Best Mattresses for Back Pain: Reviews & Buyer's Guide

By Alesandra Woolley

If you experience back pain, it’s important that you sleep on a mattress that provides superior spine alignment. This will protect your back in the long-term and help give you more comfortable nights of sleep. 

In this guide, we’ll share our reviews of the 5 best mattresses for back pain. Then, we’ll help you understand the connection between your bed and your back pain in our buyer’s guide so you know what to look for when shopping. 

Best Mattresses for Back Pain

By clicking on the products below, we may receive a commission at no cost to you, the reader. It’s how we fund our Mattress Lab and bring you better mattress reviews and comparisons.

Level Sleep

Editor's Pick
  • Recommended by doctors and chiropractors for people who suffer from back pain.
  • Participants in Level Sleep’s clinical trial reported a 54% reduction in morning stiffness.
  • Its patented TriSupport™ technology offers optimal lumbar support and pressure relief on shoulder and hip zones.

The varied support in the mattress lends itself to a pain-free, relaxed sleep."

Barbara G.
Customer Rating
4.5 / 5
MA Score
8.5 / 10
Firmness

TriZone Firmness

Trial Period

365 days

Leesa Hybrid

Best for Pressure Relief
  • Luxury hybrid mattress at a competitive price point.
  • Provides a responsive sleep surface that reacts to your body as you move and change positions throughout the night.
  • Scored exceptionally high in pressure relief and spine alignment tests.

On the second night, my pain was gone."

Jenny H.
Customer Rating
4.5 / 5
MA Score
9.4 / 10
Firmness

Medium-firm - firm: 7/10

Trial Period

100 days

Tuft & Needle Mint

Best for Side Sleepers
  • Referred to as the “enhanced” Tuft & Needle mattress, the Mint mattress is one-step up from the original Tuft & Needle — but still priced economically.
  • The Adaptive® Foam in the Mint mattress is made with 30% more heat-wicking graphite than the original Tuft & Needle mattress, helping you stay cool throughout the night.

After one night on the T&N Mint mattress, my back pain was significantly reduced."

Wade
Customer Rating
4.9 / 5
MA Score
8.9 / 10
Firmness

Medium: 5/10

Trial Period

100 days

Casper Wave

Best for Combination Sleepers
  • Casper’s higher-end mattress designed to relieve pressure and provide proper spine alignment for all sleep positions
  • Five-layer support system mirrors the natural shape of your body at 36 specific points for deeper, more restorative sleep
  • Endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association

From morning 1 to morning 100, I woke up with no aches or pains."

Ryan U.
Customer Rating
4.3 / 5
MA Score
8.7 / 10
Firmness

Medium-firm - firm: 7/10

Trial Period

100 days

Bear

Best for Active People
  • Bear’s pressure relieving properties, cooling effects and muscle recovery technology make it a great mattress for people who suffer from back pain
  • Its Celliant® fibers reflect infrared light back to the body to promote blood circulation and improved muscle recovery

My bad back has been thanking me ever since."

Jason B.
Customer Rating
4.7 / 5
MA Score
8.6 / 10
Firmness

Medium firm: 6/10

Trial Period

100 days

Keep in mind that everyone is different, and back pain is personal. So, the best mattress for you might not be the best for someone else. That’s why we’ve included how these mattresses help alleviate back pain and the specific type of sleeper they would match with best. It’s also important to consult with your doctor on what he or she recommends for your personal condition.

What to Look For: Take a look at things like the firmness, spinal alignment, materials, and price to help you decide which mattress might be best for you. And don’t forget – there’s no harm in trying it out. All of the mattresses we’ve reviewed here have at least a 100-night trial period and free returns. See our mattress buying guide to learn more about how to evaluate a mattress before purchasing online.

Why trust Mattress Advisor Reviews? Here at Mattress Advisor we have personally evaluated over 100 mattresses in our Mattress Lab, running each through our 6-point testing method and 8-point evaluation. If there’s anyone who knows what makes a good mattress, it’s us. We’ve spent hundreds of hours dedicated to helping people live their best lives by getting their best (and most comfortable) night’s sleep. Trust us – we’ve got your back.

Please note: while we’re experts when it comes to mattresses, we are not doctors. It’s always recommended that you consult with your doctor when it comes to choosing products meant to address health and pain issues. 


Level Sleep

Editor's Choice
Level Sleep spine alignment

Level Sleep Highlights

The Level Sleep TriSupport mattress is our top pick for mattresses that help with back pain. This foam mattress was designed to provide different levels of comfort and support in the places that need it most. 

For example, your shoulders and hips require a different level of pressure relief than your torso does, and Level Sleep’s foam system supports that. This level of customized support helps to keep your body weight evenly distributed and your spine appropriately aligned. These factors play a big role in helping to alleviate back pain while you sleep.

We also appreciate and admire Level Sleep’s dedication to offering restorative, healthy sleep. The company has been active in sleep research for more than 15 years and has even conducted its own Institutional Review Board (IRB)-approved sleep study which found that subjects who slept on the Level Sleep mattress experienced a 54% reduction in morning stiffness and a 56% reduction of pain. The Level Sleep mattress has even been recommended by doctors and chiropractors.

Read our full Level Sleep mattress review. 


Leesa Hybrid (Sapira)

Best for Pressure Relief
Leesa hybrid mattress in a bedroom

Leesa Hybrid Highlights

The Leesa Hybrid is a great choice for people who experience back pain regularly. Why? It comes down to its advanced construction of memory foam and pocketed coils.

The top layer of the Leesa Hybrid is a cooling, high-density foam that contours your body, but doesn’t cause you to sink or feel stuck. Cooling factor is critical for people with back pain. More airflow means more oxygen to your body and a better chance of your body healing for a restorative night’s sleep. 

Then you have a memory foam recovery layer, which helps with taking the pressure off your joints. You can think of it as a cushion that pushes back on areas of high pressure, like your hips and shoulders. The 1000+ individual pocket springs inside the Leesa Hybrid provide additional support, airflow, freedom of movement, and durability. 

Leesa Hybrid’s high performance in pressure relief and spine alignment make it ideal for relieving back and joint pain while you sleep.

Read our full Leesa Hybrid mattress review.


Tuft & Needle Mint

Best for Side Sleepers
Tuft and Needle Mint mattress on a wooden bed frame in a bedroom

Mint Highlights

Side sleeping is a very popular sleeping position, but if you don’t have the right mattress supporting your body it can lead to a lot of back pain, aches, and soreness. This is mostly due to a failure to keep your spine aligned while you sleep. Just as proper posture is important during the day, it’s also important to maintain proper sleeping posture. 

We’ve selected the Tuft & Needle Mint mattress as the best mattress for side sleepers with back pain because it received a nearly perfect score in our spine alignment test for side sleepers. When you sleep on your side, you want your spine to be in a straight line from your tailbone to the bottom of your neck. This means your body is being appropriately supported, helping to prevent any aches or pains when you wake up.

We also love the Mint mattress because it helps keep you cool throughout the night and offers a 100-night trial period. Not to mention, it’s very budget-friendly.

Read our full Mint mattress review.


Casper Wave

Best for Combination Sleepers
Lifestyle shot of the Casper Wave mattress

Casper Wave Highlights

The unique design of the Casper Wave mattress provides optimal ergonomic support by providing varying levels of firmness and push-back at different points in the mattress to form to your natural body shape. This helps to keep the heavier parts of your body, like your hips and shoulders, elevated at just the right levels, helping to contour your body and relieve pressure. 

Inside the Casper Wave you’ll find a breathable latex foam layer, pressure relieving memory foam, and a supportive layer of targeted gel pods to support your body’s weight distribution. 

The Wave also received an endorsement from the American Chiropractic Association – which is a pretty big deal!

Read our full Casper Wave mattress review.


Bear

Best for Active People
Bear mattress

Bear Highlights

The Bear mattress is a medium-firm gel memory foam mattress designed with materials that promote blood circulation and muscle recovery. Not only are you getting the pressure relieving properties from Bear’s memory foam construction, but you also get the benefit of an open cell structure, which promotes airflow and responsiveness.

We recommend the Bear mattress for those with active lifestyles who need to maximize their recovery in their sleep. The Bear is designed with athletes in mind to help your body heal while you rest.

Bear’s happy customer base includes a number of professional athletes who sleep on Bear to help their bodies get the rest and recovery they need to perform their best.

Read our full Bear mattress review.


Best Mattresses for Back Pain (Runner-Ups)

We only detailed our top 5 picks above, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other great options out there for people with back pain. Here are our runner-ups who deserve an honorable mention.


Buyer’s Guide: Best Mattresses for Back Pain

Shopping for a mattress isn’t easy, especially when you have particular needs you have to meet. Here at Mattress Advisor, we’ve spent countless hours researching, testing, and learning about mattresses so that we can make this experience easier on you. In this buyer’s guide, we’ll share: 

How Does a Mattress Affect Back Pain? 

Whether your back pain is caused by an injury, a physically demanding job or even stress, the way your body is supported while you sleep will have a big impact on how you feel when you wake up. In fact, your sleeping posture is just as important as your standing/sitting posture. You’ll wake up more refreshed if your muscles and joints are appropriately supported and relaxed while you’re sleeping.

Think about it this way:

When you’re standing up, your body is applying pressure to your spinal cord (because of the natural forces of gravity), which keeps it aligned in its natural curve. But when you’re lying down, pressure is released from the vertebrae. 

Graphic of a mattress causing a pinch point in the lower lumbar spine due to 'hammocking'

So, sleeping on a mattress that evenly supports your body weight and allows your spine to stay in its natural alignment will help you get that relaxed, refreshed feeling that might just seem like a far-off dream right now.

Can a Mattress Cause Back Pain?

If your mattress does a poor job of cradling your body, it might be forcing your body to rest at an unnatural angle – meaning your spinal cord is not aligned, you’ll have added, uneven pressure on your back, and you won’t allow your muscles to fully relax and recharge. Dr. Dominique, a licensed chiropractor, explains it like this:

“Sleeping on a mattress of poor quality will continue to cause joint breakdown and irritation long term. Prolonged inflammation of the joints speeds up the degenerative process. Other long-term effects include muscle tightness, uneven hips and spine misalignment.”

Long story short: Sleeping on the wrong mattress leads to pain, discomfort, and can increase your chances of developing a chronic back problem.

Shopping Considerations: What to Look For

There’s a lot of lingo in the mattress world that you may not have a full grasp of. We’ll help you decipher what it all means and what key factors you should be keeping an eye on when looking for a mattress well-suited for someone with back pain. 

Young lady waking up with back pain

Mattress type 

The type of mattress you choose is one of the most important decisions you can make. There’s traditional innersprings, memory foam, latex, and hybrid mixes of all these materials available. So where do you start? First, you should know how each material will affect or help soothe your back pain. 

Memory foam tends to be the best type of mattress to help cradle your body, relieve pressure points and keep your spine in proper alignment – all important qualities in a mattress, especially when you suffer from back pain. Memory foam (and other foam blends) do a good job of evenly distributing your body weight – meaning you won’t get as much of that uneven pressure or discomfort that tends to stir up your back pain even more.

Compared to traditional spring or coil mattresses, memory foam tends to hold its shape longer, which means a) your mattress will last longer and b) it won’t sag or lose its support as quickly as other mattresses can. 

While there are some hybrid and latex mattresses that can offer similar qualities, you probably want to stay away from innerspring mattresses if you really want to give your back the support it needs. Innerspring mattresses won’t cradle your body as well as memory foam and won’t have the same pressure relieving properties as foam does.

So the best type of mattress for back pain is:

  • Made out of memory foam
  • Medium-firm to firm (5.5-7.5/10 on the firmness scale)
  • One that makes you feel like you’re floating on air

Firmness

A mattress that is too firm or too soft will not support your pressure points or distribute your body weight appropriately, causing your spine to fall out of its natural alignment and make your back pain even worse.

You may have heard a rumor that sleeping on a rock-hard mattress is best for your back pain. To be honest, that sounds kind of miserable. And it’s also not true. While everyone’s preference is going to differ slightly, people who suffer from back pain generally prefer a medium-firm to firm mattress. (This is usually a 5.5 – 7.5 out of 10 on the firmness scale.)

If you don’t believe us, here’s a little proof:

  • In a survey of 268 people with lower back pain, results showed that those who slept on what’s known as an orthopedic mattress (aka very hard) had the poorest sleep quality.
  • Another study showed that medium-firm mattresses reduced back pain by 57.2%, shoulder pain by 60.8%, and back stiffness by 59.1%. Overall, this helped improve the sleep quality of the study participants by 60.7%.

If you suffer from back pain, you probably want to stay away from super soft mattresses as well. Soft mattresses can conform to your body too much, which means you’ll sink into the mattress and lose the good posture that a firmer mattress will give you.

Temperature

When deciding on the best mattress for your back pain, airflow and cooling properties are also important to look for. First of all, you’ll probably sleep better if you’re not sweating throughout the night. 

But having decent airflow also helps improve the amount of oxygen your body gets. If your body’s temperature is regulated and it’s getting the oxygen it needs, it has a better chance of recharging and relaxing problem muscles and joints.

Sleeping Tips for People with Back Pain 

Sleeping on the right mattress has the biggest impact on alleviating your back pain, but there are other things you can try that may help reduce your pain even more.

Woman lying on a bed waking up suffering back ache at home or hotel room

The important thing to remember here is to listen to your body – if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. If your friend with back pain has discovered the perfect sleeping angle/temperature/white-noise/pillow-position combo to reduce back pain, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be the best one for you. (You should give him/her a big high five though.)

The two things that may help further reduce your back pain are your bed’s foundation and your sleeping position.

1. Pick the Best Mattress Foundation

People who suffer from back pain have claimed that sleeping on an adjustable bed frame helps them sleep better at night. Keeping your head and feet elevated can relieve certain pressure points better than lying flat on a mattress. Similar to how you elevate your leg after an injury, elevating these parts of your body can help with blood flow circulation and getting more oxygen to your muscles – both of which can have an impact on reducing pain.

You also reference our mattress foundation guide for more information.

2. Correct Your Sleeping Position

Sometimes you can’t control your sleeping position – you might unknowingly change positions in the middle of the night or find natural comfort in one position over another. But your sleeping position can also have an effect on your back pain and overall quality of sleep. Here are some tips that might help you alleviate back pain in each sleeping position.

Back sleepers: 

Sleeping on your back is generally considered the best position to help with back pain. If it’s not easy for you to convert to sleeping in this position, placing a pillow underneath your knees can help reduce pressure on your lower back and maintain your spine’s natural curve. For added support, you can roll out a towel and place it under the small of your back.

Side sleepers:

Placing a pillow between your knees can help keep your hips level and your spine in line. Using a thick body pillow can also help alleviate pressure and keep your back in good posture while you sleep. Hugging a body pillow is especially helpful for people who suffer from mid-back pain because it helps to keep your shoulders from caving in.

Stomach sleepers:

Sleeping on your stomach is generally not recommended for people who suffer from back pain. This position provides your back with the least support and can cause your back to cave in unnaturally.

If it’s hard for you to change positions, placing a pillow under your pelvis can offer you a little more support…however, you should be very careful as this can also cause added strain on your back and neck. Sometimes people who try this method actually find it more comfortable to remove the pillow from under their head. Using a body pillow might also make it easier to convert to a side sleeper, which is at least better than sleeping on your stomach.

In general, stomach sleepers tend to prefer a thin pillow or no pillow at all. This will help reduce the incline in your neck.

3. Consider More Than Just Your Mattress 

Don’t get us wrong – we do strongly believe in the importance of choosing the right mattress. But there are also other factors that come into play that you should think about. For one thing, your pillow plays a crucial role in your comfort and spine alignment. It’s important that you find one that works for your sleeping position to keep your body in proper alignment. 

You may also consider other bed accessories like a mattress topper or an adjustable bed frame. Mattress toppers can provide an added comfort layer, and some are even particularly well-suited for sleepers with back pain. People who have pain specifically in the lower back area may find relief on an adjustable bed frame that can be inclined. 

Summary 

Back pain is no fun. The last thing you want is to start your day feeling sore and achy (and probably grumpy) because you didn’t sleep well. Getting a good, uninterrupted night’s sleep can have a huge impact on your overall health, energy levels, and productivity. It can also help improve your back pain symptoms.

Even if your back pain won’t be completely eliminated, you deserve a mattress that’s going to help you feel rested and refreshed. If you suffer from back pain, we’d love to hear about what’s worked for you and how you’ve found comfort while sleeping. Share your tips in the comments below. We’ll count it as your good deed for the day.

Sheets by a Window

Still need help finding the best mattress?

Take our mattress finder quiz and get personalized results based on your preferences and sleeping style.

Take Mattress Quiz
By clicking on the product links in this article, Mattress Advisor may receive a commission fee at no cost to you, the reader. Read full disclosure statement.

Comments (130)

  1. Interesting to know that most folks with back pain preferred a medium firm mattress, I had always heard super firm. Thanks for the info!

  2. I have trouble with my back. I am a side sleeper. My right side to be exact. It hurts when I sleep on my back left side and my stomach.

  3. Thanks for the informative article. I really enjoyed the part about the role gravity plays on our spines when standing vs. sleeping. Yay science!

  4. I thought your review was very informative especially your pick for combination sleepers since I’m a stomach sleeper and my husband is a back sleeper. Keep up the good work and thanks for the great giveaway!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *