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Best Mattress for Back Pain: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide
Top 10 | Best and Worst Mattresses

Best Mattress for Back Pain: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Mattress Guides
Read Time: 20 minutes

Chronic back pain plagues millions of people nationwide, and sleeping on an uncomfortable bed only makes matters worse. Many have found that chiropractic treatments, along with finding the best mattress for back pain, are the two most effective ways to put an end to pesky pains. Everybody’s most comfortable mattress is going to be different, but there are a few key things to look for when searching specifically for a bed to ease your discomfort.

In this guide, we’ll discuss our Editors’ recommended mattresses for back pain relief and our tips for finding a high-quality, pain-relieving bed.

30 Second Summary: Best Mattress for Back Pain

    • Amerisleep AS3 – The AS3 is our recommended mattress for back pain because it features with clinically-proven zoned support technology to promote proper posture and alleviate discomfort.
    • Amerisleep AS2 – Like the AS3, the AS2 is great for relieving back pain, but due to its firmness, it’s a better option for back and stomach sleepers.
    • Zoma Mattress – Zoma cushions pressure points with gel memory foam and keeps your spine in healthy alignment with zoned support to prevent recurring backaches.

Best Mattresses for Back Pain

 MattressHighlightsPrice
amerisleep as2Amerisleep AS3Best mattress for side sleepers with back pain.
$1199Buy Now
amerisleep as2Amerisleep AS2Features pressure-relieving, plant-based memory foam and advanced zoned support technologies to eliminate back pain.
$1099Buy Now
zomaZoma Sports MattressDesigned to help athletes sleeper better and recover quicker; features state-of-the-art sleep-enhancing technologies.

1. Amerisleep AS3

amerisleep as3The Amerisleep AS3 is the best mattress for side sleepers with back pain.

We like the AS3 for side sleepers with frequent pains because it contains 3 inches of pressure-relieving Bio-Pur® foam. The thickness of this layer is ideal for side sleepers because it allows for deep compression under the shoulders and hips but is still supportive enough to facilitate proper spinal alignment. Plus, the AS3 is equipped with HIVE® technology to offer even better support.

HIVE® is a zoned support technology. It’s beneficial for side sleepers because it allows for extra cushion around major joints such as your hips and shoulders and extra support under your midsection, head, and feet.

The Amerisleep AS3 comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty.

Amerisleep AS3 Highlights

  • Designed with an even balance of comfort and support to be compatible with many sleep styles
  • Features 3 inches of pressure-relieving, plant-based memory foam
  • One of the most comfortable mattresses for side sleepers seeking back pain relief

2. Amerisleep AS2

amerisleep mattressesAmerisleep’s AS2 is another great mattress for back pain, but it’s more comfortable for back and stomach sleepers than side sleepers. It contains only 2 inches of Bio-Pur® memory foam, so it’s a little less cushioning than the AS3; but it’s still equipped with the same HIVE® technology that makes the AS3 ideal for back pain relief.

The Amerisleep AS2 contains three layers: 2 inches of Bio-Pur®, 3 inches of Affinity with HIVE®, and 7 inches of Bio-Core®. Unlike the AS3, the thinness of this layer makes this model more comfortable for stomach and back sleepers because it allows for some sinking and cushioning, but not too much that your torso feels “stuck” in the mattress.

Like all Amerisleep mattresses, the AS2 comes equipped with a Celliant® cover, too. Celliant’s® textile technology recycles body heat to infrared energy to keep your temperature regulated and promote faster recovery— for somebody with back pain, this is ideal.

The Amerisleep AS2 also comes with a 100-night sleep trial and 20-year warranty.
Amerisleep AS2 Highlights

  • HIVE® technology relieves pressure points and promotes healthy sleep positions
  • Best for back and side sleepers
  • Uses plant-based memory foam
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3. Zoma Sports Mattress

zoma sports mattressNext on our list is the state-of-the-art Zoma Sports Mattress. Containing three layers, this memory foam bed is designed to foster neutral spinal alignment and prevent pain or pressure points from forming.

Let’s talk about its construction.

The first layer of the Zoma is 2 inches of gel-infused memory foam. When you lay on this layer, it molds to your body to alleviate pressure build-up and offer instant comfort. The gel within the foam combats body heat and prevents you from getting uncomfortably warm while you sleep. Zoma also includes its sleep-enhancing Triangulex™ technology in this layer. Triangulex™ feels firmer under your midsection and softer under your hips and shoulders to promote proper posture. Its firm center prevents sinkage within the mattress and holds your spine in line with the rest of your body.

