Best Mattresses for Back Pain

By Alesandra Woolley

Jul 27th, 2021

Expert Insights from Dr. Navin Ramchandani, MD, a Medical Diagnostician and Owner of R&R Medical Centre in Barbados. 


If you experience back pain, you’ll want a mattress with superior spinal alignment that also offers pressure relief and ideally, firmness. “By sleeping on a mattress that provides excellent spine alignment and pressure relief, you can protect your back and avoid further pain,” says Dr. Navin Ramchandani.

In this guide, you’ll find 8 top-rated mattresses that fulfill these requirements. Along with our top picks, we’ll tell you who each mattress works best for as well as some things to consider as you shop. If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, check out our top picks for the best mattress of 2021.

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.

Best Mattresses for Back Pain

After testing over 150 mattresses, we’re confident that if there’s anyone who knows what makes a good mattress, it’s us. But keep in mind that everyone is different, and back pain is personal.

“Back pain can vary from person to person, which is why it’s important to find a mattress that offers the right amount of support and comfort depending on the placement and severity of your pain,” says Dr. Navin Ramchandani.

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.


Casper Wave Hybrid Mattress

casper lifestyle shot 1
Casper Wave Hybrid

Best Overall Mattress for Back Pain Relief

Best for:

  • Couples who share the bed
  • Sleepers with back pain
  • Those who sleep hot

I sleep soundly, wake pain free and am experiencing a better quality of life.”

- Tracey
CUSTOMER RATING

4.5

/

5

MA SCORE

9.3

/

10

FIRMNESS

Medium: 5/10

TRIAL PERIOD

100 days

Best Mattress Overall for Back Pain

From motion transfer to edge support, the Casper Wave Hybrid offers a great night’s sleep. The motion transfer, which we scored 9 out of 10, means this is a good choice for the couple, while the edge support, which scored 8.75/10, means this is a great option for the person who likes to sleep on the edge.

Pros

The Casper Wave Hybrid is specifically designed for those who suffer from back pain. Using five years of customer feedback, the Casper Wave Hybrid uses Zoned Support Max to deliver targeted pressure relief and full-body support. Foam layers reinforce the supportive zones, and gel pods are set under the hips and shoulders for extra support.

“The Casper Wave Hybrid is a great choice for relieving back pain thanks to the ergonomic support it offers that pushes back at different points in the mattress to help maintain your natural body shape,” says Dr. Navin Ramchandani.

Cons

While the Wave Hybrid scores high for responsiveness, it is a softer mattress. For those strict stomach sleepers looking for a firm mattress, the Wave Hybrid will be too soft. It also has a luxury price tag, meaning it’s not the best affordable mattress for budget shoppers.

Read our full Casper Wave Hybrid mattress review


Helix Dusk

helix dusk
Helix Dusk

Best Mattress for Spinal Alignment

Best for:

  • Couples and co-sleepers
  • People with back pain
  • Those who need a bed with a supportive edge
CUSTOMER RATING

4.6

/

5

MA SCORE

8.9

/

10

FIRMNESS

Firm: 5-6/10

TRIAL PERIOD

100 days

Best Mattress for Spinal Alignment

The Helix Dusk has the right firmness level and support combination for proper spinal alignment. It’s slightly firmer than the average hybrid mattress, great for stomach and back sleepers. We also found quality edge support in the Dusk, meaning those of you who sleep on the edge of the mattress can still feel the supportive layers.

Pros

Bouncy foam helps combination sleepers change positions and couples rest undisturbed. This is also a plus for couples looking to make the most out of their mattress surface.

Cons

For especially hot sleepers, we recommend checking out the best cooling mattresses. While the Dusk incorporates coils for airflow, it may be too hot for some sleepers. We suggest the Cocoon Chill for the hot sleeper.

Read our full Helix Dusk mattress review.


