According to the American Chiropractic Association, roughly 80% of individuals will suffer from back pain at some point during their lives. Back pain impacts sleep quality and your ability to find a comfortable sleep position. Therefore, back pain sufferers must take the time to choose the right mattress for their support needs.
Your options include memory foam mattresses, latex mattresses, hybrid mattresses, and innerspring mattresses when shopping for a new mattress. Which of these mattresses brings you the most pain relief depends on your size and sleep position.
Lightweight, average weight, and heavier sleepers all have different needs when choosing a supportive and comfortable mattress. Similarly, side sleepers, back sleepers, stomach sleepers, and combination sleepers have different areas of the body that need to be supported more than others.
In this article, we’ll look at the top mattresses available for back pain sufferers. In addition, we’ll also examine the leading causes of back pain as well as the impact sleeping position and weight should have on mattress choice. To conclude, we’ll answer some questions related to back pain and mattresses.
Best Mattresses for Back Pain
The Amerisleep AS2 Hybrid is our top recommendation when shopping for a mattress for back pain, and we’re not the only ones who think so! Other publications have spotlighted the AS2 as an excellent mattress for back pain, such as Verywell Health.
The AS2, along with other Amerisleep mattresses, ships free and comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty.
How It Feels
This mattress provides all sizes of sleepers with back and spine support as well as pain relief. The unique foam layers help promote an even weight distribution and a breathable sleep environment. Couples raved about the edge support and zoned support that this particular mattress offers.
The Amerisleep AS2 Hybrid mattress features three distinct layers to alleviate your back pain. First is a 2-inch comfort layer containing Bio-Pur foam. Next is a transition layer made up of zoned polyfoam that minimizes aches and pains all over your body.
At the bottom is a 7-inch thick layer of supportive Bio-Core polyfoam. The mattress’s cover is a cotton-polyester blend. Noteworthy features of the Amerisleep AS2 Hybrid include an anti-sink design and a low amount of VOCs/off-gassing smell.
The Zoma Hybrid is a mattress designed to promote bodily recovery for athletes, with a focus on alleviating aches and muscle stiffness while helping owners experience deeper sleep.
A 100-night sleep trial period and a 10-year warranty backs the Zoma Hybrid, which also ships free.
How It Feels
The Zoma Hybrid has a cool-to-the-touch feel enabled by the gels mixed in with the memory foam during production. Its medium feel surface adapts quickly to sleepers’ bodies as they move about and settle down for sleep, cradling sensitive areas for pressure relief.
The Zoma Hybrid mattress features a 2-inch gel memory foam comfort layer to eliminate night sweats. The memory foam gently holds and cradles your body’s unique pressure points. Varying support zones allow for tension relief and promote proper spinal alignment.
A 2-inch transition layer with Reactiv™ polyfoam prevents you from sinking into or feeling trapped in the mattress. At the bottom, a 7-inch coil base with 1-inch of polyfoam gives the bed a springy sensation with good edge support.
The mattress cover that comes with your Zoma Hybrid mattress includes a polyester-spandex blend to improve airflow and wick away sweat. This mattress is particularly beneficial for side sleepers, stomach sleepers who weigh 130 to 230 pounds, and back sleepers who weigh over 230 pounds.
Not all shoppers can afford to spend a lot as they shop for a mattress for back pain. For shoppers seeking a hidden gem among budget-priced mattresses, we recommend the Vaya Hybrid for its excellent value.
With durable materials, from sturdy coils to a responsive foam top, the Vaya Hybrid is a great return on a simple investment. The Vaya Hybrid comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.
How It Feels
The Vaya Hybrid has a near-universally comfortable medium feel, with lightweight, adaptable foam resting on top of pocketed coils. These materials work together to give sleepers room to comfortably sink into the surface while feeling buoyed by the base.
The Vaya Hybrid mattress has three layers that work in tandem to provide back and spinal pain relief. On top is a 2-inch thick layer of polyfoam that lightly hugs your entire body. The open-cell design of the polyfoam gives the mattress a bouncy feeling and aids in airflow.
The bottom layer of the mattress is made up of an 8-inch thick pocketed coil base. Situated atop the base layer is 2-inches of dense polyfoam that promotes an even weight distribution, adds stability, and minimizes mattress sagging.
The mattress cover is made of polyester and designed to wick away sweat. This ensures you remain cool and dry all night long. Lightweight stomach sleepers and light to average weight back sleepers can experience back pain relief by switching to the Vaya mattress.
The Nolah Evolution 15 is our top choice for sleepers who want to more than just relieve back pain, but upgrade their overall sleep comfort.
The Nolah Evolution 15 comes with free delivery, along with a 120-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty. The sleep trial can be removed before checkout, letting shoppers save even more money if they’re certain this is the mattress for them.