Next, is their Reactiv™ foam— a layer of latex-like poly-foam. Reactiv™ boosts this bed’s bounciness and creates a more “on top of the bed” feel in regards to firmness. The responsiveness of this layer prevents you from sinking unhealthily far in the mattress, too. Primarily, Reactiv™ serves as a soft transition layer between the cushioning memory foam above and the sturdy base below.

The last and final layer of the Zoma is their Support+ foam, a durable poly-foam. The Support+ layer reinforces the two layers above and prevents premature deterioration and sagging throughout the mattress.

The Zoma Sports Mattress comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.

Zoma Sports Mattress Highlights

  • Designed to be comfortable for the majority of sleepers
  • Gel-infused memory foam combats body heat, ideal for hot sleepers
  • Triangulex™ technology offers enhanced spinal support

4. Original Purple Mattress

purple mattressThe Purple brand is innovative because they designed and use a whole new material for making mattresses— hyper-elastic polymer. The founders of Purple, one of which being an actual rocket scientist, decided to dabble in mattress making and designed this material into a grid shape to use as the top layer of their beds, the goal was to create the first ever “No Pressure” mattress. Purple’s Smart Comfort Grid™ is a bit of a paradox; when you lay on this mattress, the grid collapses under your weight to offer instant comfort and release pressure in your joints, however, it still maintains a level of support, as it holds your body in line and promotes a neutral spine.

Purple’s flagship mattress, the Original Purple, is excellent for those who suffer from back pain because of it’s ability to closely conform to your body’s curves and relieve tension in your joints and pressure points. The dynamic support of the Smart Comfort Grid™ promotes your body’s natural shape and ensures you’re not sinking too far into the mattress and over-extending your spine, a contributor to back pain.

Purple Highlights

  • World’s first “no-pressure” mattress for ultimate pain relief
  • Compatible with back, side, and stomach sleepers
  • Features pain-relieving Smart Comfort Grid™

5. Bear

bear mattress for back painBear mattresses are designed specifically to help athletes get better and more reparative sleep so they can perform their best each day. On their website, they state their beds are designed to relieve back and muscle pains, which is exactly what sleepers who experience back pain are looking for! They use Celliant® in their cover to boost circulation and recovery time, so your body and mind should feel energized and ready to take on the day when you rise.

Bear sells two beds, a memory foam model and a hybrid alternative— we recommend choosing their memory foam bed. The first layer of this model is 1.5 inches of graphite-infused memory foam; memory foam is excellent for pressure relief, so it helps eliminate aches, and the graphite gel they infuse into this layer helps keep you at a cool temperature all night long.

We mentioned earlier memory foam can retain heat, so Bear uses this gel to offset that risk. Next, we want to mention the following layer, which is actually two 1-inch layers that act as one. The extra 2 inches of foam below the top layer allow for deeper compression in the mattress, which is important for those with back pain as it eases tension in the spine. Though these two layers allow for more compression, they’re not memory foam, and are designed to be more responsive and ensure you don’t sink unnaturally far in the mattress.

The combination of these top layers create a healthy balance of comfort and support so those with back pain can experience pressure relief without sacrificing spinal support.

Bear Highlights

  • Designed to help athletes get better sleep
  • Best for side and back sleepers
  • Cooling design is ideal for hot sleepers

6. Layla

layla foam mattressLayla offers an innovative, flippable firmness mattress; meaning, one side is firm, but if you flip it over, the other side is soft. This bed is perfect for sleepers who aren’t exactly sure what firmness they need from a bed. For the most part, their firm side is best suited for stomach and back sleepers while their soft side is ideal for side sleepers, but everybody is different and this bed gives you options. Layla’s memory foam mattress includes the infusion of copper, which has a handful of sleep-promoting benefits.

To start, copper is structurally supportive, so when you lay on this bed, it’ll compress under your weight and offer more support in areas where you need it, preventing you from sinking too far in the mattress and contributing to neutral spinal alignment. This alone is great for those with back pain because it helps reinforce your body’s natural, healthy curvature. Copper also is highly conductive, so it pulls heat away from you and out of the mattress, keeping you cool and comfortable while you sleep.

On their website, they mention the Layla is designed for pain relief, specifically they aim to nurture your spine’s alignment and eliminate muscle aches, two important factors for those with back pain. Regardless of how you sleep, you can get pain-relieving rest on the Layla bed.

Layla Highlights

  • Flippable firmness
  • Compatible with side, back, and stomach sleepers
  • Copper-infused foam keeps you cool, clean, and supported

What Causes Back Pain?

As back pain sufferers know, the pain can comes from many places, such as an injury, occupational strains, daily stress, sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress, or a combination of the above.

According to the Mayo Clinic’s research, the conditions most commonly linked to back pain are muscle or ligament strain, bulging or ruptured discs, arthritis, skeletal irregularities, and osteoporosis. It’s clear there is no singular cause, but there are common factors. Understanding these factors and using them to manage your discomfort is one of the most effective ways to alleviate back pain.

Many forms of back pain have one thing in common: they get worse after a bad night’s sleep. Whether it’s the result of a one-time injury, a chronic problem, or just the aches and pains of everyday life, back pain will only worsen on an uncomfortable mattress. Tossing and turning may aggravate the underlying cause. Too much pressure on the wrong part of the body can make you feel worse than when you went to bed.

While sleeping, pressure is gradually released from your vertebrae— because you’re lying down, your upper body is no longer applying pressure to your spine. When a person wakes up, they can be up to one inch taller than when they went to bed. As the day progresses, pressure returns with gravity, and various factors (like poor posture) compress your spine throughout the day.

The effects of poor sleep can be even worse depending on your sleeping position. Stomach sleeping, for example, places extra pressure and strain on the neck and spine.

In many cases, managing a chronic back problem comes down to finding the best mattress for back pain. Getting a good night’s sleep reduces stress, takes pressure off injured or strained areas of the body, and helps alleviate pain.

How Back Pain Impacts Sleep

back pain and sleep

How much of an impact can back pain have on sleep? The facts might surprise you:

  • Lower back discomfort is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. It’s one of the most common reasons for missed work. Up to 80% of us will experience it at some point in our lives, says the American Chiropractic Association.
  • Pain is a key factor keeping many Americans from getting the quality sleep they need. Sleep disturbance is a top complaint among patients dealing with a chronic back or joint problem.
  • It has been reported by the National Sleep Foundation that those suffering chronic pain in their back or joints get around 42 fewer minutes of sleep per night.
  • People with pain feel like they have less control over their sleep, and are more likely to worry about whether they’re snoozing enough.

Ease Pain with Healthy Sleep

The good news is, you do have control over your sleep quality. If back discomfort is a chronic issue, investing in the right mattress can significantly improve the quality of your sleep—as well as your well-being while awake. Even if an injury or chronic condition causes back pain, getting a peaceful night’s sleep with good support and alignment can be the difference between manageable pain and debilitating pain. Choosing a comfortable bed can lead to several significant improvements including reducing pain, facilitating better rest, and preventing new aches.

Sleeping on a lumpy or unsupportive surface can lead to discomfort. Sinking too deeply into a mattress can throw your joints out of alignment, causing them to twist and become uncomfortable as the night goes on. On the other hand, sleeping on a too-firm surface can interfere with the spinal cord’s ability to reach its proper alignment. Years ago, doctors recommended a firm mattress for people with back pain. However, recent surveys suggest people who sleep on very hard mattresses (sometimes called orthopedic mattresses) have the poorest sleep quality.

Natural spine alignment can alleviate chronic back pain

Sleeping with a straight, natural alignment relieves the pressure points commonly associated with many back pains.

Finding a mattress with the right level of support, while also encouraging a comfortable and uninterrupted night’s sleep, can take significant stress off those pressure points and help your spine relax.

Best Mattress Types for Back Pain

Memory foam and latex mattresses tend to rate the highest amongst customers with back pain, with innerspring beds performing poorly in reviews. In this section, we discuss memory foam, latex, hybrid, and innerspring beds, and how well they perform to reduce and prevent pains.

The ideal bed will be based on each person’s sleep style and preferences. Some people have a preference for the feel of memory foam, while others prefer the feel of latex. Things like materials, layer thickness, and firmness will depend on your body weight, sleep style, and other factors.

Memory Foam

Memory foam is thought to be the best for back pain relief because it’s the most contouring and cushioning. These mattresses mold and adapt to your body’s shape, allowing the wider parts of your body, like your hips and shoulders, to sink in while the narrower areas of your body, such as your waist and feet, lay atop the mattress.

Sleeping with straight, natural alignment relieves the pressures commonly associated with many back pains. A mattress with poor conformity or support forces the body to rest at an unnatural angle and prevents tense muscles from fully relaxing.

Choose a memory foam mattress that is made with natural, plant-based material to avoid harmful chemicals and overheating.

Latex

Latex is also great for back pain relief because it’s cushioning and contouring. While it’s not as contouring as memory foam, it is adaptable and will mold to your body to some degree. Latex is more responsive than memory foam; instead of “cradling” you in the mattress, latex keeps you lifted and offers a more “on top of the bed” feeling in terms of firmness.

Because many sleepers report latex beds feeling firmer than they expected, we’re weary to recommend them as the best for back pain relief— as you do need some softness and adequate contouring to eliminate and prevent discomfort.

Hybrid

High-quality hybrid mattresses are also great for pain relief because they combine pressure-relieving foam layers with zoned pocketed coils to create a responsive but cushioning bed. If you prefer the bounciness of an innerspring mattress, but need the comfort of foam layers for pain relief, hybrids are perfect or you.

When shopping for a hybrid, check for zoned support technologies and the thickness of the foam layers— you want to ensure there are enough cushioning technologies at play to relieve pain.

Innerspring

Traditional innerspring mattresses are often flat and plank-like, providing uneven support. These beds don’t conform to your body, and aren’t all that cushioning, either. For back sleepers, flat surfaces force the spine to arch and leave the inner knee unsupported; this prevents the lower back from decompressing, which can cause several types of strains and pains.

When comparing these mattress types, medium-firm memory foam, or even latex, mattresses are better choices. These sleep surfaces perform well because they don’t force the spine to curve into unnatural positions while you sleep. Instead, they allow the parts of your body that need to sink to do so, while still giving support in the places that require it. Hips and shoulders are cushioned, while the lower back is fully supported and able to relax.

Concerns With Memory Foam

Memory foam is designed to fully conform to your body’s natural curves, to provide support exactly where you need it. But does that benefit come with a downside?

As memory foam beds have become more popular, there has been a growing concern with their tendency to trap heat. Meaning, even if the bed is soft and comfortable, you’ll still be uncomfortable at night because you’re sleeping on a hot mattress. Though it is true some memory foam mattresses are made from synthetic materials and extremely dense foams can trap heat, many mattress brands are taking extra steps to ensure their beds won’t trap heat. Mattress manufacturers have also found memory foam mattresses made from natural, plant-based materials tend to offer cooler and more comfortable sleep.

When it comes to getting a memory foam mattress, it’s important to consider where the product is coming from and how it is made. This can be harder than you’d think. For example, Nectar mattresses settled FTC charges that claims of their product being ‘assembled in the USA’ were false. When looking at a company, read its reviews and read its website to find out as much as you can about the product quality.

Why Memory Foam is Our Recommended Option

Amerisleep AS2 is the best bed for back pain

Amerisleep’s AS2 provides the right amount of support back pain

Based on everything we’ve looked at, medium-firm memory foam mattresses like the Amerisleep AS2 are perfect for those suffering back pain. Memory Foam contours the entire body without any gaps unlike innerspring mattresses. Most often, medium-firm mattresses let the spine to rest in a natural position.

Our research indicates Amerisleep’s AS2 is a good choice for medium-firm memory foam. Amerisleep uses high-quality materials, ensuring pain-free sleep for many years.

A Quality Mattress Starts with Quality Materials

There’s more. The memory foam used in the AS2 and other Amerisleep mattresses recovers its shape faster. With typical memory foam mattresses, you might wind up “stuck” when you switch positions while you wait for your memory foam to adapt—which can take up to 60 seconds. The AS2 bounces back in just four seconds. So your mattress keeps up with you while you move at night. That makes it one of the best mattresses on the market.

And when it comes to reducing back pain, the AS2 also has Amerisleep’s HIVE®. HIVE® is clinically shown to reduce pressure points up to 49%. It works by grouping hundreds of six-sided foam supports into five comfort zones to provide targeted pressure relief.

For places where you need an additional cushion, like the shoulders, the HIVE® layer has more space between the foam hexagons. That way those zones will compress more. And for zones where you need more support, like your head and feet, the HIVE® layer has less space between the hexagons to provide more reinforcement.

Beyond quality materials, Amerisleep also uses the latest performance technology like Celliant®, an advanced fabric, to further improve your back pain. How? Celliant® is determined by the FDA to temporarily promote increased local blood flow at the site of application in healthy individuals. It does that by safely converting body heat to infrared energy. As a result, the energy penetrates into the muscle and tissue to promote a temporary increase in local blood flow. This can help increase comfort and promote restful sleep.

Amerisleep also offers a generous 100-night sleep trial. If you feel that your mattress isn’t a good fit, Amerisleep will refund or exchange it during the trial period. They’ll handle the pick-up and donate the mattress for you.

Choosing Your Ideal Firmness

Now that we’ve sorted through the different types of mattresses, it’s time to answer another essential question for sufferers of back pain— how firm should my mattress be?

Is it better to go with a soft and cloud-like sleep, or should you take the old advice that the firmest bed is best? The answer may be neither, or possibly a combination of both options.

It has long been believed that a firm bed is the best choice for people who suffer from a bad back. But in reality, firm mattresses remain a hotly contested debate between orthopedic doctors and chiropractors. Recent surveys have shown hard mattresses might not be the best choice. The majority of chiropractors were probably right in recommending their patients sleep on medium-firm mattresses.

Overall, medium-firm mattresses are the most recommended, especially for back sleepers. Still want to do some more research? Check out other mattress reviews to learn about other types of mattresses, the materials they’re made from, and their firmness.

Expert Opinions

In two separate studies, Oklahoma State University researchers found medium-firm mattresses are the most effective at reducing clinically diagnosed back pain, shoulder pain, and spine stiffness. Subjects who slept on medium-firm mattresses experienced better sleep quality overall and fewer sleep disturbances throughout the night.

People with pre-existing conditions sometimes require a moderately firm sleeping surface to heal properly from strains and other injuries. Side sleepers might prefer options in the medium range to better cushion their hips and shoulder.

Still not convinced a medium-firm mattress is a better choice than one that’s rock-hard? Here’s an easy way to see how it might feel to sleep on a very firm mattress— place a plywood board under your mattress, or put your mattress on the floor for the night. Doing this will make your bed less cushy, giving you a good approximation of how a very firm mattress might feel.

In the end, it comes down to what works best for your body and the way you sleep. If back pain is a recurring issue, medium-firm mattresses are often a good way to alleviate some of that pain. You may need to try a few different options to find the best bed for your back pain, though; that’s why it’s a good idea to buy from a mattress brand that lets you try the mattress risk-free at home.

How Temperature Can Impact Pain

Cooler sleeping experiences often facilitate deeper sleep than hotter ones. A good night’s sleep requires a 1°C loss of core body temperature. Deep sleep is synonymous with more restful sleep, so seeking ways to cool your sleeping experience makes sense. Think of it this way: even if the support is perfect and your spine’s pressure points are alleviated, what happens if you’re hot all night? You’ll likely toss and turn because you’re warm and sweaty, only making your pain worse.

Comfort is a complicated thing. Finding the best mattress for back pain means considering all the factors, from comfort and support to keeping cool.

Consider an Adjustable Bed

Adjustable beds are no longer confined to the insides of hospital rooms. Today, they’re found in homes across the world helping people improve their night’s rest— and for sufferers of back pain, these sleep-promoting bed frames can be the key to sound, pain-free sleep.

The main feature in all adjustable beds is head and foot articulation; this allows you to adjust the angle of your head and feet to find the most comfortable position for sleep. These beds also allow you to sleep in the Zero-Gravity position. In this position, you’re lying flat, but your feet are angled ever so slightly above your head, creating a weightless feel. The Zero-Gravity position is recommended for those with back pain because it virtually eliminates pressure.

Those with back pain may find relief from sleeping on an adjustable bed with their legs raised, too. Doing this takes pressure off the spine and alleviates discomfort in your lower back.

Many adjustable beds come with fun features such as body massagers, which are excellent for those with pain and discomfort. You can use these massagers to help you fall asleep at night, and you can also set them to turn on at a certain time in the morning to help you wake up. The bells and whistles are going to change from base to base, so double-check to ensure the one you’re buying comes with the features you need.

Fighting Back Pain on a Budget

Of course, buying a new mattress is a big investment. Even if you’re not in the market to spend a lot of money, there are still budget-friendly ways to improve your night’s sleep.

