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Best Pillow for Shoulder Pain — Ideal for Side Sleepers in 2024

It can be hard enough to get a good sleep, when you throw in aches and pains it can make it that much more difficult to wake up well-rested. Investing in a pillow for shoulder pain can help you get a better night’s sleep and decrease discomfort.

Whether you’re recovering from an injury, or just tend to wake up achy, we’ve rounded up the five best pillows for shoulder pain to help you sleep better and more comfortably.

Best pillow for shoulder pain: a shortlist

  1. Derila — best pillow for snorers with shoulder pain
  2. MedCline — overall best pillow for shoulder pain
  3. Eli & Elm — best cooling pillow for those with shoulder pain
  4. Sweet ZZZ — best vegan-friendly pillow for shoulder pain
  5. Hush — best pillow for side sleepers with shoulder pain

How to choose the best pillow for shoulder pain in 2024

$39.95–249.99Shape and engineering of the productHigh-quality materialsCustomers’ experience with the product
  • Price. We compared the value of the pillow with the price. Pillows for shoulder pain can be a big investments, so it's helpful to compare what you get for what you pay.
  • Design. The right shape can affect how effective a pillow is in supporting shoulder pain. We looked at different designs compared to different individual needs.
  • Materials. Different materials can impact how supportive a pillow is. We took this into account, as well as sensitivities and allergies people may have to certain materials.
  • Reviews. User experience matters. We looked at each manufacturer's website to get an idea about different customers' experiences to give a more well-rounded review of the pillows in this roundup.

What is the pillow for shoulder pain?

A pillow designed for shoulder pain is crafted to support and alleviate discomfort by helping maintain proper spinal alignment.

These pillows are generally made from memory foam or latex, which may contour to the body and potentially offer pressure relief by correctly supporting the neck and shoulders.

They come in various shapes, including contoured, U-shaped, and traditional rectangular designs, to accommodate different sleeping positions.

Key features often include an adjustable loft for customized height, firmness, and cooling technologies like gel-infused foam.

How to choose the right product for you?

When selecting a pillow for shoulder pain, consider factors like support, material, and sleeping position. Look for pillows with adjustable lofts to customize height and firmness, ensuring proper neck and shoulder alignment.

Memory foam and latex are excellent materials due to their proposed pressure-relieving properties and ability to contour to the body, providing consistent support.

Higher-loft pillows may help side sleepers maintain spine alignment, while medium-loft options may benefit back sleepers. Cooling features, such as gel-infused foam, are beneficial for those who would like additional relief from pain or discomfort.

Best pillow for shoulder pain in 2024: an overview

We’ve researched products and compiled this list to help give people with shoulder pain pillow options that may help them get a better night's sleep.

These pillows use ergonomic designs to best meet the needs of people with shoulder pain or injuries, and those who need extra shoulder support while sleeping.

1. Derila — best pillow for snorers with shoulder pain

Derila pillow

Amazon rating — 3.4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Trustpilot rating — 3.3 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

One of the best side sleeper pillows for shoulder pain is the Derila. Made from memory foam, it's marketed as an “anti-snore” ergonomic neck support pillow.

The Derila shoulder pillow for pain is made from advanced memory foam to straighten and support your spine in its natural position. It molds to a unique shape like a custom pillow and can be used by back, side, or stomach sleepers thanks to its butterfly support wings. For hot sleepers, its cooling outer layer helps to regulate temperature.

It may also help relieve snoring by providing the right neck position to help open airways and reduce nasal congestion.

Customer feedback

We found several customer reviews on trusted platforms like Amazon and Trustpilot. On Amazon, the Derila Support Pillow is rated 3.4 out of 5 stars, while the Derila brand on Trustpilot is rated 3.3 out of 5 stars. Reviews are mixed: some customers liked the product, some found it uncomfortable, and others criticized the shipping and return policies, which require returning the product to the manufacturing country.

A few customers on Trustpilot and Amazon advised against buying Derila pillows directly from the manufacturer due to high return shipping costs to Lithuania and website issues that resulted in multiple unwanted orders that couldn't be canceled. Overall, returns are complicated and expensive, causing dissatisfaction.

Conversely, some customers were pleased with their purchase. One customer praised the memory foam pillow for its shape, which according to them effectively relaxed the trapezius muscle and relieved neck pain, aiding better sleep. They also noted that the pillowcase and pillow are made from soft, comfortable fabrics, providing a pleasant sleeping experience while keeping the pillow clean.

