I’ve been sampling and reviewing pillows from a professional perspective for over 17-years. When I first wrote this article, there were only 6 main types of sleeping pillows available to consumers. Since publishing this article, I’ve sampled an additional 15 pillow types. None of them really wow’ed me enough to add to this article, until now.
One was impressive enough to be included in this post… It’s pillow #7 – take a look.
1) Down Pillows ($50-300)
These are very luxurious to the touch. Many fine hotels use goose down to impress their guests. The problem, however, is that they are not uniformly supportive. They’re great for pillow fights, but will inevitably strain your neck muscles and spinal joints, so I recommend against sleeping on them.
2) TempurPedic Cervical Pillow ($100-200)
People are tempted to think that if the pillow is expensive, it must be good. When I used this memory foam pillow in 2002, I woke up with neck pain and sternum soreness every morning for a week. Many people use these and love them though, so if you’re strictly a back-sleeper, this pillow is okay. It’s not good for side-sleepers. There are a variety of structural problems within the neck that can make using this pillow unpleasant, so I generally do not recommend it to patients.
3) Atlas-T Pillow ($140)
This brand of pillow is available for purchase online. I tested it out and while I believe it’s decent for back-sleepers, I don’t recommend it for anyone who sleeps on their side. The slope does not offer any room for your shoulder in a side-lying position. For this reason, it’s not on my “recommended” list. But if you suffer from chronic acid reflux, and need to sleep propped up, this could be useful.
4) Therapeutica ($60-120)
I consider this the “training wheels” of pillows and recommend it for people who are trying to learn how to stop sleeping on their stomachs. It comes in a variety of “custom” sizes from petite to extra large. This is the brand of pillow I use in the resting suite at my St Louis chiropractic office. I know it’s shaped differently than conventional pillows, but my patients really enjoy resting on it, and frequently ask me if they can take it home! It’s great for back and side-sleepers alike. If you want to buy one, they’re available on Amazon.
5) Latex Pillow ($40-150)
When I tell patients about latex pillows, most tell me they never knew these even existed. A family member of mine likes them so much that she brings one with her whenever she travels. They’re supportive and comfortable for both back and side-sleepers, and generally won’t abnormally flex the neck in either direction. An added benefit is that latex doesn’t break down very easily, so these pillows should last for many years. Whenever a patient asks me what type of pillow they should be using, here’s what I recommend. It’s the firm low-loft size.
- Update: An increase in demand for these pillows has caused prices to go up. So here’s a link to a more affordable alternative.
6) D-Core Pillow ($17-30)
I had high hopes for this pillow when I first tried it… but I found that when resting supine, my head tended to lean to one side or the other because of the angled slope of the D-Core. This put tension asymmetrically on one side of my neck, and could easily induce strain and discomfort in someone who falls asleep in this position. The other problem I had with it involved its durability. The material within the pillow seemed to breakdown very quickly. It feels like sleeping on a toilet seat. These are also referred to as Tri-Core pillows.
7) Pillow of Health ($68)
I’ve been using this pillow for a while now and it really has my attention.
Until recently, it seemed doubtful that anything other than an improved latex pillow would win my “best overall” recommendation for patients. But the microfiber stuffing inside Pillow of Health has given my favorite latex pillows serious competition.
High resilience foam “pearls” give this pillow incredible breathability and keep it surprisingly cool (little to no heat retention). The pillow case uses a moisture wicking material that stays cool and dry (similar to dri-fit workout apparel).
And the best part is, these pillows allow for adjustable firmness. It comes with a bag of extra “fill material” that you enables you to customize the thickness of each pillow to fit your individual preference.
Your opinion made me think. I own a company that manufactures cervical support pillows. My company is not in any way affiliated with any of the pillows you spoke of. Your analysis for pillow number 6 left me wondering. Was your head resting in the center portion or on the side portion of the pillow? I understand that the side portion has a slope the runs down to the center area. Was the slope I just mentioned the issue you spoke about? Durability has a lot to do with fitting the patient with the correct pillow size and density level. The D Core pillow gives fiber support pillows … a bad reputation. Thank you for this opportunity to place my comment.
Thank you for taking time to comment, David. In answer to your question, my head was resting in the middle of the pillow, but when I woke up my head was turned, supported by the angular slope on the side.
Dear Dr T, I am writing from the UK. This weekend I went into acute pain, triggered by turning to sleep on my front, in the context of a long history of bio-mechanical issues originating from uninformed orthodontic work on the UK’s NHS as a child.
I had been thinking I needed to see my osteo to get my old range of neck movement back and to get a new deeper side sleeper pillow.
In trying to find a latex pillow of a depth that allowed for the sinking in of the shoulder which happens on a Tempur mattress, I found your article above which led me to your “stop sleeping on your front” article, which considering I have disc osteophyte complex in my c4 and c5, was like a message from the gods to correct my approach. I have now ordered the Therapeutica pillow and just want to thank you for putting such useful bank of information at all our finger tips.
Do you have any thoughts about the delux comfort side sleeper pillow? The design seems a bit more user friendly, but at 99.00, I hate to just try it out.
I bought the latex pillow you recommended and love it. Thank you!
Thanks for the update, Pam, I’m glad you like it!
