Sleeping can be difficult under the best of circumstances but when you have shoulder pain, sleeping can be doubly difficult.  If you sleep on a pillow that is too flat, for example, the shoulder has no protection against the firmness of the bed and it results in increased shoulder pain when you wake up.

There are some pillows, on the other hand, that can allow you to sleep more comfortably and can help you relieve your shoulder pain when sleeping. Here are some choices you might consider.

5 Best Pillows for Shoulder Pain


1. The Shoulder Relief Support System

This is a specially designed pillow you can purchase online.  It is a slanted pillow that has your head at the top of the pillow and a large indentation below that for your shoulder to snuggle in along with your arm.

The pillow then slants down to support your torso in a comfortable position.  This can only be used for side sleepers.

Although we choose to call it a pillow here, it is NOT a replacement for the pillow you use today. With this shoulder support system, you place your own pillow on top.

It helps take the pressure off your shoulder due to arthritis, surgeries, and injuries.

View this shoulder relief pillow on Amazon!


2. Memory Foam Pillows

A large memory foam pillow, like the Snuggle Pedic, can be used for people with shoulder injuries who lie on their back or on their sides. The foam indents where your head goes and also where the shoulder goes, forming a cushioning action on the shoulders.

Memory foam pillows are semi-structured in that they resume their normal shape after you get out of bed in the morning.  The advantage of a memory foam pillow is that it works for people of all sizes, whose head and shoulders fit specifically the way they need to.

View the Snuggle Pedic memory foam pillow on Amazon.


3. A Split Pillow

They make pillows that have a split along the longitudinal axis of the pillow. You basically lie on the pillow with the shoulder on the pillow and your arm resting inside the split.  For this pillow, you need to be a side sleeper so you can rest your arm within the split.

The pillow gently cushions the shoulder, giving room for your arm to rest on the mattress itself.  Just one day of using such a pillow can begin to relieve your shoulder pain.


4. A Bi Level Sloped Pillow

This is a pillow that can be used for side sleepers or back sleepers.  You simply lie with your head on the elevated portion of the pillow with your shoulders on the lower edge of the slope.  Both shoulders can be given proper cushioning if you are lying on your back, while side sleepers can receive relief by positioning the shoulder on the lower edge of the pillow.

These pillows tend to be more structured than other pillows so that the bi level slope can be maintained for a long period of time without deforming. The example shown even has a pocket for your shoulder and arm.

View the MedCline pillow here.


5. The “Cocoon” Pillow

This is actually a tri level pillow with a dipped portion for your head, an elevated portion to cushion your neck and a lower level to cradle your shoulder.  This is a pillow that can be used for side sleepers or back sleepers with adequate cushioning for the head, neck, and shoulders.

It is also a more structured pillow that needs to maintain its structure in order to continue to work for use after use.

There are several ways you can use a pillow to support your shoulder.  If you have occasional shoulder pain, a nice thick pillow might do the trick but if shoulder pain is a constant thing for you, investing in a specialized shoulder pillow may be what’s in order.