Our verdict

What we liked the most about Derila Pillow is that this brand offers an affordable price compared to most competitors. Additionally, the pillow is made from memory foam material, which adapts to the contours of your head and neck, which may help with spine alignment.

What we did not like about this Derila pillow was less related to the product and more related to customer service due to high return shipping costs to Lithuania. There is a need for improvement regarding shipping policies and customer service.

Derila Support Pillow is available for $39.95 with a 30-day money-back guarantee, with a reasonable cost for a quality pillow.

2. MedCline — best pillow for rotator cuff pain

MedCline Shoulder Relief System

Amazon rating — 3.3 ⭐⭐⭐

Trustpilot rating — 3.9 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

MedCline has created a revolutionary shoulder relief pillow system for people with general shoulder pain and those with rotator cuff injuries, arthritis, nerve impingement, and tendonitis.

This three-component sleep system works by dropping your downside arm into an arm pocket that removes shoulder pressure while your other arm drapes over the body pillow to create a neutral arm position. The arm positions can be adjusted for optimal comfort and can be used for right or left-side sleeping.

When you purchase the MedCline shoulder relief system, you also get access to their sleep specialists. These are customer support advisors who are there to help you make the best purchasing decision for your needs.

This pillow comes in two sizes and is gel-infused for a cooling effect. It is made from hypoallergenic, medical-grade materials for longevity and effectiveness.

Customer feedback

MedCline has a 3.5 out of 5-star rating on Amazon and a 4 out of 5-star rating on Trustpilot. Many customers have praised the pillow for helping manage shoulder pain and discomfort. Side sleepers particularly appreciated its design, which they found conducive to a more comfortable night's sleep.

One customer reported that the MedCline Pillow significantly improved their sleep quality and nearly eliminated pain from an old shoulder injury, noting that the customizable sizing was perfect for their 4'11" frame.

However, some reviews were negative. One customer criticized the pillow for lacking support, stating that it collapses under body weight and causes neck pain due to poor design.

They also expressed frustration with restocking fees and return postage costs, advising others against purchasing due to the pillow's failure to deliver the promised benefits.

Our verdict

We appreciate that this brand designs its pillows specifically to help people with shoulder pain, as evidenced by satisfied customer reviews. Additionally, we liked that their pillows are made from Certi-PUR® certified foam, ensuring high quality.

However, we found the price to be high compared to other pillows on the market, making it less affordable for some. Despite this, the comfort and satisfaction rate may justify the cost.

MedCline Shoulder Relief System Pillow is available for $249.99 and offers a one-year warranty.

3. Eli & Elm — best pillow for shoulder and neck pain

Eli & Elm Cooling Side-sleeper Pillow

Amazon rating — 4.0 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Trustpilot rating — no reviews

The Eli & Elm side sleeper pillow is designed specifically so that side sleepers can get the neck and shoulder support they need. The U-shaped design is made to promote spinal alignment and alleviate neck pain.

The removable latex and polyester filling allows you to adjust the pillow to your desired height and support. The cover is made from a blend of smooth cotton, ultra-fine polyester, and spandex.

Proprietary shredded latex filling with a breathable cotton cover allows for greater airflow and maximum cooling for people who run hot while sleeping.

Customer feedback

We found numerous online comments about this brand and its pillow, particularly on Amazon and Reddit. Customers generally appreciate the pillows' shape and ability to enhance sleep. They praise its sturdy construction and note that the crescent shape is ideal for side sleepers. However, opinions vary regarding its comfort, value, fit, and support.

One Amazon customer shared that they have been using this pillow for over a year and find it ideal for side sleeping. They noted improved neck comfort without needing to adjust the pillow height and appreciated the padded, washable cover. They highly recommend it and have bought one for every bed in their home.

Conversely, a Reddit user found the Eli and Elm Side Sleeper Pillow disappointing due to a strong, unpleasant smell and white powder residue, likely from the latex. They described the pillow's inconsistent firmness and unusual texture, which they couldn't adjust to, though they did appreciate the curved design, which suited their sleeping style.

Our verdict

What we liked most about this pillow is its comfortable and thoughtful design, which many customers on trusted online platforms say provides excellent support for side sleepers. Additionally, we appreciated that the pillow is made from safe materials and is OEKO-TEX certified.

What we liked least, based on recurring customer comments, is that the pillow may have an unpleasant odor. Some customers reported needing to ventilate the pillow longer than other latex pillows due to the strong smell.

You can get the Eli & Elm side sleeper pillow for $109.99 with a 45-day return policy and five-year warranty.

