Best Mattress for Sciatica: Reviews and Buyer’s Guide
According to Harvard Health Publication, up to 40 percent of people will be affected by sciatica in their lives. Unfortunately, the condition tends to get lumped in with average back pain when it should be categorized as a much more critical condition.
Sciatic pain originates from the inflammation and pressure placed on the sciatic nerve, or spinal cord when they are pinched or irritated.
Thankfully, 90 percent of people recover from nerve irritation without surgery. In this post, we discuss how the right mattress and sleep habits can alleviate your pain.
30 Second Summary: Best Mattress for Sciatica
- Amerisleep AS3 — The Editors’ at Sleep Junkie recommend Amerisleep’s AS3 as the best mattress for sciatica. The AS3’s featured pressure-relieving Bio-Pur® foam and zoned support technology deliver restorative sleep.
- Zoma Mattress – We like the Zoma Mattress for sciatica relief because it contains Triangulex™ technology and pressure-relieving memory foams to help you get more comfortable sleep.
Best Mattress for Sciatica
|Amerisleep AS3||Features HIVE® technology to promote proper posture.|
|Zoma Mattress||Contains pressure-relieving, gel-infused memory foams to help you get sound sleep.|
As our top recommended mattress, the Amerisleep AS3 has all the qualifications as the best mattress for sciatica, including support, conformability, firmness, and motion isolation.
Beneath a soft, breathable cover is a layer of pressure-relieving plant-based memory foam layer called Bio-Pur®. This foam is designed to wick away moisture and contour to the body to provide pain relief. This layer helps the spine lie in a neutral position, discouraging future back pain.
Below the Bio-Pur®, HIVE® technology fosters solid support to the hips and lumbar region and comfort to the head, shoulders, and ankles (the 5 different support zones). The hexagon cut-outs create passages through the mattress, aiding in cooling by allowing air to pass through the mattress.
The final layer, Bio-Core® acts as a foundation for the entire mattress. This layer gives the mattress its longevity and ensures the sleeper has a solid, even sleeping surface.
- Features pressure-relieving, plant-based memory foam
- Provides zoned comfort and support
- Comfortable for all sleeping positions
The Zoma Mattress is another great bed for sciatica relief due to its inclusion of Triangulex™ technology. The Zoma was originally designed to help athletes sleep deeper and recover faster, so it’s well-equipped to relieve pain and prevent future discomfort.
The Zoma Mattress has three layers and stands 11 inches tall. It’s designed to feel medium in firmness, so it should offer a good balance of comfort and support.
The first layer of Zoma is 2 inches of gel-infused memory foam. When you lay on the Zoma mattress, this comfort layer molds to your body to offer some cushion and alleviate pressure. The gel within combats body heat to keep you sleeping at a comfortable temperature. In this first layer is where Triangulex™ technology is included.
Triangulex™ is a zoned support technology that firmer under your torso and softer under your shoulders and hips to facilitate proper spinal alignment and prevent uncomfortable sinkage.
The second layer of Zoma is Reactiv™, a latex-like poly-foam. Because Reactiv™ is responsive, it gives the bed a bit of bounce and reinforces the Triangulex™ technology above. Together, Reactiv™ and Triangulex™ hold your spine in neutral alignment and alleviate pains at the source.
The third and final layer of Zoma is 7 inches of Support+, a durable poly-foam. Support+ gives the bed shape and structural integrity. Plus, Zoma backs each of their mattresses with a 10-year warranty to protect against sagging.
The Zoma Mattress can be bought online-only and comes with a 100-night sleep trial.
- Gel memory foam combats body heat and keeps you cool
- Comfortable for side and back sleepers
- Triangulex™ technology promotes proper spinal alignment
What is Sciatica?
The condition, sciatica, directly correlates to the welfare of the Sciatic Nerve. If the nerve is agitated it will render the individual with sharp pain beginning in the sciatic nerve down to the hips, posterior, and legs. These pains are what characterize sciatica.
Typically, the pain is more intense on one side even though both sides are affected.
Someone affected by sciatica often experiences numbness and weakness on the affected side(s). In more serious cases, loss of bladder and bowel functions may occur.
