Australia's Best Pillows for Neck Pain
Waking up with constant neck pain or headaches and migraines? You aren’t alone. Roughly 20% of Aussies suffer from neck pain-related problems. While a sore neck can also be linked to lifestyle or underlying reasons but more often than not, the pillow is the culprit.
You see, the primary function of the pillow is to keep the neck and shoulder in a perfectly neutral position (lordotic curve) ensuring there is no pressure build up while sleeping. If the pillow loft is too high or too low or the pillow isn’t supportive enough, it can lead to neck pain.
That said, your sleeping position also matters. Stomach sleepers usually face a higher risk of neck pain because in this position the spine gets arched and always remains under pressure. For neck pain relief, sleeping on your back or side is generally recommended by experts.
The best pillow for neck pain is the one that maintains the correct curvature of the spine and prevents the neck from forming an awkward angle. And the right pillow for you would depend on how you sleep and your personal preferences. Like a back sleeper would need a thinner pillow, on the other hand, a side sleeper would need a medium-to-high loft pillow with medium-firmness. Generally, Contour pillows with memory foam filling work well for most sleepers suffering from neck pain.
Here are our top pillow picks:
Medical Disclaimer: While we have done our best to represent all the listed pillows’ features and benefits accurately, we are not medical professionals or pain management experts. If you are suffering from severe neck or back pain, please seek professional medical advice
Discover our picks: Australia’s top-rated pillows for sore neck
1. Spinaleze Pillow – Best Premium
Priced at $219, the Spinaleze pillow may sound like a considerable investment, which of course it is, but it has plenty of things going its way.
Hear us out. The unique contoured design with lightweight visco-elastic filling conforms evenly around the neck and head, relieving any pressure points while supporting the spine’s natural alignment. All this not only helps with neck pain but also assists easier breathing resulting in reduced incidences of snoring.
It also features elevated surface channels that provide a constant flow of fresh air, eliminating the common complaint many memory foam pillows get for sleeping too hot. It’s anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and made right here in Australia.
Praise for Spinaleze’s design is unanimous across the board. They’ve received numerous Best Product of The Year Awards in 2020 and currently hold a 4.8-star rating across 300+ verified purchases. Here’s what one Aussie had to say about their pillow:
“Had neck pain; used other brands but slept so much better! Looking forward to sleeping again now. My wife now wants one. Very impressed. Highly recommend if your having neck/ sleep issues.” – Darren Godwin
The Spinaleze comes in low, medium, and high loft options, offering the perfect support for all sleeper styles, and includes a custom-fitted pillowcase. The low profile option is suitable for back sleepers. The medium profile suits side sleepers under 6ft or 180cm, while the high profile suits side sleepers over 6ft. height.
Each pillow comes with a 12-month manufacturer warranty, but due to COVID-19, Spinaleze offers a 7-day return policy on unopened products only.
Final Verdict: If budget isn’t a constraint and you’re looking for one of the best pillows for neck pain relief in Austrtalia, give Spinaleze pillow a chance. Likes of cricket legend Ian Chappell and leading journalist Ben Fordham are also happy Spinaleze customers.
2. Ecosa Adjustable Pillow – Editor’s Pick
Ecosa pillow is a height-adjustable cervical pillow designed to offer neck pain relief to sleepers of all kinds. The pillow has a high side and low side and depending on your body type and sleep preference (back or side), you can use it either way. It also comes with multiple height pads to achieve the perfect elevation for your sleeping needs. All this helps maintain the head and neck’s natural alignment, which is quintessential for any neck pain relief pillow.
But Ecosa has thought about more than just the loft. Their unique design has three distinct layers: a machine-washable cover, a top grid of 3D memory foam that cuts down heat and moisture buildup, and a memory foam base infused with activated charcoal to eliminate odour and provides anti-bacterial protection.
If you’re a frequent traveller, you’ll know the pain of leaving your favourite pillow behind and the anxiety of finding out what flat, lumpy hotel pillow you’re stuck with. Ecosa makes it easy to pack your pillow with two compression bags that will let you shrink your pillow down to the size of a small loaf of bread, perfect for stowing in a carry-on or duffle bag.