4. Sweet ZZZ — best vegan-friendly pillow for shoulder pain

Sweet ZZZ Plant Based Pillow

Amazon rating — 3.3 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Trustpilot rating — no reviews

Looking for the best pillow for shoulder pain designed for a side sleeper that’s also eco-friendly? This might be the one for you. Sweet ZZZ has created a 100% vegan, plant-based down fill with a 100% natural cotton cover. It is sustainable and certified as safe for those with sensitive skin.

Designed with a firm inner layer to support and contour for better spinal alignment, potentially helping to support people with shoulder pain. They offer two different versions; the high profile may be great for side sleepers, while the low profile may be better for back and stomach sleepers.

Customer Feedback

The Sweet ZZZ Plant-Based Pillow has no reviews on Trustpilot, but we found several on Amazon and Reddit. Many customers describe the pillow as soft, like a feather, with a fair amount of medium support.

One customer was very pleased, calling it the best pillow they've found after trying many options. It reduced their neck and shoulder pain after just one night. They found the pillow both soft and supportive, with adjustable fluffiness that prevents the head from sinking. Despite the high price, they recommend it for those who prefer soft pillows and are curious about its long-term durability.

However, some customers felt the pillow was too high and mushy. Others wished they could add additional filling to make it more adjustable. Additionally, some believe the pillow is priced too high.

Our verdict

What we loved most about this pillow is its OEKO-TEX® certification, ensuring quality and safe materials. It is manufactured without GMOs and tested for pesticides and other harmful substances.

We also appreciated that it is 100% vegan and plant-based, making it a great option for those who value eco-friendly products. Additionally, the pillow is designed for ample air circulation and features cooling covers made from organic cotton.

There isn’t much we didn’t like about this pillow, as most of its features are excellent. However, compared to other pillows, this one may provide less support for side sleepers due to its regular pillow design.

If you are interested in Sweet ZZZ Plant Based Pillow, you can get this pillow for $94.25 with a one-year warranty.

5. Hush — best hypoallergenic pillow for shoulder pain

Amazon rating — 4.0 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Trustpilot rating — 1.5 ⭐⭐

The Hush hybrid cooling pillow is one of the best pillows for side sleepers with shoulder pain. It allows you to create your ideal pillow with a removable filling to fit your needs.

The filling of this shoulder pillow for sleeping is made from a combination of shredded memory foam and vegan down. This unique blend allows the pillow to conform to your shape without losing its support, no matter what position you’re sleeping in. This may allow people with shoulder pain to sleep comfortably without being limited to a certain sleeping position.

It’s another great pick for hot sleepers as the innovative Ice technology is promoted to draw away heat and actively cool. It is non-toxic, hypoallergenic, antibacterial, and made sustainably with ethical labor practices.

Customer feedback

We found customer reviews about Hush and its products on Amazon, Trustpilot, and Reddit, with feedback ranging from very pleased to quite upset.

Negative reviews focused mainly on poor customer service rather than product issues. One customer described their experience as the worst, citing a $380 order that remained undelivered after several months due to ineffective support. They expressed intent to dissuade others from using the company.

On the positive side, some Amazon and Reddit users praised the pillow's quality and comfort. They appreciated its adjustable filling that catered to their preferences. For instance, a customer who initially hesitated about the $200 price found the pillow exceeded expectations with its dual-use design and cooling properties, including a washable bamboo cover.

Our verdict

What we appreciated most about this pillow is its adjustable feature, allowing for personalized comfort with extra stuffing. Additionally, we valued its OEKO-TEX® certification and use of ethically sourced, hypoallergenic fibers.

However, we were disappointed by the negative customer feedback on Trustpilot, where many customers criticized the poor customer service and lack of transparency from the brand.

Hush Hybrid Cooling Pillow is priced at $119 with a one-year warranty.

Comparison of the top 5 pillows for shoulder pain

ProductPriceOEKO-TEX® certifiedSizesCoolingWashing MachineHypoallergenic
Derila$39.95*NoStandard and kingYesNoYes
MedCline$249.99NoSmall/medium/largeYesOnly caseYes
Eli & Elm$109.99YesOne sizeYesYesYes
Sweet ZZZ$94.25*YesStandard and kingYesYesYes
Hush$119.00YesOne sizeYesCover onlyYes

* — prices vary depending on the pillow size.

Summarizing the Best Pillow for Shoulder Pain?

After thorough evaluation, the Derila Support Pillow emerges as our top recommendation that may help alleviate shoulder discomfort. This pillow, crafted from memory foam, is designed to help promote spinal alignment and relieve pressure points. Its unique butterfly support wings may cater to all sleep positions — back, side, or stomach — ensuring personalized comfort.