For the latex pillow, do you recommend the low loft plush or low loft firm? Thanks in advance.
I recommend the low loft firm.
I’m looking into the Z pillow and they offer a shredded version of it…saying it provides better airflow etc. Do you think this will be equally good as the one you’ve recommended? i’m a back and side sleeper. Thx!
Aimee, I prefer the solid consistency of one-piece design. Individual pieces will separate and create unequal support.
I was thinking the high loft plush on the latex pillow you recommended for back sleepers. The plush for softer feel on your head and high loft to allow your head to sink but only to the neutral position of the head and neck in relation to the shoulders and thereby giving you the support you need.
David, give it a try. Although I personally like the low loft when sleeping on my back.
Thanks for this awesome analysis of pillows! I am a massage therapist and find that my clients have benefited greatly after finding the “right” pillow. Your information helps so much!
I am enjoying your blog & the info. Good job.
Good blog. Great information. Thanks for providing it and related comments. I’m going to try your pillow.
Hi Kathy, I have not ever tried the enVy pillow. But thanks for introducing me to it. I’ll look into it.
Any word on MyPillow and Mediflow brands?
I’ve also heard good things about pillows filled with buckwheat hulls
Good to hear, I was on the verge of buying a MyPillow when I found out about latex pillows
Thank you, Doctor, for the great info you post. I had a CF of 2-3-4-5, with full nerve damage, which makes sleeping very difficult. I was looking to purchase a latex pillow, but after reading your mattress recommendation regarding memory foam mattress toppers, I was wondering what your opinion is of the Z dough memory foam pillow? Do you believe it is similar to the latex or a close enough fit? Pricing between both is extreme. On a different note, I did purchase a while back a buckwheat pillow–you are correct, it lasted two weeks. The destruction happened when I put it in the dryer to refreshen and the hulls burst out the seams. Tried feathers, made my neck pain worse. Thanks again and I look forward to your posts. May I have your permission with credits to reprint this in our weekly newspaper where I am editor?
Karen, I’m not thrilled with the contour of the Z Dough Memory Foam. So for that reason, it’s not one I recommend.
Please feel free to reprint the article in your newspaper. I’d love a link/copy of the article if you decide to run it. Thank you!
It sounds like you are a back sleeper. Do you recommend the same pillow, low loft firm, for side sleepers?
Help I’ve been sleeping on pillow #2 and I am a side sleeper but I also need good neck support. I am very tall and have neck pain. What pillow besides the latex is out there for me?
Ona, try the Therapeutica… If you’re “very tall” (6’6″ or above), you’re probably going to get the most comfort from a large or X-large size.
What is a good pillow for a female that is 5″2. I always wake up with a stiff neck and shoulder. I tend to go from my back to my side all night. Can’t seem to find a good pillow. All I do is ivest in pillows. So far, I have not found a good one! Help
Joyce, if you’re constantly waking up with a stiff neck and shoulder, it might not be the pillow… It could be your sleep position, number of pillows you’re using, a poor mattress, or a spinal issue. The “petite” Therapeutica is tiny — good for someone your height.
Hi Dr. Tanase, I’ve been diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease (cervical and lumbar). I need to use a pillow that works for spinal alignment. My height is 5’4″. Would you also recommend the “petite” Therapeutica for me? Or the next bigger size? Thanks in advance!
Yes, Maybelle, try the petite size.
I grew up with latex pillows, but have now developed an allergy. Do you have a source of non-latex foam pillows? Kathy
Kathy, you might consider a water-based pillow if you’re looking for something without latex – http://is.gd/yrXuGe
Thanks so much, Doc!
I ask my wife what she wanted for Xmas and she told me a chiropractic pillow because her neck was hurting. Mine also does and I use to sleep on my stomach but I wear a cpap mask now and I can’t sleep on my stomach. So my question to you is where can I buy these pillows? Thank you
Jeff, there are links provided within the article that allow you to purchase them.
I am a petite woman (4’11) and looking to get the latex pillow you recommended for my side-sleeping. Which pillow would you recommend for me?
I have constant neck pain, especially upon waking. I have tried dozens of pillows but cannot find one that works for me. I alternate between side and back sleeping. I also need to find one for my husband who snores very loudly. Which latex pillow (or other) would you recommend?
I was in Bed Bath and Beyond this weekend and came across a wool pillow. It’s heavy and made with lots of wool, cotton, and a synthetic core I believe. It looked like it could be really comfortable. Have you ever tried these? I’ve been using a cervical pillow for a long time but now I wake up with neck pain. I am a back and side sleeper. I sleep on a TempurPedic mattress and find that only certain pillows work with this mattress.
Thank you so much for the information. I have a lot of neck pain both going to bed and when i wake up (and subsequently throughout the day). I have had physiotherapy, massage therapy, IMS treatment etc.but nothing seems to help. I have tried countless pillows but cant seem to find one thats comfortable. After reading your recommendation on the latex pillows i will definitely try this one next – i have just one question – which one would you recommend for me as I have a very long thin neck? (part of the problem in the first place unfortunately).
Thanks a lot for your help.
Hi Elaine, thank you for the kind words. The low-loft/firm would be my recommendation to you.
