Updated March 8, 2021

Best Mattress for Back Pain

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A mattress won't cure your back pain. But the wrong one can make it worse. So which mattresses are best for back pain? Here's the full review.

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Does your stiff, aching back make it hard to get out of bed? You're not alone.

The National Institute of Health says back pain is one of the most common reasons people see a doctor or call off work.

Back pain can happen to anyone. And while a mattress might not completely cure all your lower-back woes, proper support can prevent aches and pain from getting worse.

If your back has been keeping you up at night, check out these supportive mattresses to help prevent back pain. Plus, learn how to adjust your sleeping position to keep your back happy.

What to Look for in a Mattress for Back Pain

Many people assume an extra-firm mattress is best for back pain. That's not always the case. A survey reported by Harvard Medical School found that those who slept on very hard mattresses had the worst sleep quality.

Instead of going for the firmest mattress, consider these factors when choosing your bed:

Spinal Alignment
Mattresses that are too firm or too soft can knock your spine out of alignment. This causes back pain and poor sleep quality. Choose a firmness that's right for your sleep position.

Sleep Style
What position do you sleep in? This helps determine the right mattress. Here's what you should know:

  • Side sleepers need a mattress that protects the pressure points, such as the shoulders and hips.

  • Back and stomach sleepers need a firmer mattress to avoid knocking the spine out of alignment.

Proper Firmness
Some people love a super-firm mattress. Others want a soft, enveloping one. Choose what feels good to you, while paying attention to spinal alignment.

Comfortable Temperature
Are you a hot sleeper? Foam mattresses trap heat, so you'll want to avoid those. Look for gel-infused or breathable materials in the mattress construction instead.

Which type of mattress is best for back pain?
On average, sleepers with back pain prefer a medium-firm mattress. But the choice of material is highly personal. Try a memory foam mattress if you want a body-hugging mattress. Consider innerspring or hybrid if you like more structure.

Best Overall: Casper Wave

The Casper Wave offers targeted spinal support where you need it most. The mattress incorporates supportive gel pods strategically placed around your lower back. The rest of the mattress has pressure-relieving foam that takes pressure off the body.

Essentially, the mattress is designed to be firmer where you need it and soft around your pressure points. Some memory foam beds are notorious for sleeping hot, but Casper uses a special perforated foam. The material has tiny holes for airflow which keep you a little cooler.

Casper Wave Features

  • Medium-firm
  • Targeted back support
  • Temperature neutral
  • 100-night trial period
  • 10-year warranty
  • Free shipping

Is a memory foam mattress good for back pain?
Memory foam has the reputation of sinking, which is bad for back pain. But today's memory foam is more rigid and supportive. Look for copper-infused or high-density foam if you have back pain but prefer a memory foam mattress.

Side Sleepers: Saatva

Side sleeping puts a lot of pressure on your hips and shoulders. The right mattress will support your spine while feeling soft around those pressure points. The Saatva Classic offers a sturdy, supportive base with a soft Euro pillow top.

It comes in 3 firmness options, but the Plush Soft is perfect for side sleepers. It provides plenty of soft cushion around the hips and shoulders. The innerspring support system prevents your spine from sagging into the mattress.

Saatva Classic Features

  • Soft, medium-firm, or firm (soft recommended for side sleepers)
  • Approved by the Congress of Chiropractic State Associations
  • Sleeps cool
  • 180-night trial period
  • 15-year warranty
  • Free white glove delivery

Can a mattress cause back pain?
Any mattress can cause back pain. Too soft can throw your spine out of alignment. Too firm might not provide the pressure point support your body needs. An old sagging mattress can also strain your spine.

A 2017 study found that poor sleep quality is significantly related to high pain ratings, higher negative effect, and poorer physical function.

Back Sleepers: Allswell

The Allswell mattress works great for back sleepers who like to feel well-supported. This mattress won't hug your whole body. Instead it offers enough give to properly support your lower back.

This is a medium-firm hybrid mattress with pocketed coils and cooling gel foam. Unlike traditional innerspring models, this hybrid flexes more readily around the body. It won't cave in under your body the way outdated mattresses do.

Allswell Features:

  • Medium-firm
  • Individually wrapped coils minimizes motion transfer
  • Sleeps cool
  • 100-night trial period
  • 10-year warranty
  • Free shipping in contiguous U.S.

Stomach Sleepers: Brooklyn Signature

Stomach sleepers need a firm mattress that keeps the body supported flat against the mattress. The Brooklyn Signature comes in 3 firmness levels. The firm offers the best sleeping surface for stomach sleepers. The structure prevents your spine from arching uncomfortably.