Ecosa has managed to maintain a 4.9-star rating across a whopping 6000+ verified reviews, with owners making the switch from almost any material type you can imagine. Here’s what Carol S. had to say about her’s:
“This pillow is brilliant. I no longer have neck or back ache and I sleep much better. I used to wake up several times a night due to neck discomfort but the Ecosa pillow has fixed that.”
The Ecosa Pillow retails for $150 but can often be found on sale for $120, with additional savings if you buy two or more. Your order comes with a 100-night trial, so if you don’t love it, you can get a full refund with no questions asked.
Final Verdict: It’s hard to believe the quality and features Ecosa has managed to fit into one pillow for under $150. And with a full 100-night risk-free trial – so practically, you got nothing to lose.
The inherent firmness of memory foam may leave stomach sleepers looking elsewhere, but back and side sleepers can look forward to a cool, comfortable, pain-free sleep without breaking the bank.
3. Emma Foam Pillow – Best for Side Sleepers
If you’re a religious side sleeper suffering from neck pain, you need a thicker and firmer pillow that doesn’t soften over time. While plenty of memory foam pillows talk up their head and neck support, many of them lose their shape as your body heat builds up and the material softens.
Not so with the Emma Foam Pillow. Their hybrid design features a unique Airgocell® layer designed to even out your sleeping temperature, as well as layers of HRX and viscoelastic foam to provide both contour and weight support in equal measure. Like Ecosa, Emma offers multiple removable layers on the bottom, allowing you to customise your loft and support.
Emma has maintained just over a 4-star rating across 400+ reviews on Amazon and Google. Most reviews seemed to find the tipping point on the firmness of the pillow. We think this verified review sums it up nicely:
“I guess I never realised how much difference a pillow can make? But with this I’m waking up feeling less achy especially my neck and honestly it’s life changing” – Marianna Decataldo.
Emma lists its regular price at $150, but we’ve seen it regularly on sale for only $90. If you’re in a hurry to ditch your old pillow, they offer free, contactless delivery with 1-3 day shipping. Your order includes a 100-night trial, making it an incredibly safe bet if the firmness factor has you on the fence.
Final Verdict: We think side sleepers would find Emma foam pillow very supportive and comfortable with all three layers in use. We’re having trouble imagining stomach sleepers getting their money’s worth out of this one, as they will need to remove all of the adjustable layers.
4. Flexi Pillow – Gel Contour With Bamboo – Best for Headaches & Migraines
To all the Aussies living with chronic headaches and migraines, you probably already know that your pillow is a significant factor for your pain management. You’re probably also tired of trying countless pillows that promise relief but don’t deliver. If you still haven’t found the perfect pillow for you, we highly recommend the Flexi Pillow from Mattress & Pillow Science.
The pillow is made of high-quality 50kg/m3 memory foam and is adjustable to four different heights to suite all range of sleepers and body types.
The Flexi Pillow is specifically designed to correct sleep posture problems that often lead to pressure points in your neck and shoulders, leading to headaches and migraines while sleeping. It has a different sized curve on each side and two removable inserts, allowing you to configure the pillow to the perfect height and angle for your body.
The curve isn’t this pillow’s only trick for headache and migraine relief. The combination of memory foam and cooling layers are engineered to keep you cool throughout the night, leading to less tossing and turning that could break your proper sleep posture. As an added perk, the outer cover is made with bamboo fibre, praised for its soft feel and natural anti-bacterial properties.
If you’re still sceptical, look at the reviews on their site from verified buyers, with an average rating of 4.8 stars.
Kiersten S. says the Flexi Pillow has been a game-changer for her chronic pain:
“Very glad I purchased this pillow. I no longer have bad pain in my neck and shoulders when I wake up each morning.”
If you’re still not sure this pillow will be the magic bullet you’ve been looking for, Mattress & Pillow Science offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to return it for any reason. The Flexi Pillow’s asking price is $149, but it is currently on sale for $129 at the time of writing.
Final Verdict: When it comes to sleeping with chronic pain, no pillow is the perfect fit for everyone, but the four configurations of the Flexi Pillow gives you more options to find the relief you want. We think those still dissatisfied with their current pillow should give it a shot with a very flexible return policy.
