If You Suffer From Neck Pain & Headaches, It Could Be Because Of Your Pillow — & Here's Why

by Margeaux Baulch Klein

Waking up with a painful neck or a throbbing temple is not an ideal way to start the day. However, choosing the right pillow can make all the difference in how well you sleep. The best pillows for neck pain and headaches are ones that that help keep your neck and spine aligned and reduce pressure from joints. This can help you sleep more comfortably and wake up better rested. Conversely, many experts recommend avoiding pillows that are too high as they will be more likely to keep your neck flexed and stiff.

When shopping for a pillow, keep in mind the position you usually sleep in — whether you're a stomach-sleeper, side-sleeper, or you sleep on your back — as some pillows are specifically designed for certain positions.

You'll also want to pay attention to what the pillow is made of. Memory foam is a great option since it molds around your neck and head. However, for those who aren’t fans of memory foam, you can can also find contour pillows made of fluffy microfiber filling. Other people may find that a water-based pillow helps give them the support and comfort they need.

For more details on the best pillows for neck pain and headaches, see the top picks below.


The Overall Best Pillow For Neck & Headaches

This Epabo contour memory foam pillow is a best-seller on Amazon for good reason. Available in standard and queen sizes, it works for all sleeping positions and has an ergonomic design that, along with the firm but supportive memory foam material, keeps your neck and head aligned. Plus, it has removable padding at the bottom so you can adjust the height of the pillow, as needed. This pillow also comes with a hypoallergenic rayon-polyester-blend pillowcase and a 30-day, money-back guarantee.

What fans say: "I have neck pain and migraine headaches and I bought this pillow to replace an older contour pillow I accidentally left behind on vacation. It’s fantastic! The shaping in the middle is very comfortable and my neck gets a lot of relief from this product. The included slipcover is comfortable and neat."


The Runner Up: A Great Pillow For Back Sleepers

Because of its center indentation design and firmer density, this Nature's Guest support pillow is ideal for back sleepers or back sleepers who occasionally roll onto their sides. It's made of microfiber filling, not foam, and has a soft cotton pillow case. Best of all, zippers on the cover allow you to adjust density and make the pillow less firm by removing some filling, ensuring that the pillow fits your needs perfectly.

What fans say: "I love this pillow! I have chronic neck pain from a bad car accident 20 years ago. I've been on the hunt for an adjustable cervical pillow and I finally found one. As a bonus, they send a bag of extra fill along with the pillow."


You May Also Want To Consider: An Adjustable Water Pillow

A water pillow, like this one by Mediflow, is a great choice if you experience neck pain or headaches, as it will conform to your head and neck shape and the level of water can be adjusted to the perfect amount of firmness. In addition to the insulated water pouch, this pillow also contains a fiber top layer for added comfort, and to prevent against it cooling down in the temperature drops. Included with the pillow is a 200-thread-count, cotton pillow case, a three-year warranty, and 30-day, money-back guarantee.

What fans say: "I have had years of shoulder, neck, and head muscle pain that I've sought treatment for. This pillow has made an amazing difference almost immediately. I actually sleep through the night now. I fall asleep within moments of laying down. No more ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, melatonin, hot packs, cold packs, or reading for hours before bed. For someone with chronic, long-time neck muscle pain, this pillow is well worth trying out. It has worked wonders for me."

Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.