Adam holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Linguistics, and creative writing has always been his greatest passion. For more than 25 years he's been working for several well-known automobile and travel magazines as an editor and expert consultant, but when Adam started his writing path here, at WisePick, it turned out that he's capable of writing practically anything about everything.
Initially being an engineering specialist, Tom has never stopped learning and acquiring other knowledge and skills. Now he’s involved in technical support for a well-known household appliances manufacturer, so no wonder he knows everything about almost everything you buy for your home.
Last updated: September 06, 2021
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Sleeping is a normal part of human biology, and after years of practice, most people think that they are good at it. However, some of us don’t even realize that we are doing it wrong. That is why people experience backaches that don’t seem to go away. In another scenario, you wake up tired after a full nights rest. The best orthopedic pillows can help correct your sleeping posture and eliminate problems caused by wrong sleeping positions. You can use them to correctly place your body parts so that your back remains straight. This way, you suffer no long term injuries while you are sleeping. Other benefits include more productivity during the day as you function better when you are well-rested.
If you are in search of one or more orthopedic pillows, you have to ensure the one you pick serves your best interests. This means being aware of the material used to make the insides of the cushion as that will influence how the pillow feels, how long it lasts, and also how well it does its job. The cover of the pillow is also essential being that you will need to wash it often and that it needs to be soft enough since there will be a lot of friction between you and the pillow. You don’t want to wake up chaffed due to your movement while you slept. Shape and firmness also play a role in making the ideal orthopedic pillow.
Previous users of orthopedic pillows are likely to give you the most accurate description of how the products perform in bed. As such, in our analysis of information from the manufacturer’s sites, we also included customer opinions while reviewing the 12 products mentioned below. As such the resulting table, Buying Guide and detailed product information highlighted below should make choosing the best orthopedic pillow a walk in the park.
Side sleepers have the most trouble with sleeping since their backs and spines contort as a result of their sleeping position. If they maintain the same sleeping habits for long enough, it may have the effect of long-term spinal injury. To alleviate this, they have to place pillows strategically under different parts of their body. For the same group of people, orthopedic pillows, such as the Royal Therapy Pillow, are a better fit for reducing the strain on their backs.
This is not to mean that the pillow cannot be used by other types of sleepers. Overall the features of this pillow may make resting easier for all kinds of sleepers. For one, the filling of the pillow is memory foam with one of the more dominant properties of such a pillow being that it conforms to the weight and shape of a person. This is made all the more possible given that the Royal Therapy Pillow will also react to body heat by adjusting its shape. Once body heat is removed from the equation, the pillow will then revert to its original shape and size.
Also, with its contouring shape, the edges of the pillow will make up for the space between your mattress and your neck. This way, your airways are less likely to be blocked as you sleep. The result is less snoring which your sleeping partner may be thankful for. For back sleepers, this also means your spine retains its original shape and elimination of any neck pains after sleeping.
Another impressive feature of the pillow is the bamboo cover. For one, it is easily removable. You can remove the foam and clean the cover as often as you would like. Also, the cover incorporates heat-dissipating technology. Uncomfortable heat levels, while you sleep, will be a thing of the past. In addition to the two mentioned attributes, the cover is hypoallergenic as well. Consequently, you will find no dust mites, mold, bacteria, and other allergens on your pillow as long as you own it.
What do we love it for?
Easy to clean
Keeps allergens away
Conforms to body heat while dissipating it at the same time
Useful for side, stomach and back sleepers
What were we disappointed with?
Some users have mentioned the overall size of the product to be a bit small
The MARNUR Cervical Pillow is one of the best-selling pillows of its kind on Amazon, and there are a couple of reasons for this. One is the memory foam construction with its body conforming characteristics. Also, once the pillow has adjusted to your head shape, it will take a minute or two to go back to normal after you wake up due to its slow rebound rate. However, it always reverts to its original shape.
Again, you will notice that the manufacturer incorporates a slot for your head and neck. This is made possible by the cervical contour, wedge cavity and center cavity parts of the pillow. These parts are especially useful for back and side sleepers as they will make the most use of the higher curved end of the pillow. On the opposite end, there is a lower curved surface which will be of most benefit for stomach sleepers. As such, the cushion would be an ideal fit no matter what type of sleeper you are.
