Best mattresses for back pain

Introduction

Millions of people suffer from chronic back pain, making a restful night’s sleep improbable if not impossible.

If you have a bad back, choosing the right mattress can help to reduce pain and protect against further damage. The wrong mattress, however, can lead to misalignment of the spine, creating pressure points that make back pain worse and make a decent night’s sleep a distant dream.

Luckily, there are plenty of affordable, high-quality mattresses on the market that properly support the neck, back and pelvis while reducing pressure on bones and joints. This guide will identify five of the best, hand-selected by our team of experts.

Highlights

When looking for a mattress to ease or prevent back pain, memory foam and latex are the most sensible choices as these provide cushioning comfort for aching bones and joints along with avoiding pressure on the neck, spine and pelvis. You should also choose a medium firm to firm mattress, as this can give you the support and good spinal alignment you need. Very soft mattresses should be avoided as these allow the shoulders, spine and pelvis to sink into unnatural positions, causing pain over time.

Look out for

If you have back pain, avoid sleeping on your front or side, as these positions place the neck, spine and pelvis in unnatural positions. A back-sleeping position is better as this will hold the spine in correct alignment.

Overall

This article is a guide to the best type of mattress to buy if you suffer from back pain. Along with general advice whether to purchase a soft or firm option, it also covers types of mattress, including memory foam, hybrid and interspring along with suggesting five of the best models to try – all with great guarantee and trial periods, to ensure you make the right selection.

Our product recommendations

We’ve selected five of the best mattresses for back pain, made by well-established, highly respected brands with years of experience in designing and producing quality products. We’ve also chosen products that arrive quickly and are packaged conveniently, taking the stress out of buying a new mattress. Each has an extended manufacturer’s warranty and many come with a generous trial period, allowing you to try before committing.

Zinus Memory Foam Green Tea Mattress

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Key Features:

1: Pressure relieving support

2: High density foam

3: Green tea infused

Great for:

1: A fresh feeling

2: Regulating body temperature

3: Relieving back pain

Short description

The Zinus green tea memory foam mattress is infused with green tea extract and castor seed oil, both of which keep bad smells at bay (perfect for those with pets, small children or a penchant for spicy food!) It’s also one of the safest mattresses around, as the memory foam used is US certified for durability, performance and content.

The mattress is encased with high-quality knitted jacquard for a comfortable night’s sleep while the memory foam uses innovative technology for a highly responsive, pressure relieving sleep surface that moulds to the shape of your body, cushioning bones and joints.

This mattress will be conveniently compressed, rolled and shipped to your door with a ten-year limited manufacturer’s warranty and 100-day money back guarantee.

Zinus have been designing mattresses for over 16 years and have received more than 300,000 positive online reviews. Despite this, the company’s product range is very reasonable priced for the average buyer.

Sleep Innovations ‘Shiloh’ Memory Foam Mattress

Overall rating: 4/5

Key features:

  1. Functional and stylish
  2. Great all-rounder
  3. Provides spinal alignment

Great for:

  1. Value for money
  2. Head-to-toe comfort
  3. All sleeping positions

Short description:

This 12-inch deep memory foam mattress is a great all-rounder as it’s suitable for back, front and side sleepers along with those who suffer from back pain. The ‘Shiloh’ also suits any weight or body type, with ultra-responsive memory foam that lightly cradles the body, providing head to toe comfort.

This mattress is medium firm, keeping the spine properly aligned with the shoulders and hips fully supported. It has a soft foam top layer for comfort and a premium support bottom layer that provides proven pressure point relief.

Not only is this mattress a sensible buy for those with a bad back, it’s beautiful to look at too, with a stylish quilted finish. The ‘Shiloh’ comes with a 20-year manufacturers warranty in the USA and is vacuum packed for easy handling on delivery.

Sleep Innovations are leading researchers in the field of good sleep, with a long history of innovative design. The company also know a thing or two about good sleep as they’ve run a sleep-research lab for several years.

The Leesa premium foam mattress

Overall rating: 5/5

Key features:

  1. Three foam layers
  2. Provides pressure relief
  3. Well-reviewed online

Great for

  1. All sleeping positions
  2. Supporting your core
  3. Regulating body temperature

Short description

This multi-award winning Leesa mattress has three foam layers that adjust to your body, providing the best possible support for bones and joints (great for those with back problems.)

This versatile mattress is suitable for back, stomach and side sleepers along with those who toss and turn all night, delivering balanced body contouring, pressure relief and minimal motion transfer.

The 5cm ‘Avena’ top layer also provides airflow for a cooler night’s sleep and enough bounce for great freedom of movement, allowing you to find a comfortable sleeping position. The Leesa also has a generous 15cm base foam layer, providing strength, durability and structure.

