best mattress for back pain

Best Mattress For Back Pain 2023: Top Picks & Guide

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Do you suffer from acute or chronic back pain and are looking for a comfortable mattress that will ease the pain?

You’ve come to the right place.

Over half of working adults in the US experience back pain, each year and experts estimate that 8 out of every ten people will experience back pain at some point in their life.

Underlying illness, traumatic injury, and strenuous activities are common causes of back pain.

A poor sleeping posture or sleeping on an unsupportive mattress can also cause or worsen back pain.

Sleeping on the right mattress can relieve some of the pain, helping you sleep better and wake up more rested.

What’s in This Buying Guide?

This mattress buying guide is specifically for back pain sufferers. We review and compare the best mattresses for back pain.

Our top picks are based on expert recommendations from chiropractors, physiotherapists, and doctors.

Medical experts generally recommend a medium-firm mattress for most back pain sufferers. The mattress should consist of a pressure-relieving foam comfort section and a firm supportive core.

It can be memory foam, latex, or a hybrid mattress.

The ideal construction and thickness of the mattress depending on your sleeping position and body weight.

This buying guide will help you pick the right mattress. We’ll also give you tips on how to reduce back pain when you sleep.

If you are not looking specifically for a back pain-alleviating mattress, read mattress reviews for our top mattress picks for all types of sleepers.

Best Mattresses for Back Pain – Compared

  1. Our Top Pick: Saatva Classic
  2. Best Value: Nectar
  3. Best Luxury Mattress for Back Pain: Brooklyn Bedding Aurora
  4. Best Hybrid Mattress for Back Pain: Leesa Hybrid
  5. Best Mattress for Athletic Folks: Bear Mattress
  6. Best for Heavier Sleepers: DreamCloud Mattress
  7. Best Firm mattress for Back Pain: Amerisleep AS1
  8. Best Natural Latex Mattress for Back Pain: Avocado Green
  9. Best Mattress for Back and Hip Pain: Layla
  10. Best Cooling Mattress for Back Pain: Purple

Use this table to compare our top picks on the essential features.

Saatva Classic
Our top pickHybrid spring-on-springSoft, medium-firm and firm11.5”/14.5”15 years (prorated/non-prorated)
Best valueMemory foamMedium firm11”Lifetime (non-prorated)
Brooklyn Bedding Aurora
Brooklyn Bedding Aurora
Best luxury mattress for back painHybridSoft, medium and firm13.5”10 years
Leesa Hybrid (Formerly Sapira)
Leesa Hybrid (Formerly Sapira)
Best hybrid mattress for back painHybridMedium firm11”10 years (non-prorated)
Best for athletic folksMemory foamMedium firm10”10 years (non-prorated)
Best for heavier sleepersHybridMedium firm15”Lifetime (non-prorated)
Amerisleep AS1
Amerisleep AS1
Best firm mattress for back painFoamFirm10”20 years(10 years full, 10 years prorated)
Avocado Green
Avocado Green
Best natural latex mattress for back painLatex hybridMedium/Medium firm13”/11”25 years (10 years full, 15 years prorated)
Best mattress for back and hip pain2-sided memory foamSoft/firm10”Lifetime
Best cooling mattress for back painPolymer + foamMedium to firm9.25”10 Years

Best Mattresses for Upper and Lower Back Pain – Reviewed

1. Our Top Pick: Saatva Classic

Saatva mattress

Saatva Classic's spring-on-spring construction, combined with the plush pillow top, provides the best of support and pressure relief.

The mattress contours around your sensitive back to relieve pressure while also holding up your weight to ensure proper spinal alignment.

Saatva Classic Mattress Overview

Saatva Classic is a hybrid mattress consisting of both foam and innersprings.

Unlike other hybrid mattresses that have just one layer of coils, the Saatva Classic mattress has two.

The top coil layer provides body contouring. The individually wrapped coils adjust to your sleeping position and weight, ensuring even support and weight distribution from head to toe.

The coils also provide ventilation to keep the mattress cool. Additionally, they minimize motion transfer, allowing you to sleep peacefully even when your partner turns and tosses.

The bottom coil layer consists of tempered steel coils that provide a robust support base. These coils keep the mattress from sagging and provide deep compression support for heavier sleepers.

The Saatva Classic mattress is not all coils. At the top is a plush pillow top that every back pain sufferer will appreciate.

The pillow top provides instant pressure relief when you lie on the mattress, wrapping itself around your sensitive back to relieve pressure and pain.

The pillow top is covered by an organic cotton cover with Guardin® botanical antimicrobial treatment.

Below the pillow top is a foam layer that actually has two thin layers of memory foam and polyfoam. This layer provides additional pressure-point relief and ensures you don't feel the coils underneath.

Next is the top coil layer, and below that is the Spinal Zone Technology layer.

The Spinal Zone layer provides targeted lumbar support and contouring.

It consists of wire reinforcement at the midsection mattress to provide extra back support and memory foam for additional pressure relief.

In addition to the four layers, the Saatva Classic mattress comes with dedicated perimeter edge support consisting of high-density foam encasement around the edges of the mattress.

The added reinforcement around the edges ensures you sleep comfortably, whether you are at the center or near the side of the mattress. It’s especially useful for couples who sleep together.

Comfort and Firmness

The Saatva Classic mattress comes in two thicknesses and three firmness options.

The 11.5” option is perfect for lighter and average weight sleepers while the 14.5” is ideal for heavier sleepers.

As for firmness, you can choose the Plush Soft, Luxury Firm or Firm Saatva.

The Luxury Firm option is the best choice for most people with back pain. It’s also great for couples.

But if you weigh less than average or are a side sleeper, you may find the Plush Soft to be more comfortable.

If you have a heavier body or are a stomach sleeper, try the Firm Saatva.

Saatva Classic Mattress Details

Shipping: $99 shipping fee with free in-home setup and old mattress removal

In-home trial: 120 nights

Warranty: 15 years (available as a prorated or non-prorated warranty)


  • Mattress options are available for all types of sleepers.
  • Excellent pressure relief and support.
  • Good edge support.
  • Durable construction.
  • Sleeps cool.


  • Very heavy. Once it’s set up, you’ll not be able to rotate or move it on your own.

2. Best Value: Nectar


The Nectar mattress delivers a great sleeping experience at a below-average price range. The affordable pricing combined with the Forever warranty makes Nectar our top value pick.

Nectar Mattress Overview

Nectar is a memory foam mattress, carefully designed to provide a universally comfortable sleeping experience to all types of sleepers.

If you have back pain, you’ll love the deep but supportive hug from the Nectar mattress. It cradles any sensitive spots, ensuring you sleep deeply and wake up with less pain.

Nectar has a 4-layer construction, with three of the layers being memory foam.

The top two layers provide a plush sleeping surface that quickly relieves pressure and tension when you lie on the mattress. The first layer is a quilted gel memory foam cover, and the second is also gel memory foam.

In addition to its excellent body-contouring ability, gel memory foam also does a great job dissipating excess body heat. It sleeps cooler than conventional memory foam.

The bottom two layers are for support. They consist of a high-density memory foam core and a high-density polyfoam base.

These two layers ensure you don’t bottom out, regardless of your weight or sleeping position. This keeps your back properly aligned with the rest of the body.

Comfort and Firmness

Nectar is a medium-firm mattress. The softer layers above and the firm bottom layers combine to provide a great balance between soft contouring and firm support.

The universal medium-firm feel makes it a good choice for most types of sleepers.

We highly recommend it to back pain sufferers who want a deeper, more pressure-relieving hug around their back without bottoming out.

Nectar Mattress Details

Shipping: Free shipping within the contiguous US

In-home trial: 365 nights

Warranty: Lifetime


  • Good value for money.
  • Excellent pressure relief and support.
  • Extra-long trial period and warranty.
  • Sleeps cooler than most memory foam mattresses.


  • Not ideal for lighter sleepers. The Nectar mattress may feel too firm.
  • Not ideal for heavier stomach sleepers. The Nectar mattress will feel too soft in some areas, causing spinal misalignment.
  • Average edge support. Sleeping near the edge of the bed is a bit uncomfortable.

3. Best Luxury Mattress for Back Pain: Brooklyn Bedding Aurora

Brooklyn Aurora

Luxury mattresses are generally more comfortable for back pain sufferers. They provide a plush comfort section to hug your pain points and a robust base to hold your weight. They also last longer.

Our top luxury pick is the Brooklyn Bedding Aurora mattress.

It is, obviously, more expensive than most online mattresses, but you’ll find its 5-star hotel level of comfort to be worth it.

Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Overview

Brooklyn Bedding Aurora is a hybrid mattress with a 5-layer foam and springs design.

Like other mattresses, it starts soft at the top and firms up towards the base. This results in just the right amount of giving to hug your body and the right amount of firm support to keep your spine aligned.

The softer comfort layers consist of polyfoam infused with copper and phase change material, a special type of polyfoam called TitanFlex and gel memory foam.

The copper in the top layer has antimicrobial properties. It also helps dissipate heat away from the mattress.