Another first with this pillow is the presence of armrests on both edges. Given that memory foam has a reputation for a slight odor when new, you might have to aerate the pillow for the first few days after purchase. After that, the smell should be gone and you can enjoy your pillow to the maximum. Also, because this is an orthopedic pillow and the design is a variation from that of regular pillows, you should prepare yourself for a slight transition period. During this time, you might experience mild discomfort while trying to sleep.
When you receive this pillow, it might be flat contrary to the shape depicted by the image above. This is no cause for worry as it is something that is easily corrected. You can leave it in a ventilated area whereby the foam will take up surrounding air and revert to standard shape and size. However, if you can’t wait to start using the pillow, you can fluff it up which should speed up the expanding process. Another issue that users have to contend with is the smell of new memory foam. You can expect it to go away over time.
Both the foam and the cover are breathable, which is necessary to prevent heat from building up. Also, speaking of the cover, there are two color options—namely blue and white—both of which are removable. Once you’ve washed the cover, you are advised to tumble dry at low settings.
What do we love it for?
Removable, machine washable cover
Good for proper spine alignment
What were we disappointed with?
During the first few days, the pillow might feature some odor
The UTTU Sandwich Pillow, along with the Royal Therapy Pillow, seem to have a similar design. However, once you study the details of both product, you will come across some differences. When shipped the pillow measures 4.7 inches on one end while measuring 3.9 inches on the lower end. However, this is not a permanent state. As the end-user, you can opt to open up the case and remove the middle layer of foam. Once you do that the remaining dimensions will be 3.5 inches and 2.8 inches respectively. Also, all three layers of the pillow, excluding the cover, are made of memory foam. As such, it can take up to 5 seconds for the product to return to its original shape after you lift your weight off the pillow.
The product is certified by CertiPUR-US, OEKO-TEX Standard 100, and ISPA Certification bodies. Consequently, there are several safety features you can expect, including the absence of heavy metals and formaldehyde. In addition to that, the cover is hypoallergenic also acting as a deterrent to dust mites. Once you start using this pillow, it may take a while, but you will notice a decrease in back and neck pains if you are prone to them.
Where the pillow cover is concerned, the case is made from a blend of polyester and bamboo fabrics. With its zip strategically placed on the edge of the pillow, you shouldn’t have a hard time removing all foam layers to make cleaning the cover easier. Also, the manufacturers have so much faith in this product that they are willing to let you test it out for 96 days. If after a few days of use you are still not satisfied, you can get your money back in exchange for the product. Where any other issues may arise, you have a five-year warranty coverage period.
Why is it special?
Removable middle memory foam layer for adjusting the size
Easy to clean pillow cover
Certified by multiple bodies
96-days trial period
What are the flaws?
Slight odor dissipation period required before you can make full use of the product
If you want a manually adjustable pillow, the EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow fits the bill. This means that for applications where you feel the pillow is too high, there is a removable piece of memory foam that serves to lower it to appropriate standards. The pillow also features a contouring shape where one end is high and the second end is low, while the middle part is the lowest. In addition to that, one of the ends of the pillow features a cradle that holds your neck and head in place in the middle of the pillow. This tweak in design supports all three sleeping positions, so it shouldn’t be cause for worry.
The seller states that it is entirely reasonable for users to feel uncomfortable using the pillow during the first few weeks. After all, this is a unique design different from regular pillows, and thus, it might take you some time to get used to it. However, this is still a better overall fit for your health as the design incorporates consideration of the user’s spine.
Also, the inside consists of 100% memory foam. As such, you will find the pillow changes its shape to accommodate the size and shape of your head and neck as well.
Polyester makes up the pillowcase, and although it is a different fabric from the one featured by the Royal Therapy Pillow, it still features the same benefit of being hypoallergenic. The side zipper is necessary to take out the pillowcase from time to time. Given that you occasionally sweat from your neck and head, it becomes essential that you clean the pillowcase in a washing machine often.
Once you unpack it from the box, it features a scent that may be annoying but not harmful. As such, you would do well to air it out for a few days for the smell to dissipate.
What makes it special?
Cradles neck and head
Conforms to body shape
Works with all types of sleepers
What cons did we find?