Consider Bed-in-a-box Mattresses

bed in a box mattress

Everybody knows a mattress from a traditional retailer can cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. However, you can save yourself quite a bit of money by shopping with an online or bed in a box mattress brand. By selling their beds direct-to-consumer, these brands are able to price their high-quality beds more affordably. Meaning, a bed you may pay over $1,500 for in a store can cost you less than $1,000 online.

If you need a new bed but have a tight budget, we recommend starting your search online. There are over 175 different online mattress brands, and many brands sell their beds through Amazon. Just be wary of cheap beds or beds sold through unauthorized sellers.

When shopping on a marketplace such as Amazon, always check to make sure you’re buying through a brand’s verified storefront, and not from a third-party seller. You can usually easily detect third-party sellers because they price their beds much cheaper than others. If it seems too good to be true, it likely is.

Before clicking purchase on any new mattress, make sure it comes with a sleep trial and warranty, too. These protect you from getting stuck with an uncomfortable or defective bed.

Mattress Toppers

Many chiropractors believe if the sleeper does not own a memory foam bed or if their current bed is too firm, the best thing to do is to lay a 1½ to 2½-inch thick mattress topper on their sleep surface.

It’s best to think of a memory foam topper as a small step towards an improved sleeping experience. Even this small step can have a big impact on back pain, especially if you decide to invest in a high-quality memory foam topper.

High-quality toppers are considerably less expensive than a new mattress, and with proper care, they can last for years. By adding a topper, you can get more use out of the mattress you already have—while boosting your comfort level in bed and keeping your back pain at bay.

Memory foam mattress toppers can help if you do not have the best bed for back pain

Make sure your mattress is free from visible sags or indentations, or your pain may not be alleviated with a topper.

Drawbacks to Mattress Toppers

Of course, foam toppers are not a foolproof solution. While a mattress pad aids comfort and can help with support, its thin profile doesn’t give the sleeper the deep advantages a memory foam or latex mattress does.

Compared with foam toppers, foam mattresses offer more pressure relief, mold and dust mite resistance, and longevity. The breathability and advantages of memory foam make it an overall good choice for pain, and it’s likely to be comfortable for most people.

In short, a mattress topper can help make your sleep surface more comfortable, but it won’t be as effective as a new memory foam mattress.

If you’re hesitant to purchase a new mattress outright, a memory foam mattress topper can be a good stepping stone. Knowing how your body responds to memory foam can inform your mattress decision when the time comes.

One thing to keep in mind— if you choose to use a mattress topper, make sure your current mattress isn’t already sagging. If your current mattress bows inward, the topper will likely do the same, so it won’t be able to provide you with the support to wake up pain-free.

Sleeping Positions and Back Pain

How you sleep at night greatly impacts your severity and frequency of pain; and simply changing your sleep position can make a huge difference in combating discomfort. People who sleep on their backs are less likely to experience these discomforts, while stomach sleepers are prone to nagging backaches. Below, we discuss these differences a bit further.

Side Sleepers

Side and back sleeping are both thought to be the “healthiest” sleep position. It’s impossible to discern one singular “best,” as everybody has unique sleep needs; but most doctors and sleep specialists can agree that stomach sleeping is quite unhealthy.

Side sleepers may experience pain in their lower backs if their mattress is not firm enough to reinforce healthy posture. The best mattresses for side sleepers are medium to medium-firm, as beds of medium firmness are soft enough to alleviate pressure points and supportive enough to maintain healthy spinal alignment.

To kick pesky pains, the Mayo Clinic recommends side sleepers draw up their legs slightly toward their chest, and place a pillow between their knees.

Back Sleepers

Back sleeping has many benefits— it keeps your spine aligned, reduces headaches, relieves sinus pressure, and reduces your risk of developing certain chronic conditions by easing pressure on your body.

Because sleeping this way keeps your spine in its natural alignment, back sleepers already have a leg up in the fight against back pain. However, though this position is very healthy, its rare— only 8% of people choose to sleep this way.

If you’re currently a back sleeper, don’t change sleeping positions! Instead, combat pain by placing a pillow beneath your knees and supporting your neck with a flat pillow (rather than a thick one).

Stomach Sleepers

Stomach sleepers have the hardest time fighting back pain because sleeping on the stomach naturally stresses the spine. However, placing a pillow beneath the lower abdomen and using a thin pillow (or none at all) under the head can help reduce the negative impact of sleeping on your stomach.

