Low back pain, and having a bad back in general, is no laughing matter. It’s a disheartening, discouraging curse that can be made better or worse by your mattress. With that in mind, we’ve assembled our list of the best mattress brand for back problems and anyone that’s in need of pain relief.
If you have chronic back pain, the right mattress can make all the difference. Likewise, the wrong mattress can make your situation worse. It is extremely important that you consult your physician or chiropractor before you get a new mattress or switch up your sleeping habits. The last thing that you want to do is take a step backward. With that now covered, let’s take a look at our top choices for the best mattress for low back pain:
This list is intended to be helpful, but is not meant to be used in lieu of a meeting with your doctor, nor are we giving any health advice. We did, however, collaborate with a chiropractor in our area in order to learn more about chronic back pain problems and receive some recommendations he had in regards to buying a new mattress. We are using his professional opinion to compile our mattress list and write this post. We don’t expect it to apply to everyone, but we’re hoping that it serves as a good starting point for back pain sufferers.
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Best For Side Sleepers
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|Purple makes new-age mattresses that are soft and firm at the same time. That might sound too good to be true, but somehow Purple has managed to make mattresses that get almost everything right. If you're a side sleepers with lower back pain, Purple might be just what the doctor ordered.|
Innerspring Mattress For Back Support
|WinkBed is an innerspring mattress designed to provide extra back support. We also consider it the quintessential hotel luxury mattress that offers dual coil layers and a plush quilted cover. Supportive beds like WinkBed tend to be the best type of mattress for back issues. They even offer a firm mattress model that could be a great option for you.|
Best Firm Mattress
|Check Current Offers||Saatva is widely known as the innerspring mattress online. It offers plenty of back support, given that it has two layers of coils, and comfort thanks to its Euro top cover. Perhaps best of all, however, Saatva has two firm mattresses for back pain sufferers to choose from.|
Affordable Bed In A Box Mattress
|$100 Off + Gift|
|Helix has a Sleep Quiz that matches you up with the best mattress for you. They have a number of hybrid mattresses for side sleepers with lower back pain, and other individuals. Helix is one of our favorite bed in a box brands for many reasons, not the least of which they offer affordable mattresses.|
Memory Foam Mattress
|Check Current Offers||If you're searching for a supportive memory foam mattress, Loom & Leaf is a really nice pick. It’s comfortable and does a good job of cradling your body given its euro top cover and memory foam comfort layers. We think it could help with lower back pain relief.|
Best Foam Mattress
|Casper Wave is a foam mattress in a box that’s specifically designed to help ensure proper spinal alignment—could be a good option for lower and upper back pain, and all sleeper types. It's not a super firm mattress, but we think it will accommodate just about everyone.|
Best Mattress For Upper Back Pain
|For side sleepers that have upper back pain, Nest Alexander is one of our favorites. It's an innerspring mattress with fluffy comfort layers and plenty of pressure relief. At the same time, however, it offers a good amount of support for low back pain sufferers.|
Number of Contributors
Despite the fact that we spend hundreds of hours researching and testing mattresses and bedding products, we realized that spinal health is an area where we need to consult a real professional. We worked closely with Dr. Ranvic Sahota from Synapse Chiropractic in order to learn more about proper spinal alignment and create this post.
We relied heavily on his professional opinion and advice throughout the process. We feel that we have a great grasp on what’s important for someone that’s (unfortunately) suffering from back pain. Of course, everyone is different, so we can’t say which bed is absolutely right for you, but we’re hoping that this post proves to be a valuable research tool.
Side sleepers may prefer a medium to a medium firm mattress, but one that still has plenty of support to help with their low back pain. You don’t typically want an extra firm mattress since it might not allow for enough pressure relief for your upper back pain. That could cause additional issues for you. What we’re looking for here is proper alignment of the spine. If the mattress is too soft and your hips sag too much, that could exacerbate your back issues.
When you try out a bed, be mindful of how your spine—and specifically your lower back—feels. If you think you’re properly aligned, that’s great. But if you feel like the mattress is pushing or pulling you out of alignment, you should probably continue your mattress search. That last thing that you want as a back pain sufferer is a bed that aggravates your already uncomfortable situation.
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Purple mattresses are in a league of their own. In fact, whether you shop in-store or online, Purple is about as unique as it gets—in a good way. There are four Purple mattresses on the market currently, but for this list we are specifically referencing the New Purple mattresses because they offer plenty of support and pressure relief (at the same time). We think Purple could be just what you need if you’ve already tried traditional innerspring and foam beds.