Upon unpacking there is a weird smell that may take a few days to dissipate
With this product, the manufacturer is unclear as to what type of foam they use to make up the innards of the pillow. However, users have reported a soft yet firm feel. Also, most of the other orthopedic pillows we’ve mentioned come in single sizes with the only possible adjustments being that you can remove pieces of foam to make the pillow smaller. This makes it a requirement for you to test out most cushions before you can get a feel for which size is perfect for you.
The Core Products Therapeutica® Pillow comes in a few different sizes with options even for children. As such, you should pay attention to the sizing chart as that would make the purchase process a lot easier. If you don’t do this, you may have to return the pillow and get the same one again only in a larger or smaller size. This is not only a waste of time it may also end up exacerbating any current spine issues you may have.
The two largest sizes of this particular pillow, namely the large and extra-large options can fit into a king-size pillowcase. For hygienic purposes, you must have an extra pillowcase even before you request the product from amazon or any other vendor site. This way, you can take out the pillowcase at any time and clean it using a washing machine. Also, before ordering this product, you need to consider the firmness of the mattress you sleep on. This should help you make a decision on the size of the pillow you are going to pick.
What are its best features?
Machine washable cover
Non-toxic foam components
What could be improved?
You might require an adjustment period to get used to the size and shape of the pillow before you get used to using it
Being that chiropractors specialize in spinal alignment to help your body heal, it is only right that they would help design this particular pillow. As such, there is a chance that you may wake up feeling more refreshed when you make the switch from normal to orthopedic pillows. One of the benefits of such a move is the elimination of back pains and stiffness in the neck. Specific components of this pillow make such a feat possible. One is, of course, the memory foam, which is a significant component in the construction of the pillow.
In addition to being breathable, you might also notice the lack of various chemicals in the make-up of the foam that may have a positive effect both on you and on the environment. The lack of mercury and other heavy metals, as well as the pillow being without formaldehyde, is something to write home about. As a result, the air quality within your home and in your bedroom will remain pristine.
If you go shopping for this particular product, you will notice that there are three size options. These are the thin profile, medium profile, and thick profiles. The manufacturer recommends that you go with the thick option as it provides the best support when you are sleeping on your side. Even if you predominantly sleep on your back, you are bound to make the occasional switch and sleep on your side.
The fact that this pillow is hypoallergenic may work in your favor. This is especially true if you are used to waking up with itchy eyes and a runny nose. Dust mites, as well as other allergens, maybe the ones causing these reactions. Once you opt to purchase this pillow, allergic reactions will be a thing of the past.
What stands out?
Easy to clean bamboo cover
Three size options to choose from
Slow rebound memory foam
What cons did we manage to find?
It is easy for users to purchase the wrong size and end up being disappointed in the product.
The Wonwo Memory Foam Orthopedic Pillow comes in a storage bag when you order from the vendor. Upon unpacking, you will see that one end measures 11cm, while the opposite ends is 10cm in height while the middle of the pillow is a bit lower than both those ends. Also on the 10cm end, there seems to be a cervical support area where back and stomach sleepers will place their necks, and finally there is the head support area smack in the middle of the pillow. Upon further investigation, you find out the primary material in the orthopedic pillow is dynamic memory foam which retains reasonable levels of softness even when faced by cold temperatures.
Also, the CertiPUR-US certification given to the pillow means a few things with regards to safety while using the pillow. For one, there are no ozone depleters used in the construction of the pillow. Next up, indoor air quality is not affected by the pillow. Among a few other benefits the pillow is also made without any flame retardants. In addition to the high-density memory foam, there are about two covers that come with a pillow. The first is hypoallergenic and covers the foam. The next one is a polyester fabric that is zippered to make removing it easy. An added advantage of the top layer of material is that it is breathable.
As a precaution, you should keep the memory foam core away from the water even as you make sure you wash the outer cover regularly.
What are its best features?
Zippered cover is easy to clean
A cervical support area is included in the pillow
What could be improved?
Some users have complained that the pillow is bouncy and has a fast response time
Another pillow with unique overall design features on our list is in the form of the Coisum Back Sleeper Cervical Pillow. The pillow is designed to make sleeping easier for back and side sleepers. Unfortunately, stomach sleepers seem to have been left out of the equation. Nevertheless, this is still a quality purchase and one that may be able to serve your needs.
