Chiari malformation: Pillows for comfort

Chiari malformation is a rare medical condition in which the skull becomes misshapen or shortened, so that contents of the skull are forced downwards. It has three different types, each having its attributes. People may have this condition for their whole life without having any symptoms thus being asymptomatic.

Others may observe severe neck and skull pain, depression, balance problems, difficulty speaking and breathing, distorted motor skills and tinnitus, etc. Chiari malformation also affects the sleep-wake cycle of the sufferer.

They may go through Sleep-related issues such as sleep apnea or insomnia, making it difficult for the sufferer to get a good night’s sleep. This article discusses the best pillows for Chiari malformation so that they won’t have trouble falling asleep and can get comfortable whole night sleep. 

How Chiari Malformation and Sleep are related? 

Chiari malformation has three types, each having its attributes. 

Chiari Malformation type I

This type’s effects are visible during adulthood or late childhood. It is not asymptomatic. People suffering from this have severe neck pain and headache. 

Chiari Malformation type II: 

In this type, tissues extend down into the spinal canal. They have symptoms of Chiari malformation type I along with many other symptoms such as swallowing issues, eye twitching, inconsistency in breathing patterns, and weak arms. 

Chiari Malformation type III: 

Type III is considered to be the most severe one. This type can be diagnosed with the help of ultrasound either very early or right after birth. In this condition, the lower back parts of the brain extend in the back of the skull.

A person suffering from this experiences sleep disturbances. Many other symptoms and sleep disturbance exist, such as the frequent neck, head, and shoulder pain, making a good night’s sleep unimaginable for the sufferer. 

Why do you need a supportive pillow? 

To avoid Chiari malformation, you need a supportive pillow at night that is of high quality and is quite comfortable to keep the area that is prone to discomfort and pain as pain-free and highly relaxing.

There are many pillows for Chiari malformation sufferers, which are specified according to the severity of the condition. But all pillows have some general qualities which are capable of giving relief to you.

So whenever you are going to buy a pillow, look for these specific specifications given below. 

Things to consider before buying the best pillows for Chiari malformation


  • Always look for a soft and flexible pillow. Users recommend soft pillow which is not too deep. Such a pillow is ideal as it helps in easing the pressure on the head and neck. 


  • Choose pillows that are made of supportive material rather than hard and firm materials. Such pillows made of “shredded memory foam or synthetic down foam” are capable of giving such softness to your pillow which you are looking for. 


  • Water pillows are also a good option as they are highly supportive for neck pain and migraines. The best thing about this pillow is that its water level is adjustable so that you can get the required thickness of the pillow according to your condition and comfort level.

Its thickness is adjusted in such a way that it doesn’t strain your body. Usually, its top layer is made of memory or synthetic down foam, and the water bag is underneath that layer. Water bags provide a support base that is responsive to your body shape and body movements during sleep time. 

  • Travel neck pillows are preferable for Chiari malformation sufferers as they provide immense support to the shoulders and neck area. Such a pillow is best in that case where you got operated for treating your condition. In this case, the neck rest reduces neck stress as it adjusts your posture. 
  • Those suffering from sleep apnea can consider using wedge pillows. Wedge pillows are beneficial in relieving stress from your spine and skull and are also helpful in keeping airways open. 

So, in a nutshell, you need a highly supportive pillow for your shoulders and neck. But it’s always better to consult your physician regarding your medical condition if you are going to use a new product or are trying to diagnose or treat it yourself, especially if you have Chiari malformation.

FOMI Premium Large Water Sleeping Pillow | Adjustable and Supportive Waterbase Pillow for Preferred...

Best pillows for Chiari malformation

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The FOMI Premium Large Water Sleeping Pillow is an excellent solution if you are reluctant to use a water pillow. The best part is it is pretty reasonable and has multiple enjoyable features.

It is suitable for all types of sleepers such as the side, back, stomach, and even pregnant ladies. It has measurements of 26 x 17 inches.

This FOMI Premium Large Water Sleeping Pillow is comparatively smaller than other pillows of different models. But is very efficient in providing spine, back, and neck support.

Its water level is adjustable, and the pillow’s thickness is adjustable according to your choice. Those suffering from migraines or recovering from injuries such as herniated disc or a pinched nerve will get a high comfort level after using this FOMI Premium Large water Sleeping Pillow.

Our Review

We rate this pillow 9.9/10

What’s so good about it?

  • The pillow comprises of high thread count cotton cover
  • It is ideal for the summer months
  • Easily affordable
  • It’s fully adjustable
  • It is best for hot sleepers

What’s not so good about it

  • Some customers complain that it is too cold but using a pillow cover can solve this problem.

BLISSBURY SpineRight ​Adjustable Water Pillow with Ultra Soft White Cover, Bamboo and Polyester,...

Best pillows for Chiari malformation

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Are you tired of waking up with shoulder, head, and spinal pain? BLISSBERRY Spine Right pillow is one of the best pillows for Chiari malformation as it can transform your sleep.

Its optimal alignment gives you the right angle so that you wake up pain-free and have comfortable sleep. The Blissberry Spine Right Adjustable Water Pillow has distinctive features such as an adjustable upper layer and low cost, which make it charming relative to others.

This ergonomic pillow provides a high level of elevation, comfort and has cozy vibes, which can be what you need after a long hectic day. Although other water pillows have adjustable water levels, this pillow allows you to remove or add filling in the upper layer of Dacron fiber.

The Chiari malformation pillow is molded according to the user’s head thanks to polyester and bamboo material, giving you the most comfortable sleep of your life. This best pillow for Chiari malformation is ideal for all body weights and all sleeping conditions.