How It Feels
Because the Nolah Evolution 15 comes in three different firmnesses, how it feels will depend on the chosen feel. The plush option is quick to embrace a side sleeper’s body and relieve aches by lowering tension, while the firmer options promote a more “on top of the mattress” feel.
The Nolah Evolution 15 comes in three different firmness levels to better meet your unique support needs and personal preferences. These levels are labeled as Plush, Luxury Firm, and Firm. All firmness levels include a 2-inch foam comfort layer made of AirFoamIce polyfoam.
This foam contains ArcticTex fibers that enhance the bed’s cooling ability and help to decrease heat retention. A 2-inch transition layer of polyfoam gives the bed a responsive feel and provides you with a bouncy sleep surface.
At the base, an 8-inch thick pocketed coil base provides the Nolah Evolution 15 with very little motion transfer, zoned support, and stability. The coils are paired with a 1-inch polyfoam base that allows for proper spinal alignment and stability.
Some sleepers may be unsure if a softer or firmer mattress is needed to relieve their back pain. For these individuals, we recommend a mattress like the Layla Hybrid.
This mattress has a separate soft and firm side, along with other beneficial features like antimicrobial copper infusions and zoned support, creating a bed with truly versatile comfort. The Layla Hybrid comes with free shipping, a 120-night sleep trial, and a 10-year warranty.
How It Feels
The Layla Hybrid is distinct from our recommendations because it’s a bed with two separate feels on each side. The softer side is quicker to yield to bodies, excellent for side sleepers who need to drop into their beds a bit to feel truly comfortable and support. The firm side has a more resistant surface, keeping sleepers on top of the mattress.
Both sides feature targeted support and pressure relief, maintaining a neutral spine alignment while cradling sensitive areas.
The Layla Hybrid mattress features copper-infused memory foam that hugs your body without causing night sweats or overheating. The softer side of the mattress has a 2-inch thick comfort layer and a 2-inch transition layer with zoned support that improves airflow.
When you flip the mattress over to the firmer side, you’ll have a thinner 1-inch copper-infused memory foam top layer with a 1.5-inch layer of zoned polyfoam support. This side of the mattress also has a 6-inch coil base layer that gives sleepers a bouncy feel.
Your Layla Hybrid mattress comes with a polyester-viscose cover that is both soft and breathable. The double-sided design of this mattress allows it to be comfortable for a variety of different size sleepers and all four sleeping positions.
The Purple Hybrid Premier 4 is perhaps the softest mattress on our list of recommendations. What sets this hybrid mattress apart from other mattresses on the market is that Purple uses a unique comfort material, the GelFlex Grid™, to provide a flexible surface.
Because the grid is quick to conform to the body, it swiftly eases tension and alleviates pain. The Hybrid Premier 4 ships free, a 100-night sleep trial, and 10-year warranty.
How Lying Down Feels
The Purple Hybrid Premier 4 uses a grid-patterned design to provide sleepers with a springy feeling, back support, and promote a more even weight distribution. An even weight distribution has been shown to have a positive impact on spinal position.
Because it has the thickest comfort layer of all Purple mattresses, the Hybrid Premier 4 tends to be considered as the softest option. It’s been described as promoting a “weightless” feel, leaving sleepers to drift off to sleep with the impression that they’re lying on a cloud.
On the surface, this mattress has either a 3-inch or 4-inch thick comfort grid. We have chosen to spotlight the 4-inch model for extra comfort. The grid pattern provides intense pain relief to improve your overall pain levels and quality of sleep. A 1-inch middle layer provides further support and prevents coils from poking through.
The base portion of the mattress contains a 7.5-inch pocketed coil system that adds stability, bounce, breathability, and edge support to the bed.
The Purple Hybrid Premier 4 also comes with a viscose, polyester, and lycra mattress cover. These cover materials all for improved breathability and decrease the risk of night sweats.
While memory foam mattresses are a popular option for pain relief, the Organica from Amerisleep relies on the far more eco-friendly alternative of latex foam for its pressure-relieving comfort. Latex has grown more popular as shoppers seek more ways to reduce their carbon footprint.
With underlying coils that respond swiftly to sleeper’s movements and a surface of temperature-regulating cotton and wool, the Organica can provide comfort beyond just back pain relief. Like all Amerisleep mattresses, the Organica comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty.
How It Feels
The Amerisleep Organica has a medium feel that can feel more responsive than a memory foam mattress with a medium feel, thanks to latex’s natural buoyancy. Sleepers won’t sink in too far, but the mattress will still gently meet their curves and relieve pressure points.