Slow-rebound memory foam makes up the bulk of the pillow. You don’t want an orthopedic pillow with a lot of bounce, and high response as that might lead you to wake up every time you turn in bed. Transitions should be smooth, and that is just what this pillow provides. Also, the manufacturer puts in specific details to help position you better as you sleep.
Standard design in a lot of these orthopedic pillows is a higher and lower contours on opposite ends of the pillow. This particular model also features the same design giving you options that depend on your size as well as your preferred sleeping position to make your overall experience better. The polyester/bamboo blend of fabric used in making the pillow cover has a reputation for being breathable, and you should expect much of the same from this pillow.
The cover in question is zippered, and in addition to unzipping so you could take it out for cleaning you also have to unbutton the pillow at the middle. After that, cleaning should become effortless.
Although fiber filling is not a common theme in orthopedic pillows, it features in the Nature’s Guest Support Pillow. This particular pillow comes highly recommended by chiropractors and orthopedic practitioners alike. As such, it should prove a comfortable as well as beneficial fit for most people. On the outside of the pillow a 100% cotton fabric keeps the microfiber inside the pillow. If you, however, feel that the pillow is too thick you can do something about it.
The cover has dual zippers that you can open and get access to the microfiber insides. As such, you can remove some of the filling to the point where you feel the pillow is an appropriate size for you. A wise thing to do if you take out some of the microfiber is to find a safe storage space. You never know when you might need to put it back into the pillow.
For 30 days you can test out the pillow, and if you find it disappointing in any way you have the option of returning to the manufacturer. Also, when you consider that you get a lifetime warranty with each purchase, you might conclude that the pillow is a bargain.
What are our favorite features?
What could be better?
Users need to purchase extra pillowcases so they can keep the pillow clean
Since snoring is brought about by a slight blockage in the body’s airways, an orthopedic pillow might help to eliminate that. The Core Products D-Core Cervical Support Pillow is perfect for such a purpose, and it comes in two sizes. The D-core mentioned in the name refers to a patented part of the pillow’s design where the middle is specifically designed to cradle the user’s head.
The inside components of the pillow are made of high resilience fiber, which should provide some firmness and support in addition to being just the right amount of soft. Also, while the cover is non-removable, you can purchase extra sets of pillowcases, and they should have no problem fitting your orthopedic pillow.
Where you need to test the product before making up your mind, the 90-day trial period is sufficient test time. If after this you are still not sure the product is for you, it would be a simple matter to call up the manufacturer and have it returned so you can get your money back.
With this product, even the stylish packaging is bound to impress you. However, once you have it in your bed, it no longer matters the look of the package but rather how the pillow performs. This is also where the LANGRIA Orthopedic Bed Pillow shines the most. This product features a contoured design which is commonplace among orthopedic pillows. Due to the ergonomics of the pillow, you find that there is even weight distribution and proper spine alignment for the user.
Also, this pillow may be considered size-able by some, and so it helps to have a removable foam layer. Where the environment is a concern to you, the CertiPUR-US certification assures you that you have nothing to worry about with this pillow.
What do we love it for?
Removable foam layer
What were we disappointed with?
Has a slight odor that dissipates over times
Things to Consider
Orthopedic pillows come in different shapes and sizes and with various features. Consequently, the experience you get from using one will not be the same if you use another. Also, you will note that even when the bulk of reviews are favorable, there are always a few individuals who are disappointed in the product they got. This is probably because they didn’t consider the features beforehand. Consequently, this is a scenario you should try to avoid. The following are what you should be on the lookout for.
Features to consider while choosing an orthopedic pillow
If you go through our list, you will see that most orthopedic pillows have memory foam as their main component. Also, you will see one feature of this type of foam is the slow rebound rate where if you lift or move your head it may take some time for the pillow to get back to its original state. This is usually a three to five-second period. Another critical feature of memory foam is that it is generally firmer than other counterparts.
On the other hand, if you would like a softer option, fiber filling like the one in the Core Products D-Core Cervical Support Pillow is the way to go. Also, this option has a higher rebound rate reverting to its original state almost immediately you lift your head off the pillow. These are both sensible options, and a person needs to know his preferences before they can make a purchase. If not, they can opt for products with a trial period, so they don’t end up stuck with a product they don’t like.