But the phase change material is the main temperature regulator. It maintains the surface of the mattress at a constant temperature range.

The TitanFlex layer is made from polyfoam that’s more responsive (bouncy) than conventional polyurethane foam. It gives the mattress a bit of a bounce and makes it easier to move around on the mattress.

The 1” memory foam layer with gel provides deep pressure relief (helpful for heavier sleepers and side sleepers) and prevents heat retention deep inside the mattress.

Below the top three layers is a thick 8” core of individually wrapped coils.

The pocketed coils provide deep compression support, which is essential for spinal alignment. They also allow the mattress to react to your body and movements.

If you change your sleeping position or move to another spot on the bed, the mattress adjusts to maintain optimal support and contouring.

A 1” polyfoam base reinforces the coil core.

Comfort and Firmness

Brooklyn Bedding lets you choose which mattress feel best suits your needs. They have three firmness options for the Aurora mattress: soft, medium, and firm.

For most people, we recommend the Medium Aurora. It feels comfortable in different sleeping positions and for different body weights.

But if you are lighter than average, choose the Soft Aurora. It’ll provide better pressure relief for your back.

If you have a heavier body or are a stomach sleeper, go with the Firm Aurora. It’ll provide better lumbar support and spinal alignment.

Brooklyn Bedding Mattress Details

Shipping: Free shipping within the contiguous US

In-home trial: 120 nights

Warranty: 10 years


  • Three firmness options.
  • Good support and pressure relief.
  • Sleeps cool.
  • The 13.5” height provides excellent support for heavier sleepers.


  • Pricey.
  • No in-home setup. This would be helpful since the Aurora mattress is very heavy.

4. Best Hybrid Mattress for Back Pain: Leesa Hybrid

Leesa Hybrid

Hybrid mattresses provide a comfortable combination of soft comfort and firm support.

A good quality hybrid mattress alleviates lumbar pressure using soft foam layers on top and maintains proper spinal alignment using a firm innerspring core.

Our top hybrid pick is the Leesa Hybrid mattress, which was formerly called the Sapira mattress.

Leesa Hybrid Mattress Overview

The Leesa hybrid mattress combined soft foams with a pocket coil core to prevent or reduce back pain.

Leesa hybrid consists of five layers with a total height of 11”.

The first three layers are foam: a 1.5” cooling polyfoam layer at the top, a 1.5” contouring memory foam layer in the middle, and a 1” support foam layer at the bottom.

These three layers provide a balance of contouring and support. You’ll sink into the mattress, but not too much that it curves your back.

After the 1” transition layer is a thick 6” core made of pocketed coils, this is the main support section of the Leesa Hybrid mattress.

No matter how much you weigh, the coils absorb your weight, ensuring you don’t bottom out. The coils also provide responsiveness, ventilation, and additional body contouring.

The final layer is a high-density 1” foam base that complements the support from the innerspring core.

Comfort and Firmness

Because of the innerspring core, the Leesa Hybrid mattress is a smidge firmer than the original Leesa all-foam mattress.

But it is still within the universal comfort range, so it should feel comfortable for most types of sleepers.

Most people will experience it as a medium-firm mattress. It can feel a bit too firm at first, especially if you’ve been sleeping on a memory foam mattress. But as your body adapts to it, you’ll start to enjoy its softer side.

Support is good. Unlike all-foam mattresses, the Leesa Hybrid mattress provides edge-to-edge support. You’ll have no trouble sleeping near the edge.

It also sleeps cool thanks to the open-cell foam on top and the airflow-boosting pocket coils.

Leesa Hybrid Mattress Details

Shipping: Free shipping to all 50 states. White glove delivery available for $150.

In-home trial: 100 nights

Warranty: 10 years


  • Excellent contouring and support.
  • Durable hybrid construction.
  • Responsive.
  • Sleeps cool.
  • White glove delivery (in-home delivery and setup) available.


  • More expensive than all-foam mattresses.
  • May feel too firm for side sleepers.

5. Best Mattress for Athletic Folks: Bear Mattress

Bear mattress

Athletes are at a higher risk of back pain because of all the strain and pressures they put their bodies through.

Sleeping on a comfortable mattress not only reduces back problems, but it also helps you recover more effectively.

For athletic folks, we think the Bear mattress is the best choice for alleviating back pain.

Bear Mattress Overview

The construction of the Bear mattress focuses on three things to provide a great sleeping experience: pressure relief, support, and cooling.

It does all this with just three layers of foam.

The top layer is memory foam infused with graphite and cooling gel. Both the graphite and gel help channel heat away from the mattress.

