Best Pillow for Back Pain: Buyer’s Guide for 2020

Let us guide you through some of the best pillows for back pain easily available on Amazon.

By Sheryl Grassie

The way we sleep, meaning if our spines are aligned and our backs are supported, can be a major determinant in whether or not we have back pain. Having a good mattress for back pain  is essential, and pillows have to support alignment. Poor sleep from a number of different factors can cause back pain, and no doubt back pain can cause trouble sleeping.

One way out of this vicious cycle is by using therapeutic pillows, both in and out of bed, to support your back. Searching for just the right pillow to help relieve some of your back pain? We’ve got you covered with our top 5 picks.

Our Top Picks for the Best Pillows for Back Pain

Award Pillow Price
Best for Lower Back Pain Nayoya Back and Neck Pain Relief See Best Price
Best Memory Foam Snuggle-Pedic Pillow See Best Price
Best Knee Pillow ComfiLife Orthopedic Knee Pillow See Best Price
Best Multi-Position Pillow BeautifulLife – Half Moon Bolster See Best Price
Best Customizable Pillow Coop Home Goods See Best Price
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Nayoya Back Pain pillow

Best for Lower Back Pain: Nayoya Back and Neck Pain Relief – Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set

Dig into alternative healing with this amazing pain reliever. Better yet lie down, relax, and feel the tiny acupressure points go to work. The Nayoya works on the same principle as acupuncture stimulating circulation and improving energy flow in the body. Your muscles will relax, and stress will drain away. This mat and pillow combination can relieve back, neck, and sciatica pain, reduce headaches, and improve sleep.

Considered an at-home therapy, it eliminates the need for costly treatments, and in the time it takes to drive to a therapist (roughly 20 minutes), you can complete your daily treatment. This well-reviewed product is easy to transport and comes with a carrying case for travel. Take it with you to yoga for an added boost.

  • Price: $39.97
  • Rating:  4.3 out of 5 stars, 3,332 reviews
Snuggle-pedic pillow

Best Memory Foam: Snuggle-Pedic Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Pillow

Looking for a supportive pillow to help you sleep better and to relieve back pain? The Snuggle-Pedic feels like down, but the memory foam won’t go flat. The foam is CertiPUR-US certified, a designation that ensures these pillows are free from flame retardants, mercury, lead, formaldehyde, and phthalates, as well as testing for low emissions, so you won’t be breathing toxic fumes at night.

This pillow was doctor created and designed to support spinal alignment and eliminate back pain while sleeping. It is breathable, cooling, and conforms to any shape head and neck. It is machine washable and has a 120-day return policy with a 20-year warranty on top of being made in the USA.

  • Price: $49.99 to $69.99, depending on size 
  • Sizes: Standard, Queen, King, 
  • Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars, 5,177 reviews
ComfiLife knee pillow

Best Knee Pillow: ComfiLife Orthopedic Knee Pillow 

One of the best ways to relieve pressure and give your back a rest while sleeping, is to use a knee pillow. Placed between your legs, they are marvelous at relieving back and joint pain and for keeping your spine straight while sleeping. They improve circulation and are great for pregnancy.

The high-density foam of this pillow won’t go flat, and it is breathable to stay cool. It has a removable cover for washing, and it comes with both a money-back guarantee and a lifetime warranty.

  • Price: $27.95 
  • Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars, 7,368 reviews
Beautiful Half Moon pillow

Best Multi-Position Pillow: BeautifulLife – Half Moon Bolster Knee Pillow

This half-moon pillow is so adaptable that you will find a position that helps take the pressure off. Recommended by physical therapists, doctors, chiropractors, and sports medicine professionals, it can be used under your back, knees, or ankles. It works well for all sleep positions, lessening pain and improving sleep. Good for Scoliosis and Sciatica. The bottom line is it will relieve your back pain.

Related: Best Mattress for Scoliosis

This pillow is made of memory foam and is good for after surgery or during pregnancy to take weight off of affected areas. It has a washable organic cotton cover, a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and a lifetime 100% money-back guarantee, no questions asked. 

  • Price: $21.87 – $25.87
  • Sizes: 18.5” x 8” x 4.5” or 20.5” x 8” x 4.5” or 22.5” x 8” x 4.5”
  • Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars, 1,254 reviews

Best Customizable Pillow: Coop Home Goods – Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow

Have you ever thought your pillow would be perfect if it was just a little fuller or just a little flatter? With the Coop adjustable shredded memory foam pillow, you can make it so. And, once you have that perfect fit, it will do wonders for spinal alignment and eradicating back pain. 

Thousands of five-star ratings rave about how well this pillow works. It is the right blend of comfort and support and guaranteed to improve your sleep, or they will take it back, no questions asked. There is a 100-night sleep trial and a 5-year warranty.

To top it all off, the Coop pillow is hypoallergenic and chemical free with multiple independent lab certifications including CertiPUR-US and GreenGuard Gold.