- Herniated Disks (Slipped or Ruptured Disks): When the outer layer of the gelatinous disk is punctured or torn, the cushioning liquid will spill out and create a bulge that might press against the sciatic nerve.
- Bones Spurs (Exostosis): An irregular bone formation grows on top of the already existing bone.
- Spinal Stenosis: The narrowing of the spinal canal, which in turn places pressure on the sciatic nerve.
- Age: As our bodies grow older, they do not function as well as they did when we were young. Natural changes such as deterioration of the spine can lead to sciatica. Typically, the result of spinal deterioration originates from years of sleeping wrong, lifting more than the body was capable, or a lifetime of sitting at a desk job or hard laborious work.
- Obesity: Excess weight places pressure on the spine. Since the spine is under continuous pressure, people who are overweight will eventually experience pinching and irritation from the sciatic nerve.
- Diabetes: Naturally, diabetes causes nerve damage. Especially if the condition isn’t treated properly. The disease usually starts at the feet or fingers and makes its way up to the rest of the body. Unfortunately, the sciatic nerve will eventually be included among the nerves affected.
- Occupation: Those who work physical labor or a desk job with long sitting periods have a large chance of suffering from sciatica. Hard labor jobs include a lot of lifting, twisting, pulling, and straining, which places strain on the spine. Meanwhile, desk jobs can place even more strain on the spine with the long sitting hours.
- Medication: Depending on the patient’s medical history and lineage, the physician may prescribe anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, narcotics, antidepressants, or anti-seizure medications.
- Physical Therapy: Along with medication, body rehabilitation is a more common treatment. Increasing flexibility and muscle strength have proven to be very beneficial to those with this type of chronic pain. Improving posture is another method of physical therapy that will be addressed.
- Steroid injections: Steroids are prescribed only for severe cases. Injected straight into the sciatic nerve, this treatment could have severe consequences: paralyzation, high levels of pain. Due to the risk of this treatment, it will be used several times over the course of a few months.
- Surgery: Once again, surgery will only be offered to those suffering from severe cases of sciatica and only if they experience the loss of bladder control or extreme pain.
What to Look for in a Mattress
For someone with chronic back pain, finding the best mattress can be essential to living and sleeping well. The question is which type of mattress will help relieve pain and help you sleep better?
Mattress sellers have found that people who have sciatica tend to lean towards memory foam and latex mattresses. The close contouring and solid support of both mattresses make up a major reason why these mattresses are preferred.
While everyone needs a good supportive mattress, those suffering from sciatica need this support to alleviate the pressure from their spine.
It can be tempting to purchase a soft bed. Soft things have the stigma of comfort and pain-relief; however, this isn’t always the case for mattresses.
Soft beds are fantastic pressure relievers for side sleepers. But those that have sciatica need something a little more firm, even if you are a side sleeper. For other sleeping positions, too soft a mattress will cause too much straining, making a firm mattress the best option.
On top of a supportive mattress, close conforming materials are needed for pain relief, which makes latex and memory foam mattresses ideal.
While support conditions your spine into a neutral resting position, contouring will conform to your spine to provide above-average pain and pressure relief.
Latex and memory foam mattresses have fantastic motion isolation. Chronic pain can be aggravated by motion. So, by purchasing a mattress that stops motion at the point of impact, pain is effectively reduced. It also stops a person from waking due to the movements of a sleep partner.
We highly suggest sticking with the recommended memory foam and latex mattresses; however, that doesn’t mean that you are limited to those mattress types. There are many different types of mattresses made with different materials.
Read on to learn more:
- Innerspring Mattresses: In America, the innerspring mattress continues to be the most popular. Nicknamed the “traditional mattress,” innerspring mattresses first appeared in the 1800s. Its defining characteristic is the support it gives the sleeper, which is attributed to the coil core the mattress utilizes.
If you are someone with sciatica looking to buy this type, watch for a mattress with a zoned support system.
- Latex Mattresses: First developed in the 1920s, the latex mattress has progressed by leaps and bounds as the most supportive mattress available on the market.
It’s made from the sap of the rubber tree. There are two different ways the latex can be produced: Talalay and Dunlop. Depending on the method of production, the latex will have some differences.