You also have me seriously thinking of getting the Latex pillow. I have tried a few others you reviewed, and I agree with you on all of them. I am a side sleeper and woke up with horrible pain using those. I have a serious old childhood whiplash and so much pain with the wrong pillow. Right now I am using a $200 pillow which is comfortable — but I’m in pain so….I’m off to try the Latex one. Thank you for the advice. I am almost ready to get that contraption that allows one to sleep sitting up because it prevents the head from falling in any direction. I’d rather not sleep sitting up, though!
Hi. I am a side sleeper. Average size / height for a woman. Every morning I wake up with dull “sinus” type headaches. Occasionally occipital, but mostly generalized sinus headaches, and I just don’t feel rested. What would be a good option if I am allergic to Latex?
Nicole, I’ll email you directly with an answer to your question.
I would like to know what you suggested to Nicole about her issue because I am the same way. I sleep on both my back and side but wake up feeling unrested, sore and stuffy. I suffer from migraines and restful sleep is key to helping them go away. Can you help?
Lynette, I recommended the BackJoy Posture Sleep pillow since Nicole is allergic to latex. Here’s a link – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00911XFGK/?tag=chthne0e-20
Dr. Adam, I wake up every morning in pain and I know it’s because of sleeping position/pillows. I have a straight neck (20 yr old total reversal of neck curvature/whiplash), TMJ with associated neuralgia (hard pillows, rolled up towels, and beads tend to make nueralgia flare up), arthritis forming between my shoulder blades, low back issues (tailbone injury), severe and constant allergies and a deviated septum. Because of my deviated septum the only way for me to get a really good nights sleep is on my right side. If I try to sleep on my back I’ve got post nasal drip and coughing fits, occasionally have woken up feeling like I was drowning. For 10 years I was thrilled with a spcific brand of contour pillow, although I would have to replace it every other year. Unfortunately they have since changed the pillows specifications and it no longer works the same. I have tried the medi flow pillows, neck rolls, tons of other brands of contour pillows, down, polyester, the perfect pillow, and several pillows supposedly made for side sleepers. I’ve lost count of how much money I have spent but I’m sure it’s actually into the thousands by now considering that several were over $100.00 each. I’ve read that you recommend Latex but I’m allergic to latex is there anything that you can think of for me?
Sure thing, Penny. I have two recommendations for those with latex allergies.
1) BackJoy Posture Sleep Pillow – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00911XFGK/?tag=chthne0e-20
2) enVy Pillow – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004BPDSYK/?tag=chthne0e-20
While I encourage you to take a look at both of these, the enVy pillow is more suitable for strictly side sleepers. It’s a bit on the firm side, whereas the BackJoy PSP has a more comfortable feel.
Thank you. I will check them out
I ordered a Latex pillow at Sears, but as soon as I got it, I KNEW it was too soft for me. I need firmness under my neck. I also need to sleep on my side or I choke on my back (thyroid heavy). I might try that enVy pillow you recommend. I am currently using an expensive Sleep Number pillow that ‘breathes’. Do you have any opinions on the ContourSide Pillow by Relax The Back®?
Hi Diane, yes, I have tried it but wasn’t a big fan.
Thank you for your valuable opinion! Do you find the enVy pillow to be firm? The firmer the better for me.
Definitely. It’s the firmest pillow I’ve ever seen.
Dr. Tanase – thanks for all of the advice. I am a side sleeper who has been having neck pain for a bit now. I have a cervical pillow that is just not working. I am going to try the latex pillow based on all of this great discussion. Thanks so much for the advice.
I have to THANK YOU for recommending this enVY pillow, because I’ve been sleeping on it for over 2 weeks now and have not woken up in pain once from it. I definitely love it. It keeps my head stable all night long. I used to wake up in pain almost every morning, so this pillow is now my favorite. I sleep so soundly for the first time in probably a couple decades.
You’re welcome, Diane, I’m happy to hear you’re comfortable and sleeping better.
I’m one of those who bought the expensive Tempur pillow and am utterly dissatisfied. What do you recommend for a side sleeper with terrible neck/upper shoulder pain please?
Janice, I’ll email you my response.
Sara, I’m a big fan of the latex pillows. But keep in mind that improper sleeping position and/or underlying spinal issues could be the cause or a major contributor to your pain. If you don’t address those causative issues, a new pillow won’t do much good.
I would also like to know. Side sleeper 5′ 11″. Horrible neck pain.
Nathan, consider trying the latex option.
Thank you for this great information. I’m ready to order the latex pillow you recommended but I am a side sleeper and I’m uncertain that the low-loft firm will be correct. I need my pillow to be squishy and yet supportive but not too wide because I don’t have wide shoulders. I have terrible neck pain and I feel certain it is in large part because I can’t find the right pillow. Please advise- I’m leaning toward the high loft- plush. Thanks!
Emma, the “firm” isn’t stiff. Latex is naturally very spongy. Choose whichever makes the most sense to you, but I still recommend the low-loft firm in this case.
What pillow recommendations would you have for side sleeping, with TMJ, on a GERD wedge? PIllows don’t work the same when bed is flat compared to being inclined because torso and neck are not horizontal. Can you respond by email please?
