Discover the Best Pillow for Neck Pain and Migraines

Discover the Best Pillow for Neck Pain and Migraines

Migraines and neck pain can occur independently but are often linked. Migraine causes include poor sleep, brain chemical imbalances, certain foods, beverages, and medications, extreme fatigue, dehydration, weather changes, genetics, hormones, conditions such as fibromyalgia, and physical or emotional stress. 

Other triggers include alcohol, caffeine, smoking, flickering lights, smells such as perfumes, tobacco smoke, vehicle exhaust fumes, skipping meals, and over-exercising. Often, however, the exact cause is unknown. 

Who gets Migraines?

Migraines affect over 39 million Americans annually. It is a disabling headache characterized by a pulsing sensation or severe throbbing pain, often on one side of the head, nausea and vomiting, and light, sound, touch, or smell sensitivity. The headache can last for hours, sometimes days, and recur regularly. Frequency can range from multiple times per month, every month, to infrequently. 

The pain can be debilitating, often interfering with daily life. Usually, those who experience attacks seek out quiet, darkened rooms and lie very still, unable to function normally. People of all ages, including children, can experience attacks, with biological females three times more likely to get migraines, especially those of menstruation age. 

Who gets Migraines?

What Are Migraines?

Migraine is a centrally mediated pain disorder that affects your brain and spinal cord – the central nervous system, including the peripheral nerves and the blood vessels. This feature causes neurological symptoms in addition to pain. 

As a result, other distinguishing neurological features of migraine are a possible “prodrome,” followed by an “aura” – a set of sensations and symptoms warning that a migraine is developing. Many people also experience a lingering malaise after the headache, lasting a few days. These stages occur as follows:

  • Prodrome: Up to two days before migraine onset, individuals can experience mood changes, neck stiffness, fluid retention, increased urination, more frequent yawning, and food cravings. 
  • Aura: The aura that precedes an attack comprises face or limb tingling, numbness, face or unilateral body weakness, difficulty speaking, and visual disturbances. Individuals experiencing an aura can see lights, flashes, and shapes. Symptoms usually build up gradually and can last up to an hour. The aura typically occurs before but may continue during the migraine.
  • Post-drome: For some individuals, the attack leaves them feeling confused, weak, and drained, with sudden head movements continuing to cause pain. In contrast, others report feeling euphoric after an attack. Not all individuals report undergoing all four phases. 

However, these early signals and alerts may be helpful if recognized in time. Medication is available to help prevent and reduce pain, intensity, and duration. In addition, lifestyle and diet changes and self-help remedies may help decrease the condition’s frequency. 

Another non-headache symptom is neck pain, often on the same side as the migraine. According to UCLA Health, nine in every ten individuals (90%) with migraine report neck pain or stiffness. 

What Is Migraine-Related Neck Pain?

Beyond being reported with migraines, neck pain can be a standalone issue or related to other types of headaches, such as tension varieties. Consequently, it can be tricky to discern whether the neck problem is a cause or a symptom. To assess this query, Johns Hopkins researchers measured trapezius muscle activity in those with migraines versus those with other headache types. They concluded that neck pain is likely a symptom rather than a trigger.

Why is this? Insights into the condition suggest it may be due to the body’s disease process. The trigeminal nerve – a primary message and pain pathway – supports chewing, biting, and facial sensations. It is also responsible for most migraines, with the central part of the trigeminal nerve located in the upper back of the neck, causing muscle tension and tightness during an attack.

How To Manage Migraine and Neck Pain

Treating or preventing your migraine can help avoid or manage neck pain. The treatments include oral medications, occipital nerve blocks, trigger points, medical Botox® injections, and electrical stimulation therapy. 

Various forms of physical therapy can also offer relief while relaxing and strengthening neck muscles. Unlike drugs that treat pain via the central nervous system, physical therapy treats the joints and muscles. Modalities include massage, manual cervical traction, icing, heating, and stretching. Your therapist will also provide instructions for activities to do at home, with practices such as meditation and exercises like isometrics and yoga, which are helpful for overall stress reduction. 

Beyond pharmaceuticals, medical procedures, physical therapy, and exercise, other recommended lifestyle changes include improving sleep quality and quantity. At the same time, while too little or too much sleep may trigger a migraine attack, so can poor sleep posture. Your sleeping position can also exacerbate migraine-associated and other neck pain. Beyond adjusting the sleeping position, a cervical pillow or roll can help improve posture and reduce discomfort.

Who gets Migraines?

Choosing the Best Pillow for Managing Neck Pain and Migraines

You may appreciate some help choosing the right pillow with several therapeutic pillows available in various materials. Options include memory-, bolster-, and adjustable pillows, often hypoallergenic and with cooling variants. Materials can consist of foam, water, and buckwheat. Here are our favorite picks from Amazon:

Tempur-Pedic Neck Pillow

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Ergo Neck Pillow, Medium Profile, White
  • FIRM MEMORY FOAM NECK PILLOW: Offers the perfect balance of luxurious comfort and optimal support to help you get the blissful night you deserve
  • PRESSURE-RELIEVING COMFORT: Expertly engineered to provide pressure relief and customized support throughout the night while returning to it's shape in the morning
  • ERGONOMIC SUPPORT: Firmer pillow material properly and comfortably supports the head, neck, and shoulders of side and back sleepers of all body types

This premium memory foam pillow is available in small, medium, and large and in cooling and travel options. With a firm foam inner and machine-washable hypoallergenic cotton outer, the pillow offers luxury, comfort, and durability while providing optimal, body-heat-shaped, individualized neck support for back and side sleepers. 

What We Like: What We Don’t Like: 
Correct height to support the neck

Firm yet comfortable

Travel option easy to pack 

Varied sizes 

Five-year warranty
May be too firm for some

The cover constricts the foam


EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow

EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow Orthopedic Sleeping Pillows, Ergonomic Cervical Pillow for Neck Pain - for Side Sleepers, Back and Stomach Sleepers, Free Pillowcase Included (Firm & Queen)
  • LUXURIOUS SLEEPING PILLOW - Provides therapeutic relief for all sleepers and neck pain, you will wake up feeling fully recharged and ready to take the day. Its premium fabric to keep you cool and comfortable throughout the night.
  • ERGONOMIC - Proven contour design perfectly supports and aligns your head, neck, shoulder and back. You will fall asleep faster and deeper. It is possible for you to experience some discomfort during the first two weeks while your body is trying to adjust to the correct position. Try it for a new level of comfort whether you are back sleeper, stomach sleeper or side sleeper.
  • QUALITY MATERIAL - Breathable memory form provides better air circulation to keep you cool and dry. Our hypoallergenic rayon/polyester proprietary blend pillow case feels silky soft.

This ergonomically designed wedge-shaped cervical pillow is for all sleeping positions and is available in standard and queen sizes. Breathable memory foam offers air circulation to keep you cool with a hypoallergenic polyester-rayon blend cover that feels silky against your face. Additionally, materials are chemical-free and come with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. 

What We Like: What We Don’t Like: 
Affordable value

Accommodates back, side and stomach sleepers

30-day guarantee

Adjustable height
May flatten over time

May be too hard for some

Shape may be awkward for some

Mediflow Fiber Water Pillow

Mediflow Fiber: The First & Original Water Pillow, clinically Proven to Reduce Neck Pain & Improve Sleep. Therapeutic, Ideal for People Looking for Proper Neck Support
  • CLINICALLY PROVEN: Our Water base technology has been clinically proven by an independent Johns Hopkins study to reduce neck pain and improve overall quality of sleep, bringing you the best night's sleep you have ever experienced
  • IDEAL FOR ALL SLEEPING POSITIONS: -If you are a side, back or stomach sleeper or switch in between - the water will move with your head, so you will never have to adjust or fluff this pillow
  • CUSTOMIZE TO YOUR COMFORT: Our Water based Pillow can be customized to your liking! Adjust the water level for make your pillow soft, medium, firm or even medium-firm

This adjustable Waterbase design pillow accommodates back, side, and stomach sleepers. The water technology is non-compressible yet flexible and available in firm, medium, and soft forms. FDA-approved and endorsed by Johns Hopkins, the pillow offers a personalized fit and is clinically proven to help improve sleep quality and reduce neck pain. The pillow comprises two advanced layers, including a comfortable fiber top layer over a responsive Waterbase bottom layer. 