That said, this mattress is far from feeling hard. It offers the right amount of foam to cushion the front of your body.

Stomach sleepers tend to sleep hot. The Signature's hybrid construction features pocketed coils and cooling foam to wick away heat from your body.

Brooklyn Signature Features

  • Soft, medium, or firm (firm recommended for stomach sleepers)
  • TitanFlex foam contours the body
  • Sleeps cool
  • 120-night trial period
  • 10-year warranty
  • Free shipping and returns

Hot Sleepers: Layla Memory Foam Mattress

Falling asleep when you have back pain and feel too hot can be nearly impossible. The Layla Memory Foam Mattress seems to solve this annoying issue. Layla was designed for hot sleepers, and the copper gel they use pulls heat away from the body faster than other memory foams.

Everyone's body and sleep needs are different. The Layla mattress is actually flippable, with a soft side and a firm side. Try both sides to see which works for your sleeping style. In general, side sleepers tend to prefer soft, while back and stomach sleepers prefer firm.

Layla Memory Foam Mattress Features

  • Soft and firm (flippable)
  • Cooling, antimicrobial copper technology
  • Sleeps cool
  • 120-night trial period
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Free shipping

Is a Sleep Number mattress good for back pain?
The Sleep Number allows flexibility because you can change mattress firmness based on your needs. Some people prefer a firm feel, some prefer soft. The Sleep Number gives you the power to really hone in on the right level for your body.

Best Innerspring Mattress: The WinkBed

The WinkBed strikes the right balance of fluffy comfort and impressive support. It features top layers of foam and microcoils, which flex around your body to relieve pressure. Similar to the Casper Wave, this mattress provides targeted support around your lower back.

The WinkBed is a features a Tencel cover and gel foam to keep you cool. All the materials used are designed to be extra durable. Plus, they back up their product with a lifetime warranty.

The WinkBed Features

  • Soft, medium-firm, firm, extra firm (designed for heavy people)
  • Extra supportive construction
  • Sleeps cool
  • 120-night trial period
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Free shipping in the U.S.

Best Memory Foam Mattress: Nectar

A memory foam mattress should hug every curve of your body. That body-contouring capability is what makes memory foam great for pressure relief. The Nectar mattress features CertiPUR-US certified foam layers that distribute your weight evenly without creating pressure points.

The Nectar is a touch softer than the average medium-firm mattress. If your back pain has worsened due to a hard, lumpy mattress, this is a great option to take the extra weight off your body.

Nectar Mattress Features

  • Medium-firm
  • All-foam construction
  • Perforated foam is temperature neutral
  • 365-night trial period
  • Forever warranty
  • Free shipping and returns

Best Hybrid Mattress: Helix

Many online mattress brands only offer 2 or 3 models. Helix offers 6. Each is designed to work with your sleeping position and firmness preference. For sleepers with back pain, this level of customization is a big plus.

For example, petite side sleepers who are tired of mattresses feeling too firm can try the Helix Sunset, their softest model. Heavier sleepers who want stronger support can try the Helix Twilight, a firm mattress made for side sleeping.

They even offer a short quiz to help you choose the right mattress.

Helix Mattress Features

  • 2 soft, 2 medium, and 2 firm options
  • Pocketed coil and foam hybrid
  • Sleeps cool
  • 100-night trial period
  • 10-year warranty
  • Free shipping in the U.S.

Best Sleeping Positions for Back Pain

According to Cleveland Clinic, back sleeping is the best position for your back, while stomach sleeping is the worst.

But, you don't necessarily have to change sleeping positions to find some relief. A few adjustments to your preferred position can help with back pain. The solution? More pillows. Mayo Clinic recommends the following sleep positions to reduce the strain on your back:

  • Side sleepers: Sleep with a pillow under your head. With legs slightly drawn toward the chest, put another pillow between your knees.

  • Back sleepers: Sleep with a pillow under your head. Put another pillow under the knees. Use a small, rolled towel under the lower back if you need additional support.

  • Stomach sleepers: Sleep with or without a pillow under the head. Place a pillow under your hips.

Bottom Line

If you suffer from back pain, choose your mattress carefully. You need the perfect balance of contouring and support to keep your back problems from getting worse.

Most mattress companies offer a lengthy trial period, so you have plenty of time to determine if a mattress is right for you. If a mattress doesn't help, or even worsens, your back pain, don't settle for it. Prioritize your health and check out a new mattress that actually supports your spine.

Write to Kim P at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.


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