The memory foam itself does a great job relieving pressure from your back and other pressure points. If you are already experiencing some back pain, this mattress will reduce the amount of pain when you are asleep.

The second layer is a transition foam that provides spinal alignment and compression support. In other words, it ensures you are sleeping in the right posture and that you don’t sink in too much into the mattress.

At the bottom is a thick layer of high-density support foam. It provides deep compression support and keeps the mattress from sagging.

The three layers are wrapped in a highly breathable Celiant cover that promotes faster recovery and cooler sleep.

Comfort and Firmness

Thanks to the top memory foam layer, the Bear mattress easily adapts to your body shape, weight and sleeping position.

Bear is a medium-firm mattress, the sweet point that most sleepers find comfortable. We recommend it for back and stomach-sleeping athletes.

However, it may feel a tad too firm for side sleepers.

As for temperature control, the Bear mattress performs well despite having a memory foam layer right on top (memory foam retains more heat than other types of foam).

The breathable cover and the gel and graphite memory foam keep the mattress cool all year round.

The only thing you may not like so much about the mattress is the average edge support. But this is only an issue if you sleep near the edge of the mattress.

Bear Mattress Details

Shipping: Free shipping to the contiguous US. $100 for shipping to Hawaii and Alaska.

In-home trial: 100 nights

Warranty: 10 years


  • Cheaper than comparable memory foam mattresses.
  • Good cooling performance.
  • Excellent pressure relief and lumbar support.


  • Fair edge support.
  • Not ideal for bigger-bodied athletes – we recommend a hybrid mattress instead.

6. Best for Heavier Sleepers: DreamCloud Mattress

DreamCloud Mattress

Thick mattresses (at least 12”) are generally the best for heavier sleepers. The extra height provides additional compression support, preventing the mattress from sagging.

We also recommend getting a hybrid mattress. The innersprings provide better support than foam on its own.

The DreamCloud mattress meets both of these requirements. It is a hybrid mattress, and it is a whopping 15” thick.

DreamCloud Mattress Overview

The DreamCloud mattress is designed to support your weight while providing deep contouring and pressure relief.

Five main layers are starting with a quilted Euro-top that provides a plush sleeping surface. Gel-infused memory foam just below the pillow top provides further pressure relief as you sink deeper into the mattress.

The gel infused into the foam helps dissipate excess heat away from the mattress.

Below the memory foam is a layer of firmer foam that provides lumbar support and stops you from sinking further. This straightens out your posture, ensuring your spine is properly aligned.

A pocketed coil core comes next, providing deep compression support, responsiveness, and body contouring. It also boosts edge support and improves airflow within the mattress to keep temperatures down.

A thin layer of high-density foam forms the base of the mattress.

Comfort and Firmness

DreamCloud describes the mattress as a luxury firm. That’s a  fancy word for medium-firm.

The softer foams above and the innerspring core balance out to provide just the right amount of soft pressure relief and firm support.

Most sleepers, including back, stomach, and some side sleepers, will find the DreamCloud mattress comfortable. It adapts well to any sleeping position.

For couples, the DreamCloud mattress has minimal motion transfer. You’ll also love the excellent edge support and responsive feel.

As for temperature control, the DreamCloud mattress sleeps cool thanks to the gel-infused memory foam and pocketed coils that improve ventilation within the mattress.

DreamCloud Mattress Details

Shipping: Free shipping to the contiguous US. White glove delivery is available for $149.

In-home trial: 365 nights

Warranty: Lifetime


  • Excellent support and pressure relief for heavier folks.
  • Good edge support.
  • Sleeps cool.
  • Lifetime warranty and 1-year in-home trial.
  • Good value for money (it is surprisingly affordable for a 15-inch hybrid mattress).


  • Very heavy. You may need to pay for white glove delivery.

7. Best Firm Mattress for Back Pain: Amerisleep AS1

firm mattress for back pain

For most sleepers with back pain, a medium firm mattress is the best choice. But if you sleep on your stomach, you’ll need a firmer mattress that will keep your spine aligned and reduce pressure on your back.

Heavier back sleepers also need the extra support a firm mattress provides.

One of the best firm mattresses for back pain is the Amerisleep AS1 mattress.

Amerisleep AS1 Mattress Overview

The AS1 is the firmest mattress Amerisleep sells. It is 10” thick and has a simple two-layer design.

The top layer is a special type of foam called Bio-Pur. This memory foam alternative is plant-based, making it eco-friendlier than memory foam and fully synthetic poly foam.

