Cervical Pillow

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What is a cervical pillow?

A cervical pillow’s primary function is to provide direct support for the head to minimize pressure on the neck. The support helps prevent new neck pain from developing and any existing neck pain from worsening.

Cervical pillows aim to provide support, and a person can use cervical pillows alongside other therapeutic approaches to help relieve neck pain.

Do cervical pillows really work?

You may feel better and sleep better with a cervical neck pillow. It's sometimes called a cervical pillow because the upper part of your backbone (where your neck is) is called the cervical spine. Research suggests that a pillow with good cervical support can help relieve neck pain and decrease sleeping discomfort.

Types of Cervical Neck Pillows

The best cervical pillow for neck pain depends on a lot of things - including your sleeping position, the cause of your neck pain, and what feels comfortable to you. Common types include:

  • Neck rolls
  • D-core, which has a D-shaped
  • Standard contour pillows

Cervical Pillow for back sleepers with neck pain

You want your neck to have support, but you don’t want it propped up. Consider a contoured model designed for this position. You can also try using a roll-shaped one at your neck, with a soft, flat one to support your head.

Cervical pillow for neck pain side sleeper

To keep your spine straight, use a pillow that provides the right neck support - one that’s higher under your neck than under your head. It should be thick enough to hold your head up and also firm enough that your head doesn’t sink down into it. 

Latex pillows give you support but don’t overheat like memory foam can. A contoured pillow is designed for the job.

Frequently asked questions

Below are some frequently asked questions about cervical pillows.

Which cervical pillow is best?

What a person considers best will depend on their preferences and needs.

People should think about which features best meet their requirements when looking for a cervical pillow. Some individuals may focus on a pillow’s filling, whereas others may prioritize a pillow’s height and foam quality.

How firm should a pillow be?

The firmness of a pillow is subjective. What feels firm to one person may seem to have a medium feel to another.

However, pillows should be firm enough to support the head and neck without increasing pressure on the spine.

What is the correct height of a pillow?

A person’s pillow should be high enough to keep the spine in a neutral position.

People who sleep on their sides may find that a medium height pillow is more comfortable to sleep on than a flatter pillow. Those who sleep on their backs or stomachs may find a flatter pillow more comfortable.


Cervical pillows may offer a solution to people who wake up with neck pain. When choosing a pillow, a person should keep in mind the position they sleep in and the height and firmness of the pillow.

A person should seek guidance from a physical therapist if they experience neck pain that does not resolve or has no apparent reason.