How To Choose The Best Pillow For Shoulder Pain

Getting a comfortable sleeping position after a tiring day is not always easy. And this is regardless of whether you have the best mattress and the most ambient sleeping chamber or not. But, if you also happen to have some shoulder pain, things become worse, and you will almost not get any sleep at all. The pain can even worsen overnight, and you will end up having to live with it throughout the day.

Shoulder pain is more common than most people might think and it ranges from mild pain when you move the shoulder in your sleep to severe pain that makes it impossible to sleep. But, regardless of the type of pain that you have or the intensity and cause you can make things much better with a comfortable headrest. The best pillow for shoulder pain offers protection from the firmness of the bed and helps you achieve a good sleep position, and it might be the difference between getting some shut-eye and not getting any at all.

But before you go out and buy the best pillow for neck and shoulder pain that you come across it is necessary to understand what they are all about and how to pick the right one for your needs. Also, it is essential to understand the different types of shoulder pain pillows because this will make it easy to pick something that suits your needs.

Top 5 Best Pillow For Shoulder Pain

Shoulder Pain At Night

One of the most common sleep complaints will entail finding it hard to sleep due to shoulder pain. For most people, it will still hurt no matter what side or position you try using and so most of your sleep time will be about tossing and turning in bed. The problem also becomes worse when you shift from one part of the bed to the other. And in many cases, you will feel some muscle spasm or mild numbness and a tingling sensation in your fingers.

Shoulder pain will manifest in different ways for different people. But regardless of how you feel it the most important thing is to get treatment and a way to get comfortable at night so that you can at least get some rest. Also, understanding the causes of shoulder pain that worsens at night is also essential as it can help you prevent or find ways or making it less painful.

best pillow for shoulder pain

Typically, the shoulder pain that tends to get worse when sleeping will be a result of chronic side sleeping and conditions like bursitis, tendinopathy, and injuries to the rotator cuff. Bicep tendinopathy is in most cases a result of overuse of the tendons that connect your muscles and bones while bursitis is due to the inflammation of the bursa which provides cushioning to the bones around the shoulder joint.

Regardless of the cause of the shoulder pain, it tends to get worse at night because you apply more and continuous pressure on the shoulder when sleeping on it. And this not only makes the problem worse but it can also give you sleepless nights. But, the best shoulder pain pillow can help to minimize the contact between the problematic shoulder and the firmness of your mattress and help you achieve a sleep position that reduces the pain.

Types Of Pillow For Shoulder Pain

As you shop for the best pillow for shoulder pain, you will find that there are many types available on the market. And although all can be handy in helping you deal with your shoulder pain what works for others might not work for you. But, to make your choice easy, it is essential to know some of the common types of shoulder pain pillows. Although there are different ways of categorizing these pads, the following are the most common types.

Memory Foam Pillow

Memory foam pillows always seem to work well for people with different problems including shoulder pain. These pads will form around your head, neck, and shoulder to cradle them so that you can sleep comfortably. And the best thing about memory foam pillow is that they work for most people regardless of their body size.

​The Split Pillow

​The split pillow features a split on its longitudinal axis. When using this pillow type, you will sleep with your shoulder on the pillow and your hand resting inside the opening. But, this works best for side sleepers as it is the only way to retire your arm inside the space.

​Cocoon Pillow

​This pillow gets its name from the fact that it looks like a cocoon. It will feature a tri-level design with an elevated section that cushions your neck and a lower level that will cradle your shoulder. This pillow type will work for both side and back sleepers, and it will provide adequate cushioning and support for the neck, head and most importantly the shoulders.

​Multi-Level Pillows

​The multi-level pillows looks like something that you would use when practicing gymnastics. Most are memory foam, and they will feature varying levels of slope and with varying nooks and crannies to ensure that you always get an ideal sleep position to minimize shoulder pains.

​Top 5 Best Pillows For Shoulder Pain

​Snuggle-Pedic Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Pillow

Shredded memory foam makes some of the best pillows for neck and shoulder pain, and the Snuggle-Pedic proves this. It also comes with a durable bamboo case that ensures that you get top-notch quality for both the fill material and cover. The shredded memory foam makes it possible to adjust the fit of the pillow as all you need is to add or remove some of the fill material.

Best Pillow For Shoulder Pain


The case that you get with this pillow is dust-mite resistant and also hypoallergenic to make it suitable even for those will allergies. And it also includes a zipper that makes it easy to remove when you want to adjust the firmness or clean it. But, what most individuals with shoulder pain will love about the pillow is that it contours to the shape of your head for comfort and support and it will never go flat.

Also, this is a risk-free purchase since it comes with a 120-day refund guarantee in case it does not impress you.


