I've got a buckwheat pillow that helps keep head and neck secure and in place throughout the night. It's not soft, and takes an adjustment, but being able to minimize movement in the night makes a huge difference for me.
It's also refillable so I can get it really plump so that my neck is level and the pressure is taken off my shoulders. I usually have a line of pillows running along my back, too, which helps me shift some more weight on them so it's not all on my side.
I've also tried sleeping with a pillow under my ribs before but it was actually really painful for my ribcage. Maybe it wasn't flat enough but I sleep fine without it on my Purple mattress (also recommend).
I have converted to a buckwheat pillow. They are a little loud when you first get them, but I got used to it very quickly. They are nice and cool and customizable.
Beans72 Organic Buckwheat Pillow - Japanese Size (14 inches x 20 inches) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0006HVVFK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_PR3QFBDXZG2V1TJJ5GGR
I call my SO's pillow the fascist pillow.
It's still their favorite out of comfort.
Meanwhile, I got a pair of these bad boys. Most comfortable pillow I've ever owned, but they're not for everyone. Kinda noisy, and firm.
I'm a side-sleeper who got many bad neck/headaches from the zillion different pillows I tried. The one which has finally helped decrease them is this one:
You can adjust the amount of fill and you can push the hulls into whatever position you need them.
It is not a super comfy pillow, but the size and ability to adjust the shape make up for losing the softness.
Ugh, I was the same way. It's matching the mattress, pillow and your sleeping position and that's hard to get just right.
I'm a side-sleeper and after getting a new mattress (pillow-top and that's part of the problem) I started having lots of neck pain and headaches. I went through so many pillows over a few years. The foam ones helped alleviate the tension headaches for a bit, but then didn't help.
I finally have used the same pillow now for almost 2 years and it's reduced my sometimes daily headaches down to maybe a couple a month, which happen if I sleep in a bad position.
I bought the smallest size of this buckwheat pillow. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0006HVVFK/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
It seems having a smaller size is better for a side-sleeper, since you don't have to crook your arm underneath the pillow, which can put your neck out of wack even more. The best feature is you can add/remove some of the husk filler. I've found that it works best for me when I remove some and then smoosh it down at the end where I'm putting my head, so my neck isn't jacked-up into a bad position.
It takes a bit of getting used to and they're not like a soft poofy pillow at all. But for old bones & muscles, you have to make sacrifices for support sometimes. I'll take losing the luxury of the poof over the physical pain any day.
I like a harder pillow. A couple of years ago a I purchased a buckwheat pillow, best purchase ever. Maintains it shape and keeps my head cool at night.
if you like the cool side of the pillow try buckwheat hull pillows
2 years in on it and still good
if you can sew you can DIY.
I don't know if there's any chance you're thinking of a buckwheat pillow.
I like my tiny beans pillow. Beans72 Organic Buckwheat Pillow - Japanese Size (14 inches x 20 inches) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0006HVVFK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_QF6Y8DXR38M7EWTD84M6
I've found a buckwheat pillow does the job quite well. conforms to and supports the jaw, head, and neck. You have to get the fill 'just right' though.
Had teh same buckwheat and inner case since 2014. The quilted cotton pillow case wore out around 2019 and had to be replaced.
I'm a side sleeper with a pillow-top mattress, which is comfy, but not so good for my back/neck. I used to get bad tension headaches a few times a week from my bed. I tried a bunch of different pillows and this one has been the best solution: (Beans72 Organic Buckwheat Pillow - Japanese Size)
It's not the most comfortable thing in the world, but it totally cut down my headaches to maybe one or two a month. I still have a tense neck (eta: not only from the bed, but computer work too) and sometimes have a hard time getting comfortable with the pillow, but it's still better than the pain.
I also do chin tuck stretches, which help. This is cued to show a standing one, but there are videos to show how to do it laying down while using a towel for support.
eta link...duh: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6C-wfV27bzI
When side sleeping, try doing the fetal position with a pillow between your legs, that helps me too.
Here’s the one I got, and then ended up converting my dad who is also an unhappy side sleeper too.
Beans72 Organic Buckwheat Pillow... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0006HVVFK?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share
I had to look up what a cervical core pillow was, but turns out I actually have one! (mine is like this). I haven't gotten to try that one yet though since my boyfriend has claimed and hogged it since the day we got new pillows haha. The pillow I sleep on myself at the moment is an extra firm one filled with duck down and feathers (I guess it's just stuffed with a lot more than the regular amount?). It's quite big and one thing I particularly like is that it puffs up a bit on the sides of my head as well when I lay down on it, and it's firm enough that it prevents my head from falling to the side too much.
My dad has been using buckwheat grain pillows for years and swears by those, might also be a good choice to relieve/prevent neck pain!