  • Price: $59.99 – $64.99 
  • Sizes: Queen, King
  • Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars, 13,456 reviews

Causes of Back Pain

Work and Injury

Back pain can compromise your quality of life. Not only is the pain hard to handle, but it interferes with sleep which can leave you tired, grumpy, and less focused during the day. Back pain is a common reason people miss work and a leading cause of disability world-wide. 

Sitting for prolonged periods, which many modern jobs require, is a leading cause of back pain. Stomach muscles can become slack, and they are important for supporting the back. This can further affect posture and can lead to poor sleeping positions if not balanced with stretching and exercise.

Poor Spinal Alignment

Sleep and back pain are also intimately intertwined. Your posture and alignment while you sleep is equally as important as when you’re awake. Sleeping with good alignment takes painful pressure off of your back and allows the muscles around it to relax as they are not strained. 

Proper alignment starts at your neck and works its way down to the base of your spine. If your back pain troubles are due to poor alignment, chances are you are also dealing with neck pain. A proper pillow keeps your neck supported, instantly improving spinal alignment.

Related: Best pillows for neck pain

Pregnancy

Pregnant women often suffer from back pain as their body grows and changes to accommodate new life. Though back sleeping is regarded as the best position for back pain relief, it is highly recommended that pregnant women sleep on their side. The best way to get comfortable and relieve some of that back pain and discomfort is to use a pregnancy pillow.

Man suffering from back pain

Things to Consider When Shopping

How can you pick a pillow that is right for you when there are so many to choose from? Think about the following.

Type of Pillow

The type of pillow you need often depends on your sleep position and if you have back pain throughout the day. Do you want a regular head pillow, a wedge pillow, a body pillow, a contour pillow, or a knee pillow? When it comes to fill here are some of the best options:

  • Memory foam pillow: Memory foam relieves pressure and contours to your body, providing excellent support. Shredded foam pillows allow you to adjust the loft, making them great for all sleep positions.
  • Feather pillow: Feather pillows are known for being firm and lofty, making them a great option for side sleepers with back pain.
  • Latex pillow: Latex is pain relieving like memory foam but is naturally cooling. Latex pillows also provide even head support.
  • Buckwheat pillow: Buckwheat fill is a natural option for those who want an organic pillow for back pain because they are adjustable and hypoallergenic, allowing them to be compatible for all types of sleepers.

Sleep Position

Side sleepers with back pain should try a good support pillow for the head and neck. The pillow should be rather lofty, so the neck is in line with the spine. A knee support pillow, like the ComfiLife Orthopedic Knee Pillow will also help with back pain.

Back sleepers with low back pain should consider a pillow under the knees like the BeautifulLife – Half Moon Bolster Knee Pillow. If you have upper back pain that goes along your shoulder and into your neck, chances are you are also a back sleeper with neck pain, which is may be due to using the wrong pillow. Check out our best pillows for back sleepers guide to explore your options.

Stomach sleepers with back problems should avoid sleeping on their stomach altogether as it can exacerbate the problem.

Weight

Your weight affects how much you sink into your mattress and the distance between your neck and head and the bed. Heavier people generally sink further into the mattress and can benefit from a lower loft pillow, whereas light weight individuals float more on the surface of the bed and have a larger gap that needs a higher loft.

Mattress Firmness

How firm your mattress is and how much you sink into it affects spinal alignment and the loft (height) of the pillow that will work best for you. You may just need a new mattress. But where to begin?

The answers to these questions can point you in the right direction. There is an interplay between your weight, your sleep position, your mattress firmness, and the kind of pillow you need to keep your spine aligned and prevent back pain. If you are heavy, and sink into your soft mattress, there may be little room for loft and a low loft pillow may be best. If you are slight and sleep on a firm mattress you may have more distance between you and the bed necessitating a higher loft pillow. Sleep position adds a variable to this equation as well. 

Check the chart below for some examples of how this might work. This is not a comprehensive list and there are many different possibilities not listed. 

If Your Body Weight is: And Your Sleep Position is: And Your Mattress is: Choose a Pillow Loft That is:
Under 130 lbs. Stomach sleeper Soft Low: under 3 inches
130 to 230 lbs. Back or side sleeper Medium  Medium: 3-5 inches
Over 230 lbs. Side sleeper Firm High: over 5 inches

Price Tag

What do you want to spend? You can find back support pillows or good supportive bed pillows from $20-$200 or more. Set a price range before you go looking and use this as part of your guide.

What Else Helps with Chronic Back Pain?

In addition to the support that pillows offer, there are a number of things that can help alleviate back pain. Top recommendations include:

  • Change your sleeping position 
  • Don’t sit for a prolonged period of time
  • Stretch or do yoga

Summary

What is the best pillow for back pain? The one that works for you. There are many great pillows that really can offer relief. The goal of this article is to introduce you to some of the best pillows for back pain and to give you an idea of how to choose one. Think about your weight, your sleep position, and your mattress firmness to help determine the pillow loft that will best keep your spine in alignment. 

Consider other kinds of back support pillows for driving or at the office. For side sleepers a knee pillow can be just the ticket to move your back into a pain-free zone. Think about other things you can go to help your back like stretching or losing weight. Don’t just live with back pain, get a support pillow and get on the road to feeling better.


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