Do you have any thoughts on the SleepRight Side Sleeping Pillow? I sleep on my side, have TMJ from grinding my teeth and have neck pain from trigger points in my levator scapulae. Based on you article I was also thinking about the low loft latex.
I’ve tried the SleepRight pillow… and I think it’s a very well made pillow — but when compared to others I’ve tested, it’s not in my top 5.
I suffer from congenital torticollis in my neck and I’m having a hard time with finding the right pillow. Would you recommended latex foam for me or something different? any advice would be greatly appreciated!! thank you
The latex pillow is acceptable. If you’re a back sleeper, the enVy pillow could also be beneficial for you.
right now i have 17 pillows in my house and cant find the right one yet im mostly a side sleeper and then back my problem is when i sleep on my side my arms tend to go numb obviously because i am not sleeping right on pillow i need something that doesnt raise my head too much when on my side and when on my back dont want my chin touching chest which pillow would you think i need i have very broad shoulders
Billie, try the low-loft firm latex pillow.
Hi Dr. Tanase,
I didn’t see the response to the post from the 4’11” woman who was looking for the right pillow. I too am 4’11. I have tried several kinds to find support and comfort. I toss and turn, and wake up sore. I sleep all over, but primarily on my side. The latex pillow looks like it might be too tall..? I would appreciate your input. Pillow shopping is frustrating!
Catherine, the low-loft firm latex definitely won’t be too small for you. Give it a try.
In the last year I have started to develop some neck and shoulder pain. Even have some jaw pain. Ive noticed here lately that sleeping is becoming more painful. I am now in the hunt for a pillow that can help or at the least will not exacerbate the issue. I have research and read closely and am torn between the latex and the enVY pillows. I am a side sleeper and a stomach sleeper but I currently am trying to train myself to not sleep on my stomach. I have always avoided firm pillows but at this point I will try anything. Any advice would be great.
Based on the info you’ve shared, I recommend starting with the low loft latex.
Thanks for the quick reply. Just finally getting to revisit this topic now. Been busy and still not sleeping well. Gonna try the latex pillow. Do you recommend firm or plush?
I wanted to say thank you for the information on your site. I suffer from Cervical Dystonia/Spasmodic Torticollis for over two years now and have a rough time sleeping due to the daily neck pain. In addition, my husband hurt his back and neck about six weeks ago and his difficulty sleeping has made it almost impossible for me to get more than 2-4 hours of sleep a night. I was thinking that a new mattress might help him out (and therefore, help me out) and I found your site while doing research. While I decide between a new mattress and a mattress topper (had not considered that until I read more about them in your mattress section) I ordered a new pillow for me (low-loft firm). My goal is for us not to end up in twin beds like Ricky and Lucy and am willing to try anything. Cross your fingers for me and thanks again.
You’re very welcome, Kelly, and thank you for the kind words!
Great website. I have a bulding disc c5-6 with some narrowing (not warranting surgery yet thankfully). Neck pain and cervical radiculopathy for the past year, back sleeper. I used to use the low loft firm latex pillow which was great for several months but then it stopped working for me and neck pain came back. I tried to purchase a new latex pillow and it still caused pain. Have also tried the therapeutica pillow and a couple of fiberfill cervical pillows which did not work as well. I honestly do not like memory foam pillows. Very frustrated as I feel I have tried every pillow out there and cannot find one that works (or works for only a short time then stops working). Any suggestions for a new pillow?
Hi Jason, it’s important to remember that if a person has underlying structural imbalance within their neck, pillows can’t undo this problem. Are you receiving any form of corrective care to address your neck?
In the mean time, you might consider checking out the NanoBead pillow by Z. I haven’t personally used it, but it’s an affordable try-it-and-see option. Also, give the BackJoy Posture Sleep pillow a good look. Here’s a link – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00911XFGK/?tag=chthne0e-20
I experienced almost the same scenario, Jason, after a pillow worked for awhile. My chiropractor started doing K Laser IV Therapy on me and it has helped greatly. Right now I’m doing something and waking up pain-free. I am a side sleeper and have one of the side sleeper memory foam pillows. Its the right height. I put my cervical collar on now before bed and only lay my head down on the flat part of the pillow. None of my neck is touching the pillow, and I’ve been pain-free like this for several months so far. Dr. Tanase is so right that pillows can’t undo the problem. Sometimes, I think the necks want a break of laying on anything for awhile.
What pillow do you recommend for a 5’8″ female who has a disc problem at C5-6. I also have an old whip lash injury. I fell down the stairs 3 years ago and re injured everything so my neck constantly hurts. the muscles in the front and back of my neck are rock hard and painful. I had chiropractic treatments and physical therapy for the last 3 years. I am a side sleeper who was using the temper-pedic lumbar pillow to sleep on my side and when I replaced it with a new one my neck hurt more. I tried their side sleeper pillow which did not provide enough support for my head. I have what is called a “step down” on the back of my neck (looks like a bulge at the top of my spine. I do have a allergy to latex. The envy pillow?
I’d recommend the Posture Sleep pillow from BackJoy. Here’s a link – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00911XFGK/?tag=chthne0e-20
I am a 5 foot woman. Do you think the latex pillow will be too big for me? Thanks.
Give it a try, Terry.
