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Been living in Achy, Breaky Back Land for way too long? Your subpar WFH setup probably isn’t helping… but neither is that saggy old mattress.
Investing in a new one can help ease the pain, provided it supports your spine’s natural alignment and reduces major pressure points.
The best mattresses for back pain
- Best overall mattress for back pain: Casper Wave Hybrid
- Best (mostly) spring mattress for back pain: Saatva Classic Mattress
- Best cooling mattress for back pain: The Nectar Memory Foam Mattress
- Best flippable mattress for back pain:Layla Memory Foam Mattress
- Best memory foam mattress for back pain: The Purple Mattress
- Best eco-friendly mattress for back pain: Avocado Green Mattress
- Best hybrid mattress for back pain: Sealy Posturepedic Hybrid Essentials
- Best value mattress for back pain: Allswell 10-Inch Bed in a Box
- Best smart mattress for back pain: Sleep Number 360 c2 Smart Bed
- Best adjustable mattress for back pain: Saatva Solaire
- Best mattress topper for back pain: ViscoSoft Select Memory Foam Mattress Topper
To say that mattress choices are pretty personal is a major understatement. There’s no one bed that’s right for every sleeper, even if it’s designed to combat back pain. But we did our homework to create this list of supportive mattresses. We looked for:
- High quality options with durable materials and various levels of firmness that score big points for bad backs.
- Zoned support, which helps distribute weight evenly and avoid painful pressure points.
- Good, consistent reviews. So many mattresses claim to relieve pain and pressure, so we looked to reviews from real sleepers for the back pain 411 on each option.
- Solid warranties and “try before you buy” policies.
- Legit manufacturers who follow federal safety standards. Bonus points for eco-friendly materials. 🌎
Types of mattresses
Let’s get to know the lingo a little before we dive in. We’re going to talk about three types of mattresses here:
- Foam. You’re familiar with these thick pieces of memory or latex foam. They come in a variety of firmnesses and often have fancy features to help keep you cool. Some are solid, some include gel, and some look like honeycomb beneath the surface.
- Innerspring. Ah the OG mattress. But in 2021, we’ve replaced uncomfortable and unpredictable metal springs with supportive individually wrapped coils to help minimize movement and prevent sinking, which can contribute to back pain.
- Hybrid. Where coils or springs sit beneath a layer of foam for support + comfort. Best of both worlds? Pretty much.
Best overall mattress for back pain
- Price: $$$$$
This mattress earns best overall for checking off all the major requirements for blasting back pain. Because it’s a hybrid, its springs keep your waist and lower back from sinking in too much, while three layers of memory foam cradle your spine and curves for gentle support. Bonus: the foam is perforated with tiny holes for better airflow, so you’re less likely to wake up sweaty.
Casper touts this as its best mattress for back pain, and over 850 people are here for it. Reviewers say they wake up with less or no pain after sleeping through the night and feel super supported.
Best (mostly) spring mattress for back pain
- Price: $$$$
This mattress comes recommended by the Congress of Chiropractic State Associations, so you just know it’s made for people with achy backs. But what makes it so good for finding relief??
To start, this is a medium-firm mattress, which was found to be the ideal firmness level for promoting sleep comfort in a 2015 systematic review. It has individually wrapped coils at its base to provide more targeted support to the heavier areas of your body. It also has reinforced support in the center of the bed to support healthy spinal alignment.
And reviewers can’t get enough. Over 2,000 folks give this bad boy 4.9 out of 5 stars. What’s more, reviewers with chronic back, neck, and hip pain are happy to report they’ve finally found relief. One happy sleeper even says, “I have not had any back pain since that first night sleeping on this mattress.”
Best cooling mattress for back pain
- Price: $$$
Memory foam mattresses offer pressure relief from the heaviest or pointiest parts of your body while you sleep (think shoulders or hips for side sleepers). This award-winning memory foam mattress has five layers of support for maximum stability, responsiveness, and pain-slaying pressure relief. But all that foam won’t raise your temp, thanks to cooling gel foam and an ultra-breathable quilted cooling Tencel mattress cover.
Over 33,000 people are nuts about the Nectar, especially those suffering from back pain. The reviewers consistently report not just reduced pain, but a lack of pain with comments like, “Pain free for the first time in years!”
Best flippable mattress for back pain
- Price: $$
We know medium-firm mattresses are ideal for back pain, but some people just can’t get comfy on a medium-firm mattress.
With a flippable mattress like this one, you have two different firmness levels to choose from to help you find the right fit. If you have a higher body weight, the firm side might be your new BFF. If you’re a dedicated side sleeper, the soft side might be perf for hugging your body. The copper gel-infused foam is designed to react to pressure from your body by firming up, hugging you, and delivering a feeling of soothing deep compression at the same time.
But what do nearly 7,000 reviewers have to say? Well, they’ve mostly said goodbye to back, hip, and neck pain and stiffness. Many reviews sing the Layla praises after painful experiences with another mattress.