5. MEWE Contour Memory Foam Pillow – Best Cooling
Some people just sleep hotter than others. If you’re looking for a pillow that stays cool while still offering excellent support to your neck and head, then check out this Contour Memory Foam Pillow from MEWE. It features a thin layer of special cooling gel designed to keep your pillow as cool as 1 to 2 ℃ lower than room temperature all night long.
But MEWE’s pillow is far from a one-trick pony. Its curved design provides excellent head and shoulder alignment, helping you avoid waking up with an annoying creak in your neck that follows you all day. It’s moderate loft and medium-softness makes it an ideal candidate for hot back sleepers, though some side sleepers may enjoy it as well.
This pillow currently boasts a 4.3-star rating out of 23 reviews, with many purchasers enjoying both the cooling layer and the added pressure relief.
Here’s what one such verified purchaser had to say:
“Great product. As feather pillows have always been my preference. I was skeptical whether this would fix my neck pain but nothing else was working so I bought this product. It took a couple of weeks to get completely used to it. Neck pain has now gone. The cooling gel works, and the pillow does not cause your head to over heat, which was a potential concern of mine.” – Elizabeth
The MEWE Contour Memory Foam Pillow is an Amazon’s Choice item and is available with Prime shipping. In addition to the standard Amazon returns policy, the manufacturer also offers a generous 5-year quality guarantee, a rare find in the memory foam category!
Final Verdict: Maintaining a pillow at slightly below room temperature all night is an impressive feat. Combining that with generous sleep posture support and a respectable price point makes this pillow a sure winner. If you’re a side sleeper with broad shoulders, some reviewers recommend keeping your shipping box handy for the first few nights, but otherwise, it’s a great choice!
6. Ergoflex Memory Foam Pillow – Best Memory Foam
Due to memory foam’s conforming and supportive property, it is a common material of choice in pillows designed for neck and shoulder pain relief. However, the quicksand or stuck feeling is something some sleepers like, while there is a smaller section that may hate it.
If you’ve tried memory foam pillows before and are looking to get one, rest assured the Ergoflex HD memory foam pillow is one of the finest out there. But in a market filled with memory foam pillows, why should you spend A$179 on this one?
In short: quality and durability.
You may find cheaper memory foam alternatives under the sub $50 mark, but odds are it isn’t pure memory foam or not as high quality or durable enough.
That’s where Ergoflex comes in. It’s engineered with a proprietary version of visco-elastic memory foam that utilises advanced cellular polymer technology. What does all that mean? Your pillow is going to stay firm, even, and supportive for no less than two years. Not only will it last you longer, but this technology also results in a higher-density foam that stays firm and supportive, keeping your neck properly aligned through the night. But don’t worry about it getting too hot, their unique TENCEL pillow cover gives the pillow breathability, so it stays firm without getting uncomfortable.
If this pillow’s price point still has you sceptical, maybe your mind will be changed by the sparkling 5-star rating Ergoflex has maintained across 3000+ verified reviews and three different review platforms.
We think Kym D. said it most succinctly:
“Love my new pillow. Neck pain has disappeared. Best investment I have ever made for myself.”
Due to public health concerns, Ergoflex’s 14-day return policy unfortunately only applies to unopened products. However, we feel their two-year quality guarantee and pristine customer feedback makes this pillow a safe bet.
Final Verdict: Not all memory-foam pillows are created equal, and Ergoflex has more than enough going for it to stand alone from the pack. You may feel a little pinch at checkout, but we’re confident you’ll be getting more than your money’s worth in the long run and years of neck pain-free nights.
7. Koala Pillow – Best for Freestyle Sleepers
If you read our other reviews categorising people as front/back/side sleepers and said, “but I do all of those” (or none of those?), don’t panic; we have the perfect pillow for you too!
The Koala pillow is a reversible memory foam pillow with both a soft and a firm side, allowing you to freestyle the way you rest with just a flip.
It’s also designed to help you find the neck support you need for a more comfortable sleep with outside edges that are slightly firmer than the middle, creating a subtle cradling effect for your head. If you also find yourself flipping your pillow to catch the cold side, this pillow is for you too. Koala’s unique design blends cooling gel into the memory foam, allowing it to disperse heat and keep you more relaxed in any position.
Koala is succeeding in its mission to make “One pillow to rule them all”, as demonstrated by its 4.6-star rating from over 3300 reviews.