  • Shredded memory foam is comfortable enough, and it never goes flat.
  • The extra-breathable cover ensures that you remain cool all night.
  • It contours to your head’s shape while also offering adequate support.
  • Also, the cover has a zipper to make it easy to remove for washing.
  • You can adjust the thickness and comfort by varying the amount of fill.
  • It is both dust-mite resistant and hypoallergenic to make it ideal for everyone.
  • This pillow comes in the three primary sizes (king, queen, and standard).
  • The conforming shape makes it ideal for all sleep positions.
  • 120-night refund guarantees.


  • It has a pungent chemical smell when you first get it.
  • The seams need some improvement as they do not look very long lasting.
  • This pillow will need frequent fluffing which can be a little annoying

Brentwood Home Zuma Therapeutic Foam Bed Wedge

If you are a chronic side sleeper, a wedge pillow like this one might be just what you need to deal with the shoulder pain that you are likely to develop. The shape encourages a more natural alignment of the neck, head, and shoulder and hence reducing the shoulder pain and also providing a comfortable sleep position.

Best Pillow For Shoulder Pain


Like most other high-quality pillows it is also both hypoallergenic and dust-mite resistant hence making it suitable even for people with allergies. And you can use it with peace of mind knowing that it does not contain any harmful chemicals as it uses CertiPUR-US certified foam.


  • The wedge shape encourages a more natural alignment of the head, neck, and shoulders.
  • Its gradual slope can also help to ease respiratory problems.
  • The headrest is both hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant.
  • A versatile pillow that will also be perfect for watching TV and reading books.
  • You can use the headrest with peace of mind at it is a CertiPUR-US foam pillow.
  • It comes with a super soft knit cover that you can remove for washing.
  • You can get it in three different heights.
  • This pillow will also be useful for elevating your legs or feet.
  • Easy to maintain as it is machine washable.


  • Some users will find it a little too steep.
  • It will not be ideal for the stomach sleepers.
  • You cannot adjust the firmness.

Nakital Contour Memory Foam Pillow

The Nakital Contour memory foam pillow is another excellent choice for individuals with shoulder pain. It is also one of the most breathable headrests that you can get in the market thanks to the breathable cell structure and ventilated design and the fact that the case is also very breathable. Also, the cover will repel moisture as you sleep to make sure that you do not wake up perspiring in the middle of the night.

Best Pillow For Shoulder Pain


The contour is what makes this pillow stand out as it forms to the shape of your neck and head to offer adequate support and to help you get a comfortable sleep position for relief against shoulder pain. And it also comes in a medium firmness to ensure that it is not too firm or too soft which is just what many users will prefer.

This headrest will not attract dust mites or bugs, and it is also hypoallergenic to make it suitable for individuals with allergies.


  • Ventilated design and breathable cell structure ensure maximum air circulation.
  • This headrest will contour to the neck and head to provide adequate support.
  • Safe for all including those with allergies.
  • It will not attract dust mites and bugs.
  • Medium firmness makes it ideal for most people and various sleep positions.
  • It comes with a breathable and removable cover.
  • The price is excellent and affordable for most people struggling with shoulder pain.
  • There are no toxic materials or harsh chemicals on this headrest.


  • It has a strong chemical odor when you get it from the box.
  • You do not get to pick from different pillow sizes.
  • Some users might still find it too firm.
  • The size might also be too small for some people.

TAMPOR Memory Foam Contour Pillow

Here is another excellent contour memory foam pillow that will also be helpful for individuals with shoulder pain. And unlike many others, it is available in various contour styles, and so you get to pick something that you think will be most supportive and comfortable. It is a CertiPUR-US certified product, and so you can be sure of the performance, durability and also that it will not contain any harmful chemicals.

The orthopedic curves pillow will form to your neck, head, and shoulder to ensure that you always maintain a natural alignment when sleeping and also to encourage natural breathing. This headrest also uses exclusive technology to make sure that it will be dense enough, breathable, soft and firm enough for comfortable sleep

Best Pillow For Shoulder Pain


The temperature neutral memory foam on this pillow is suitable for all seasons and is also hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant. And you can also remove the zippered case for washing.


  • It is available in different contour styles.
  • CertiPUR-US certified pillow, and so you can be sure of durability, performance, and safety.
  • An orthopedic curved pillow that will conform to your body's natural curve for comfortable sleep and to enhance normal breathing.
  • It uses exclusive technology to make it dense but breathable and soft but firm enough.
  • The temperature neutral memory foam makes it suitable for any weather condition.
  • It is an easy to maintain pillow because the zippered case is removable and machine washable.
  • You also get an extra pillow for free on your purchase.
  • Dust mite and hypoallergenic headrest.


  • There are a few complaints about the firmness by some users.
  • It is still not large enough for some users.
  • This pillow goes flat rather quickly.

Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft Memory Foam Pillow

Coop Home Goods makes this premium adjustable loft pillow for anyone that wants a supportive and comfortable headrest for all sleep positions. You can adjust the loft and firmness by removing or adding more memory foam, and this should only take a few minutes. The 40% rayon bamboo cover is zippered to make it easy to adjust the firmness, and it is also washable to make the headrest easy to maintain.