The Organica mattress by Amerisleep contains two separate latex layers, a pocketed coil base support system, and a GOTS certified organic cotton mattress cover. A 1-inch wool top layer makes the mattress breathable and minimizes overheating potential.
Beneath that is a 3-inch thick layer of Talalay latex that provides a moderate amount of body-hugging to reduce back pain. There is also a 1-inch layer of Dunlop latex at the bottom for additional support and improved mattress durability.
An 8-inch steel coil base gives the mattress its responsive design, edge support, and superior mobility for older or limited mobility sleepers. Average to heavyweight side sleepers can experience back pain relief by switching to this mattress. Back and stomach sleepers of all sizes also report benefits from sleeping on the Organica mattress.
If you just can’t give up the feel of an innerspring mattress but want more contouring and pressure relief than what an innerspring provides, check out the Saatva Classic. This luxury mattress fixes a lot of the problems that innerspring mattresses have without sacrificing their positive aspects, like their coolness and responsiveness.
The Classic is also a highly versatile mattress because it offers three different firmness options. Side sleepers can select the Plush for ultimate pressure relief. Back sleepers and combo sleepers can go for the Luxury Firm for a balance of support and cushioning. And stomach sleepers can choose the Firm for the spine-aligning lift they need.
How It Feels
Depending on which firmness level you get, lying down can feel like being hugged by a marshmallow or lifted by a gentle yet firm cloud. However, there are a few characteristics all the Classic firmness levels will share.
First off, all the Classic firmness options will still offer fantastic bounce without sacrificing adaptability. That means you can choose whatever position you want and toss and turn as much as you want without having to worry about body impressions or slow response times.
All the Classic firmness options will also be highly cooling. This mattress features a breathable Euro top combined with equally breathable coils to keep air flowing underneath your body all night long. So no more sweaty nights for anyone who sleeps on this mattress!
Finally, all the Classic firmness levels will have excellent edge support. So you don’t have to worry about the edge of the bed collapsing when you get too close.
The Saatva Classic starts out with a contouring three-inch Euro-style pillow top with Lumbar Zone® Quilting to offer extra support under the heavier parts of your body without sacrificing the pressure relief of the Euro top.
The pillow top’s lumbar support and pressure relief are enhanced even further by the CertiPUR-US® certified high-density memory foam layer directly underneath. This layer also has the added benefit of providing an extra buffer between your body and the first coil layer.
The Classic is an innerspring hybrid. That means it has dual support cores. The first support layer is made of pocketed coils just like those found in a classic hybrid model. These pocketed coils provide adaptability and motion transfer control.
The second support layer is the open coil unit. This coil base layer is made of 13-gauge tempered steel coils for maximum airflow and durability. The open coils also have the added benefit of being highly responsive.
Surrounding the open coil layer is an edge support system made of high-density foam rails. These rails prevent the edge of the bed from collapsing and also provide stability and support to the open and pocketed coil layers.
How We Choose Mattresses
Numerous mattresses for back pain were considered for this recommendation list. We streamlined potential options down to our final list by considering the following:
- Materials: We examined mattress specs to see how the materials would work individually and as a whole mattress. Similarly, we looked for features these materials offered, like targeted lumbar support.
- Customer Reviews: We don’t just restrict ourselves to what we think of a mattress. We also look at what customers say about the mattress and how it feels, as well as how the mattress company handled any problems the customer encountered.
- Company Policies and Reputation: A company that has a good reputation and has demonstrated its faith in its mattresses by including well-structured policies is one that has shown itself to care about its customers.
Common Causes of Back Pain
There are a number of different reasons you may be experiencing back pain at night or when you lie down on your mattress. Figuring out the culprit of your back pain is the first step towards relief. Here are just a few common causes of back pain:
- Muscle strain/injury
- Ruptured disc
- Pinched nerve
- Chronic back pain
- Old age
- Misaligned spine
- Worn out mattress
- Too rigid of a mattress
Sleep Position and Back Pain
“Poor sleeping position is one of the underlying causes of sleep disturbances at night,” Dr. Nayantara Santhi said. “Sometimes this can result from a sagging mattress which can result in a different loading of the human spine and therefore a different spinal alignment.”
“For someone with back pain, this can result in a worsening of the pain and sleep at night,” Santhi continued. “Having a good mattress that can support one’s lying posture during sleep can go a long way in allowing the muscles and intervertebral discs to recover from the continuous loading during the day.”
Back sleeping is actually the most highly recommended sleep position for those with back, spine, or neck pain. When sleeping in this position, it is best to place a pillow under your knees. In addition, you’ll want to have your legs lying flat and pointed straight towards the foot of your bed.
Placing a pillow under your back can alleviate aches as well. An adjustable bed base is a great way to minimize back pain for all sized back sleepers. Adjustable beds allow sleepers to elevate the head, foot, or both portions of their bed at once to alleviate tension.