The cover material should be comfortable and soft, so it doesn’t take away from the positive attributes of the filling. Also, you should look out for whether a pillow’s cover is removable. Some like the UTTU Sandwich Pillow will feature zippers that make it easier to take out the cover. Others will have a zipper to enable you to take out some of the microfiber filling.
Once you find out your pillow cover is removable, the next thing to check is whether it is machine washable. You want a cover that is easy to clean, and if you can’t find one in a pillow that you like, you can invest in a pillowcase beforehand.
If you are getting an orthopedic pillow, it is probably because of the health benefits it provides over other types of pillows. They offer better spine alignment giving you better sleep, and as a result, you eliminate aches and pains in your back as well as your neck. However, other health issues may come at you while you are sleeping. For one, you might activate allergies that make it almost impossible to sleep.
In another scenario, the air quality in your bedroom may cause respiratory problems. Certification bodies test out pillows in regards to any hazards related to them and tell you if it is safe to use them. Consequently, the more institutions that certify a brand or type of pillow the better. CertiPUR-US is one such body responsible for certification, and it mainly deals with foam products. Products like the UTTU Sandwich Pillow are certified by up to three bodies.
The shape also influences the effectiveness of an orthopedic pillow. If you look through the options we have provided above; you will note that even though they look different, the basic design is similar. They all have a contour shape consisting of two peaks on the ends and a depression in the middle. This depression also often has a cradle that straddles the users head.
Additional features you can find in the shape of the pillow is a cradle for your neck. The MARNUR Cervical Pillow even features armrests on the side due to its shape. As to whether you should purchase products with such features, it all depends on the importance you place on them. This is also likely to be influenced by your preferred sleeping position.
As mentioned earlier, the filling material will likely influence the hardness or softness of the product you buy. Where medium-firm is your preferred pillow type, you can get one to fit the bill. You will also likely find firmer options with memory foam filling which can vary in density. You can also find firm pillows with microfiber filling. In the case of the Nature’s Guest Support Pillow you get a firm microfiber pillow that you can adjust to become softer by removing some of the filling.
The prices of these pillows differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. However, you would be hard-pressed to find one that is priced at more than 100 dollars. As such, most pillows fall in the affordable range. Even so, you need to check whether you are getting value for money. You would be better suited by spending more as long as you end up with a quality product.
If you want to relieve neck pain, then you need filling material that holds your head and neck in the most favorable position. As such, fiber is not often recommended as it tends to be too soft. However, memory foam comes in various densities and as such, can be just the right amount of firm to allow your neck muscles to relax. Also, this effect can be realized in fiber pillows by increasing the density of fiber strands.
For a back sleeper to enjoy the most comfort, both their neck and their head need to be supported by the pillow. As such a contouring shape helps in that the high end of the pillow supports the neck and the head is supported by the middle part of the pillow. Consequently, your spine remains straight, and this may have the added benefit of clearing your airways which in turn helps you to stop snoring.
Where you use a non-orthopedic pillow, it is recommended that you get one that easily conforms to the shape of your neck and head. As such, it should be of the softer variety such as feather and fiber pillows. However, in the case of orthopedic pillows, the shape of your head and neck is already catered for, and as such, you need a firmer blend of pillows. As such, medium-firm pillows are the way to go.
The Royal Therapy Pillow would be our first pick if we were to go orthopedic pillow shopping. The primary reason would be affordability. This is not the most affordable price point. However, once you begin to compare this product with others of the same caliber, you find it is quite reasonably priced. Also, this has no bearing on the quality of the product whatsoever. The cover and foam are all top-notch, and even previous users have nothing but good things to say about the product.
Where our first pick is unavailable, we would pick the MARNUR Cervical Pillow instead. In terms of versatility, this product gets top-notch marks since even stomach sleepers get considered in the design. The fact that there are also armrests on the pillow is a bonus.
As a third option, the Karidge Orthopedic Pillow would have to suffice. In addition to the aesthetics and the option for different colors with the cover, you can test out this product for close to 100 days. This makes it so that even if you are unsatisfied with the product you can return it and choose another option. Often, people don’t feel the need to replace the pillow as it satisfies all their needs. These are just our top three picks, and you are welcome to choose three of your own.