The WinkBed

winkbed lux firm mattress 1
WinkBed Luxury Firm

Best Firm Mattress for Back Pain

Best for:

  • Stomach sleepers
  • Back sleepers
  • Those who get hot at night
CUSTOMER RATING

4.5

/

5

MA SCORE

8.6

/

10

FIRMNESS

Medium firm: 6/10

TRIAL PERIOD

120 days

Best Firm Mattress for Back Pain

With four firmness levels to choose from, the WinkBed is the best customizable mattress for those with back pain. From the smallest side sleeper to the largest stomach sleeper, WinkBeds offers a bed that protects the lower back to avoid lower back pain.

Pros

In between layers of micro-coils and pocketed coils is a lumbar support pad, a plus for those with back pain. These layers work together to support the entire body without sacrificing soft pressure relief under the hips and shoulders.

Cons

We did score WinkBeds somewhat lower for motion isolation. Therefore, we recommend couples consider other mattresses with more foam layers or elements to absorb motion.

Read our full WinkBeds mattress review.


Saatva Loom & Leaf

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Loom & Leaf

Best Mattress for Heavy People with Back Pain

Best for:

  • Side sleepers
  • Heavier people
  • Memory foam shoppers
CUSTOMER RATING

4.8

/

5

MA SCORE

8.2

/

10

FIRMNESS

Relaxed firm: 6/10; Firm: 8/10

TRIAL PERIOD

180 days

Best Mattress for Heavy People with Back Pain

The Loom & Leaf strikes a balance between pressure-relieving memory foam and the support needed for heavier people. Crucial to preventing back pain is having a mattress that provides proper spinal alignment—the Loom & Leaf scored almost perfectly in our testing.

Pros

As a memory foam mattress, the Loom & Leaf construction features high-density foam and cooling gel-infused foam. High-density foam is more durable than traditional foam and can support larger frames.

Cons

We did find the Loom & Leaf to lack some edge support. All-foam mattresses lack coils, which usually provide the bulk of edge support. This is an important consideration for people who tend to sleep near the edge of their mattress.

Read our full Saatva Loom & Leaf mattress review.


Cocoon Chill Hybrid

cocoon hybrid lifestyle
Cocoon Chill Hybrid

Best Mattress for Hot Sleepers with Back Pain

Best for:

  • Couples and those who co-sleep
  • Every sleeping position
  • Hot sleepers
CUSTOMER RATING

4.5

/

5

MA SCORE

8.6

/

10

FIRMNESS

Medium: 5/10

TRIAL PERIOD

100 days

Best Mattress for Hot Sleepers with Back Pain

As the name suggests, the Cocoon Chill Hybrid is a pressure relieving mattress with cooling layers. A cool-to-the-touch cover and “phase change” material absorbs heat and keeps the sleeper cool. Breathable coils also feature reinforced perimeter support for most sleeping positions.

Pros

Our pressure relief tests show that the Cocoon Chill Hybrid works well for those with joint pain. Slow moving foam layers are plush enough for the shoulders and hips to be cradled without pain building up.

Cons

The plush pressure relief made it difficult for some people to move during our testing process. Combination sleepers may need a mattress with firmer foams or an innerspring mattress.

Read our full Cocoon Chill Hybrid mattress review.


Leesa

leesa mattress new
Leesa

Best Cheap Mattress for Back Pain

Best for:

  • Sleepers with back pain
  • Hot sleepers
  • Memory foam lovers
CUSTOMER RATING

4.8

/

5

MA SCORE

9.3

/

10

FIRMNESS

Medium-firm: 6/10

TRIAL PERIOD

100 days

Best Cheap Mattress for Back Pain

The Leesa mattress consists of three layers of memory foam, and it’s under $1,000 for a queen. Despite being a budget-friendly mattress, the Leesa is one of the highest scoring mattresses we’ve ever reviewed.

Pros

The high-quality construction of the Leesa creates a balanced feel and works for most sleeping positions. In fact, this mattress scored at least 8.5 out of 10 in all 14 of the metrics we test in our mattress lab.

