Health & Fitness

Can A New Pillow Cause Neck Pain

March 6, 2024   By JM Carpiso

We’ve all been there – you buy a new pillow, excited for a good night’s sleep, only to wake up with a stiff and sore neck. It’s a common complaint, but can a new pillow really cause neck pain? In this article, we’ll explore the connection between pillows and neck pain and provide tips for finding the right pillow for you.

The Importance of a Good Pillow

Proper Alignment and Support

A good pillow is essential for proper spinal alignment and support. When we sleep, our neck and spine should be in a neutral position, with the head and neck supported in a natural curve. A pillow that is too high or too low can disrupt this alignment, straining the neck muscles and leading to neck pain.

Comfort and Quality of Sleep

A comfortable pillow is also important for a good night’s sleep. If your pillow is too hard, too soft, or just not the right fit, it can lead to tossing and turning, which can cause neck pain and discomfort.

Can A New Pillow Cause Neck Pain?

The short answer is yes, a new pillow can cause neck pain. Here’s why:

Adjustment Period

Just like with a new pair of shoes, it takes time for your body to adjust to a new pillow. If you’ve used the same pillow for years, your neck and spine have become accustomed to its shape and support. When you switch to a new pillow, your body needs time to adjust to the new alignment and support, which can cause temporary neck pain.

Poor Quality or Incorrect Pillow

Another reason a new pillow may cause neck pain is if it is of poor quality or not the right type of pillow for you. A pillow that is too high, too low, or made with low-quality materials can cause discomfort and strain on the neck muscles. Additionally, if you are a side sleeper and use a pillow that is meant for back sleepers, it can also lead to neck pain.

Travel Pillows

Travel pillows are a common culprit of neck pain. While they may seem convenient for long flights or car rides, they often do not provide proper support for the neck and can cause strain and discomfort. Investing in a high-quality travel pillow or bringing your own pillow from home to avoid neck pain while travelling is best.

Tips for Finding the Right Pillow

Consider Your Sleeping Position

The best pillow for you will depend on your sleeping position. Side sleepers typically need a firmer, higher pillow to keep their neck and spine aligned, while back sleepers may need a flatter, softer pillow. Stomach sleepers should opt for a very thin pillow or no pillow at all to avoid straining the neck.

Test Out Different Pillows

When shopping for a new pillow, it’s important to test out different options to find the right fit for you. Many stores allow you to lay on a pillow for a few minutes to get a feel for it. If you’re shopping online, look for pillows with a trial period or a good return policy to test it out at home.

Consider Your Body Size

Your body size can also play a role in finding the right pillow. A larger person may need a firmer, thicker pillow to support their neck and head, while a smaller person may need a softer, thinner pillow.

Invest in Quality

While it may be tempting to opt for a cheaper pillow, investing in a high-quality pillow can make a big difference in your sleep and neck pain. Look for pillows made with memory foam or down alternative, as these materials provide good support and comfort.

Replace Your Pillow Regularly

Pillows should be replaced every 1-2 years, as they can lose their shape and support over time. If you’ve been using the same pillow for years, it may be time for a new one to help alleviate neck pain.

Pillow Therapy for Neck Pain

If you are experiencing neck pain from a new pillow, there are some steps you can take to help alleviate the discomfort.


Stretching can help relieve tension in the neck muscles and improve flexibility. Some simple stretches you can do include neck rotations, side bends, and shoulder rolls.

Heat or Ice Therapy

Applying heat or ice to the affected area can also help reduce pain and inflammation. Use a heating pad or ice pack for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

If the pain is severe, over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help alleviate discomfort.


A massage can also help relieve tension and pain in the neck muscles. You can visit a professional massage therapist or use a massage pillow or massager at home.

When to See a Doctor

If your neck pain persists for more than a few days or is accompanied by other symptoms such as numbness, tingling, or weakness, it’s important to see a doctor. They can help determine the cause of your neck pain and provide treatment options.


A new pillow can cause neck pain, but it’s important to remember that it may just be an adjustment period. If the pain persists, it’s important to find the right pillow for your sleeping position and body size. Investing in a high-quality pillow and replacing it regularly can also help prevent neck pain. If the pain persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Want the right pillow to alleviate neck pain now? Check out the Ecosa pillow.

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