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Treat Your Neck Pain: The Best Cervical Traction Pillows for Pain Relief and Better Sleep

If you suffer from sleepless nights due to constant neck and shoulder and pain, you are not alone, and the solution to your problem might be a treatment known as cervical traction.

This is the process of lightly stretching the neck by pulling it away from your head to relax the muscles and reduce pressure on your spine, thus eliminating neck pain. [1]

It is popularly used in physical therapy to treat neck strains and tension, pinched nerves, arthritis in the neck, cervical muscle spasms, shoulder pain, herniated discs, neck spasms and related conditions.

One way you can employ this technique is with a cervical traction pillow.

In this article we’ll review 10 of the most highly-rated cervical traction pillows currently available, then we’ll highlight our top pick from the list.

Today we’ll focus on the following cervical traction pillows:


What is a Cervical Neck Traction Pillow?

A cervical traction pillow supports your neck, head and spine while you sleep.

They offer different levels of firmness to suit your condition and are made with materials designed specifically to reduce compression to your cervical spine such as foam or polyester fibre.

Cervical traction can be employed via a physical therapist, chiropractor, massage therapist or by using a cervical traction pillow.

It can help to alleviate bulging discs in the neck, manage neck spasms, and help with muscle stiffness by gently stretching the muscles.

It is also used to treat pinched nerves, and herniated discs and helps to release pressure on your blood vessels and nerve roots and intervertebral discs. [2]


What to Look for When Buying a Neck Traction Pillow

Although there are other cervical traction devices on the market, today we’ll focus is on cervical traction pillows.

If you’ve never purchased one before, here are some helpful factors to consider:

Sleep position preferences 

Ensure that the product states whether the pillow is for side-sleepers, stomach- sleepers or back-sleepers.

Some are designed to accommodate all types of sleep positions and some are not!

Fabric and filling

If you have skin sensitivity then the material on the outside and inside of the pillow will be important. Some pillows are made from chemical-free and/or hypoallergenic material so read the product information before purchase.

Size variations

Sizing is very important when buying a neck traction pillow. Sleeping on an incorrectly sized pillow can further aggravate your neck pain so you must ensure that you find the right, size, height and firmness. [3]

Shapes and forms

Some might imitate the shape of a traditional pillow, while some boast unique shapes.

Some cervical pillows also come in the form of a roll and are used in conjunction with your regular pillow.

Customizable

Some companies offer the option to customize the pillow to your liking by adding or removing the filling.

These come with a zipper option so you can easily access the inner filling.


10 Best Cervical Traction Pillows for Pain Relief and Better Sleep

Now that we’ve explained the types of pillows available, along with the benefits of having one, let’s compare some of the best selections on the market.

1. EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow

Pros:

  • Comes with removable foam
  • Chemical-free material
  • Hypoallergenic case

Cons:

  • Too firm
  • Uncomfortable for some side sleepers

This soft but firm memory foam pillow works whether you sleep on your stomach, back or side and is available in 3 sizes and 1 colour, white. It also comes with a removable piece of foam for proper height adjustment.

It is made from breathable, premium memory foam to keep you dry and cool by providing enhanced air circulation, and is enclosed in a net jacket.

The Epabo pillow is made from chemical-free material and comes with a hypoallergenic pillowcase, made from polyester/rayon blend.

Furthermore, the ergonomic design is contoured to align and offer support for your back, shoulder and neck.

Some users found the pillow too firm while others noted that it was not effective for side sleepers, despite being advertised as such.

However, if you suffer from pinched nerves and have sensitive skin this might be a good pick since it is chemical-free and comes with a hypoallergenic pillowcase.

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2. Arc4life Cervical Neck Traction Pillow

Pros:

  • Has double components for neck support and traction
  • Has 2 support levels

Cons:

  • Not for stomach sleepers
  • Expensive
  • No return or replacement guarantee

The Arc4life pillow has 2 components; a neck roll side for proper neck support while you sleep, and a traction v-side that can be used for 10-25 minutes per day to gently stretch your neck.

It also offers 2 support levels with one side being much softer than the other, and is available in small, medium and large in the colour white.

This pillow is filled with polyester fibre and is designed to provide ergonomic support for back sleepers.

Some popular complaints were that the pillow quality was poor especially for the price. Furthermore, the company does not offer returns or money-back guarantee.

Despite these complaints, this pillow was specially created for sufferers of cervical radiculopathy, arthritis, numbness and tingling in the neck, and degeneration, so if these are your issues, this is a suitable choice.

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3. Therapeutica Orthopedic Sleeping Pillow

Pros:

  • Has a size for kids
  • Non-allergenic, non-toxic foam
  • Offers jaw pressure relief

Cons:

  • Not enough curve
  • Not comfortable for side-sleepers

With 5 size options ranging from child (6-10 years old) petite, average, large and XL, Therapeutica offers something for everyone.  

