The best pillow for back pain

Find yourself waking up with serious neck, back or shoulder pain? We shortlist ten of the best pillows for back sleepers.


by Emily Farquhar |
Updated on

If you are a back sleeper, finding the best pillow for back pain that supports your neck, back or shoulder pain can be difficult. A firm pillow which can be classed as a rock or a loose pillow that provides no support, is neither ideal for a decent night’s sleep. If you find yourself with a pillow that doesn't provide enough support, it isn’t uncommon to experience myriad aches and pains in various parts of your body. Therefore, it is vital to choose the best pillow based on the way you sleep. There’s only one kind of pillow solution, and you can read all the fluff right here…

Just to note, if you do experience a lot of back pain, then as long as you have the right pillow, sleeping on your back will be the best in evenly distributing your weight. This puts less strain on your pressure points. The general rule of thumb is that a side sleeper's pillow should come with firm support. Whereas back sleepers should go for a pillow with medium support, and a front sleepers' pillow should be soft. Then there are sleepers who tend to be a combination.

Best pillow for back pain at a glance:

• Best pillow for back sleepers: Emma Original Pillow - View on Emma Sleep
Best orthopaedic pillow for back pain: Orthopaedic V-Shaped Pillow - View on Amazon UK
Anti-allergy pillows for back pain: Slumberdown Anti Allergy Pillows, for Back Relief - View on Amazon UK
Budget back sleeper pillow: Snuggledown Back Sleeper Pillow - View on Amazon UK

Whatever you may be, ensure you buy something that gives proper alignment (side sleepers) or prevents your neck or shoulders from tilting in awkward positions (back sleepers) while in a deep sleep. If you also find yourself waking up with neck pain regularly, make sure you check out our guide to the best pillows for neck pain too.

In addition to selecting the best pillow for back pain, it might be worth reassessing your mattress or mattress topper to make sure it’s providing enough support. From soft pillow rolls to custom-fit memory foam pillows, here are the top pillow recommendations for back sleepers. There are even antisnore pillows, which feel revolutionary. Slip away in comfort...

Best pillows for back pain

Best pillow for back sleepers

Emma Original Pillow
Price: £47.25 (was £105)

The Emma Pillow is the best solution for back sleepers due to its 'endless possibilities'. The Non-toxic, vegan, and naturally hypoallergenic solution gives you the freedom to adapt the height and firmness to your needs. As a result, this pillow and its three layers of premium foam have been designed for all body types and sleeping positions. It's extra breathable and ultra-durable! Back sleepers are suggested to remove a layer.

Customer Review: "How did I ever live without these? They have been absolutely brilliant - really solid and supportive. The customer service team have been great, really helpful. I will definitely be buying from Emma again."

Read our review of the Emma Pillow


  • Pressure-relieving foam
  • Individually removable layers
  • 2-year guarantee
  • On sale


  • Some customers experienced despatch and delivery problems

Best orthopaedic pillow for back pain

In a variety of different colours, this orthopaedic pillow is specially designed to aid neck and back pain. Popular with pregnant women, those with breathing issues or those with shoulder, neck or back pain this pillow offers the right support. Easily re-plumped, this pillow has been made with a non-allergenic synthetic filling.

Customer Review: "This is the best pillow I've ever bought and I've bought a lot to find the best. This holds its shape just needs plumping every so often. I've bought so many pillows to find the best. I've stuck with this for the longest out of all of them. The cover is a soft material and is easy to wash. The pillow is nice and plump. I have a torn shoulder muscle it's ideal."


  • Made with anti-allergy filling
  • Different colours available
  • Good for pregnancy


  • May not work for some

Best memory foam pillow for back pain

This is designed to keep your neck and spine aligned as you sleep to try and combat any morning aches and pains you might experience. It also comes with a five-year guarantee for your peace of mind.

Customer review: "I was looking for a Tempur cloud contour pillow because my son has one and he loves it. I suffer from curvature of the spine, and for all my life, I have had to keep moving my pillows about to try and get a good night's sleep. Since buying the John Lewis memory foam contour pillows - one for me and the other for my husband (he has Parkinson's and has difficulty having support for the neck when going to sleep). Both of us are absolutely amazed at how comfortable they are. We don't toss and turn all night; we sleep so well now."


  • This dual-contoured pillow has a pressure-relieving core.
  • The larger contour supports the spine alignment of side sleepers
  • The shallow one is ideal for back sleepers.


  • Some people found it was too 'high' for them to sleep comfortably.


The Elviros cervical contour memory foam pillow is the best pillow for anyone who needs an extra head, neck, and shoulder support. The orthopaedic pillow has two heights (12.5cm and 10.5cm) so you can customize the right support for your head and cervical, keeping your neck properly aligned with the rest of your body. It's ergonomically designed to follow the natural curve of your body (less snoring) and the cut-outs on the side give your top arm a place to rest.

Customer Review: "I’ve always struggled with pillows and have spent a ridiculous amount on countless pillows over the years but have found this one to be the best. I have a few chronic pain and fatigue issues which make it really difficult to get comfortable and sleep due to pain and stiffness.

