillows can help make that happen.

However, there are a few potential drawbacks. First, some orthopedic pillows take up quite a lot of room in the bed, so if you sleep with a partner, it may be crowded or uncomfortable. Additionally, orthopedic pillows are an added expense, and if money is tight, they may not be an option for everyone.

How to Find the Best Orthopedic Pillows

With the number of orthopedic pillows on the market, it is best to know what to look for ahead of time. Here are a few things you want to look for in your next orthopedic pillow:


If you wake up in the morning with an achy neck, back, or hips, you may need an orthopedic pillow that offers some support. These pillows typically aren’t soft and fluffy, because their main purpose is to offer some firm support so you can get better, less painful sleep.


If you can’t get comfortable at night and have trouble falling asleep, you may need an orthopedic pillow that offers added comfort rather than added support. These comfort pillows are typically softer than the support pillows, and they may help you find a more comfortable position so you can get a good night’s sleep.


Another important factor when choosing the right orthopedic pillow for you is the price. While there are definitely budget options out there that can help improve your sleep, they still cost more than most standard pillows.


Decide upon which type of filling you prefer. Some of the most commonly used fillings in orthopedic pillows include memory foam, gel-infused memory foam, and microfiber. Check out our FAQs below to learn more about each of these fillings.


No one enjoys night sweats, so make sure that your pillow is breathable enough that it will not cause you to overheat during your sleep.

Ease of care

You will be sleeping on this pillow every night, so you’re going to want to keep it clean. Double check the cleaning instructions to ensure that moisture and bacteria do not build up on the pillow.


You want a pillow that is backed by a decent warranty because this shows that the company stands behind the product and is confident in its reliability.

Orthopedic Pillow FAQs

Are orthopedic pillows any good? 

It depends on what you’re looking for from an orthopedic pillow and which brand you buy. Like any other product, there are duds out there, but generally, orthopedic pillows really can help you get a better night’s sleep by adjusting your sleeping position to help prevent pain and reduce sleep apnea or snoring.

What is the best pillow for someone with neck problems

If you have neck problems that interfere with your sleep or cause you to wake up with a sore neck, you will likely want an orthopedic pillow that supports your shoulders and encourages proper spine alignment from your head to your base. A head, neck, and shoulder pillow is probably the best option for you.

Do chiropractors recommend orthopedic pillows?

Yes, they do! Orthopedic pillows can help with spine alignment, which means chiropractors are generally very supportive of their use.

What is the benefit of memory foam orthopedic pillows? 

Memory foam is often the top choice in orthopedic pillows due to its superior ability to relieve pressure points and contour the body. In addition, memory foam pillows are hypoallergenic and do not encourage the breeding of dust mites.

What is the benefit of gel-infused memory foam pillows?

Gel-infused orthopedic pillows are the perfect blend of supportive memory foam and cooling gel. Memory foam has many benefits, however, it does tend to retain heat. The infusion of gel into the memory foam material allows you to reap all the benefits of memory foam while maintaining a beneficial temperature.

What is the benefit of microfiber orthopedic pillows?

Microfiber is a synthetic filling that monitors and manipulates temperature while you sleep. It is popular in orthopedic pillows because it is hypoallergenic and does not cause the respiratory problems that other fillings, such as down, can.


Compare our top-rated picks for the best orthopedic pillows below:

Orthopedic Pillows Material Best for Rating
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Neck Memory foam pillow with polyester knit cover Best Orthopedic Pillow Overall 3.9/5
Brooklyn Bedding Cooling Foam Memory foam pillow with polyester knit cover Best Cooling Gel Pillow 4.5/5
Lagoon Fox Pillow Memory foam pillow with bamboo and polyester cover Best Sustainable Pillow 4.7/5
Marlow Pillow Memory foam pillow with cotton and polyester cover Best Adjustable Pillow 4.0/5

We all deserve to wake up feeling well rested and ready to take on the day, however, if you are using the wrong pillows then it is possible that you are waking up exhausted and in pain. To help ensure that you are getting the healthiest night’s sleep, try out an orthopedic pillow and take back the freedom that comes with being pain-free and well-rested.