This orthopaedic sleeping pillow features a wedge extension to support your upper back, a head cradle for back sleepers and is even designed for jaw pressure relief.

Additionally, the side panels are raised to accommodate the height of your shoulders when sleeping on your side.

This pillow is fabricated from firm, moulded foam and is ideal for back sleepers to help recondition the natural curve of your neck. It will not lose its form or pliability overtime.

Some users felt that this pillow didn’t offer enough of a curve for proper neck positioning while others (mostly-side sleepers) simply found it uncomfortable.

Nonetheless, if you have a child whose sleep is being affected by neck pain this is a great pillow to suit their needs.

Also, if you suffer from allergies or have sensitive skin this non-toxic and non-allergenic solution might be just what you need.

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4. Perform Pillow Memory Foam Neck Pillow

Pros:

  • Eco-friendly
  • Low profile version for kids
  • Bacteria resistant

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Not enough memory foam

This Perform neck pillow was designed by a chiropractor and is made with a special, high-density memory foam. It also boasts an orthopaedic design and is contoured to properly align your spine during sleep.

The eco-friendly foam is free from toxic heavy metals such as Lead and Mercury, and the cover is made with 43% bamboo and 56% polyester. It is also bacteria resistant and offers natural deodorization.

Ideal for both back and side sleepers, the memory foam pillow and cover are also hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant.

It is available in 3 sizes: thin, for children or adults with smaller necks; medium for those who require average thickness and thick, for those who need extra thickness.

On the downside, this pillow is pricey and users complained that it did not contain enough memory foam for their liking.

On the other hand, it is designed by a chiropractor to align your spine, so if you suffer from a stiff neck, cervical radiculopathy or related issues this is a good choice.

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5. Coop Memory Foam Pillow

Pros:

  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Dust mite resistant & hypoallergenic
  • 100-night sleep trial

Cons:

  • Chemical smell
  • May flatten overtime

The covering is made from 40% rayon (derived from bamboo) and 60% polyester, guaranteeing you a luxurious experience.

The case also provides comfort and breathability thanks to its blend of polyester and viscose rayon. 

It is designed with a medium-firm combination of microfiber and memory foam, and is fully adjustable.

The memory foam fill is also adjustable allowing you to add more fill, or remove extras to accommodate your size or sleep position. Your pillow will arrive with an extra bag of fill for pillow adjustment.

The Coop memory foam pillow is available in queen and king size and is dust mite resistant and hypoallergenic, plus it is vegan and cruelty-free.

The product’s fill and cover are both machine washable and it is certified by Greengard Gold and certiPUR-US.

Some customers noted a chemical smell coming from their pillow while others complained that theirs flattened overtime.

Despite the cons, this pillow is highly-rated and sells at a good price, plus there is a 100-night sleep trial or your money back.

So, if you suffer from stiff neck, shoulder pains or pinched nerves, this one comes highly recommended.

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6. Tempur Pedic TEMPUR-Ergo Advanced Neck Relief Pillow

Pros:

  • Innovated by NASA
  • 5-year limited warranty

Cons:

  • Height too tall for some
  • Too hard

Innovated by NASA, this advanced neck relief pillow boasts a unique shape, and has ergonomically designed twofold zones.

One side is firmer than the other offering proper neck, and shoulder support along with a softer centre to cradle your head. The other side also has a uniquely curved shape.

It is engineered to not only relieve pressure while you sleep, but also provide personalized neck support without losing its shape.  

Available in small, medium and large, the Tempur-Ergo comes with a removable, washable cover and your purchase is protected by a 5-year limited warranty.

Popular complaints were that the height of the pillow was too tall and others found it too hard for comfort.

Nonetheless, it is moderately priced and has a 5-year limited warranty so if you require a firm neck pillow for your neck pain give this one a try.

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7. OPTP Original McKenzie Cervical Roll Pillow

Pros:

  • Developed by a physical therapist
  • Stays in place throughout the night
  • Inexpensive

Cons:

  • Not returnable
  • Loses firmness overtime

The pillow is the only one on our list that comes in the form of a neck roll, and works in conjunction with any size pillow.

It works by sliding the roll into your pillowcase to eliminate neck and back pain resulting from pressure placed on your discs, and poor sleeping posture.

Its distinctive shape and size are designed to ensure proper alignment and curve while sleeping.

This OPTP McKenzie cervical roll pillow —developed by physical therapist Robin McKenzie— is made with soft foam for padded neck support throughout the night.

Ideal for back and side-sleepers, it also comes with a removable, washable cover.

Certain buyers noticed that their neck roll flattened overtime and they later found out that the item was non-returnable.

However, if you need a product to support your neck while you sleep, give this budget-friendly option a try.  