I bought two of these, one in soft and one in super soft, I kept both. The soft one is still pretty firm tbh, the softer one less so. I tend to alternate between them depending on pain levels and the support needed.

I wish the softer one were just a little thicker as my neck doesn’t feel fully supported and I feel it would be with an extra 1-3cm. But it is the best and most comfortable pillow I’ve found so far, most supportive neck pillows are far too thin to be supportive enough and make my neck lean downwards painfully, this is thicker than most so better, just a shame the softness makes it so much thinner with head weight."


  • Ergonomic design for support
  • Made from premium memory foam
  • Removable breathable pillowcase


  • May be too soft for some

Anti-allergy pillows for back pain

The Slumberdown anti-allergy white pillows are the best pillows for back sleepers as they are specifically medium-firm support. Very affordable, the pillows offer the right level of comfort and support for your head and neck while keeping your spine straight. It's also ideal for anyone who suffers from allergies with its specially formulated polyester, reducing the build-up of bacteria or dust mites.

Customer Review: "These pillows are very comfortable…I’ve had them for two weeks now and they are still as puffy as they were when delivered. I usually use two pillows with these I only need one and get a really good night's sleep. Would recommend them and if it’s ever needed in the future would buy it again. Well worth the money!!!! Arrived earlier than expected!"


  • Anti-allergy pillows
  • Luxurious and soft
  • Affordable comfort


  • Needs wearing in

Budget back sleeper pillow

Snuggledown's back sleeper white pillows are another top pick for the best pillows for back sleepers. With medium support, these pillows are designed to help support your head to be slightly raised and aligned to your spine, preventing aches and neck pain. They too are constructed with soft hollow fibre filling coupled with a soft touch cover for full comfort.

Customer Review: "I have multiple pillows from different brands but this one has to be my favourite, can't sleep without it. It does have an issue but that may be just it's age. The firmness seems to have reduced but I just buff it all down to one end of the pillow and use it that way and it's mint."


  • Washing machine friendly
  • Anti-allergy for peaceful slumber
  • Contains a supportive, walled pillow


  • Firmness does reduce over time

Anti-wrinkle and ageing sleep pillow

 YourFacePillow Beauty Pillow - Anti Wrinkle & Anti Aging Back Sleeping Pillow

Rrp: $79.99

Price: $49.99
Alternative retailers
Walmart$49.99View offer

The YourFacePillow is the best pillow for not only back sleepers but for anti-wrinkle, anti-ageing, wrinkle prevention and acne treatment. The natural beauty product is made of pressure-relieving memory foam for optimal comfort and support, and there are cooling flow channels to provide full comfort.

Customer Review: "I highly recommend this pillow. I can side sleep comfortably without the pillow pressing on my smile lines. I hope in the long term it will slow the ageing in that area. I hoped it could help me train myself to sleep on my back but it didn't work for me. It's too comfy on the side. Is super soft but still supportive and l like that my head feels cradled and cozy. Wish l had bought it sooner. I also had a craniotomy surgery and got it in hopes that sleeping would be better while recovering and it helped a lot. I was able to sleep while avoiding certain painful pressure spots on my head. Highly recommend for any head or face injury/surgery while healing."


  • Small or large sizes are available
  • Anti-ageing, acne and wrinkle
  • Good for recovery from surgery


  • May be too comfy for some

Adjustable memory foam pillow

Price: £56.43 (was £99)

The Whole Night's Sleep adjustable memory foam pillow is a more traditional pillow for back sleepers. This pillow combines an adjustable gel-infused memory foam core with a soft, breathable Tencel cover, providing a supportive night's sleep. This product has also been made in partnership with the mental health movement #IAMWHOLE.

Customer Review: "It is comfortable and supportive and feels well made and capable of a long life."


  • Memory foam core
  • Soft, breathable Tencel
  • 365-night trial


  • Mixed reviews


How to choose the best pillow for back pain

There are a few main factors to consider when selecting the best pillow for back pain. For those that often suffer from back pain. Chances are - you may need special, orthopaedic pillow support.

Firmness: ensure your pillow provides medium-firm support

Loft: ensure the height and the type of fill is medium to high for full comfort. Perhaps go for an adjustable loft if you are a combination sleeper and move between the positions

Shape: keep in mind that some pillow fills such as latex and solid foam keep their shape better and require less maintenance than others

Size: pillow sizes do range, but the two most common pillow sizes include a standard (20 x 26 inches) and a king (20 x 36 inches)

Quality: invest in a pillow with high-quality materials, especially the pillow’s cover and fill to ensure durability

Reviews: a great indication of a pillow’s performance is to look at its customer reviews

Where to put a pillow for back pain?

Small knee pillows are also another effective tool in minimizing back, neck and shoulder pain with back and side sleepers. Simply place the pillow under your knees if you are a back sleeper or between your knees if you are a side sleeper. This will secure your hip joints and ensure a natural curvature of the spine.

Emily Farquar writes commercial and branded content across the full range of Bauer brands like What’s The Best, Yours, Heat, Closer, Mother & Baby and Grazia.

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