Despite mixed reviews on customer service, customers praise its effectiveness in reducing neck and shoulder discomfort. The Derila Support Pillow is available at an affordable price of $39.95, backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, making it a practical choice for those seeking both quality and comfort in helping manage shoulder pain or sleeping comfortably with injuries.

What is shoulder pain?

The shoulder is a combination of several joints, tendons, and muscles that allow the arm to have a wide range of motion. Because shoulders allow for so much mobility, they are also prone to injuries and pain.

Experts have divided most shoulder problems in four categories:

  • Arthritis
  • Instability
  • Tendon inflammation or tendon tear
  • Fracture (broken bone)

Shoulder pain can be temporary, but if it continues, it may require proper medical care. Diagnosis may involve tests to determine the cause of your pain like X-rays, MRI’s, CT scans, or an arthroscopy.

Treatment for shoulder pain may include a combination of rest, surgery, medication, and lifestyle changes. Even something as seemingly small as your sleeping habits can affect your shoulders.

Are pillows for shoulder pain effective?

One area of your life that can be majorly affected by shoulder pain is sleep. It may be difficult to find a comfortable position, or you may wake up in the morning with more pain. One way to help combat that is by having the right tools, including pillows.

If your shoulder pain worsens at night it may be due to an injury to the rotator cuff, bursitis, or tendinopathy. A study published in the Journal of Chiropractice Medicine found that pillows that offer a combination of standard, cervical, and shoulder support were the most effective at minimizing shoulder pain while sleeping.

This study also found that pillows that offered a cooling effect may also help improve people’s quality of sleep.

How can a pillow alleviate shoulder pain?

Having the proper pillow that caters to your needs can help give your shoulder, head, and neck proper support so that your pain doesn’t worsen while you’re sleeping. Getting quality sleep is also helpful in your body’s healing process.

A good side sleeper pillow for shoulder pain can enhance the overall quality of sleep. Since many of these pillows offer more support than the average person is used to, they can take some getting used to. After regular use, many people find them comfortable and supportive for their shoulder pain.

Understanding the build of a good shoulder pain pillow

There are countless options out there when it comes to pillows for shoulder pain, so it’s important to know what to look for.

The main types of designs you’ll see when looking for a pillow are:

  • Body pillow for shoulder pain
  • Side sleeping pillow for shoulder pain
  • Neck support pillows for back sleepers
  • Lower height pillows for stomach sleepers
  • Pillow for arm pain

These pillows are typically made from materials like:

  • Memory foam
  • Latex
  • Polyester
  • Natural cotton
  • Down or vegan down (shredded microfiber)

Pillow for shoulder pain vs regular pillows

People with shoulder pain or injuries may not get enough support from a regular pillow, which can exacerbate pain and discomfort. Still, it can be difficult to know if investing in a side pillow for shoulder pain is the right decision for you and your body.

Pillows for shoulder pain are often specifically designed for what type of sleeper you are, side, stomach, or back. These can be especially helpful for people who have difficulty getting comfortable at night or wake up with worsened shoulder pain. The biggest drawbacks of these pillows are that it can take a few tries to find the right one for you and they tend to be more expensive than regular pillows.

While regular pillows are typically more affordable and may work fine for the average person, people with shoulder pain likely won’t find them supportive enough to get quality sleep.

What else can help with shoulder pain?

Shoulder pain is a complex topic, and while pillows are a great starting point, you probably need a combination of tools to help alleviate or treat it. When it comes to sleep, you may also want to consider getting a new mattress if yours is not supportive enough.

Other tools that can help with shoulder pain include:

  • Stretching
  • Ice and heat packs
  • Taking painkillers like ibuprofen for temporary relief
  • Reduce the strain on your shoulder and rest when needed

It’s important to see a doctor if you experience chronic shoulder pain, a pinching or tingling sensation, numbness in your arm, or if you suspect you may have injured it. Please seek urgent medical care if you are also experiencing chest pain, jaw stiffness, or heartburn as it could be signs of a heart attack.

Best pillow for shoulder pain — conclusion

Shoulder pain can not only interefere with your daily activities but your sleep as well. Using a special pillow for shoulder pain can help decrease discomfort while also boosting your quality of sleep.

When deciding what pillow to buy be sure to take into consideration what position you normally sleep in, what material you prefer, your budget, and what size you need. If you’re still unsure, looking at reviews for individual products can help guide you in the right direction.

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