What makes Purple worth looking into, though? Well, it all really comes down to the top layer of the beds. It’s a special material called Hyper-Elastic Polymer that is unlike any other comfort layer on a bed.
As you can see in the video above, Hyper-Elastic Polymer is anything but typical. Oddly enough, however, it works on a mattress, and we think it just might be the best thing since sliced bread. Not only will it allow for excellent amounts of pressure relief for people with lower back pain issues, but also you never feel like you’re sinking into the bed. In other words, the areas that need pressure relief get it, and the areas that need support get it.
At the end of the day, Purple might not be for everyone, but we think it could be worth a try if you’re open to something new. If you want to see a more in-depth guide to all of the beds, make sure to read our Purple mattress comparison (Original vs 2/3/4).
Purple can accomodate all sleeping positions, but if you’re mostly a side sleeper (which about 65% of people are), we’d recommend you first look into Purple 3 or 4. The way Purple’s line up works is that the original Purple mattress is the softest and most affordable bed that they offer and the New Purple mattresses (2/3/4) are a little more expensive, but incorporate pocketed coils for support and durability.
Side sleepers dealing with back issues will want to look into the coil models, and specifically Purple 3 and 4. They offer pressure relief and support at the same time. The support should . help with your lower back pain, while the gel top layer will add cushion for side sleeping.
WinkBed is a 15” innerspring mattress that looks and feels like it belongs in a five-star hotel. It’s clearly very well made and has a lot to offer, particularly to back pain sufferers. It comes in three different firmness levels (Softer, Luxury Firm, and Firmer), which allows you to pick one based on your sleep position (side, back, stomach).
Additionally, since it is 15” thick with two layers of coils, it will be supportive enough for larger individuals and they even offer a Plus version for extra heavier folks. But possibly the best part about this mattress is the price. Depending on discounts, you can usually find a queen size for around $1,400, which we consider a very fair price for what you’re getting. You can check current pricing on WinkBeds.com.
In terms of feel, it feels like exactly what it is: a thick and supportive innerspring bed with a soft quilted cover. We think the Softer version will be ideal for anyone with upper back pain and the Luxury Firm and Firm mattress versions will be suitable for individuals with low back pain. Overall, it’s a very nice, affordable, luxurious mattress.
There’s no way around it, Saatva is one of the top mattress brands for back pain sufferers—that is regardless of where your pain shows up. Interestingly, Saatva has a medium firm and firm mattress, but also a softer option for side sleepers dealing with lower or upper back pain.
But it’s not just about the back support that Saatva offers, it’s also a highly comfortable and affordable mattress. The bed has two layers of coils—including traditional innersprings at the bottom—and a luxurious pillow top made, in part, of organic cotton.
As far as pricing goes, Saatva costs less than you’d expect. Guess what a queen size bed retails for. You’d be wrong. Saatva does not cost north of $2,000. It’s actually about $1,100 for the queen size, which is just ridiculous. Now, clearly, this is not a cheap mattress, but it sure is affordable.
The bottom line with Saatva is that you have two firm mattresses from which to choose—and we consider both of them to be a great pick for people with a bad back.
$100 Off + Gift
Helix is one of the most innovative, interesting mattress brands out there right now. They actually allow you to choose a bed based on your exact sleeping preferences and body composition. You get to control everything from support to softness/firmness with your new mattress—and if you don’t like it, you can get all of your money back.
You can take the Sleep Quiz on Helix’s website to see which mattress best fits your sleeping preferences.
In fact, Helix—like most online bed-in-a-box mattress companies—offers completely free shipping and returns, alongside a 100-night risk-free trial. In other words, you can try out your new bed for more than three months to see if it’s right for you.
One note on the shipping process, though. If the bed comes in a box (like Helix does) you may want to have a friend help you unwrap and set it up; you don’t want to further injure your back and sometimes these beds can be quite heavy.
We think Helix is just about the ideal mattress for anyone with back issues, simply because you’re creating your own bed. There’s no guessing as to what the bed will feel like since you’ve created it. If you’re heavier and want a softer, but still supportive bed, you can get that. Likewise, if you’re more petite and want a firm bed, you can create that, as well.
Of course, there’s no absolute guarantee that the bed will cure your back issues, but at least Helix gives you the opportunity to create what you consider the perfect mattress.
Loom & Leaf is flat-out one of the nicest beds you can find online, particularly if you’re searching for a memory foam bed. And it doesn’t just look nice. It’s supportive, comfortable, and has a very clever design.