I’m looking for a good supportive pillow. I’m 6″2 165 lb and start sleeping on my back. Usually roll over and sleep on my side. I wake up at least 8 times a night. I want to find some thing that will help me stay on my back because I snore and sleeping on my side for long periods hurts my knees when one knee is laying on top of my other knee. I find that after a while on my back my airway closes and that’s when I roll over. What’s the best pillow you think? Thank you!
Daniel, if you want a pillow to help you stay on your back, I recommend the Therapeutica.
Ok great, I looked into that pillow and have read that it could be a challenge to get use to. I have a pretty firm mattered with a 2″ visco elastic topper. I’ve read a reviewer who had a video elastic mattress and that the theraputica didn’t work for him because he felt like he was sinking and it caused low back pain. Do you think I would be fine being that I just have a topper on mine? Or should I look into an envy or latex low loft?
All three are great pillows, Daniel. But if you’re specifically trying to stay on your back, Therapeutica is the best option.
What do you think of the Arc4life Cervical Linear Traction Neck Pillow? I have been sleeping with a “D shaped” cervical pillow for years (due to a bulging cervical disc, and now degeneration all these years later), and have been very happy with it until recently. It has lost it’s firmness, and I’m in the market for a new pillow; came across this one and thought the traction quality might be nice. I love when my massage therapist gently “pulls” my head to relieve the weight….I sleep both on my back and my sides.
Liane, I’m not a fan of it… Personally, even if it were 1/3 of the cost, I think it would still be over-priced.
Love your article. I actually purchased the D-pillow a while ago before reading your article and wished I had read this first. I am a side/stomach sleeper. I tend to sleep with my belly down, my head to the side and one arm under my head. And even when I try to sleep on my back (I know the way I sleep is bad for my spine) I end up back in that position. I wake up with very painful neck pain that lasts until I see a chiropractor. Would you recommend the Theraputica for me? I already did the measurements and I’m a large.
Hi Doris, yes, I think you should give the Therapeutica a try…
Hi Dr. I have tried so many pillows. I started to develop clenching issues from normal down pillows, so bad it was affecting the muscles around my ears. I switched to another one that was down and shredded foam, and it helped for a bit but again the clenching/tmj face pain came back. I switched to a tempur pedic and it dramatically helped my clenching/tmj issues however causes me to have neck issues! I tried another memory foam gel based pillow, and now I have both issues again accept around my ear yet again. I find the memory foam pillows are either too firm or far too squishy. I am a side sleeper too btw. Would love to hear your thoughts. 🙂 Thank!
Hey Adam, it certainly sounds like you’ve tried a lot of pillows! Give the low loft latex pillow a try…. I don’t think it’ll disappoint you.
Terrific article, Dr. Tanase. Question, please: I am a side sleeper. Told by a chiropractor years ago to use a latex contour pillow. So I have these many years. I see you do not recommend a contour pillow for side sleepers. I need a new pillow. Should I go with the Talalay Latex regular pillow? if so, firm low-loft or firm high-loft. I am 5 feet 3 inches but do prefer a higher pillow. Thanks in advance for your advice.
I’d recommend the low-loft firm latex option, Mary. The high-loft would be entirely too big for you.
Hi – I’ve been suffering from neck pain. The only pillow that gives me comfort is a low loft (2 to 3 inches) yet firm pillow. I find that most low-loft pillows in the market are still too high for me. Do you have any recommendation for me.
Waqar, the lowest profile pillow I’ve seen is this one – http://www.amazon.com/Dr-Breus-Low-Profile-Pillow/dp/B00CJYFG7M/ref=as_sl_pc_ss_til?tag=chthne0e-20&linkCode=w01&linkId=DCSCD2JH3YFB2QZA&creativeASIN=B00CJYFG7M — give it a shot.
Thank you for all of the excellent info in your post, Dr. Tanase! I tend to start on my back but turn to my side for the majority of my sleep. I have a herniated disc in C3-C4 that is worse on one side and a herniated disc in C4-C5 that is worse on the opposite side. The MRI results also showed severe cervical kyphosis. In addition, I suffer from TMJ. I am prone to both tension headaches and migraines. I am currently going through therapy, which includes home traction, but I know that better supporting pillows would benefit me as well.
Reading through your post, I am trying to decide which would be best for my situation – the latex pillow? Or the BackJoy? Or do you have a better suggestion?
Thanks in advance!
Hi Kathleen, in this case I’d say go with the latex option.
Wonderful information – glad I stumbled onto this! I am a very broad shoulder male and suffer at the C5-C6 region – auto accident in my teen years. To give an idea – I typically need a 48-50 short suit jacket (yes these are hard to find) just to fit my shoulders and then have the rest of it tailored down to to fit….but I’m only 5’7″. I am a side sleeper and finding a pillow that will prevent my head from sagging has been frustrating. I see you recommend the low loft latex – but wondering if the high loft may be the better place for me to start? Or – I have never heard of the Therapeutica until reading your information. Which one would you recommend I try first?
Daniel, if your shoulders are as broad as you describe, the high loft might be the better option for you.
Is there a pillow that “rejects” smells? that is still comfortable? We have used in the past pillow covers like for allergies, but the covers rattle when you lie on the pillow.