Best memory foam mattress for back pain
- Price: $$$
The unique foam grid that Purple makes is designed to flex and adapt to your body instead of compressing around it so your spine has a better shot at staying aligned. The universally firm feel means your shoulders or hips won’t sag down while you sleep, reducing upper body pain and pressure.
This mattress has racked up over 21,000 (!) 5-star reviews, with tons of praise for vanishing back pain — especially lower back pain. One reviewer says, “This mattress somehow made my back pain just disappear.”
Best eco-friendly mattress for back pain
- Price: $$$
It’s seriously sustainable, thanks to a combo of organic certified wool, latex, and cotton, and zero polyester, polyurethane, or fire retardants. But it’s also mega comfy, thanks to a five-zone pocketed coil support system that’s earned the endorsement of the American Chiropractic Society. Back sleepers will def appreciate the medium-firm feel.
Over 15,000 reviewers are a little obsessed. In addition to going gaga for the 1-year return policy (really takes the ~pressure~ off), many Avocado converters express their gratitude for long-term or constant back pain vanishing within a month or 2.
Best hybrid mattress for back pain
- Price: $$$$
Individually wrapped coils coupled with body-conforming gel memory foam responds quickly to your body’s movements while staying molded to your body’s unique shape. This combo is designed to provide spine alignment, pressure relief only where you need it, and supportive spine cradling.
The affordable price point doesn’t mean it disappoints. The Sealy Hybrid line boasts over 8,000 reviews, with happy sleepers feeling “cradled” and free of back pain.
Best value mattress for back pain
- Price: $
Walmart’s in-house mattress brand delivers on comfort for way (way) less. The medium-firm bed pairs supportive, not-too-bouncy springs with body-hugging memory foam for overall comfort. The tight top steers clear of extra padding so you don’t get any fluff or sinkage either.
More than two thirds of the nearly 3,000 reviews on Walmart’s website are 5-star, and 92 percent recommend this mattress. One reviewer said goodbye to their back pain within the first week, while others praise the firmness for the lack of aches and pains.
Best adjustable mattress for back pain
- Price: $$$$$
Research shows having more control over your bed results in better spinal alignment and sleep quality. Plus, adjustability means you won’t be disappointed with your new mattress’s firmness, since you can adjust it as often as you could possibly want.
Saatva’s adjustable mattress has 50 total firmness settings on each side (hello customization!), a layer of body-conforming gel memory foam, and a layer of bouncy Talalay latex foam that’s denser in the middle of the mattress for extra support. Pair it with an adjustable base to lift and lower your legs and head and you’re likely in for a dreamy, pain-free sleep.
Reviewers rave about it and say it’s unparalleled in quality. They also say Saatva has amazing customer service, which is a big plus when your mattress has so many moving parts.
The only downside is that it is PRICEY, so be prepared to make a pretty major investment.
Best smart mattress for back pain
- Price: $$
This adjustable smart mattress allows you to achieve the firmness both you and your partner need to feel supported — at a price that’s easier to swallow than you might expect. The 2-inch gel-infused comfort layer gives even more support.
Over 12,000 sleepers give it a 4.6 out of 5 stars. Reviewers with everything from mild back pain to scoliosis praise this mattress for its pain-fighting customization.
Best mattress topper for back pain
- Price: $
New bed not exactly in the budget right now? Doesn’t mean you need to put up with back pain. This gel-infused foam topper cradles your curves and promotes healthy spinal alignment by preventing painful and unhealthy sinking.
Over 8,000 reviewers on Amazon (let’s be honest, some of the most candid of online reviewers) love this quick, affordable solution for back pain. Many (former!) back pain warriors specifically called this out as a solution to a too-firm mattress that may be activating pain-causing pressure points.
Listen, buying a mattress can be a bit of a nightmare. It’s an investment, and getting them in your bedroom borders on a Ross Gellar “PIVOT!” situation. Here are some things to look for when shopping for a back pain-slaying mattress:
A 2015 review suggests medium-firm mattresses could be the key to better sleep quality and less pain for folks with back pain. But keep in mind that firmness is pretty subjective and how firm you find a mattress will depend on your body type, too. If you weigh more than ~230 pounds, it’s possible that a brand’s medium-firm mattress will feel too soft for you.
Personal preference also matters. At the end of the day, you’ll be happiest with a mattress that makes you feel the most comfortable. For some people, that means feeling super supported. For others, that means feeling cradled.
Maybe not the type of bed position you’re usually concerned with, but it’s legit: in a 2010 study, participants in an experiment found relief from back pain after sleeping on mattresses that were chosen for their individual body type and sleeping position.
Back or stomach sleepers tend to do best on firmer mattresses with coils, which help keep your spine aligned and prevent sinking. Side sleepers, on the other hand, need a softer mattress that lets their hips and shoulders sink in to keep their spine aligned.
Your main options are memory foam, innerspring, and hybrid. Air mattresses (like Sleep Number and the Saatva Solaire) are also a (usually more expensive) option.