Stomach sleeping is not recommended for those who suffer from back or spinal pain. If you absolutely must sleep on your stomach, place a pillow under your pelvis and torso for support. Stomach sleeping is known to cause too much back arching, thus resulting in higher levels of back, neck, hips, or shoulder pain.
Side sleepers and combination sleepers will need to place a pillow between their legs while they sleep. Bending the knees is also crucial for reducing back pain at night. Having a thick enough pillow for proper neck support is key too. Pillows that are worn out or too thin can lead to issues with hip and shoulder sinking.
Impact that Body Size has on Mattress and Back Pain Relief
In addition to sleep position, body size also impacts which type of mattress you need to sleep on to experience complete back and joint pain relief. Lightweight sleepers typically need a softer mattress with more body-hugging and contouring.
Average size sleepers will fall somewhere in the middle of lightweight and heavyweight sleepers for their mattress support needs. These sleepers should opt for a mattress that can comfortably support their weight without too much sinking.
Heavier sleepers need a firmer mattress, ideally, one that offers zoned support. These sleepers feel most comfortable and supported on a mattress that is bouncy and responsive. In most cases, larger sleepers will want to aim for a mattress that is 10 to 12 inches thick.
Is a Soft or Firm Mattress Better for Back Pain?
Whether a firm or soft mattress is better for your back pain depends on your body size, preferred sleep position, and type of back pain. In most cases, a medium-firm mattress is the best solution for alleviating back pain. However, it isn’t the ideal firmness level for all back pain sufferers.
When deciding whether to opt for a firm or soft mattress, the best thing you can do is visit a local mattress retailer and try out a few mattresses for yourself. You do not want to end up with a mattress that is too soft or too firm. This will lead to aggravated back pain and unnecessary aches or pains upon waking.
Using a Mattress Topper for Relief
Mattress toppers can be added to your existing mattress to alter the feel it gives you and your partner. In some instances, a mattress topper can make your bed feel more comfortable, thus reducing back pain at night.
Investing in a mattress topper is a simple, cheap way to try to reduce your back pain. Plus, it’s a great way to try out whether a latex or memory foam mattress would provide better pain relief for you.
Mattress toppers can improve your sleep quality while also preserving the durability of your mattress. While they aren’t the same thing as purchasing a completely new mattress, they are a suitable option for those who don’t yet need a whole new bed.
Millions of people worldwide struggle with back or spine pain that negatively impacts their sleep. Over time, poor sleep can lead to further health consequences or impairments. The first step to addressing and overcoming your back pain is finding a supportive mattress.
If you need to purchase a new mattress, make sure to take into account your body size, preferred sleep position, and area of pain when choosing a bed. For those who may not need a completely new bed, consider buying a mattress topper or making some adjustments to your sleep position. Adjustable beds can be beneficial for pain relief too.
Frequently Asked Questions
A memory foam mattress can be good for back pain. Memory foam mattresses conform to your body’s unique pressure points to provide back pain relief and release built-up tension. However, memory foam beds can retain body heat and give some sleepers a sinking feeling.
The mattress firmness that is best for back pain relief will vary from person to person. Everyone’s back pain is different and therefore needs to be addressed on a case by case basis. In many scenarios, a medium-firm mattress has been shown to provide exceptional pain relief.
The best mattress for those dealing with back pain as a result of sciatica is a memory foam or latex mattress. Both types of mattresses provide pressure point relief and promote a neutral spinal alignment. Lightweight sleepers may prefer the body-hugging support of a memory foam mattress.
Heavier sleepers might benefit more from the responsive design of a latex mattress. Those unsure of whether memory foam or latex is suitable for them should look into the benefits of a hybrid mattress.
The best mattress for neck pain is a latex or hybrid mattress. Both of these mattress types offer less contouring and have a bouncier feel. The springy sensation that these beds provide is ideal for keeping the head, neck, and shoulders supported while you sleep. Memory foam mattresses can lead to neck or shoulder sinking in heavier sleepers.
Those with upper back pain can experience relief from sleeping in a variety of different sleep positions. If you’re a natural side sleeper, place a pillow between your legs and knees to experience relief from upper back pain.
Back sleepers can place a pillow under their knees or back to combat upper back pain. Stomach sleepers should have a pillow under their waist or pelvis to minimize back arching and decrease pain levels.
The best sleep position for those with lower back pain is back sleeping. You’ll need to lie flat on your back with your legs pointed out straight towards the foot of your bed. You can place a pillow under the small of your back if necessary.
An adjustable bed that elevates your feet into the air while you sleep may also be beneficial for those with lower back pain.