However, as we mentioned earlier, stomach sleeping is not healthy, especially for your back. If you’re a stomach sleeper, we urge you to (at least) try to change your sleeping position. While it may feel unnatural or uncomfortable to sleep on your side or back, it’s worth it in the long run to make the change.

Changing how you sleep can make a big difference in your aches and pains, especially when you combine these changes with a new, comfortable mattress. Making this change is easier said than done, though. During the adjustment period, you might naturally toss pillows away and roll back into your old position.

There is no single best position for back pain because there is no single source of back pain. It’s up to you to asses your situation and determine what changes are the most effective towards getting pain-free sleep.

Research and Resources

In making this article, we:

  • Researched the leading contributors of back pain and how your mattress can play a part in the frequency of your aches and pains.
  • Compared over 25 different beds looking specifically for features that promote healthy spinal alignment and proper sleep positions.
  • Spent 20 hours writing and revising the article to deliver the most valuable information to those suffering from chronic back pain.

Did You Find Your Next Bed?

Pain and stress feed on each other. When sleep gets interrupted, especially if it’s because the body is too hot, it can cause discomfort, making chronic back pain even worse. Pain causes your body to be stressed, which in turn can lead to even poorer sleep, which will worsen the pain. It’s a vicious cycle, but it can be broken.

A healthy and comfortable night’s sleep can be one of the best ways to reduce stress and combat chronic pain. Meaning, finding the best bed for back pain is critical.

Remember the key mattress features for back pain: comfort, pressure relief, and temperature control. A good night’s sleep can be a hard thing to find, so take proper time to choose a solution that’s right for you. The perfect mattress will have you sleeping soundly through the night, instead of tossing and turning or waking up in a sweat. Medium-firm memory foam mattresses assist vertebrae alignment, reduce muscle tension, as well as soothe and prevent aches. These factors, along with affordability, make memory foam the best mattress for a bad back.

You spend nearly a third of your life sleeping, so it’s important you don’t cut corners. Now that you have the facts about the type of mattress will help your back stay comfortable, it’s time to make your pick. Of course, you should factor in your own preferences as well as your budget by doing research on the best mattress for your lifestyle. But our top pick is Amerisleep’s AS2. It’s made of high-quality medium-firm memory foam that conforms to your spine’s natural curves to keep it properly aligned. So you’ll sleep more soundly now—and for years to come.

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Comments (30) Leave a reply

  • Excellent article-very informative but the brands mentioned are not readily available in stores. How about Serta I comfort blue touch 300 firm mattress

  • I personally use Sleep Options mattress for back pain problems that are easily available online in India and using it for a year now. The doctor recommended this mattress to me and found very effective.

  • This is a nice article about fabric and foam and innerspring beds, But,you misssed one other avenue and that is an air based mattress . I have a sleep number basic air bed and i can adjust it from `10 percent to 100 percent firmness. Although i doubt if anyone would sleep at a setting of 10, a setting of 45 to 55 seems to be helping me sleep at the present moment as I had ‘popped” my lower back a few days ago. i originally bought this type of bed when my wife had fallen and broke her S2 sacral bone and needed immense support for her back. I had a memory foam add on from my old bed which is 3 inches thick and i placed that over the thin memory foam top that the mattress came with . I also added a mattress pad that somehow absorbs body heat and pays it back to you while you sleep. I also keep my bedroom at about 68degrees F. sometimes at 65 . But why you didnt consider adjustable air pressure mattresses is beyond me.

    • Hi Richard,

      Thank you for your feedback! We don’t usually touch upon air mattresses like so in our articles, so we’ll have to do more research on those. We’re happy to hear your air-based mattress has been helping you get better sleep.

  • If you often feel pain in the back, it could be one of the reasons is an improper mattress. Mattresses with the wrong material can make your back pain worse. Choose a mattress that is hard but also quite soft when you lie on it. A mattress that is too soft is dangerous for your body because it can’t give your body maximum boost. ruwette.nl

  • what do you think about a sleep number i6 split with adjustable base? We bought one tesyerday, now I’m having second thoughts. My lower back is terrible and I really want to be sure I picked the right bed. I also have osteo-arthritis and fibromyalgia, as we’ll as a knee replacement. Thank you.

  • Temperpedic cloud is rendering me almost disabled. Have the adjustable frame and limited budget. Do not know what to do. Can’t stand this mattress.

