9 Best Mattresses for Back Pain, According to Back Experts
Back pain is an extremely common problem. According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, low back pain affects nearly 80 percent of the adult population, predominantly among workers in enclosed spaces such as offices, as well as those who perform manual labor, and individuals who sit for long periods of time.
“Back pain is very common and there are many sources of back pain,” explains Brian A. Cole, MD, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at Englewood Spine Associates in Englewood, New Jersey. “Most often the pain will resolve on its own without requirements for medication or treatment. It is only such warning signs as pain that lasts more than six weeks, back pain associated with neurological symptoms down the legs, or a bowel or bladder dysfunction that an individual should be concerned about and seek a medical professional’s opinion.” (Is your back pain arthritis?)
If you experience low back pain though, sleeping isn’t always the easiest. The pesky, deep ache can rear its ugly head each time you lay down and try to get some shut-eye. Therefore, having a mattress that helps dissipate or even alleviate pain, can be a lifesaver.
What is the best type of mattress for back pain?
“Some patients report that a good mattress feels like sleeping on a cloud, and what they are really talking about is a sensation of floating, which is achieved when all of the body’s surfaces are experiencing the same contact pressure,” explains Dr. Cole. “This requires a mattress to give more support in some areas and less in other areas.” (Read the essential guide for deeper sleep.)
We all have bony prominences that need to be padded. You get a real sense of this when you lie on the floor on your side, explains Dr. Cole. “Your hips and shoulders will feel a lot of pressure,” he says. “The best mattress has component layers to allow the mattress to both the support and conform to the body to give you a comfortable night’s sleep.”
Another important factor in comfort is temperature control, Dr. Cole says. “This is facilitated by the very best materials, sometimes foams, to allow cooling of the surfaces.” (This is the ideal temperature for sleep.)
It is important the materials have a pleasant smell, too—or at least one that’s not bothersome. “Those of you who have had the pleasure of sleeping on a vinyl mattress know exactly what I mean,” adds Dr. Cole.
Mattress buying guide
When purchasing or evaluating your own mattress or mattress topper for back pain, the product that you select should have a goal of aligning the spine, such that when you’re lying in a horizontal position, a straight line could be drawn from your head through your spine into your pelvis, Dr. Cole explains. “The other role of these products is to cushion the bony prominences that we have, which can have increased contact pressure as we lie.” (These are the daily habits that may hurt your spine.)
In the end, it’s really all about comfort and what works for your body. “The more comfortable you are, the more likely you are going to have an undisturbed sleep,” says Dr. Cole.
With this in mind, below are an array of top-rated mattress options that each have characteristics to help enhance your sleep habits and ease and low back pain. It’s an individual choice, so choose one that provides the support you need.
Zius 12-Inch Green Tea Memory Foam Mattress
Green tea and charcoal are infused into the memory foam of this mattress to help enhance your sleep quality with natural ingredients—something that’s important to the brand as a whole. The green tea keeps the mattress fresh night after night, while the charcoal blocks any moisture that could lead to funky odors over time. The Certi-PUR-US Certified foam (which means it’s tested not only for physical performance, but also indoor emissions, and is made responsibly when it comes to the environment), provides support and relief for achy joints and muscles. (Also, beware of the daily movements that could cause joint pain.)
Tempur Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Prima Medium-Soft 10-Inch Luxury Cooling Memory Foam Queen Mattress
You should sleep soundly on this medium-soft mattress, which has a top layer designed to pull moisture away, and has built-in technology to keep things at a moderate temperature all night long. Thanks to the proprietary material in the mattress, you’ll have a unique fit when you lay down, as the mattress is able to distribute support evenly to your body—even as you shift and move.
Sealy 10-Inch Memory Foam Bed in a Box Queen Mattress
As you move around at night in bed this medium-firm mattress has memory foam that shapes and contours to your body’s positioning, giving you a personalized experience. The CopperChill technology fused into the memory foam will keep you from getting too hot as well. (Make sure you’re following these rules for the best sleep position for lower back pain too.)
Leesa Luxury Hybrid 11-Inch Queen Mattress
This mattress has three layers of support: first, an active pocket spring layer with edge-to-edge support, followed by a contouring memory foam recovery layer, and topped with a cooling foam layer. The mattress was designed to learn and adapt to your body, gently pushing back against pressure points as you sleep. The mattress cover is seamless, too, which means no seams will dig into your skin.
Classic Brands Cool Gel Ventilated Memory Foam 12-Inch Queen Mattress
Not only is this mattress constructed with three layers of memory foam, but it also has a cooling gel built into the foam. This helps regulate your body temperature, which is perfect for individuals who tend to run hot while they sleep. It’s delivered compressed and rolled up in a box for convenient and easy set up.
Casper Original Foam Queen Mattress
The foam on this bed varies in density based on your body position as you sleep—the top is softer on the shoulders and head, while the middle section has a firmer foam to give more support to your hips, waist, and lower back, helping to align the spine. It will allow you to enjoy the right amount of sleep you need. It comes with a mattress cover and the company certifies that their foams are made sans ozone-depleting chemicals, which can help you sleep more soundly. Try it for 100 days.
Sweetnight King Mattress
Kiss your back aches and pains goodbye after you lay down on this 12-inch mattress that’s made with individually wrapped innersprings and gel memory foam. It has pocket springs designed to support and align the back properly. And because of the way it’s made, it isolates motion, so if you move at night, your partner won’t be disturbed. (This is why you wake up in the middle of the night.)
Linenspa 12-Inch Gel Memory Foam Hybrid Mattress
You’ll have the support you crave from edge to edge of this hybrid mattress, that combines innerspring support with gel memory foam. The gel helps provides added support and also helps to keep things cool throughout the night. The mattress has a 10-year warranty, too.
Best Price Mattress Queen Memory Foam Mattress Topper with Lavender
If you’re just looking to add a bit more support on top of your current mattress, this pad can help do the trick. The foam conforms to your body as you move throughout the night, and it’s infused with a lavender scent to help you feel sleepy and sleep more pleasantly. It also helps to isolate motion so that you and your partner won’t wake up if the other person moves during the evening. (Next, here are the best mattresses for every sleeper.)