The 4 Best Pillows For Back Pain

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Being kept awake by back pain, whatever the causes, is unpleasant. Pillows that support your spine can do a lot to ease discomfort, but, just as importantly, they can sometimes even relieve some of the underlying causes of your pain. Of course, root causes of back pain differ, as do our individual sleeping positions, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and the best pillow for back pain for you can vary depending on your needs and preferences.

Sleeping on your back with proper head support, may be enough to soothe symptoms, according to the University of Rochester. If your head pillow is already supportive, additional support in the form of a wedge or roller pillow under your knees can also help. However, back sleeping can also cause snoring, Brandon Peters, M.D., writes in Verywell Health, and it might be hard for some side sleepers to adjust to. In that case, there are a few ways to sleep comfortably in any position while still supporting your spine. A pillow that goes between and supports your knees can do a lot for keeping spinal alignment straight and ease tension for side sleepers, explains the Mayo Clinic. Stomach sleeping also makes back alignment tricky, but a pillow beneath your stomach and hips can help.

Unsure which support is best for you? First, you should consult a doctor to see what causes and treatments might work best for you. Depending on their advice, experimenting with a regular pillow in various positions or even a rolled-up towel can give you an idea of what kind of support would be most beneficial to you. Finally, if not even better neck, knee, and lumbar support are helping, you may need to consider upgrading your mattress.

Below, I’ve rounded up the best option in each category of pillows that provide various forms of support for back, side, and stomach sleepers. Each pillow selected is foam or memory foam, which provides consistent support that won’t deflate throughout the night.

1. The Best Head Pillow For Back Pain

Sleeping on your back and keeping your neck supported and spine straight is one way to ease back pain. Memory foam, unlike down or down-alternative fill, won’t deflate through the night and cause your spine to go out of alignment. However, some people prefer the feel of traditional pillows. This Amazon cult-favorite, with more than 11,500 five-star reviews, provides the support of memory foam with a more traditional feel thanks to a shredded memory foam fill. Both the memory foam pillow and polyester-rayon blend cover are machine-washable.

The fill can be easily adjusted to your own height and preferences as well. Even if you sleep on your side, this is supportive enough to keep your head from dipping too far down and taking your spine out of alignment in the process.

2. The Best Knee Pillow For Side Sleepers

If you sleep on your side, you may find a supportive pillow for your neck and head alone aren’t enough. Elevating your top legs can better mimic natural and healthy spine alignment. While regular pillows can provide some support, they can also easily be too big, loose support as the night goes on, or quickly come dislodged. This memory foam pillow is shaped to go between your knees and stay in place comfortably all night. Used between the knees, the pillow can also help relieve hip pain as well as sleep discomfort in pregnant women. While the pillow itself is not washable, the polyester cover can be removed and cleaned as needed.

3. The Best Knee Pillow For Back Sleepers & Stomach Sleepers With Back Pain

Back sleepers may still find they want knee support, even with a supportive pillow for their head and neck. A half-moon bolster pillow under the knee is especially good for helping lower-back pain. By elevating the knees, it stretches out the lower back and relieves tension. Stomach sleepers can also place the half-moon pillow under their stomach to keep their spine in alignment. The memory foam construction stays supportive all night, and while the body is not machine-washable, the cotton cover is. It can also be placed between your knees if you switch positions during the night.

4. The Best Wedge Pillow For Back Pain

If you find that a half-moon pillow isn’t enough support, a wedge pillow that lifts you legs completely off the bed might help. It allows you to further stretch out the lower back, providing more tension release for lower-back pain. Made from high-density foam, a memory foam layer on top provides comfort for your legs. It also keeps legs and feet above heart level and may be suitable for people who need to elevate their legs for medical reasons. The cotton cover is machine-washable.

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