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8. ONSON Memory Foam Orthopedic Pillow for Sleeping

Pros:

  • 4 methods of usage
  • Can be used as a back cushion
  • Helps with snoring

Cons:

  • One size available
  • Too firm for some
  • Low in height

The Onson orthopedic pillow offers 4 methods of usage, and is designed for back, side and stomach sleepers, and can also be used as a back cushion.

Made from Bamboo and polyester, this pillow is ideal for neck and shoulder pain as its humanized design is said to relieve and support your neck and shoulder muscles.

Both ends of the pillow are of different heights depending on your preference and the curved design is meant to support your spine, relieve fatigue and even prevent you from snoring.

This advanced memory returns to its original shape after use, and is available in one size and one colour, white.  It provides excellent breathability, is anti-bacterial and mildew resistant.

Some users found Onson too firm, while others felt that the height was too low, plus there is only one size available.

However, this low-cost pillow doesn’t just help with neck ache, if you are a snorer and need a fix, this might do the trick.

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9. Nature’s Guest Support Pillow

Pros:

  • Orthopaedic and chiropractor recommended
  • Built-in neck roll cushion
  • Fully adjustable

Cons:

  • Zippers break easily
  • Filling is hard

This fully adjustable support pillow from Nature’s Guest, boasts top-quality craftsmanship with its 233 thread count cover, complete with silk trim.

Ideal for back and side sleepers, it is made from hypoallergenic materials and its patent-pending, contoured design is orthopaedic and chiropractor recommended.

It is fully adjustable allowing you to adjust the firmness from medium to soft by adding or removing filling from both the side sleeping section and the built-in neck roll cushion- via the side zippers.

The pillow has micro-fibre filling sheathed by superior, cotton fabric.

On another note, some buyers said that their zipper broke off easily while others complained that the filling was too hard.

Nonetheless, this allows you to adjust it to your liking and it is doctor recommended, so this option is good for a variety of neck related issues.   

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10. Coisum Orthopedic Memory Foam Pillow 

Pros:

  • CertiPUR-US certification
  • Armrest
  • Removable and washable

Cons:

  • Foam too firm for some
  • Goes flat overtime

This pillow from Coisum offers 3 sizes and is made from 60 density foam, offering medium firmness.

It features an armrest to reduce pressure in your arm and wrist, a wedge extension to properly support your neck, and a cutout area —ideally for side sleepers since it takes the pressure off your shoulders while you lay on your side.

It also boasts a slow-rebound memory foam, protective inner cover and a breathable pillowcase.

The hypoallergenic, polyester fibre covering the foam promotes airflow to keep cool while you sleep; it also restricts the growth of mould. 

Some costumers found their pillow went flat overtime while others complained that it was too firm.

Despite this, some users found that the pillow offered them relief from headaches due to chronic neck and shoulder pain, so it might do the same for you.

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Our Pick: Coop Memory Foam Pillow

There are many reasons why this made Amazon’s Choice, and our Top Pick–one being the Greengard Gold and certiPUR-US certified label.

Additionally, this vegan and cruelty-free pillow from Coop is moderately priced and comes with a 100-night sleep trial or your money back.

It is made from rayon (derived from bamboo) and polyester, guaranteeing a luxurious experience for a great night’s sleep.

This medium-firm pillow is sheathed in a breathable, comfortable case made from a blend of polyester and viscose rayon.

It comes with an extra bag of fill, allowing you to adjust your pillow with an amount that is ideal for your size, shape and sleep position.

Furthermore, unlike others on our list whether you sleep on your side, back or stomach this will provide comfort and support. It is available in 2 sizes and is dust mite resistant and hypoallergenic, plus both the cover and fill are machine washable.


Other Types of Cervical Traction Devices

There are varied sorts of cervical traction devices on the market, to include neck hammocks and over-the-door machines.

Other popular options are:

Pillows

These look similar to traditional pillows (which this article covered) and are often used as a replacement. They are available in assorted shapes, sizes and levels of firmness and are made with soft foam or a similar material.

Rolls

These are long, slim, rolls stuffed with similar fillings as the cervical traction pillows, but are placed specifically behind your neck during use.

Inflatable

These inflatable neck traction devices are positioned around the neck, then a hand pump is used to inflate the device to your desired level of pressure.

Neck hammock

This tiny hammock must be anchored to a door or wall; you lay on your back with the hammock cradling your head for a specified amount of time.


Before we end this article, we must remind you to first consult a doctor to ensure that a cervical traction pillow is the best mode of treatment for your condition.

If you decide to purchase this product, exercise a bit of patience as there is usually an adjustment period.

You might feel uncomfortable for the first 2 weeks, but the timeline varies so read the product information carefully.

Once you’ve given your body adequate time to adjust to your traction pillow, you will be well on your way to many restful and pain-free nights.