Mattresses made with foam, especially latex foam, are known for relieving pressure. Innerspring mattresses are praised for alignment, but without foam comfort layers, they usually don’t provide enough pressure relief. That’s why hybrid options are becoming more and more popular — they’re kind of the best of both worlds, featuring foam and spring coils.
Air mattresses are typically adjustable, which can be huge for banishing back pain. Air mattresses are usually pretty expensive, but you’re essentially guaranteed to love the firmness of your bed — even if you and your partner have diff preferences.
Hate the gross chemical smell of a new mattress? Opt for something with certified organic, Greenguard, or CertiPUR-US materials. These special certifications mean your mattress will be free of sketchy chemicals that could be harmful to you and the environment.
Foam mattresses are known for trapping heat, which can lead to sweaty, sticky nights. If you’re in the market for a foam or hybrid mattress, look for mattresses with foams that are perforated or infused with gel to allow for better airflow and temperature regulation.
Hybrid mattresses also tend to stay a little cooler than all-foam mattresses since more air can flow through coils than dense foam.
The more fun features (like adjustability or smart controls) a mattress has, the higher the price. While you should definitely look for a mattress in *your* budget, know that higher quality mattresses usually last a bit longer. If you have your eye on a particularly pricey one, maybe wait for a seasonal sale or check out your fave IG influencers for a coupon code.
Don’t get it twisted, good quality yet affordable mattresses totally exist. Just be sure to read the reviews.
This is something that’s basically a MUST. You’ll need more than a week on a new mattress to really see if it helps with back pain, so check out each brand’s trial period, return, and refund policies. While most trial periods tap out after 3 months, some companies will let you sleep on your new mattress for an entire year before returning it.
Neck and back pain (low, mid, and upper!) can pop up for so many reasons:
- regular ol’ aging (sorry)
- overdoing it at the gym
- pulled muscle
- herniated disk
- pinched nerves
- sleeping on an old, bad, or simply not-meant-for-you mattress
And while you need a good night’s rest, back pain takes no breaks. Here’s how it disturbs your sacred sleep:
- Just can’t get comfy. Your sleep position, your mattress, and any back pain are all connected. If you’re not sleeping on the right mattress for your sleeping position, you could end up tossing and turning looking for the perfect position to get comfy.
- It can make you count sheep. It’s no surprise aches and pains can keep you for drifting off to dreamland. And without distractions, you might even be more aware of those pains.
- Crappy sleep. Period. Low back pain and sleep disturbances are an unfortunate pair. The result: low sleep quality, which has whole-body implications like impaired brain function, diabetes risk, and low sex drive.
Not quite ready for a whole new mattress? Here are some simpler solutions for pain-free sleep.
Treat yourself to new pillows
Your pillows are kind of just as important to pain-free sleep as your mattress. One study found orthopedic pillows to be best for supporting and maintaining good neck posture as compared to memory foam and feather pillows. That said, how you sleep says a lot about what kind of pillow you might need:
- Side sleepers. Reach for a thick pillow for optimal neck-spine alignment.
- Back sleepers. You need that medium-heigh situation that will let your head rest and relax while not causing your chin to (painfully) end up near your chest.
- Stomach sleepers. Go ultra-thin to avoid neck issues.
Top that mattress
Too firm? Not enough pressure relief? Not sure if you’re ready for memory foam? Give a mattress topper a try for a low-commitment layer of cushioning.
Got low back pain? Adding a pillow between your knees while you side sleep can help align your hips, keeping low back pain at bay. For neck pain, try sleeping on your back or side.
Can my mattress cause back or neck pain?
Actually, it can. Mattresses are built (and priced) to last, but not forever. As time goes by, they lose support. But how do you know it’s time to replace your mattress? A general rule of thumb is 8 years, but it really depends on the material. Simple spring mattresses will do the job for about 10 years, while latex ones can last up to 25.
What are the best sleeping positions for neck and back pain?
Generally, sleeping on your back is your best bet for spine alignment, especially for mid- and upper-back and neck pain.
If your neck bothers you, def skip stomach sleeping which often causes your neck to turn one way the whole time you sleep — ouch.
Side sleeping with a pillow between your legs can be comfortable for some, while those with shoulder pain should avoid this position. If sleeping position is a tough subject, you might be a good candidate for an adjustable bed.
What mattress firmness is best for back and neck pain?
Research from 2015 shows a medium-firm mattress is ideal for promoting sleep comfort and quality as well as spinal alignment. But honestly? It’s super personal — if a soft and cloudy situation or ultra-hard foam brick is your ticket to dreamland, by all means go for it.
What’s the best type of mattress for neck and back pain?
A foam or hybrid mattress are your best bets. Foam mattresses provide the right amount of pressure relief some people crave (especially side sleepers), while hybrids are a good combo of supportive and pressure relieving (especially for back sleepers and people with a higher body weight).