It has the best ratings for elderly and pregnant women. Its manufacturer Bliss Bury gives you a 30-day “satisfaction guarantee trial” while one year warranty in case of product is defective.

Our Review

We rate this pillow 9.7/10

What’s so good about it?

  • The pillow provides bonus filling for superior’s adjustability
  • Firmness can be adjusted through a water pillow core.
  • Removable, machine-washable bamboo and polyester cover

What’s not so good about it

  • It may be too soft for some.

MODERNJOE'S Luxurious Water Pillow - Queen Size with Double Piped Edge - Fully Adjustable Orthopedic...

Best pillows for Chiari malformation

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Having excellent customer service and an affordable price range, MODERN JOE’S Premium water Base Pillow is worth buying. It is capable of giving your neck and back immediate relief.

Those who have restless sleep, keep on tossing and turning, and wake up sore, must use this pillow. It has polyester filling combined with a water bag to give your neck and back area immense support and relief.

Its water level is adjustable, and you can adjust it to your will so that you won’t have to fluff your pillow all night. It offers the same level of comfort from sun up and suns down.

Its distinguishing feature is its customer service. The company is easily reachable, so if you face any issue or have any concern, the company would listen to you and try to resolve the issue.

Our Review

We rate this pillow 9.5/10

What’s so good about it?

  • Excellent for neck pain and headache.
  • Reasonably priced pillow.
  • It works well, which makes it an ideal option for those new to water pillows.

What’s not so good about it

  • Test your pillow before use. Some customers have reported leakage in MODERN JOE’S Premium WaterBase Pillow. That’s an unintended side effect of the water pillows.

DMI Side Sleeper Pillow and Body Pillow, Pregnancy Pillow with Contoured Support for Neck, Back,...

Best pillows for Chiari malformation

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People who are suffering from numbness in one side of their body due to odd sleeping habits, don’t have to worry at all. This unusual but unique side sleeper body pillow is for those who are side sleepers and want to reduce pressure on their arms in order to get comfortable sleep.

This U shaped asymmetrical pillow gives support to your shoulders, neck, head and whole body and gives space to your arms while laying on one side.

This unique design allows you to place your arms around or under the pillow without feeling any pressure and numbness. Side sleepers often feel friction and pressure on their ears due to odd sleeping posture, which need to be minimized.

For that purpose it has another unique feature which is its “cooling ear cup divot” so that the friction and pressure of your sleeping posture on your ear is minimal so that you are comfortable during your sleep time.

Our Review:

We rate this pillow 9.4/10

What’s so good about it?

  • It comprises of a huggable design
  • It mostly alleviate pressure on neck, head, shoulders and body
  • It comprises of a cooling ear cup divot
  • It usually don’t put strain on your arm
  • It is hypoallergenic
  • Less expensive

What’s not so good about it

Xtra-Comfort Bed Wedge Pillow - Folding Memory Foam Incline Cushion System for Back and Legs -...

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The Xtra-Comfort wedge pillow is one of the best pillows for Chiari malformation. It is beneficial in relieving breathing issues which are usually related to Chiari malformation condition (such as sleep apnea).

It’s a known fact that using a wedge pillow helps in relieving your head and neck by taking off all pressure. If you got operated on for Chiari malformation, it is advisable not to lie flat. In that case, go for this pillow.

This pillow has supportive memory foam, which is adjustable according to your body size and shape. Its outside is made of soft polyester, which is easily removable and washable.

This wedge pillow has a built-in handle making it portable for your living room and bedroom. It can easily be carried with you for your outdoor trips and tours. This pillow has a smaller wedge which helps adjust the angle of the giant wedge.

Placing a smaller wedge behind a larger wedge and placing the primary wedge higher makes it possible for you to sleep at a higher angle. Smaller wedge can be used as knee support and can also elevate your legs and feet.

Another charming feature is that its company provides a 60-day trial as well.

Our Review

We rate this pillow 9.4/10

What’s so good about it?

  • The foldable bed wedge pillow can be utilized under the head, back, and the legs.
  • The memory foam of the pillow is breathable and supportive
  • the pillow comprises a removable and washable cover
  • it is ideal for sleeping

What’s not so good about it

  • The package comes with an odor which might take airing to get rid of. It also can be stiff and hard for some.

Mediflow Fiber Water Pillow - Adjustable Pillow for Neck Pain Relief, Pillow for Side, Back, and...

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This is the first and original water pillow made by Mediflow, specially designed to reduce neck pain and relieve stress. It encourages proper neck position and helps in improving SleepSleep.

It has 20inch width, 28inches length, and 4.5inches in height and weighs 1.0 pounds (without water).

According to the independent study of Johns Hopkins University, water base helps reduce neck pain and improve sleep quality. Like other water pillows, its water level is also adjustable, by which you can get the firmness of your will.

The main advantage of this water pillow is that water moves with your head movements so that your head and neck get support while laying down.

The water bag carrying water is made of an insulated pouch, on top of which is an elastic polyester fiber layer. The outer case of this Chiari pillow is 100% cotton. The water pouch is removable.

This water pillow comes in a single, double, and value pack (2 water pillows and 2 cases).

The Chiari pillow manufacturer is located in the United States and provides a 30-day satisfaction trial and three-year warranty on the defective product.

Our Review

We rate this pillow 9.2/10

What’s so good about it?

  • It provides ideal support for the neck
  • It helps to relieve pain
  • It provides excellent adjustability
  • Machine washable

What’s not so good about it

  • You might have to remove air from the pocket, to eradicate squishing sound.


Hope the detailed reviews we’ve provided in this article help you shop for the right water pillow for your specific needs and budget.

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