The Dunlop method will produce a mattress with a firmer sleeping surface, which isn’t the best if you’re looking for conformability; meanwhile, the Talalay method produces a material with equal support and better contouring.
For those with sciatica, we suggest getting a mattress with material produced by the Talalay method.
- Memory Foam Mattresses: Memory foam matches latex both in support and contouring. As one of the newer mattress materials to hit the market, memory foam quickly became popular for the pain relief it offers its sleepers.
Although the first initial foam mattress had heat retention issues, modern memory foam mattresses have eliminated these issues through the combination of open-cell construction and cool-promoting material infusions.
- Hybrid Mattresses: By taking the best of innerspring, latex, and memory foam mattresses, the hybrid mattress was placed on the market with riveting success. Because they’re made in so many different ways, these mattresses can be directed to any type of sleeper and highly recommended to those on the heavy side.
Learning how to sleep well in your preferred sleeping position can have as many benefits as a new mattress. For many sciatica patients, their pain increases when they lie down. Some have even gone through the lengths of sleeping while sitting or lying on the floor to have a brief moment of pain alleviation.
Spine compression is the reason for pain intensifying when lying down. To alleviate this pain, follow these easy instructions, depending on your sleep position:
- Back Sleeper: This position allows the spine to rest in a neutral position without the use of many pillows. Those with sciatica will want to place a wedge pillow under their knees to alleviate tension in their hips and lower back
- Side Sleepers: In this position, a sleeper will need to use several pillows to ensure the neutrality of their spine.
We highly suggest a body pillow, as it will cancel the need for multiple pillows and offers more support.
Securing a pillow under the head and between the legs will stop the misalignment of the spine. To stop yourself from tipping over you can place a pillow at your front or back. If you decide to employ the use of a body pillow, the front and back support will already be provided for you.
- Stomach Sleepers: Sciatica can be caused by sleeping on your front. The pressure that builds on the spine derives directly from the unnatural flattening and the pressure that builds up as a result of the sleeping position.
In the case that you are a stomach sleeper, we highly suggest you switch to side or back sleeping. If this isn’t an option, place a pillow or a rolled towel under your hips to preserve the natural curve in the spine. Sleeping without the use of a pillow in this sleeping position furthers the preservation of that curve.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a bad mattress cause sciatica?
There’s little chance of the wrong mattress causing your sciatica, but sleeping on a bad bed can certainly make it worse. If your mattress is old and unsupportive, you’ll want to replace it with a new one that can maintain a neutral spine position. Just make sure you choose a firmness that matches your sleeping style.
Can you sleep on your side with sciatica?
Yes, sleeping on your side is one of the better positions when you have sciatica. It avoids putting direct pressure on your back, though you might need a knee pillow to keep your hips and lower spine aligned. Try to sleep on your pain-free side.
Does walking help sciatica?
Yes, walking can make it easier to cope with sciatica. Walk at a slow pace with shorter steps — it can help to think about how you’d walk if you were talking to someone beside you. Take a break for a few minutes as needed.
How long will sciatica take to heal?
For most people with sciatica, it’s a temporary issues that will go away within a few weeks. Sciatica often clears up with noninvasive physical therapy. More severe cases may require steroid injections or spine surgery.
Is sitting bad for sciatica?
Sitting won’t necessarily exacerbate sciatica, as long as you sit in a certain way. Try to keep your feet on the floor and bend your legs at a 90-degree angle. Some people find that leaning to one side or sitting with their legs crossed also lessens the pain.
Research and Resources
In making this article, we…
- Researched dozens of mattress brands, reading about the materials they use, their manufacturing process, and what goes into making a high-quality, long-lasting mattress.
- Weighed the pros and cons of each kind of mattress you can buy, and who each kind of bed is best suited for.
- Spent 15 hours writing and revising the article to deliver the most value-driven, helpful content to our readers looking to find the best bed for their sleep needs.
Did You Find Your Next Bed?
Chronic back pain can be nerve-wracking. Whether you’re looking for a firm mattress to support your back or a contouring mattress, memory foam and latex mattresses are our suggestions when choosing a bed for sciatica.
If you want our best firm mattress options, head on over to our post.
This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.