Also–I’m a side sleeper with CPAP machine and pretty frequent neck problems. Bad one this weekend. They usually tend to happen more in the am’s–when I do small things, sounds and feels like one vertebra slides over another, and then the muscles spasm, and misery sets in for about 4-6 weeks or so. Should I go with the low-loft firm latex pillow? Thanks!!!! (visited chiro this Saturday from trying to put my coat hood on—really??? haha!
Kirsty, I’m not quite sure what you mean by “rejects smells” — but yes, the low-loft firm latex would be my suggestion.
Like keeps the smell of hair, etc. OFF the actual pillow–men’s hair smell seems to permeate the pillow then airing out, etc. sometimes still won’t get the stronger smell out of the pillow.
Thanks so much!!!
Hi, very nice blog. I had two ernia L4-L5, L5-S1 and i soffer a lot cause of bruxism. I can sleep on the back but in the middle of the night i have to change position on the side. I find the backjoy pillow very interesting. Could suggest me about it or something else?
Yes Paolo, give it a try, it’s a good pillow.
Thx for the quick reply, but do you think is better than the latex low profile pillow?
Paolo, they’re both great pillows. Comfort level is subjective, however, and you may prefer one over the other. I believe that more people would prefer the latex pillow overall, but again, they’re both very good.
Greetings, I am so happy to discover Dr. Tanase’s website and the blog regarding “pillows”. I have long standing neck/shoulder arthritis/bone spur issues and spinal stenosis in C-4, 5, and 6. I have quite a collection of pillows of all sorts of designs and styles. Some have been helpful for awhile and some have done little to help me get a restful night’s sleep. If nothing else, it’s insightful to read all these posts from folks who have similar situations. I have spent a fortune on pillows through the years (including the very expensive Pillow1, and a pillow of my own design that I had custom made). Currently I am resting comfortably and waking pain free with a latex low loft/medium firm pillow. In the past, I have had many pillows made from memory foam……but never again! As it turns out, after years of sleeping on memory foam mattresses and pillows, I have developed an allergy to some (or all) of the toxic chemicals used in the construction of memory foam. Nothing but latex from this point on!
Hi Kathleen, I’m glad you enjoy the blog, and it’s nice to hear that you’re sleeping comfortably on the latex pillow. Enjoy!
What do you think about the relax the back foam contour pillows? I bought one a few years ago and it’s time to replace it since the foam is breaking down.
I’m not a fan of them, Lisa. I personally would never sleep on one of those.
Adam,what are your thoughts on latex contour pillows.I have neck and shoulder pain.do you have one you could reccomend,high or medium profile ? The latex ones you mention sound great,but contour look more comfy.
Katie, I do not encourage the use of memory foam/latex contour pillows. So I don’t have a recommendation for you apart from not using one.
Adam, I see that you don’t recommend the use of a latex contour pillow, but I don’t see your stated reason as to why and am curious. I currently use a conventional latex pillow but find that it lifts my head up too high when I roll onto my back (and I think causes breathing issues). I’m thinking of using a contour latex pillow that I purchased a while back as it seems to allow my head to drop back while on my back and I breathe a bit better, although when on my side I don’t like it as much because it puts pressure on my jaw unless I angle it properly.
Paul, to be fair, some patients who are strictly back sleepers and have a measurably favorable cervical curve will find them comfortable. But by design, contour pillows are shaped VERY generically off a model of the spine that, in my experience of analyzing tens of thousands of cervical x-rays, doesn’t match reality. They’re a recipe for disaster in patients who don’t know what state their cervical curve is in when purchasing.
Thank you Adam,I will be buying the one you reccomended.you have saved me time money and stress. happy zzzz adam
I’m in australia,it won’t ship from America. Is there anywhere I can get this or a similar pillow in Australia.your help would be great.
Hi Katie, I’m not sure… You might try contacting the manufacturer directly and ask them to ship one to you internationally.
What about the complete sleeprrr ? I went to the chiropractor in Australia today and they had these in the waiting room. Any good ?
Katie, I’ve never used the “Complete Sleeprrr” pillow, so I can’t comment on it.
Hi Dr, What do you think of PILLO1? The design is pretty similar to Therapeutica.
Ron, I’ve never heard of the Pillo1, but I looked it up on Amazon just now (http://amzn.to/1UAZyT6), and I must say, the price difference between it and the Therapeutica seems significant. Considering they both do the same thing, I’m not sure why anyone would pay the extra $100 for a Pillo1.
Dr. Tanase – What do you recommend to put under the knees when sleeping on back and between knees when sleeping on side? I’d like to use the same product, and something that is easier to use than a pillow. Thanks.
Laura, I do not have a specific recommendation for that scenario.
Hi Dr. Tanase. I’m 5’8″ and have chronic neck pain – I’m looking for a new pillow to give my neck support. I’m a side sleeper. What do you recommend? Many thanks.
Hi Kate, go for the latex or the Therapeutica.
Hi Dr. Tanase, I first want to thank you for the good information that you’ve provided on choosing the right pillows. It is very helpful information that we will use when shopping for the right pillows. This is on behalf of my adult son who is experiencing dizziness, cold forearms, and numb hands. These symptoms occur frequently and the doctor has not yet been able to diagnose why they occur. Several tests have been performed including a blood test and all have been normal. We’re now focusing on sleeping and neck positions and will start by purchasing the latex pillow. I will return with how it worked for him. Thanks again.