Best Pillow For Shoulder Pain


This pillow uses a CertiPUR-US certified foam, and so you can be sure that it is not only top notch but also safe for the user. And it is also dust mite resistant and hypoallergenic to make it safe for use for those with allergies. You can get it in king, queen and standard sizes and you will also get a 30-night trial/money back guarantee that ensures that you have nothing to lose if it does not work well for you.


  • You can get it in king, standard and queen sizes.
  • Fully adjustable pillow to ensure you get the right support and comfort.
  • It will be ideal for all sleep positions.CertiPUR-US certified foam assures that it uses the best quality and safe fill material.
  • Premium removable and washable cooling cover for extra comfort.
  • It strikes a perfect balance between support and softness.
  • Dust mite resistant and hypoallergenic to make it safe for allergy sufferers.
  • 30-night sleep trial to ensure that you have nothing to lose by buying it.


  • It is pricier than many other similar pillows.
  • This pillow also has the pungent odor that comes with most memory foam pillows.
  • If you do not get the fill right, it tends to go flat quite fast during the night.

What To Look For When Picking The Best Pillow For Neck and Shoulder Pain

Now that you know the difference that a pillow for neck and shoulder pain can make and the various types available out there, the next important is to pick between the many options. Many pillow brands in the market make sleeping pads for people with shoulder pain. But to choose the best from the many options, you should look for the following important things.

Sleep Position

Your sleep position is the first and the most critical factor to consider when shopping for the best pillow for shoulder pain. Contrary to what some people might believe, your sleep position does matter, and the pad that you buy should make it possible to rest in the style that you prefer with minimum or no shoulder pain at all.

Side sleepers will need something that is thicker and firmer while the back sleepers will be okay with something flat. Since most people might shift their position from the side to the back several times, it is a good idea to go for a pillow that accommodates both positions.

Fill Material

The fill material will not only determine the level of comfort but also the amount of support that your problematic shoulder will get. Luckily, there are more than enough fill material options in the market, and you will only need to choose what you find most comfortable.

Memory foam seems to be the favorite option for people suffering from neck and shoulder pain at night because it conforms to the shape of your head, neck, and shoulder while also cradling them to ensure that you get maximum support and comfort. However, other filling materials such as down and polyester can also work well for individuals suffering from shoulder pain provided you choose the right fill power.

Pillow Cover

It is easy to overlook the pillow cover or case when shopping for a pillow to help deal with shoulder pain at night. And this is because most people will only pay attention to things like the fill material and pillow type. However, the pillow cover is still a vital part of the sleeping pad that you should not overlook if you want to sleep well.

No matter how comfortable your pillow might be, an uncomfortable and low-quality case can still make it hard for you to sleep. But, the simple rule here is always to go for something soft, breathable and hypoallergenic. These traits make the headrest more comfortable for you and can even help to draw your attention from the pain on your shoulders. Also, go for a durable case fabric and one that is removable for easy cleaning and maintenance of your pillow.


best pillow for shoulder pain

Size matters when it comes to buying a headrest for use when you have shoulder pain. Unlike with other types where you are looking for something to offer adequate support for your neck and head, here you also need to think about the shoulders. And so the larger the pillow, the better it will be for you.

However, you also need to ensure that the size makes it possible to maintain the right posture when sleeping so that you do not put unnecessary pressure on your shoulder. For some people, this might mean going for a small size. Also remember to check the thinness or thickness and ensure that it makes it possible to sleep with your head, neck, and shoulder in perfect alignment.


Even if you get the fill material and size right but fail on the shape, the pillow might still not be useful for your shoulder pain. And so as you shop around for a headrest you should keep this in mind. While they will come in various comfortable shapes, the contoured ones seem to be the most popular for individuals with shoulder pain.

The fact that they can contour into the shape of the head is what makes them attractive because it means that your body will maintain proper alignment and hence reduce shoulder pain. While many flat pillows can still be comfortable enough, the contoured ones ensure that there will not be any space between your firm mattress and neck and thus giving the shoulders the support that they need for a restful sleep.


Shoulder pain can keep you awake all night long because no sleep position seems to be comfortable enough. It is a widespread problem for side sleepers since they tend to put more pressure on their shoulders when sleeping but there are still several other things that can cause the pain. But, with the right pillow, you can get some much-needed relief. And luckily, there are many brands out there that make some top-notch headrests for shoulder pain and with our guide above you should not have any difficulties choosing the perfect one for you.

Lastly, once you get the best pillow for shoulder pain, it is vital to give it time to fluff out to the right size and to air it so that any unwanted odors can dissipate.

  • Jane
  • Updated July 10, 2018

I am Jane Collins, a Founder and a Main Editor of I decided to create this site to share my knowledge, guides and tips to help you to have a good night's sleep.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments