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Best Pillow for Headaches

Updated August 15, 2019

Most children and adults suffer from headache pain from time to time. Some headaches may be minor and fleeting, while other may be more debilitating and last for days. No matter whether your headaches are occasional, or chronic, they are never a pleasant experience. Although there are many reasons why you may be experiencing headaches, you can help alleviate the pain, or even reduce how often you experience pain through some of your own efforts.

Although chronic, recurrent headache pain should always be addressed by your healthcare provider, your choice of sleep products can help you get a better night’s sleep, and provide long lasting comfort. This may not initially seem important, but the best pillows for headaches will help provide the support you need to influence healing, blood flow, and spinal alignment – all which have the potential to promote a reduction in your discomfort.

What Causes Headaches?

Headaches can occur at any part of your head, and at multiple places at once. Headaches can be caused by a wide variety of issues, and are categorized based on their underlying cause. Primary headaches are not caused by an underlying issue, but secondary headaches have another reason as to why they are occuring. When searching for headache or migraine relief, your body posture and support can be crucial part of recovery.

Primary Headaches

Primary headaches are a stand alone pain issue, can be caused by the stress or strain to the soft tissues of the head, neck, and upper back. These include the muscles, ligaments, blood vessels, and nerves found within these areas of your body. Chemical activity in the brain can create these issues, as can over stimulation of pain-sensitive areas. Cluster headaches, migraines, and tension headaches are the most common primary headache causes.

Secondary Headaches

Secondary headaches include an underlying cause of the pain. This is when another condition creates the pain felt and includes a wide range of issues. These can range from drug and alcohol use, to dehydration, blood clots, and even stroke. Waking in the morning after drinking with a headache is considered a secondary cause, for example.

Many times people can determine if they influenced their discomfort, but if it lasting, increases in pain, and/or is hard to alleviate, a doctor should always be consulted, especially if there was ever an injury that occured. This is especially true concerning cervicogenic headaches, which are caused by issues within the cervical spine- including injury, bone, disc, or soft tissue injury or strain. Bedding product choices are very important in these types of situations.

Head and Neck Alignment

Headaches, along with snoring, is often a symptom of, or worsened by, poor blood flow, a restriction in oxygen through the night, and other issues that create stress to your body through poor spinal alignment. Your choice of mattresses and pillows should improve your sleep posture, and support your cervical alignment for a more restful night. The pillow (s) you choose should properly support your body as well as airways in their respective sleep position claims.

The head and neck relationship is incredibly important and supports the gateway between your brain and cervical spine. Your central nervous system carries your response to pain, and its care and attention is crucial to your body’s healing when pain is present. As you sleep, you need pay particular attention to how your head and neck lay in your preferred choice of sleep positions. When held in a healthy, restful manner, it allows your brain to properly cycle through the sleep stages which promotes blood flow and healing. A proper night’s sleep also allows your brain, and body, respond to pain in a more tolerant manner.

Sleep Position and Pillow Comfort

As mentioned above, spinal alignment has much to do with how you respond to pain, heal from it, and support an alleviation of the effects of it. Your sleep position must be supported through the night allow for overall spinal alignment, in particular where your head and neck lay in relation to the rest of your body. Although there are more healthy, supportive positions over others, you can choose the best pillows, and other bedding options, to aide in your particular needs.

Blood flow promotes healing, and airway support promotes blood flow. Keeping your head and neck in alignment allows for both of these to help alleviate your headache pain, and provide you the energy to better deal with the discomfort when it occurs.

Back Sleep Position Needs

Back sleepers require a low profile pillow that allows the head to lay level with the height of the shoulders. It also much include enough fill to keep the neck in a rested position. Obviously this means that a person’s body height and size will help determine the best pillow for them.

Stomach Sleep Position Needs

Stomach sleepers almost always place some sort of strain upon the body, and ideally should sleep without a pillow. Most people are unable to do this due to personal preferences, and so a soft, low profile pillow is the best choice.

Side Sleep Position Needs

Side sleepers have to pay attention to both head and neck height and support. A firmer, higher profile pillow is needed for side sleepers, and like back sleepers, particular attention to body shape and height can influence the pillow choice.

What to Consider When Choosing a Pillow for Headaches

When choosing a pillow for headaches, you want to take into account first and foremost the support of your sleep position. But you also may want to consider those pillows that specifically address pain issues and use both filling and design construction to help alleviate them.

What is your sleep position?
Obviously this is an important consideration, and when narrowing down your choices you need to look specifically for pillows that work with your position. Follow the guide above that provides some basic information about this, or look more closely at the details for each position you may want to consider.

What types of headaches do you suffer from?
Are you suffering from a regular occurrence of primary or secondary headaches? Although a doctor may be able provide pain relief for the worst of your discomfort, you will want to address your own comfort opportunities at home. Both types of headache causes require oxygen and blood flow for healing- something you can help with while your body rests.

Do you wake with aches and pains in other parts of your body?
If you do wake sore or stiff, it is an excellent indication of poor posture and possible poor sleep product support. This could be an underlying cause of headaches, or exasperate them further. If this is happening, you may want to reconsider more than just your pillows- especially if you feel you have been searching for the best pillow for ages.

Our Top 5 Best Pillow for Headaches

We have personally reviewed many, many pillows, and since first and foremost proper head and neck positioning are a priority of quality pillow companies, you want to seriously consider each pillow with an eye towards this comfort. When you have spinal alignment in place, then you can better address any further discomforts as this will help keep airways open, support your body while you sleep, and allow your body to heal and cope with your pain in a much more productive manner.

1. TEMPUR-Neck Pillow

SPECS

  • Filling: Solid memory foam core
  • Loft: Dependent on size choice
  • Comfort Positions: Back/Side
  • Warranty: 5 year

The Tempur-Neck Pillow is a TempurPedic brand solution to head and neck support for proper cervical alignment. It is a made of a sofer solid memory foam core construction to help cradle your head and contour to the shape of our neck. With three different variances in sizes, it was created to meet a wide range of people, and can be fitted to you based on sex, weight, height, and sleep position.

Back and side sleepers can both take advantage of this design, and each pillow has variances in the pillow edges to personal comfort preferences. The softer depression is specific to cradling the head, and relieving pressure points. This support helps keep airways open, and allow the spine to settle and relax into a natural state to increase circulation and healing.

Pros

  • Long lasting
  • Sizing chart very accurate
  • Helps alleviate neck pain

Cons

  • May have slight off-gassing
  • May be too firm for some people
  • Contouring will be affected by room temperature

Who Should Purchase this Pillow:
This back and side sleeping choice offers soft neck rolls and a contoured bed for your head. This helps alleviate tension in the back and shoulders- a cause of stress headaches in many people. Plus by holding your head in position you also allow for a more restful night.

Read our full review.

2. Dr. Loth’s Spine Align Pillow

SPECS

  • Filling: shredded latex foam and polyfill blend
  • Loft: Adjustable
  • Comfort Positions: Side and back
  • Warranty: 90 day returns

The Chiropractor Dr. Loth is the mastermind behind his spine align pillow, an idea that came to fruition as he searched for a solution to help alleviate stressors and strain upon his client’s spine and soft tissues. Made to be adjustable and fit a wide variety of both side and back sleepers, this pillow contains three separate chambers to both add and remove the soft filling for support and personalization purposes.

The soft shredded memory foam and fiberfill is contouring, supportive, and pressure reductive. The unique shaping allows for perfect neck and head alignment with the spine, relieves tension through the back, and is made to allow for a true relaxation experience. A thick, breathable cover is also a part of the experience, not only to hold the fill, but provide a plush surface to lay upon.

Pros

  • Reduces neck pain
  • May aid in headache and migraine relief
  • Fully adjustable

Cons

  • May take some time to adjust correctly
  • Is not for stomach sleepers

Who Should Purchase this Pillow:
This pillow is created specifically to help alleviate pain that may be associated with, or exasperated by, your sleep position. Back and side sleepers would get the most out of this pillow.

Read our full review here.

3. Casper Pillow

SPECS

  • Filling: Polyester microfiber fill
  • Loft: adjustable
  • Comfort Positions: All
  • Warranty: 3 years

This unique pillow is an excellent choice for any sleep position as it is pillow within a pillow design which provides you options in comfort. It allows you a thin, soft feel for stomach and back sleepers, and a pliable plush combo for side sleepers. Filled with a soft polyfill, it gives a feather and down alternative feel to the sleep experience to consumers who prefer the feel of a more natural filling but do not want an actual feather pillow.

The sandwich design of the pillow is constructed with a thicker, slightly more firm outer casing that encompasses a thin, soft pillow. The more traditional feel and shaping is a preferred pillow choice for many people to help with head and neck support, and since it is adjustable can fit a wider variety of buyer needs and comfort.

Pros

  • Can be adjusted for thickness and support
  • Very cooling
  • Provides excellent neck support

Cons

  • May be too soft for some body types

Requires regular fluffing and care

Who Should Purchase this Pillow:
Perfect for all sleep positions who prefer a more traditional pillow that can be shaped and used in a variety of manners, you can even separate these pillows out to provide an added support to the neck, knees, or even hips.

Read our full review.

4. Hullo Buckwheat Pillow

SPECS

  • Filling: Buckwheat
  • Loft: Adjustable
  • Comfort Positions: All
  • Warranty: 60 day money back

Buckwheat pillows are a long standing tradition in Asia as it stands as not only a way to properly support your head and body, but also is considered a way to bring your body into balance. Buckwheat hulls are the byproduct of the the buckwheat seed, and instead of going to waste, are used as a springy, yet firm support in a variety of body comfort products. By far the most popular and well loved is its use a pillow to provide a supportive hold to both the head and neck in a proper position through the night.

The Hullo Buckwheat pillow is wholly adjustable as well which is excellent for not only comfort adjustability, but also for refreshing the pillow to make it last longer. This type of pillow provides comforting pressure to point in your head and neck to open areas for further blood flow and healing, and is considered a way to alleviate snoring, head, neck, and back pain, and alleviate headaches and migraines.

Pros

  • May work for some stomach sleepers
  • Helps with migraines
  • Shapes extremely well

Cons

  • Heavy weight
  • Noise and feel takes time to get used to

Who Should Purchase this Pillow:
Made for support and body health, this is a pillow definitely worth checking out by back and side sleepers. It can also be used by stomach sleepers, but may not be as comfortable depending on personal preferences. The fill does take some getting used to, but is well worth it.

Read our full review.

5. I Love My Pillow Classic Traditional Pillow

SPECS

  • Filling: Memory foam
  • Loft: ~7.5
  • Comfort Positions: All
  • Warranty: 100-night sleep trial

Created by foam engineers, the I Love My Pillow was made specifically to address the personal needs of its designers to provide a better all around pillow for a variety of sleep issues and needs. Although there are MANY memory foam and other foam pillow products that are considered an excellent comfort pick, this one does stand out amongst many of the rest.

The highly responsive memory foam provides instant response and contouring to your unique shape, and allows for immediate bounceback for pliable shaping. This type of solid foam fill helps hold your head and neck in alignment, and provide relief to airway concerns, as well as tension and stress to soft tissues. It also has a breathable micro mink casing for added breathability, and is considered a cool sleep.

Pros

  • Sleeps cool
  • Holds head and neck in a proper spinal alignment
  • Good customer service

Cons

  • May take a little bit to adapt to
  • May be too firm for some positions

Who Should Purchase this Pillow:
If traditional pillow shaping is a need, but a more firm, responsive hold is preferred- this is a great pillow to consider. Back and side sleepers of all shapes and sizes seem to really like it, as do many larger stomach sleepers.

Read our full review.

Conclusion

Focusing on spinal alignment and personal comfort should be a priority when addressing headache pain and the issues that may create underlying discomforts surrounding this. Many headaches are difficult to deal with or heal from when the body is unable to properly relax- creating further stress and strain. Our options presented above provide the many design and fill choices that you may want to consider surrounding sleep product choices to help provide relief to the worst of your headache pain, and allow open airways and circulation to help recover from this annoying, and often painful, affliction. So if searching for the best pillow for migraines and headaches is a current need of yours, you may want to consider the choices we’ve presented above- or even look further into some of our other extensive reviews provided through the site.

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