  • My husband was in an accident on Jan of 2018, He broke is back and we our Thankful and graceful that is still walking. He fractured his Lumbar Spine he has rods and 8 screws holding is spine together. Also he fractured pelvis and knee. We our searching for a better mattress that’s going to help him sleep better and relief pain from his back. Any advice. I’m don’t want to invest in lots of money and be disappointed.

    Thank you,
    Victoria

    • I have researched a lot and Natural Form and Amerisleep have great reviews for the most part. Trying to pick one myself

  • I’m not seeing any reference to the type of bed frame and if a box spring is used with the mattress. Is it an oversight or does it not matter?
    I think a platform bed (with wood slats, sometimes called captain’s bed) provides firmer support in the middle over time than a box spring.

    • Hi Christine,

      Great question! The type of support system for your mattress does matter. Typically, box springs are used for innerspring and hybrid mattresses. For mattresses made from memory foam or latex, box springs aren’t the best option because they offer inadequate support and can lead to sagging. Instead, we recommend using a solid, flat surface such as a Bunkie board or wood slats with slats no more than 3 inches apart to provide even support for the mattress above.

      We hope this helps!

  • Lies. Memory foam is horrible for back, it keeps back static and laying for 8-10 hours in static positions doesn’t help the back at all. I bought into this memory foam marketing 4 years slept on one of the best, and actually ended up with horrible back pain, thousands of dollars in chiropractic care and ended up getting a coil, latex firm top plush bed. I will NEVER go back to memory foam even if they paid me for it.

    • If you’re still looking at this I’m having the same issues with memory foam. What kind of innerspring did you eventually buy

    • Hi Candi!

      Thanks for your feedback and we are sorry to hear about that negative experience. It is something definitely to consider. Memory foam mattresses are not one-size fits all solution. Reviews can be found that celebrate memory foam’s ability to alleviate back pain, and reviews can be found which state the opposite. We do our best to look at consistent feedback across multiple channels, as well as how the mattresses are designed. Of course, memory foam, like any other mattress technology, varies greatly across companies.

      Thanks again for the feedback.

  • I sleep on my side. When I get up in the morning, I can’t even stand straight. I walk bent over , and in a lot of pain. Sometimes my neck, or knee will also hurt. My bed is only a year old. I think it’s semi firm. My adult son has had back surgery also, and his bed is a year old too, and he doesn’t get any relief either. What do you suggest? I am desperate to buy a new bed, or at least mattress, and keep my box spring. Looking for advice. I even bought a foam mattress top, but it mad it worse. Thank you. Carol

  • Long time back pain sufferer here. The only mattress I can sleep on without hurting is a (cheap) old-fashioned rock-hard innerspring mattress! Hope this helps people decide.

  • I want a sleeping mattress on which my family including me my wife and my two daughter can sleep. I want a mattress which is helpful for shoulders and back pain too. Suggest me a mattress keeping in mind 4 people to be sleeping and back pain.

  • We are most likely shopping today, our sons back problems have flared up, and his present memory foam mattress has broken down as it is 15 years old.

  • We both suffer back pain though different and both sleep on our sides. I often end up on my stomach to alleviate pressure with one knee bent up. He wants a firm mattress, but I feel everything in my hips and shoulders, which is going to be best overall and in the long term?

      • Definitely yes. I find that if the mattress is too firm or hard it will put pressure on your spine and aggravate the hot spots, or the areas of your spine that are causing you discomfort and pain. I have verified this with more than a couple of doctors as well as experienced it myself.

  • Hi
    My partner suffers from chronic back pain but its muscular not from through the vertibrae is there anything you can suggest

    Thanks
    Alan

  • I am willing to try this. My husband regularly suffers with back pain. It has been hard to find the right bed. I am also concerned with affordability.

      • Me too! I am so down……as this cost me big $$ and I cannot even sleep on it. I’ve been sleeping on the sofa and it is more comfortable on my back, no kidding. May I ask what you ended up buying and how it is working for you?

      • I’m going crazy and so overwhelmed from mattress shopping. I constantly wake up with all over back pain. I almost purchased a $7,500 Temperpedic Mattress yesterday but decided to look some more at other options. I discovered the adjustable base and I think that would be a huge improvement! There’s so much out there and I’m so desperate to get a good night sleep without anxiety of pain. I’m so glad Kate shared her experience with the Temperpedic!!

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