Cons

While there’s a lot to love about the Leesa mattress, if you sleep super hot, you might want to choose a product that isn’t memory foam. The WinkBed hybrid may be a better option, for example.

Read our full Leesa mattress review.


Puffy

puffy mattress main product 2 700x
Puffy Mattress

Best Mattress for Pressure Relief

Best for:

  • Pressure relief
  • People who often change positions at night
  • Back pain sufferers who need proper spinal alignment

Our new mattress helped our pain and keeps your spine in the correct position.

- Amy G.
CUSTOMER RATING

4.6

/

5

MA SCORE

9

/

10

FIRMNESS

Medium-firm: 7/10

TRIAL PERIOD

101 nights

Best Mattress for Pressure Relief

Puffy is a memory foam mattress that provides optimal pressure relief thanks to its ClimateComfort layer. This comfort layer is made of foam designed to resist changing as the temperature does, keeping its pressure point relief consistent, no matter the time of year.

Pros

The three layers of foam are hypoallergenic and have the “cloud-like” feel that Puffy is known for. If you’re not sure if pressure relief is your main sleep need, the Puffy mattress has a lifetime warranty of protection.

Cons

If you are a hot sleeper, the Puffy’s foam layers may not have enough airflow to keep you cool. Consider a hybrid or innerspring mattress with a coil construction. Its durability also may not be what you are looking for—we scored it an 8/10, which isn’t awful, but could be better.

Read our full Puffy mattress review.


Level Sleep

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Level Sleep

Best Mattress for Combination Sleepers with Back Pain

Best for:

  • Sleepers with body aches
  • Indecisive shoppers
  • Light- and medium-weight sleepers
CUSTOMER RATING

4.9

/

5

MA SCORE

8.5

/

10

FIRMNESS

Customizable

TRIAL PERIOD

365 days

Best Mattress for Combination Sleepers with Back Pain

With polyfoam construction and zoned support, the Level Sleep mattress works well for most sleeping positions, and its responsive nature makes it relatively easy to change positions. In fact, we gave it an 8 out of 10 for responsiveness.

Pros

The pressure relief attributes of this mattress make it a keeper when it comes to ensuring that your shoulders and hips sink without the pressure and pain that can occur with other mattresses. Also, we found that couples and people with pets and kids sharing their bed will enjoy the motion isolation aspects of this product.

Cons

However, we’ve found this mattress not to be the coolest on the market. The Level Sleep Mattress got only a 7.5 out of 10 from us for cooling, so you may want to look elsewhere if you sleep hot. Also, it may not be your first choice if you are a stomach sleeper.

Read our full Level Sleep mattress review.


Buying Guide: How to Choose the Right Mattress 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 buying guide, we’ll share:

Sleep and Back Pain 

Acute Upper and Lower 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 in both your upper back and lower back 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.

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.

Chronic Back Pain

Chronic back pain is defined as having back pain that persists for months; it is often a result of accident or injury. Sleep posture and pressure relief are a little more crucial with this type of back pain, as your back will have to endure longer periods of aches, pains, and soreness than with acute back pain.

Related: Best mattress for hip pain

On the flip side, sleeping on an old, sagging, unsupportive mattress can turn your acute back pain into chronic back pain.

How Your Mattress Can 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.

What to Look for in a Mattress for Back Pain

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.

Related: Best Mattress for Fibromyalgia or Best Mattress for Scoliosis

Mattress Types

The type of mattress you choose is one of the most important decisions you can make. There are 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 Mattress

Most people ask, are memory foam mattresses good for back pain? The answer is: yes!

Memory foam mattresses will do an excellent job at performing in a number of factors including relieving pressure at the pain points, keeping your spine aligned, and cradling your body for comfort and support. When you suffer from back pain, each of these factors are super important.

Memory foam material also helps to evenly distribute your body weight across the surface of the bed, so you won’t have to deal with uneven pressure that exacerbates your back pain. When you compare memory foam to a traditional innerspring mattress, this material will stand the test of time better and hold its shape. This is key for people with back pain since mattress sagging is one of the big issues making your back hurt worse.

All that to say, memory foam mattresses are ideal for sleepers who have back pain.

Innerspring Mattress

Traditional innerspring mattresses are the type of bed that most people are used to sleeping on (hence the term “traditional”). They feature a layer of coil springs as the core of the mattress that is surrounded by foam cushioning. Spring mattresses have become more advanced as the years passed, using individually wrapped coils instead of intertwined ones for motion isolation, but they often don’t do much for pain.

You probably want to stay away from innerspring mattresses if you really want to give your back the support it needs. Innerspring beds won’t cradle your body as well as memory foam and won’t have the same pressure relieving properties as foam does.

Latex Mattress

The best latex mattresses offer similar benefits to memory foam when it comes to pressure relief and motion isolation. What latex makes up for that memory foam lacks is that latex foam is naturally cooling and buoyant. A latex mattress would be a good pick for back pain if you are a hot sleeper who prefers to sleep on top of your mattress rather than sink into it.

Hybrid Mattress

A hybrid mattress combines different materials in hopes of making a super mattress with each material’s strengths. A hybrid bed could feature any combination of spring, foam, and latex layers. Because there are so many combination options, hybrid mattresses work for nearly every type of sleeper, depending on materials. As long as the hybrid mattress of your choice offers proper spinal alignment, pressure point relief, and medium-firmness it should work for your back pain. Check out our picks for the best hybrid mattress for more recommendations.

Firmness

Is a firm mattress better for back pain? Interestingly enough, the answer is both yes and no. More specifically, 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.

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.

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.)

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.

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

Getting proper airflow in your mattress is important for people with back pain. First off, no one wants to sweat through their sheets. But particularly for those dealing with any type of pain, being able to get decent airflow while you sleep helps improve how much oxygen your body gets, which is key for getting restorative sleep so your muscles and joints can heal and restore.

Hybrid mattresses generally offer the best combination—you get the natural cooling structure from innerspring coils topped with comfortable foam. Look for the foam on these top comfort layers to be infused with gel or copper to get the most cooling abilities. Temperature regulating or temperature neutral mattresses also work well for keeping you cool.

Spinal Alignment

We’ve talked a lot about spinal alignment, but it plays a crucial role in whether or not you wake up feeling refreshed or wake up with a sore back. A spine that isn’t aligned correctly can lead to muscle strain, pressure, headaches, and daytime fatigue. Make sure that mattress you choose allows your spine to maintain its natural curve all night for a pain-free sleep and a groggy-free morning.

Pressure Relief

Your lower back and lumbar region will push into the mattress if you are a back sleeper, creating extra pressure on this area. A mattress that doesn’t offer pressure point relief will continue to push, causing irritation, soreness, and pain. Mattresses with pressure relieving material (such as memory foam) will simply contour your back like a hug rather than push into it, relieving undue pressure.

Tips for Sleeping 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.

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 three things that may help further reduce your back pain are your bed’s foundation, your sleeping position, and extra mattress accessories.

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.

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 sleep position.

Back Sleepers

Back sleeping 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. The best mattress for sleeping on your back has this support built in.

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. 

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.

Use the Right Mattress Accessories

Mattress Topper

Mattress toppers can provide an added comfort layer, and some are even particularly well-suited for sleepers with back pain. The best mattress toppers for back pain are often made from memory foam or latex thanks to their reputation for pressure relief and contouring. If you need back pain relief, but don’t want to invest in a new mattress, a mattress topper is the next best option.

Pillow

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. The best pillows for stomach sleepers tend to be flat. Side sleeper pillows have a higher loft to keep your neck in line, and back sleeper pillows have a medium loft for the neck to curve with the spine.

Related: Best pillow for back pain

 

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