This is a great mattress for supporting the core of the body and comes highly recommended by both experts and customers, at a great price. Leesa are so confident in this product that they’re currently offering a 100-night trial – if you don’t fall in love with it, you can return it at any time.

The Casper million-selling memory foam mattress

Goldilocks would be a fan of this mattress as it’s ‘just right.’ The zoned support treats your shoulders and hips differently, ensuring good alignment, while four layers of high-density premium memory foam provide the perfect balance of support, breathability, comfort and alignment.

Having received over 40,000 online reviews and global sales of over one million this multi-award-winning mattress is Casper’s signature product, a great all-rounder and fantastic for people with back pain. The unique transition foam layer ensures even weight distribution, preventing pressure points and aiding a truly comfortable night’s sleep.

The Casper also features a removable zip cover with hidden handles that can withstand years of machine washing.

Overall rating: 5/5

Key features:

  1. A million sold
  2. Washable cover
  3. Zoned support

Great for:

  1. Longevity
  2. Even weight distribution
  3. Spinal alignment

The Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Key features:

  1. Lifetime warranty
  2. Pressure relieving foam

3.Tailored support

Great for:

  1. Regulating temperature
  2. Value for money
  3. Alleviating chronic pain

Short description

According to the company, if you buy a Nectar mattress, it will be the last you ever need to purchase. This claim is backed up with a lifetime warranty on each one along with a 365-night trial period, so you can buy with complete confidence.

This medium support mattress has a unique cooling cover that draws heat away from the body, circulating fresh air each time you move (great for those who toss, turn and overheat in warmer weather.)

The pressure relieving memory foam helps alleviate even chronic back pain, providing comfort and firm support where it’s needed most. It contours to the body and is more breathable than standard foams, allowing for greater airflow.

The base of the mattress is split into 7 zones, providing firmer support under the hips and soft cushioned support under the shoulders. The mattress also has an innovative layer of base material that holds it firmly in place on your bed frame, no more sliding around in bed like you’re riding a bobsleigh!

BUYING GUIDE

WHICH MATTRESS IS BEST FOR…?

A good quality mattress is a must for a great night’s sleep. This is particularly important for those who suffer from back pain, as choosing the wrong type of mattress, or a poor-quality product, can make your condition worse (and may even have caused it in the first place.)

Those who suffer from back pain should opt for a medium firm to firm mattress that provides good lumbar support and helps correctly align the spine. Memory foam and latex mattresses are also great choices for people with back pain, as these mould to the contours of the body, helping to reduce pressure on both bones and joints.

When looking for a mattress to help ease back pain, you should take into account the cause of your back condition, your preferred sleeping position (front, back, side or a combination) along with your weight, height and any other medical conditions you suffer from.

WHAT YOU NEED TO CONSIDER

There are many things to consider when choosing a mattress, and buyers often feel confused by jargon when making a choice.Our guide to commonly used mattress terminology should help to simplify buying a mattress.

Firmness: Mattresses can be soft, medium or firm, depending on the amount of sinkage / push back built into the design. Preferred firmness is largely down to personal choice, though it should be noted that a medium firm to firm mattress is the most sensible choice for those with back problems. Firmness can be affected by weight, height and body type and is highly subjective.

‘Universal comfort’ mattresses sit in the middle of the soft to firm range and have multiple foam layers to better accommodate variations in weight and body type. This kind of mattress therefore suits most sleeping positions and is a popular choice for those without back problems or other sources of pain.

Mattress composition: Popular mattress types include memory foam, gel, pillow top, inner spring, water or air filled, latex, hybrid and adjustable base. Each have different properties, with memory foam and latex being recommended most often for those with back pain.

Buying from a well-established provider with great customer reviews is a must, as poor-quality mattresses can be a safety hazard and can also make back and joint pain worse – not to mention providing a poor overall sleeping experience.

WHAT ARE THE BEST MATTRESS TYPES FOR…

Memory foam: This type of mattress is designed to follow the natural curves of the body, relieving the pressure commonly associated with back pain along with allowing tense muscles to fully relax. Memory foam mattresses are also recommended for back sleepers as it’s important to use a very responsive mattress that doesn’t allow the curve of the lower back to be exaggerated, leading to discomfort.

Hybrid: Hybrid mattresses combine two or more support systems, usually memory foam layers along with an interspring system. They’re a great way to get the pressure relieving benefits of a memory foam mattress while keeping the firmness and classic feel of an interspring mattress

Interspring: A more traditional mattress type, intersprings use an internal steel coil support system covered by padding and upholstery materials including various foams, fibres and even additional layers of smaller springs. Generally regarded as less comfortable and noisier than memory foam or hybrids, interspring’s are often more affordable, providing solid medium firm to firm support.

