The best pillows for back pain offer comfort and support while you snooze

Reduce pain and discomfort with one of the best pillows for back pain

three of the best pillows for back pain on orange background
(Image credit: Future)

The best pillows for back pain will support you while you sleep and ensure you wake up ache-free in the morning. Designed to relieve pressure on your spin throughout the night, you're set to have more than just a comfortable night's sleep with our top picks. 

There are many causes of back pain, from strain and tension to injury and ligament damage. But, the most common cause of general back pain is sleeping on a pillow that's not supporting your head and neck at night. 

“Proper posture at night is important for several reasons. Poor posture can make neck muscles tight, which can easily lead to morning grogginess. Plus, you’re not giving your back the opportunity to fully rest," osteopath and physiotherapist Tim Allardyce from Surrey Physio tells us.  

However, the best pillow for one person, might not be suitable for another, and there are plenty of factors to consider when shopping for pillows for back pain. That's why we've tested popular brands to bring you a round-up of the best, whether you're a side sleeper or in need of a cooling pillow, there's something for you. 

How we tested the best pillows for back pain 

We tested each pillow over several nights and during our trials we considered the sleeping position they were best for, the loft they offered, the material they were made of, and the areas they targetted. 

  • Sleeping position—depending on your go-to sleeping positions, some pillows may be better suited to you than others. 
  • Loft—aka the height of the pillow when you're resting on it. Back sleepers should opt for a medium loft pillow that fits with the natural curvature of the head and neck. side sleeps may need something a little higher to fill the gap between the neck and shoulders, while stomach sleepers benefit most from low loft pillows. 
  • Material—look for breathable materials like mesh and bamboo, and hypoallergenic pillowcases. Memory foam fillings are best for those with back pain as it ensures the pillow contours to suit your shape. 
  • Targeted area—consider how the brand markets the pillow and what specific area it promises to relieve tension for. Some pillows are designed to ease lower back pain, while others are created to relieve upper back pain. 

The best pillows for back pain as chosen by our experts 

Pillow

(Image credit: Amazon)

1. The Gentle Living Lumbar Support Pillow

The best overall pillow for back pain

Specifications
Fill: 100% polyurethane
Firmness: Firm
Size: 20 x 8.5 x 3 inches
Targeted areas: Alleviates back pain and stiffness
RRP: $34.99/£71.36
Reasons to buy
+Adjustable support+Cooling memory foam+Washable, hypoallergenic pillow cover
Reasons to avoid
-Very long -Difficult to find perfect position at first 

The Gentle Living Lumbar Support Pillow doesn't look like your average pillow, but it could be the solution to all your lower back pain. The highly-acclaimed pillow lived up to expectations in our tests, and really is worth all the hype. 

The memory foam pillow is created to adapt to the curve of your spine, no matter what sleeping position you're in. The best part? It's adjustable, which means you can add or remove a cushioned layer to find a height that suits you. It's super versatile, and ideal if you sleep in different positions throughout the night as you can place it under your back, under your stomach, or between your legs to support your spin. 

The supportive pillow also features a 60% polyester, 40% bamboo hypoallergenic pillowcase that can easily be removed and washed in your machine. 

Finding the right position and height took our tester a little time, but once she did she sleep comfortably throughout the night and woke up pain-free! Although, she wished the pillow was slightly shorter so it didn't take up as much space in her double bed.

See our full Gentle Living Lumbar Support pillow review 

Slumberdown Climate Control Pillow Pack

(Image credit: Amazon)

2. Slumberdown Climate Control Pillow Pack

The most affordable pillow for back pain

Specifications
Fill: Dacron and Microfiber
Firmness: Soft to medium
Size: 48 x 74 cm
Targeted areas: Alleviates back and side pain
RRP: $18.99/£13.23
Reasons to buy
+2-for-1 value deal+Cooling effect Dacron fill helps carry excess moisture away from the body +Hypoallergenic materials+Washing machine and tumble drier friendly 
Reasons to avoid
-Some shoppers say it's too flat, and constantly needs to be fluffed

For an affordable pillow to help ease back and side pain, look no further than the Slumberdown Climate Control Pillow Pack. Made of soft, hypoallergenic and cooling fibers, the breathable Dacron filling in this pillow will keep you cool while you snooze.

Providing medium support, this pillow was designed to support back and side sleepers who need their head raised slightly to align the spine at night and prevent ongoing pain. Though inexpensive, the brand does not skimp on quality: each Slumberdown product is sustainably made in an effort to eliminate textile and plastic waste.

We were particularly delighted by the washing instructions. Knowing how to wash a pillow properly is as important for sleep hygiene as switching off tech at night. This pillow is washing machine and tumble drier friendly—it couldn't be easier. 

It's worth noting some shoppers find this pillow too flat and feel like they to fluff it up often to meet the promise of medium support 

Luxureal Contour Pillow

(Image credit: Amazon)

3. Luxureal Contour Memory Foam Pillow

The best pillow for side sleepers with back pain

Specifications
Fill: Memory Foam
Firmness: Firm, yet soft
Sizes available: 36.2 x 16.3 x 16.2 cm
Targeted areas: Alleviates back, head, shoulder, and neck pain
RRP: $24.99/£27.99
Reasons to buy
+Contour design helps align the spine and relieve pain+Made of breathable memory foam that holds shape
Reasons to avoid
-Some shoppers say it's too small for the level of support they need

Side sleepers often need two head pillows, while back and front sleepers need just a single thin one. Though it suits most sleeping positions, the structured Luxureal Contour Memory Foam Pillow works exceptionally well for the side sleeper, thanks to its unique contour design and breathable material. 

This design, coupled with a soft foam core, provides an extra boost of support (and relief) for the head, neck, shoulders, and back. The removable pillowcases can be unzipped and popped into the washing machine for easy cleaning. Some shoppers found this pillow didn't offer enough height to fully support their neck and shoulders as they slept, while others found it super effective in supporting their upper body as they slept. 

Tempur Comfort Cloud Standard Support Pillow

(Image credit: Tempur)

4. Tempur Comfort Cloud Pillow

The best pillow for back sleepers with back pain

Specifications
Fill: Visco Elastic
Firmness: Soft, yet firm
Sizes available: 74 x 50cm
Targeted areas: Alleviates back, neck, and side pain
RRP: $100/£105
Reasons to buy
+Retains shape and plumpness after continued use+Perfect blend of soft and firm for balanced support+Adapts to your sleeping posture to prevent muscle strain and tension
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive -Doesn't have much give

The Tempur Comfort Cloud Standard Support Pillow masters the delicate balance of softness and support by design. This pillow leverages the brand's specially developed TEMPUR Extra Soft (ES) material, which softens to the natural curvature of your head and neck. This material also ensures you'll stay cool and sweat-free as a preventive measure against overheating and discomfort.

We think it offers great support for back sleepers, as it's quite firm and gently cradles the head and neck. It's an expensive pick, but the brand does offer a 30-night trial and has a three-year guarantee. 

Ecosafeter Contour Memory Foam Pillow

(Image credit: Amazon)

5. Ecosafeter Contour Memory Foam Pillow

The best pillow for upper back pain

Specifications
Fill: Memory Foam
Firmness: Soft to medium
Sizes available: 20 x 12 x 4 cm
Targeted areas: Alleviates back and neck pain
RRP: $36.99/£35.99
Reasons to buy
+Retains shape after continued use+Breathable+Hypoallergenic +Eco-friendly materials 
Reasons to avoid
-Some shoppers say that by design, it works better for those with longer necks-Some shoppers say it feels more lightweight than like thick memory foam

The Ecosafeter contour pillow is breathable and hypoallergenic with a super-soft inner core. It comes in a removable case made of bamboo that can be machine-washed. 