Bio-Pur foam is also more responsive and sleeps cooler than memory foam.The best part is that you still enjoy the pressure relief of memory foam.

The base is a thick layer of high-density foam that gives the AS1 mattress its firm feel and provides robust support.

A breathable cover wraps around the two layers.

Comfort and Firmness

Because of how firm it is, sleeping on the AS1 feels like you are floating on the mattress. The top layer is still soft enough to relieve pressure points, so you won’t feel like you are sleeping on a rock.

But because it’s thin, it doesn’t feel plush.

Stomach sleepers and heavy back sleepers will appreciate the back support the firm mattress provides.

As for temperature control, the AS1 mattress sleeps fairly cool. Bio-Pur foam open-cell design makes it cooler than memory foam. The breathable cover also prevents overheating.

Amerisleep AS1 Mattress Details

firm mattress for back pain

Shipping: Free within continental US

In-home trial: 100 nights

Warranty: 20 years (10 years full, 10 years prorated)


  • Firm support for stomach and heavy back sleepers.
  • Sleeps cool.
  • Eco-friendly memory foam alternative.
  • Long warranty.


  • Not ideal for those who want a bouncy bed.

8. Best Natural Latex Mattress for Back Pain: Avocado Green

best firm mattress for back pain

If you don’t want petrochemicals in your mattress, a natural latex mattress is your best option.

The Avocado Green mattress combines natural Dunlop latex with zoned support coils to provide excellent back support to relieve back pain.

Avocado Green Mattress Overview

Avocado Green is a latex hybrid mattress, meaning it combines latex with coils to improve support, pressure-point relief and responsiveness.

But those are not the only two materials you’ll find in the Avocado Green mattress. The cover is certified organic cotton. Underneath the cover is a layer of certified organic wool.

Both the cotton cover and wool layer provide all-season temperature control and moisture-wicking to help with night sweats.

Next are two layers of Dunlop latex. The top layer is softer to relieve pressure under your back and other pressure points. The lower layer is firm to provide support and distribute your weight.

The innerspring core consists of individually wrapped zoned support coils. Zoned support means the coils don’t feel the same everywhere. They have more give where you need pressure relief and feel firmer where you need extra support.

Zoned support improves body contouring and spinal alignment, which reduces back pain.

A steel perimeter system boosts edge support, ensuring you can sleep anywhere on the mattress without hurting your back.

Comfort and Firmness

The Avocado Green mattress is available in two firmness levels. There’s the standard mattress that has a medium-firm feel. It is ideal for stomach and back sleepers with back pain.

Then there’s a pillow top version that comes with a plush 2” Euro top. This one has a medium feel that’s ideal for lighter sleepers and heavier side sleepers. The pillow top mattress is also ideal if you also have hip pain. It provides better pressure-point relief.

Both mattresses have excellent support, even for overweight sleepers.

They also sleep very cool. Every layer, from the breathable cotton cover to the airflow-boosting spring base, keeps the mattress cool.

Avocado Green Mattress Details

Shipping: Free shipping

In-home trial: 1 year

Warranty: 25 years(10 years full, 15 years prorated)


  • Organic materials.
  • Sleeps cool.
  • Good support and pressure relief.
  • Long trial period and warranty.


  • Expensive, especially if you get the pillow top version.
  • Not vegan (though there’s a vegan wool-free option).

9. Best Mattress for Back and Hip Pain: Layla

best mattress for bad back

If you are also suffering from hip pain, you need a mattress that offers pressure-point relief. That means it should be soft enough to cushion your hip. But don’t get one that’s too soft that it worsens your back.

The mattress that strikes this balance best is the double-sided Layla memory foam mattress.

Layla Mattress Overview

Layla is two-sided; one side is soft and the other is firm. We’ll explain the best side to sleep on in a short while.

On the soft side, the Layla mattress consists of two foam layers: a copper-gel memory foam layer on top for pressure relief and cooling and a zoned support foam below with airflow channels.

The firm side has just one layer of copper-gel memory foam.

Between the two sides is a firm 4” core of high-density foam that provides support for both sides of the mattress.

A cooling cover wraps around the four layers.

Comfort and Firmness

The 2-sided design of the Layla mattress lets you change its feel and comfort simply by flipping it.

The soft side is the best side for sleepers with back and hip pain. You get good back support from the firm core while the two softer layers on the top cushion your hip.

However, if you sleep on your stomach or weigh more than 200 lbs, try the firm side. You’ll need the extra support

Layla Mattress Details

Shipping: Free shipping

In-home trial: 120 nights

Warranty: Lifetime


  • Double sided.
  • Great price.
  • Long trial period.
  • Lifetime warranty.