The gel memory foam top layer and euro top cover do a good job of keeping you from feeling as if you’re going to melt into the bed. As such, we’d say this firm mattress is best for back sleepers and stomach sleepers, but it should also work for combo sleepers who sometimes find themselves sleeping on their sides. It’s actually quite supportive despite the fact that it’s made entirely of foam.
Given this is a thick, all-foam bed, Loom & Leaf is a nice option for heavier folks who don’t like the bounce most hybrid and innerspring beds provide (we know a lot of people out there prefer the deadening characteristics of foam).
Loom & Leaf is also available in a “Relaxed Firm” and “Firm” model so you can choose whichever seems to best suit your sleeping preferences. Remember, with back pain support is key.
But wait, there’s more! Under the center third of the bed (just under the cover) is a gel cooling panel. This won’t make you feel “cold” necessarily, but it will help to regulate your overall temperature. You can learn more about the cooling strip on Loom & Leaf’s website.
Overall, this is just a nice bed. It’s luxurious, supportive, versatile, and clearly built to a different standard than your average run of the mill memory foam bed.
The Wave is Casper’s high-end mattress. It’s 13” thick and is comprised of five layers of foam. What makes this mattress interesting, though, is that it has what Casper calls its Hyper-Targeted Support System.
All this means is that the bed offers more support in the center third (where the bulk of your weight will be) and more pressure relief in the top third (where your upper back will be). It’s a novel concept that makes the Wave stand out from the rest of the all-foam beds out there.
We also think that the whole Hyper-Targeted Support System makes a lot of sense for individuals with back pain. If you’re suffering from upper back pain, you should get the requisite pressure relief for your upper back with the Wave. You can learn more about the zoned support design on Casper’s website.
Similarly, if your lower back is what’s bothering you, we think that the Wave offers plenty of support to keep your spine in proper alignment.
At the risk of stating the obvious, your weight will impact your experience with the Wave—and every other mattress. The Wave is mostly ideal for medium and petite individuals. However, if you’re around 250 lb (give or take), you should be able to get by with this mattress, as well. It’s not our top pick for truly large folks, but if you’re in or around that 250 lb mark, the Wave is worth exploring further, particularly if you want more of a neutral feel and you don’t like a bed with bounce (as is common with coil mattresses).
Side, back, stomach, and combination sleepers should really enjoy the Casper Wave mattress, if you can get past the price tag.
A more affordable alternative to Casper Wave is the Level Sleep mattress, which also has the zoned support construction, albeit to a lesser extent. Even so, we really like the Level Sleep mattress and think that it could be a nice solution for anyone that wants a unique foam mattress that’s more affordable than Casper Wave.
We can’t definitively say that it will cure your back issues, but the entire concept of the bed is designed to help. What’s interesting about Level Sleep is that you can rotate the bed to get either more or less support under your upper back—technically, the bed actually has four different support zones. If you’re a side sleeper, you might want to rotate the bed to where the softest foams are under your upper back.
If you’re a back/stomach sleeper (that weighs under 230 lb), you might want to try out the firmer foams under your upper back. Whether or not it works for you, there’s no denying that Casper Wave and Level Sleep certainly have an interesting concept going on.
Nest Alexander is a hybrid mattress with pocketed coils for durability and extra back support. It’s available in soft, medium soft, and medium firm mattress models, all of which retail for just above $1K for the queen. As such, we consider this to be a highly comfortable bed that will work for all different body types, including heavier folks.
In regards to our favorite model—or the one that we had in mind for this list—that would be the company’s “Medium” firmness, which we consider to be around a medium soft. Given that it’s a slightly softer bed, you’ll end up nestling into Nest Alexander Hybrid. As such, it should help to alleviate pressure for side sleepers that have upper back pain in particular.
Even more, if you are indeed spending most of the night on your side, but you happen to have low back pain, you’ll want a supportive mattress, which is exactly what Nest Alexander Hybrid is. As such, we sort of consider this to be a nice pick whether you have lower back pain or upper back pain—it just depends on the model you select.
Overall though, it’s a really nice mattress that checks a lot of boxes, especially if what you’re most concerned with the following: comfort, support, and value. And if it doesn’t make your upper back pain (or lower) any better, you can always return the bed inside Nest’s trial window.
In addition to working with Dr. Sahota, we conducted our own tests related to motion transfer, support, firmness, and more. We have a diverse team comprised of men and women who’s weights range from 95 lb up to 225 lb. This gives us a good perspective of what the mattresses are like for petite individuals, as well as heavier folks. We’re really hoping that this guide will be helpful for you and will serve as a useful research tool for all back pain sufferers.
As you probably know, there is a big difference between soreness and pain, especially when it comes to your lower back. It’s common to have a sore back here and there if you’re weightlifting, playing sports, or just sitting a lot, but chronic lower back pain can be an unrelenting, demoralizing burden. There are many causes of lower back pain problems and therefore many different treatments options. When it comes to finding the right mattress, however, you might start by identifying what type of sleeper you are. I say this because the best mattress for a strict side sleeper will be different than for a strict back sleeper. Before you go mattress shopping, identify whether you’re a stomach sleeper, side sleeper, or back sleeper, or a combination sleeper that rotates positions at night.
If you sleep primarily on your back—and you are back pain sufferer—you might consider getting a medium, medium firm, or a firm mattress that has plenty of support. I should note that the firmness level of a mattress depends on your weight and someone that’s heavier will generally experience a bed to be softer than a lighter person. You will want to makes sure that you keep your back in proper alignment and avoid excess sagging under your lower back—areas where people tend to carry the most weight.
If the mattress is too soft, there’s the risk that your hips drop and you start to feel more pressure in your lower back. You may even feel a gap form between your lower back and the mattress. Some of your pain may come from your Facet Joints on your spine being pinched together. Make sure you’re looking for good support and proper spinal curvature and alignment. Coil mattresses tend to provide good amounts of bi-directional support and will generally outlast all-foam beds, especially for back pain sufferers weighing over about 250 lbs. You should also remember that mattresses break in over time, so it might be better to start with a firmer mattress and let it soften up. It would probably be a mistake to start softer as the bed will become increasingly soft as you sleep on it.
This all depends on which positions you rotate between and your specific back problems. If you’re a back pain sufferer and also a side and back sleeper, then you’ll mostly be looking at a medium to medium firm mattress, simply because you don’t want to cause additional pain in your upper back from getting too firm of a mattress. If you’re a back sleeper, you can generally get by (and might even prefer) a medium firm to a firm mattress. In this situation, you want to avoid too soft of a bed that doesn’t support your hips. One advantage to being a combo sleeper, however, is that you could feel less achy and sore in the morning because your body is at least somewhat mobile during the night. If you lay in one position and don’t move, you may find that your body stiffens up and could leave you feeling more sore in the morning. Of course, this won’t be the case for everyone, but it’s something else to think about.
Anyone that suffers from upper back and shoulder pain is sort of in a different category from what we normally classify as back pain. Typically people experience soreness and stiffness in their lower back. But in the even that your scapula, or upper spine are giving you grief, again, you’ll want to start by identifying what type of sleeper you are (back, stomach, side, combo). From there, you should look for a mattress that’s perhaps slightly softer than you would if you had lower back issues. You still don’t want excess sagging, but you will need more pressure relief, especially if you’re a side sleeper with upper back pain.
I know we’re discussing mattresses here, but having the right pillow is also crucial in dealing with upper back pain. For example, back sleepers will require a pillow with a much thinner loft so as to not kink their neck. It’s already easy to get out of alignment as a back sleeper and too thick of a pillow can take matters from bad to worse. Back and side sleepers will want a pillow with more loft, but to what degree depends on the sleeper. In general, side sleepers want their nose to be in close alignment with their spine (i.e. your head shouldn’t be sitting too high or low). Back sleepers will probably want to look for a pillow that allows them to sink in a little and end up sleeping with their head more or less straight upward—we’re trying to maintain the “C” curvature in the back. For more information on pillows check out our Pillow Reviews page.
Before we discuss the best mattresses for the SI Joint, let’s first explain what the SI Joint is. The gist of the story is the Sacroiliac Joint is a joint between your spine and hip and is, in part, responsible for absorbing impact as you walk, run, and jump. Pain from the SI Joint will typically manifest itself in your buttocks or lower back, but it can also radiate through your hip and leg causing numbness or a tingling sensation. Usually, pain from your SI Joint occurs on just one side of your body.
So that’s just a quick overview of lower back pain caused by the Sacroiliac Joint, but how can your mattress help? To be frank, your mattress is most likely not going to drastically improve your low back pain from the SI Joint—you might consider pursuing physical therapy, stretching, and even chiropractic care. The biggest thing that you want with your mattress is support. Anytime you’re dealing with back pain, the support level of your mattress should be the first element you consider.