When it comes to design, the structured pillow is firm with high-density memory foam that helps prevent tension and ease pain—whether you're a back, side or stomach sleeper. We found it retained its shape, even after lots of use and was easy to move into our sleeping position. 

Some shoppers online have commented on the length of the pillow, believing it's best-suited for those with longer necks. 

Lapono Lumbar Pillow

(Image credit: Amazon)

6. Lapono Lumbar Pillow

The best pillow for lower back pain

Specifications
Fill: Airy mesh
Firmness: Soft, yet firm
Sizes available: 22 x 13 x 2.5in
Targeted areas: Alleviates lower back pain
RRP: $34.43(approx)/£24.99
Reasons to buy
+Soft mesh surface +Contours to your body curve, whether you're a back, side, or stomach sleeper+You can adjust the thickness by adding a 1-inch detachable extension 
Reasons to avoid
-Some shoppers say it could be more comfortable and feels awkward underneath while sleeping-Could be stiffer: deflates easily

The Lapono Lumbar Pillow's breathable material and ergonomic design to support your back is an ideal solution against sciatic pain. Compared to generic triangle wedge pillows, which often squish and flatten quickly, this particular lumbar option is durable, working to align with your position and reduce muscle strain. 

The surface won't get hot or moist throughout the night, thanks to the soft air-mesh material. The thickness of this pick can be adjusted to suit your needs by attaching a 1-inch extension for extra support. You can use this under your back to alleviate lower back pain, whether you're a back sleeper or a side sleeper. Or, you can pop it between your legs or under your calvers for extra support. 

While we loved the soft firmness of this pillow, some online shoppers find it could be firmer. 

What to do if you wake up with back pain

Ever find yourself lying in bed wondering how to get back to sleep when you wake up in the middle of the night? It's even worse if you feel stiff and wake up in pain. But fear not, all hope is not lost. “There are many things you can do at home to help your back feel better,” says Tim. Here’s what he recommends:

1. Firstly, drink lots of water, as dehydration can cause muscle aches and can even cause muscle cramps.

2. Next, applying a cold pack over the sore area of your back can bring some pain relief. Try 15 minutes on, one hour off. 

We also recommend doing stretches in bed, getting daily exercise, and taking over-the-counter medication if you feel is necessary. 

What to do if you’re suffering from ongoing back pain

Back pain is categorized into two types: acute and chronic, long-term pain. Acute pain begins abruptly and generally lasts up to six weeks; while chronic pain develops over a longer time period, lasts beyond three months, and creates separate, ongoing problems. You should see your physician to discuss your back pain and find the best treatment for you. 

Based on the diagnosis, your doctor may offer the following remedies:

1. Over the counter pain relief medication

2. Medical treatment, such as prescription medication, physical therapy (i.e. applying heat and muscle-release techniques)

3. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, including relaxation techniques. Studies demonstrate that patients with CBT tend to become more active, resulting in a lower risk of back pain recurrence.

Ciara McGinley
Ciara McGinley

Ciara is the digital health editor at woman&home.com, covering all things health & wellbeing from fitness to sleep to relationships. She's always on the lookout for new health trends, innovative fitness gadgets and must-read wellness books. 


Originally from Ireland, Ciara moved to London to study journalism. After graduation, Ciara started her career at Goodhousekeeping.com/uk where she worked as a junior digital writer before later becoming the acting senior digital writer. Her time there was spent writing lifestyle features, running photoshoots and video shoots, and organizing product tests (including sportswear and swimwear) for the website. 


Ciara qualified as a meditation teacher with the British School of Meditation in 2020, and outside of her day-to-day now runs her own meditation school called Finding Quiet. She is all about bettering that mind-body connection but believes wellness looks different to everyone. 


In her spare time, you’ll find her trying out new fitness classes, hiking up mountains, or in a beer garden because life is all about balance…