  • 10” thickness is not ideal for sleepers over 230lbs – get a 12”+ mattress instead.

10. Best Cooling Mattress for Back Pain: Purple

best mattress brands for back pain

You don’t have to choose between sleeping cool and back pain relief. You can get a mattress that does both. Our top recommendation is the Purple mattress.

Purple uses a special material called Hyper-Elastic Polymer that molds to your body to relieve back pain while keeping you cool.

Purple Mattress Overview

Instead of foam like most mattresses, the first layer of the Purple mattress is Hyper-Elastic Polymer.

This is a rubbery material with grids on it. The grids provide customized support and pressure relief. They hug your body where you need pressure relief and hold up your weight where you need support.

This keeps your spine aligned and reduces pressure on your back.

The Polymer layer also makes the Purple mattress pleasantly bouncy and keeps it cool by maintaining airflow.

Below the top layer are two foam layers that provide additional contouring and support. The three layers are wrapped in a soft, stretchy and breathable cover.

Comfort and Firmness

best mattress brands for back pain

Because of the grid layer on top, Purple offers customized comfort. It’ll feel softer or firmer depending on your body weight and sleeping position.

Most sleepers will experience a firmness range between medium (5/10) and firm (7/10).

If you are a hot sleeper, the Purple mattress sleeps just as cool as latex mattresses. The polymer layer doesn’t retain heat and the grids help channel body heat away from the mattress. The breathable cover also helps with overheating and night sweats.

Purple Mattress Details

Shipping: Free shipping

In-home trial: 100 nights

Warranty: 10 years


  • Great choice for hot sleepers.
  • Customized comfort makes Purple comfortable for most types of sleepers.
  • Responsive
  • Luxury breathable cover.


  • Costs more than ordinary foam mattresses.

Types of Back Pain

The most common type of back pain is lower back pain. And even that can differ among different people.

Most people with lower back pain experience what’s called axial pain, a constant, throbbing or chronic pain that’s confined to one spot. Muscle strain is usually the culprit. Axial pain is the one a comfortable mattress will be most helpful against.

Other people experience referred pain, a type of pain that moves around your lower back and can occur as far down as your thigh. It’s usually caused by nerve damage in specific parts of the body.

Then there’s radicular pain, which occurs as a searing pain down the spine. This pain is caused by spinal problems, usually compression or inflammation of a spinal nerve.

Upper and mid back pain are less common than lower back pain. When they occur, they are usually connected to poor posture, an unsupportive pillow or mattress or injury to nerves, muscles or any other body tissue in the upper and mid back.

What You Need to Know About Sleeping with Back Pain

Soft Mattresses for Back Pain

If you have back pain, you need to be cautious about the mattress you sleep on. An uncomfortable mattress with inadequate support and pressure relief can worsen the pain.

It all has to do with your sleeping posture. Your spine needs to maintain its natural curvature.

If part of your body is lower than the rest, it can cause spinal misalignment and worsen back pain.

A good mattress for back pain allows your shoulders, upper back and hips to sink slightly into the mattress while supporting your lower back and lower body.

Note that if you only experience back pain at night or in the morning, the culprit is likely your sleeping posture.

Switching to the right mattress can reduce or completely get rid of the pain.

The Best Sleeping Positions for Back Pain

best memory foam pillow for side sleeper

Sleeping on your back is the best position for alleviating back pain. The back position distributes your weight evenly on the mattress, preventing pressure points that can cause or worsen back pain.

Some people find it more comfortable to place a small pillow under their knees or lower back for additional support.

For back sleepers, we recommend a medium-firm mattress. It has just the right amount of giving without causing your body to sink too far into the mattress.

Also, try sleeping in a reclined position, especially if you have a back problem such as isthmic spondylolisthesis. This will require an adjustable base.

If you are a side sleeper, achieving proper spinal alignment is more difficult because of uneven weight distribution. Your shoulder and hip bear most of your weight.

To improve alignment and reduce back pain, place a firm but thin pillow between your knees.

We recommend sleeping on a medium or medium-soft mattress. It’ll provide a deeper hug, which relieves pressure around your pressure points.

If you have a herniated disk, sleep on your side and curl into a fetal position. This keeps your spine from bending, which helps relieve back pain.

For stomach sleepers, the best recommendation from health experts is to change your sleeping positions.

Stomach sleeping is the worst sleeping position for back pain. It puts pressure on your lower back and twists the spine since your head is usually turned to one side.

To relieve back pain when you sleep on your stomach, sleep on a firm mattress. It ensures your body stays aligned.

You can also try placing a thin pillow under your midsection. This is especially helpful if you are sleeping on a softer mattress.

Features To Look For To Relieve Back Pain

best latex mattress

The two essential factors to consider when selecting a mattress are the type of mattress and firmness level.

Selecting Your Type of Mattress for Back Pain

There isn’t a specific type of mattress that’s best for back pain sufferers.

Any mattress, be it latex, hybrid, or memory foam, can be constructed to provide the pressure relief and support back pain sufferers.

But everyone has a type. Some people prefer the plush feel of memory foam to the bouncy feel of an innerspring mattress.

The type of mattress also affects several aspects of sleeping experience, such as temperature control, responsiveness, and edge support.

Here are the most common types of mattresses and their effect on your sleeping experience.

1. Memory Foam Mattresses

Many back pain sufferers prefer memory foam mattresses because they provide better pressure relief than other types of mattresses.

Memory foam hugs your body close, relieving pain on your lower back and adapting to your sleeping position.

Its deep contouring ability makes it an excellent choice for side sleepers.

  • Excellent pressure relief.
  • Very comfortable for side sleepers.
  • Memory foam mattresses are some of the most affordable.
  • Memory foam mattresses retain more heat than other types of mattresses.
  • Not ideal for heavier sleepers.May also feel uncomfortable for stomach sleepers.
  • Poor edge support.

2. Latex Mattresses

While memory foam mattresses are made from polyurethane foam, a petroleum product, most latex mattresses are natural or partially natural.

But there are also some latex mattresses made with synthetic latex.

Latex mattresses have a denser, more solid feel, making them suitable for back sleepers, stomach sleepers, and heavier sleepers.

That does not mean you can’t find a plush latex mattress. Latex foam can be engineered to feel softer. Plush latex mattresses typically consist of Talalay latex at the top. It is softer than the cheaper Dunlop latex.

Latex mattresses are more responsive (bouncier) than memory foam.

This is helpful if you change positions often when asleep. The responsiveness of a latex mattress makes it easier to switch positions without hurting your back.

Another significant advantage of latex mattresses is their temperature control. Unlike memory foam, latex foam doesn’t retain heat. If you are a hot sleeper or experience night sweats, we highly recommend a latex mattress.

  • Excellent lumbar support.
  • Good for heavier sleepers.
  • Excellent temperature control.
  • Good edge support.
  • Durable
  • More expensive than memory foam mattresses.

3. Hybrid Mattresses

If you want the pressure of relief of memory foam and the responsiveness of latex all in one mattress, we recommend a hybrid mattress.

A hybrid mattress consists of soft or medium-firm foams at the top and a pocketed coil core. You get a nice deep hug of foam with the support and responsiveness of innersprings.

A hybrid mattress is a great choice for heavier folks since the innersprings provide better compression support than foam. In other words, you won’t bottom out on a hybrid mattress, ensuring your spine stays properly aligned.

If you want an extra-plush hybrid mattress to hug your sensitive pressure points, go for one with a pillow-top.

Hybrid mattresses have excellent cooling performance thanks to the pocketed coils. The coils allow airflow in and out of the mattress, which prevents heat retention.

  • Durable.
  • Excellent support and pressure relief.
  • Temperature neutral.
  • Responsive.
  • Great for heavier sleepers.
  • More expensive than foam mattresses.

4. Airbed Mattresses

The biggest advantage of airbed mattresses is the ability to adjust the firmness by adding or letting out air. So you can choose the firmness that feels most comfortable for your back.

Air mattresses also have excellent pressure relief. The air chambers contour closely to your body, providing targeted support and pressure relief.

On the downside, airbeds can be a pain to maintain as they are prone to punctures and leaks. They are also expensive.

  • Good support and pressure relief.
  • Adjustable firmness.
  • Temperature-neutral.
  • Harder to maintain.
  • Expensive.

Selecting Your Firmness Level

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Selecting the right firmness is the most important part of shopping for a mattress. It directly affects how much support and pressure relief the mattress provides.

Most mattresses, regardless of type, are designed to offer a medium-firm feel.

That’s because it’s the best comfort level for most people, and manufacturers don’t want to spend a lot of money manufacturing a bunch of different types of mattresses that few people will buy.

A medium-firm mattress is the best choice for most people suffering from back pain. It’s not too firm that it exerts pressure on your back, and it’s not too soft that it bends your spine into an unnatural posture.

Medium-firm mattresses fall between 5 and 6.5 on the firmness scale.

But not everyone will be comfortable on a medium-firm mattress. Here’s a quick guide to choosing the right firmness, depending on your sleeping position and weight.