Firstly, as we mentioned in the start of this post, don’t make any final decision until you consult your physician and chiropractor about your back problems. Selecting the wrong mattress could make your issues worse. Also, if you sleep with your wife, husband, partner, kids, you will want to think about other elements such as motion transfer and edge support. If you sleep with someone that’s especially active in their sleep, you won’t want them waking you up throughout the night. It’s hard enough to fall asleep with chronic back pain issues, so you won’t want their motion disturbing you when you finally do fall asleep. In this case, you have two options.
You should absolutely consider a more spacious mattress—a king size. The king mattress with allow you and your partner to stretch out and hopefully avoid contorting yourselves to get into a comfortable sleeping position. The king size mattress might the best move you make to help with your back problems.
Also, you may look into beds that have pocketed coils rather than a traditional innerspring system. The pocketed coils move more independently of each other than a large coil system does. This usually helps to dampen cross-mattress motion. The pocketed coils still provide great support and airflow, but with the advantage of less motion transfer. The king size mattress with pocketed coils is the pinnacle in terms of comfort. You get space and limited motion transfer. As you can tell, we are huge fans of the king mattress.
Edge support can also be an important element to consider, especially if your partner/wife/husband hogs the bed all night. If you find yourself along the perimeter of the bed, certain mattresses may compress too much and give you a roll-off sensation, which obviously is not great for you back problems. Most people will hate this sensation, but it could be particularly troublesome if you have existing back issues. When you go to try out a mattress, you may consider laying on the edges to see how the support is there. The king mattress also helps to avoid issues related to edge support since you have more space on the bed.
There really isn’t one best bed for individuals suffering from back pain. As mentioned previously, it has more to do with the support of the mattress than anything else. Heavier folks will need a lot more support, which for the most part means either a innerspring mattress or a dense foam mattress. Lighter people can usually get by with an all-foam bed, but an innerspring mattress isn’t a bad option either.
In terms of foams and top layers, memory foam tends to offer a good amount of pressure relief, but not immediately. When the foam heats up, it will start to soften, but it also generally is quite supportive. This all depends on the density and thickness of the foam, but memory foam does have some attractive characteristics. Of course, it has some downsides, as well, such as sleeping warmer than gel memory foam or latex foam.
And speaking of latex foam, it has many positive characteristics—again, depending on the type, density, and thickness of the foam. Latex foam is usually airier, lighter, and bouncier than memory foam. It provides solid support and sleeps a lot cooler than standard memory foam. Just because you’re probably less familiar with latex mattresses doesn’t mean they’re a bad idea. We’ve tested plenty of mattresses that incorporate latex that are extremely comfortable and supportive. These latex beds also happen to be natural/organic a lot of times.
Polyurethane foam is another viable option. It doesn’t have as high of point elasticity as memory foam and the pressure relief isn’t quite there either, but it can be very supportive and responsive. Generally, you’ll have an easier time switching positions at night on a latex or poly foam bed, as opposed to a memory foam mattress. Poly foam also happens to be one of the more affordable mattress materials. As such, the budget beds tend to use a lot of poly foam. It’s probably not the best mattress for a heavier individual, but if you’re under 150 lb, you should get ample support from an all-foam mattress that uses poly foam.
Innerspring mattresses will generally offer the greatest amount of support, simply because you have a large system of interconnected steel coils. It is one of the better options for larger individuals or anyone that wants maximum support. Innerspring beds also tend to last longer because they’re made of steel. The downsides are that traditional innerspring beds have a lot more motion transfer and don’t usually offer as much pressure relief since you’re dealing with a larger interconnected system rather than individual coils.
Pocketed coils are a hybrid solution that offers more localized support. Since the coils are independent of one another, the motion transfer is less than it otherwise would be on a typical innerspring bed. But, since we’re still dealing with steel coils (usually), the mattress will be durable, have that stereotypical bounce factor, and offer great overall support. It is important to note that the feel of the mattress has a lot to do with its upper layers (or lack thereof). I say this because a mattress that has 7” pocketed coils and then 5” of various foams will most likely appear softer than a bed that uses coils and a thin layer of foams on the top. The closer you are to the coils, the firmer the mattress will be. As an FYI, when a bend blends two dissimilar types of materials (e.g. foam and coils) we refer to them as hybrid mattresses.
All this is to say that there is no perfect mattress that will work for everyone. You need to seriously consider your health conditions and try to identify a bed that fits your needs. You should take into account where the pain is, how much you weigh, and the construction of the mattress, among other things. And, as I’ve said many times, talk to your physician or chiropractor before you make a final decision.