Jodie U. had no shortage of good things to say about theirs:
“At first I slept on the soft side and I must admit I woke up with a bit of a sore neck to begin with but gradually I was waking up with less of a sore neck each day. I actually slept on the firm side last night not realising this until I picked up my pillow off the bed this morning and I had a great sleep last night, so I think the firm side is actually the best for me.”
With a 120 night trial and a 5-year warranty, you’ll have plenty of time to decide if the Koala is for you and plenty of guaranteed good nights of sleep if you choose to keep it.
Final Verdict: We think $150 with free shipping is a steal for this versatile pillow. If you like to mix up your sleeping positions or just can’t decide on your favourite, look no further!
Buyer’s Guide: Factors to consider when choosing a pillow for neck pain
For those suffering from neck pain, a right pillow can do wonders. But that RIGHT pillow would depend on the individual’s needs and preferences. Below, we’ve shared the important factors to consider: thickness (loft), firmness, material, shape, and sleeping preference.
Loft generally refers to your pillow’s overall thickness or height, which directly impacts what angle your head is resting at in relation to your back. There are always exceptions, but here’s a general rule of thumb when determining the right loft for you:
- Low-loft pillows are best for stomach sleepers.
- Medium-loft pillows are best for back sleepers.
- High-loft pillows are best for side sleepers.
Imagine an imaginary straight line running from your head to just above your shoulders; that’s the general sleep posture your pillow should help you maintain.
Good head and neck support starts with the loft of your pillow, but the appropriate level of firmness will help you maintain good alignment throughout the night.
- Side sleepers will benefit from a firm pillow that keeps pressure off their neck.
- Stomach sleepers will want a soft pillow that won’t force their head up, helping them avoid pressure in their neck.
- Back sleepers tend to prefer a moderately firm pillow but have the most room for preference in their pillow’s overall feel.
The internal filling of your pillow does have an impact on relieving neck and shoulder pain, but it’s also where personal preference comes into place the most. We talk more about materials in our pillow reviews, but here’s a quick rundown of the eight most prevalent types:
- Memory Foam – A supportive and most popular option among neck pain sufferers that doesn’t feel too stiff. They’re often hypoallergenic and can be found at nearly any price point, but they tend to get hot and give a stuck-in-the-mud sort of feeling, which not all would appreciate.
- Polyfoam – A more budget-friendly alternative to memory foam that is lightweight and hypoallergenic. Unfortunately, they tend to wear out the quickest of any material.
- Down – The traditional way to make a luxuriously soft pillow. Although they are filled to match almost any loft height, they will likely be too soft for side sleepers to get the neck support they need.
- Down Alternative – Functionally similar to a real down pillow, but typically much cheaper and hypoallergenic. However, these are made with polyester fibres that tend to lose their shape quickly, so don’t expect them to last for very long.
- Feather – Using the more voluminous outer feathers of ducks or geese, these are the more conforming, slightly firmer cousins of down pillows. They typically come at a higher price point and may need to be fluffed more frequently.
Buckwheat – An environmentally friendly option that provides excellent head and neck support. Firm pillow lovers will love this option, but be aware of the noise they make when rolling over may take some adjustment.
Polyester– These mimic the feel of cotton with both shredded and interlocking fibre options for varying softness levels. Polyester pillows are budget-friendly and hypoallergenic but come with a shorter lifespan.
Latex – A safe option for relieving neck and back pain. These will stay cool all night and never need fluffing, but the hefty weight and price point may deter some.
You’re likely very familiar with the flat, even surface of a standard pillow design. While sufficient for most sleepers, Aussies suffering from chronic neck and back pain may consider a curved or contoured surface pillow instead. Often billed as orthopedic or cervical pillows, these provide sleepers with a cradle shape to hold their head while supporting their neck.
Our review list comprises some of the best-reviewed, most dependable pillows for neck pain on the Australian market. But eliminating neck pain from your sleep is a tricky thing, with different pillows working better than others for each person.
If you’re not sure what’s going to be best for you, we recommend taking up a few of these brands on their multi-night satisfaction guarantee. There’s no better way to find a pillow you love than sleeping on a few!
Have questions? Drop us a line below.