Light/average weight side sleeper  Soft to medium mattress (3-5/10)
Above-average weight side sleeper Medium to medium-firm mattress (5-6.5/10)
Light/average weight back sleeper Medium to medium-firm mattress (5-6.5/10)
Above-average weight back sleeper Medium-firm to firm mattress (6-8/10)
Light/average weight stomach sleeper Medium-firm mattress (5.5-6.5/10)
Above-average weight stomach sleeper Firm mattress (7-8/10)
Multiple sleeping positions Medium-firm mattress (5.5-6.5/10)
Couples with varying body weight and sleeping positions Split firmness mattress
But don’t fret too much that you’ll buy a mattress with the wrong firmness level.

Most mattress companies offer generous in-home trial periods ranging between 100 nights to 1 year. So you have plenty of time to test the mattress and return it if it feels too firm or too soft.

Other Things to Consider When Buying a Mattress

1. In-Home Trial Period

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One hundred nights are the standard for most mattresses. But others provide a trial period of up to 365 nights, giving you plenty of time to experience the mattress under different conditions and situations.

By the way, check if returns are free. They usually are, but some require you pay for return shipping.

2. Warranty Terms and Length

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The minimum recommended warranty is ten years. A 10-year warranty should be non-prorated, meaning the manufacturer covers all costs of repairing or replacing the mattress.

Pricier mattresses have 15-25 year warranties, some of which are prorated (you’ll pay a portion of the sale price when replacing the mattress).

A few mattresses have lifetime warranties.

Make sure to check what types of damages the warranty covers.

3. Shipping and Delivery Policy

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Most manufacturers offer free shipping. But beware if you are ordering from Alaska or Hawaii; you’ll likely be charged for shipping.

Also, check what kind of delivery the manufacturer offers, especially if you are ordering a hybrid or latex mattress (these tend to be very heavy).

If you don’t think you’ll be able to set up the mattress yourself, look for a mattress company that offers white glove delivery.

You may have to pay extra, but the mattress will be delivered right to your bedroom and set up on your bed.

White glove delivery usually covers old mattress removal as well.

Pillows are Important in Reducing Back and Neck Pain

best memory foam pillow for side sleepers

You may have the perfect mattress but still, experience night or morning back pain if you don’t sleep on the right pillow.

Different sleeping positions and body weight require different types of pillows.

See our reviews of the best pillows for stomach sleepers, back sleepers, and side sleepers to find the right pillow for your sleeping position.

Mattress Toppers For Back Pain

best mattress topper for back and hip pain

If you don’t have the money for a new mattress, consider buying a mattress topper. It can provide short-term back pain relief.

If your mattress feels too firm, get a plush memory foam topper to improve pressure relief.

If your mattress is too soft, get a firm foam or latex topper to add support.

Consider an Adjustable Bed

adjustable bed

An adjustable bed has several benefits for back pain sufferers.

The biggest is the ability to adjust your back or feet angle for pain relief and improved blood circulation.

For instance, slightly raising your legs can relieve pressure on your lower back. Some back conditions also improve when you recline your back.

Some adjustable beds come with extra features such as massagers and built-in heat, which can further reduce back pain.


Can a mattress cause back pain?

Yes, it can. If your mattress doesn’t have adequate support, meaning your spine is forced into an unnatural position, it can put pressure on nerves and muscles, resulting in back pain.

How long does it take for your back to adjust to a new mattress?

When you sleep on a new mattress, you may experience mild back pain during the first few nights as your body adjusts to the mattress.

It takes most people about two weeks to fully adjust to a new mattress. If, by then, you are still experiencing back pain or it’s getting worse, that’s not the right mattress for you.

Luckily, most mattress companies offer a generous in-home trial period of at least three months, and some let you test the mattress for a whole year.

What firmness of mattress is best for lower back pain?

A medium-firm mattress is the best choice for most people with lower back pain. However, if you are a stomach sleeper with back pain, consider getting a firm mattress to keep your spine properly aligned. The same applies if you weigh more than 230lbs. Get a firm mattress with higher than average support.

Is memory foam good for your back?

Yes, as long as it is not too soft or there are supportive layers underneath. Memory foam molds to your body, which allows your body to rest in a natural pain-free position.

How can you tell if your mattress is causing back pain?

If you wake up with more back pain than when you went to bed, the mattress is likely the problem. Also, if you notice your mattress has gotten too soft or sags in the middle, it might be the cause.

Another clue is if the back pain is accompanied by pain in the neck or hips. All these aches are a sign of a bad sleeping posture.




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