What We Like: What We Don’t Like: 
Trusted by healthcare professionals

Adjustable water level for comfort and fit

Three-year warranty
Heavy for travel but can be drained and refilled

Some users have experienced distortion and mold

GOHOME Cervical Roll Pillow

GOHOME Cervical Neck Roll Pillow for Pain Relief Sleeping, Memory Foam Bolster Cylinder Orthopedic Pillow Ergonomic Support for Bed Legs Back Lumbar and Yoga
  • 【SUPER ERGONOMIC PILLOW】This cervical neck pillow is based on the principles of ergonomics. The height of the round pillow is 5 inches, and the height of the cube pillow is 4.3 inches. It perfectly fits the curve of the back of the neck and provides effective cervical vertebrae support, making it an ideal choice for those who work at a desk for prolonged periods and suffer from neck pain
  • 【MULTI-PURPOSE BODY SUPPORT】Featuring a zipper that connects the neck roll pillow and cube pillow, allowing for easy customization and separation. The bolster pillow can be used as support between the legs for comfortable side sleeping, beneath the calves for additional support or behind the back as a lumbar support pillow for effective soreness relief
  • 【HIGH QUALITY FABRIC】Crafted from ice silk fabric with exclusive embossing technology, this cervical pillow is both moisture-absorbent and breathable, as well as being close to the skin with a smooth feel. The breathable mesh fabric on the sides ensures that you remain cool and comfortable, even during hot summer nights

This memory foam bolster pillow offers a cylindrical orthopedic design. It has a cube pillow, easily attached to the neck roll, for additional personalized support. The ice silk fabric cover is breathable, moisture-wicking, and soft against the skin.

What We Like: What We Don’t Like: 
Customizable with adjustable padding volume

Ideal for traveling

Machine washable cover


Climate pledge friendly
Not firm enough for some

Zippers may complicate use

Cube pillow lumpy

May be too small for some

The Hullo Buckwheat Pillow

Hullo Buckwheat Pillow 14"×20" Organic, Cooling, Firm Pillow for Sleeping • Japanese Size Sobakawa Pillow • Made in USA
  • 🇺🇸 DURABLE AMERICAN CONSTRUCTION - Cut, sewn & assembled in the U.S.A. with robust overlock stitching and the highest quality components. Compare Hullo to cheap brands and you'll see the difference in materials, design and construction.
  • ✅ 100% ORGANIC COTTON – Preshrunk, machine-washable 7 oz. cotton twill buckwheat hull pillow
  • ✅ PREMIUM BUCKWHEAT HULLS – American-grown and milled buckwheat hulls. Not cheap, imported buckwheat hulls, which are roasted, dry and crumbly.

A pillow filled with buckwheat – grain-like seeds – may sound strange. However, buckwheat husks are ideal for head and neck support, taking on the desired shape while remaining hypoallergenic and aroma-free. The filling and unbleached organic cotton cover is naturally air-cooled and free of migraine-triggering chemicals and feathers.

What We Like: What We Don’t Like: 
Zipper for adjustable loft

Promotes air flow for cooling

Organic, vegan materials

Firm support
May be too small for some

Some may find the husks hard and noisy.

Beyond a supportive pillow, a regular sleep schedule, avoiding electronics and caffeine late in the day, and ensuring a cool, dark room can also help improve sleep and prevent migraines. 

Avoid Insomnia and Pain With the Best Pillow for Neck Pain and Migraines

Sleep disorders are linked to migraines, poor sleep alignment, and headaches related to neck pain. Relying on an appropriate pillow is essential. Cervical pillows are designed to provide proper support and alignment, conforming to the head and neck curves. They can help provide posture correction, pain relief, improved sleep quality, and prevent or diminish neck pain and migraines while also helping to reduce snoring. 

Disclaimer: Last update on 2024-07-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

This content is provided solely for educational reasons and should not be seen as medical guidance. It’s important to consult with a healthcare expert prior to making any changes to your health regimen, including dietary adjustments or the use of supplements.

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