Latex: A latex mattress combines natural latex foam with either springs or reflex foam to create a supportive and durable sleep surface. Natural latex offers cushioning for pressure points like hips and shoulders, while also providing enough support for natural spinal alignment – making this type of mattress a good choice for those with a bad back.

Best for the majority: Universal comfort mattresses are medium firm and suit most sleepers, with multiple layers of foam that can accommodate a wide range of different weights and body types.

OTHER RECOMMENDED MATTRESS BRANDS

Amerisleep: Proud to manufacture exclusively in the United States, Amerisleep mattresses are built with comfort in mind. The affordable product range caters for all types of sleeper, using unique technology which includes plant-based fabrics and the world’s most eco-friendly memory foam.

Saatva are a highly respected, well reviewed American company that design and manufacture all mattress types. Dedicated to using eco-friendly materials, Saatva have conducted research into spinal health to design a range of products tailored to those who suffer from back pain.

Bear mattresses are made with Celliant technology, clinically proven to promote restful sleep, aid quicker recovery and help you wake with more energy. Celliant is also proven to enhance tissue oxygen levels, improving athletic performance.

Simmons are a company rich in history, having manufactured mattresses since 1900. This doesn’t mean they’re not leading the way with innovative technology, combining cutting edge design with quality manufacture, ensuring mattresses are comfortable, durable and long-lasting.

FAQs

Is a soft or firm mattress best for back pain?

It’s important for people with back pain to keep the spine in natural alignment while sleeping. Medium firm is therefore the best choice, as it provides the support the body needs without allowing the shoulders or pelvis to sink below the spine. A mattress that’s too soft will also prevent tense muscles from fully relaxing.

Those who suffer from back pain in the lumbar (lower) region may wish to consider choosing a firm rather than medium firm mattress, as this provides even more support, holding the body in a straight line.

Why is memory foam a good mattress choice for those with back pain?

Memory foam moulds to the body in response to heat and pressure, returning to its original shape once the pressure is removed. Not only does this make it an incredibly comfortable sleeping surface, memory foam also alleviates pressure on bones and joins, making it a great choice for those who suffer bodily aches and pains, including in the back area.

When you lie on memory foam, the heat from your body softens it at all points of contact, helping to support your body along natural curves and lines. This also stops you from moving around as much, which gives your back the chance to rest and recover. Memory foam is a particularly good choice for elderly people who suffer from joint and back pain.

Do I need an expensive mattress if I suffer from back pain?

Generally, very cheap mattresses are usually inferior quality to mid-range or more expensive models and won’t provide as much support or comfort. If you suffer from back pain, view buying a mattress as making an investment in your health, choosing a product that comes with great reviews and an extended trial period, along with a solid guarantee. The mattresses featured in this article are all sold with these options but don’t cost the earth.

Can mattresses cause back pain?

If you’re sleeping on a mattress that’s too firm or soft, this could be contributing to or even casing your back pain. A mattress that’s much too firm could be pushing on pressure points, causing misalignment of the spine and pelvis. A mattress that’s too soft, on the other hand, could be providing too much sinkage rather than holding the spine in its natural curve. Correct posture while you sleep is as important as good posture during the day. The right mattress should make you feel like your body is floating, comfortably cushioned but safely supported.

Could my sleeping position be causing my back pain?

Yes, some sleeping positions can make existing back pain worse or even cause issues in the first place. Sleeping on your side or stomach can place unnecessary pressure on the neck, spine and back, allowing the body to become misaligned. The best position for back pain is, conversely, sleeping on the back (providing that you’re on a medium to firm mattress, preferably memory foam) as the spine is well supported and the shoulders and hips held in correct alignment.

IN CONCLUSION

Choosing the right mattress can play huge part in preventing, managing and even getting rid of back pain, though medical advice should also be sought if pain is long-lasting or severe. Time and again, studies and reviews have shown that a medium to medium firm memory foam mattress is best at providing the support your body needs to combat back pain, alleviating pressure on bones and joints along with holding the spine in its correct position. Choosing to sleep on your back will also contribute to pain relief and will aid healing.

The five mattresses in this review have been hand-selected from hundreds by our team of experts and are fantastic choices if back pain is disrupting your sleep. As poor sleep can contribute to poor overall health and performance at work, it’s  important to invest in a good quality mattress that meets your individual requirements.

All the mattresses we’ve suggested come with a good manufacturer’s warranty period along with an extended trial period – so if you’re choice isn’t 100% suitable, you can return it for a full refund.

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