I’m a definite side sleeper and been suffering from shoulder and neck strain for a long time now. I use the Therapeutica and I can safely say that I feel relief for now.
Just saw your recommendations regarding the Backjoy pillow above, thanks for the info, I may give it a try!
Can’t go wrong with either, Katya. Give one a try!
Hi Dr. Tanase, I really found reading this helpful. I was recently diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, every disc bulging from C2 all the way to T2, with C4 and 5 touching the spinal cord, and some reversal of lordosis. I would like to make sure the situation doesn’t get worse. I am a 5’8″ female, 140 lbs. Which pillow you would recommend for me? The Therapeutica or something else? Thank you!
Give the Therapeutica a try, Rollie.
Thanks Dr. Tanase!
Please help. I’m a side/back sleeper (mainly side) and I cannot find a good pillow or get any sleep. I toss and turn all night and end up with my right arm under pillow every night. That’s the only way I’ve ever slept. Now that I’m pushing 40 I’m in constant pain (neck, back, shoulders, and of course right arm) even if I fall asleep on my back I end up on my right side with sharp pains in my shoulder. I’ve used body pillows since my first pregnancy and continue to use them. Is there a six foot pillow that can be shaped while providing the support I need while allowing me lay on right arm and that can be used between my legs? Right now I have about 6 pillows I fight with on a nightly basis. Memory foam is too hard because I cant lay on my arm. Down filled moves too much and provides no support. And the cheap pillows end up lumpy. Also I am being fitted for a cpap mask so I would need something that will allow me to be comfortable with head gear lol 😆
Ms Alford, low-loft firm latex is the way to go.
I will buy one this weekend, thank you!!!!
Thank you for this pillow review. I have a cervical pillow, but I wake up with severe TMJ due to a chronic misalignment in my neck / collar bone (chiropractic adjustments don’t hold), which of course affects the rest of my body as well. I am looking for a good pillow for my injury as currently I am not using a pillow at all. I sleep on my back on the floor for a few hours before getting into bed. When I sleep on my side in bed, I am using a folded sweatshirt to minimally support my head (I can’t tolerate a lot of loft). After studying the various reviews and recommendations here, I am intrigued by the Mediflow Original Waterbase Pillow, but please correct me if there’s a better pillow for me. Thank you muchly!!
Anne, if your chief concern is a low loft pillow, I would recommend latex over the Mediflow. And if you want it incredibly soft, go for the plush option.
Thank you, I will order it today and see how it goes.
I just recently purchased a latex mattress that I LOVE! It’s the first time in years that I’ve woke up with no lower back pain. However, I’m a side sleeper and it’s firm to the point that now I’m experiencing pain across my shoulders. Not neck so much, but I feel sure it’s because my neck is no longer aligned because my pillows are too flat. I bought a Beautyrest latex pillow from a department store but it’s still too low and soft (it’s better if I double it). I did find though that it isn’t the same model # as the one you recommended. I was considering ordering the Malouf Z in the low loft firm but now I’m afraid it may still be too low but didn’t know whether to choose firm or plush if I go with high loft or whether to stick with the low loft choice. I would really like your opinion on which would be best for me..
I probably should have mentioned that I’m about 5’4″, weight about 170 and am in my early 60’s.
Peggy, you might try this customizable buckwheat pillow since you’re having a hard time with finding the right amount of thickness… here’s a link – https://hec.su/bbvS
I need a help too. I have TMJ and not sure which pillow to get. I always try to sleep on my back but usually find my self waking up on myside in the morning… Based on your recommendations I am in between Latex low loft firm and Latex low loft plush. Which one you think would be better for tmj sufferers? Thank you very much!!!
Well I wouldn’t suggest it as a treatment for TMJ, but I’d go with the low-loft firm, Jessica.
Doc … 65 year old side-sleeping male with the usual shoulder / neck pain / arm numbness / jaw stiffness etc.
Good advice here and you’ve convinced me to try the Latex route. But here’s my query. I expect that a fair amount of my issues stem from my shoulder width … quite broad, even for a 6’1” 200 lb frame. In a latex pillow should I opt for a “high loft” / “firm pillow” ?
Hi William, if you have broad shoulders, this pillow may be better suited for you – https://hec.su/bkwE
Dr. Tanase, do you have any pillow recommendations for someone who has had whiplash for 6 months? I am considering buying the shredded memory foam pillow. Thank you.
Hi Josh, try the Therapeutica. I don’t recommend shredded memory foam…
Hi doc – came across this in a search for a good pillow after hearing a pillow ad on the radio.
I’ve never had a pillow that works for me for my entire life – I had sort of given up. I am a 6’1 male with broad shoulders, and I like to sleep on my sides. Normal pillows always feel too small. A feather pillow I my head sinks into and feels crinkes and far too low. Even a standard queen/king pillow fees too small. So what I have been doing for many years is using two pillows. Too normal pillows is too much loft, so I use a feather pillow on top of a normal pillow which works like 1.5 pillows in height. This feels good when I fall asleep, but often the two pillows shift and I wake up in a mess and have to reset.
Is the latex high loft something that would work for me?
If you’re tall, broad shouldered, and prefer to sleep on your side with a thicker pillow, I recommend a customizable buckwheat pillow. This allows you to set the thickness by adding/removing hulls. Here’s a good one – https://hec.su/bNbu
I have pillow issues and insomnia and feel like I can’t find the right pillow. I can only fall asleep on my side but can’t sleep for long before my arm starts going dead, so then roll onto my back – but then wake up with neck pain as it feels like my head and neck are being held up too high. This continues all night. So side and back comfort are equally important. I looked at a Tempur Millenium Queen Medium today that felt great on the test bed in the shop, but at nearly $300 a pop it’s too much to just buy and try. What would you recommend? The therapeutica seems like an option but not sure. Thanks!
Andrew, I agree with you — give the Therapeutica a try.
First of all, let me thank you for having such a useful website!
So, I’m a side sleeper and been having neck and back pain with the pillows I’ve tried for years. I tried the memory foam neck contour pillows as well, but I had issues with it (neck pain and pressured ears). I have not tried a Latex pillow before, and I’m not sure which size and firmness should I get (i’m looking toward the Brooklyn Bedding one). I’m 6’3 tall with 6-inch-wide shoulders. I’d appreciate your recommendations — Thank you.
Hi there Jim, high-loft firm is fine for people who are 6’3″.
I found this by accident when looking for opinions on pillows and I’m so glad I did! I wake up with a headache most mornings. I’ve tied feather pillows and am currently on a memory foam pillow but still get the headaches. Would you recommend Latex?
Hi Anne, I’m definitely not a fan of memory foam or feather pillows. I discourage patients from using them. I recommend the latex. Give it a try.
I recently decided that I will give the Therapeutica a try. I went to the website for further measuring instructions, and my measurement is about 6 1/4 inch which falls in between two sizes (average and large adult). I am a young male adult with height about 5′- 9″ to 5′-10″. I was thinking about going for large since the weight of head will make the pillow sinks a little. Which one do you think I should get? Go for smaller or larger?
Hey there, Kevin… If you’re between sizes on this particular type of pillow, I’d go for the average size (not large adult).
I have severe TMJ and neck pain. I sleep on my back as well as my side (due to chronic sinusitis). After reading through all the comments it’s not clear which pillow type to explore with my issues. Please help and thank you.
Tom, I recommend the latex option.
Hi I currently sleep on a gel pillow I’ve had it for a few years now & it’s starting 2 get uncomfortable. I’m 5.4 hight a small 2 medium build. I’ve never had much luck finding a good pillow. I’ve had latex they are OK but not great. I have fibromyalgia so I’m left with all over chronic pain. I’m a back sleeper & I like a soft 2 medium pillow. I have tried contoured pillow but I really don’t find them comfortable at all. So would you have any suggestions so I can get a half decent sleep. Thanks
Nicole, consider trying a lower lofted latex pillow. If the first one you used was too thick, it wouldn’t be very comfortable.
OK thanks for the help
I had a C4-5, 5-6 fusion two years ago. I am having neck and shoulder pain when I wake in the morning, which continues during the day. I do have arthritis above and below my fusion. I am a side sleeper and frequently wake with my head extended back when I wake. Would the Therapeutica be the pillow that would work best for me?
Annette, I wouldn’t recommend the Therapeutica pillow in your case. A neutral latex pillow would probably be better suited of your neck.
My name is Navira and I have been having issues sleeping or when you say sound sleeping! I wake up with shoulder pain because I sleep on my side and currently I’m using Aris contour pillow similar to in pic 2! I tried the pillow in pic 4 aswell but it’s not for me I ordered the wrong size which was petite maybe I was average size! Now I’m in dilemma as to which one suit me best as a back and side sleeper! Is there any recommendations I would really appappreciate your help.
Navira, for what you’re describing, I’ll recommend a pillow not mentioned above… it’s called the Hullo (link – http://amzn.to/1S2E8LB) and can be adjusted to accommodate varying shoulder height by adding or removing the included buckwheat hulls. Give it a try… since publishing this article, it has become one of my preferred pillow choices.
It’s amazing to see someone so dedicated to helping out strangers.
I do have a question though. I was diagnosed with cervical radiculopathy (pain on side of neck and shoulder) but my PT appointment is still out so I don’t know which nerve roots are affected. I’m a side/back sleeper (I start out on the side but often end up on my back). What pillow would you recommend? I’m using a memory foam pillow now (Coop Home Goods shredded memory foam pillow). I don’t know if that’s aggravating my neck pain but I do get a lot of pain when landing on the pillow (the pain wanes off in a few minutes though).
I’d go with a very supportive side-sleeping pillow in this case… one not listed above called Hullo. Here’s a link – http://amzn.to/2aMFvkc
I’m 173cm (5’67) male. I sleep on my back and sides and I often get a lot of back pains and sometimes neck pain from a night’s sleep. Which pillow will suit me best? I’m looking at the Therapeutica or the Pillow or Health and don’t know which one is more suitable.
Leo, if you’re a back/side sleeper, I’d go for the latex or the Pillow of Health option.
The latex is a very comfortable option.
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