The 8 Best Mattresses for Back Pain of 2020

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First Look

Best Overall: Amerisleep AS2 12" Memory Foam Mattress at amerisleep.com

"Made from a memory foam that keeps you cool."

Best Luxury: Saatva Classic Mattress at saatva.com

"Many reviewers have glowing remarks on how this mattress has improved their back and overall pain."

Best for Back Sleepers: Nora Mattress at Wayfair

"Supportive enough to maintain proper body alignment."

Best Boxed Mattress: Helix Mattress at helixsleep.com

"Choose between a blended mattress or a mattress with separate 'zones."

Best Budget: 8" Memory Foam and Innerspring Hybrid Mattress at Amazon

"Comes compressed in a box for convenient delivery."

Best for Side Sleepers: The Casper at casper.com

"Constructed from four layers of memory foam."

Best for Stomach Sleepers: 10" Gel Memory Foam Mattress at Amazon

"Makes sleeping on your stomach more comfortable."

Best Foam Mattress: 12" Gel Memory Foam Mattress at Amazon

"Top layer is made of a gel memory foam that regulates temperature."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Amerisleep AS2 12" Memory Foam Mattress

Amerisleep AS2 12" Memory Foam Mattress

Courtesy of Amazon

While it doesn't come cheap, the Amerisleep AS2 Mattress is heralded as one of the best options for people with back pain. This memory foam mattress is designed with common sleep problems in mind, and reviewers say it gives them the best night's rest of their lives.

The 12-inch AS2 mattress is described as medium-firm and is popular among both stomach and back sleepers. The mattress includes several layers of material to provide comfort and support and has zones that provide extra pressure relief for your shoulders and lower back.

The mattress is made from a unique type of memory foam that’s eco-friendly and keeps you cool throughout the night. Even more, the memory foam bounces back to its original shape in mere seconds, so you don't get stuck in ruts if you shift during the night. If you buy this mattress through the manufacturer, you’ll have 100 nights to test it out in a risk-free trial.

Best Luxury: Saatva Classic Mattress

saatva-mattress

Courtesy of Saatva 

For those looking for the ultimate night of sleep look no further than Saatva. This hybrid mattress comes in plush soft (for side sleepers), luxury firm (like a hotel bed and their top-seller), or firm (which may be recommended by some doctors) to help suit your comfort needs.

Saatva provides white glove delivery and setup at no extra cost, plus a 15-year warranty and a 180-night trial period. Many reviewers have glowing remarks on how this mattress has improved their back and overall pain.

Best for Back Sleepers: Nora Mattress

Nora Mattress

Courtesy of Wayfair

4.8

Sleeping face-up is often recommended if you have back pain, as this position keeps your spine in proper alignment. However, you still need the right mattress to ensure your body stays in the proper position throughout the night.

The Nora Mattress is a medium-firm option that’s ideal for back sleepers. It’s supportive enough to maintain proper body alignment but soft enough to keep you comfortable.

This 12-inch memory foam mattress is made up of four different layers that are designed to provide ample support while cradling the contours of your body. Plus, the mattress has a gel infusion to help regulate body temperature.

Best Boxed Mattress: Helix Mattress

helix-mattress

 Courtesy of Helix

Today, more and more mattresses are being shipped in boxes, allowing for faster delivery and easier set-up. Hands down, one of the best boxed mattress options for those with back pain is the Helix mattress, which you can tailor to meet your specific sleep needs and preferences.

When you purchase a Helix mattress, you'll be prompted to take a survey about your sleeping preferences. Questions include whether you toss and turn, your primary sleeping position, your pressure points, if you wake up with pain, and more. If you sleep with a partner, you'll be prompted to answer the questions for both of you.

The company then provides a personalized mattress recommendation. You can choose between a blended mattress that combines both you and your partner’s results or a dual comfort mattress with two separate zones. Then, you can test out your new mattress for 100 nights, opting to return it if it doesn’t meet your expectations.

Best Budget: Linenspa 8" Memory Foam and Innerspring Hybrid Mattress

You don't have to put up with your back pain just because you don't have a huge budget for a new mattress. Believe it or not, this incredibly affordable Linenspa Hybrid Mattress gets positive reviews from buyers, many of whom say it's reduced their back pain significantly.

This 8-inch mattress is described as medium firm and combines memory foam with the traditional support of an innerspring mattress. The innersprings are topped with a 1.5-inch layer of memory foam to cradle your body as you sleep and minimize pressure points.

The Linenspa mattress comes compressed in a box for convenient delivery as well, but reviewers provide assurance that it perks up just fine once unpacked.

Best for Side Sleepers: The Casper

The Casper

Courtesy of Casper 

Sleeping on your side is tricky as you need adequate support around your waist to keep your spine in alignment. If your mattress doesn't provide this support, you may wake up with a stiff, achy back.

One of the best mattress options for side sleepers with back problems is the Casper mattress, which has a special zoned design to give you support exactly where you need it. The Casper mattress is constructed from four layers of memory foam that balance support, comfort, and breathability. And there’s a softer “zone” under your shoulders, allowing you to sink in as you sleep on your side, and a firmer zone under your hips and core to keep your spine in place.

The company uses open-cell foams to keep you cool throughout the night. They also offer a 100 night risk-free trial. If you're on the fence about whether this mattress is worth it, browse through more than 12,000 positive reviews.

Best for Stomach Sleepers: LUCID 10" Gel Memory Foam Mattress

If you sleep on your stomach, a plush mattress will likely cause back pain as you'll sink into it throughout the night, causing your spine to be out of alignment. However, a mattress that’s too firm will be uncomfortable, putting too much pressure on your stomach and ribs.

Because of these variables, it can be tough to find a great mattress for back pain if you sleep on your stomach. One of the better choices available is the LUCID 10-inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress, which is the perfect medium-firm option to make sleeping on your front comfortable and pain-free.

It’s constructed with two layers—a 7.5-inch high-density foam base that provides the support you need and a 2.5-inch gel-infused memory foam surface that makes sleeping on your stomach more comfortable and regulates temperature throughout the night.

Best Foam Mattress: Sweetnight 12" Gel Memory Foam Mattress

There are many quality foam mattresses that can help reduce your back pain. And one of the best, most affordable options is the Sweetnight 12 inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress.

While it costs hundreds less than comparable products, this 12-inch memory foam mattress will give you a great night's sleep, helping to reduce body aches all the while.

This mattress has three thick layers of foam for optimal comfort. The top layer is made of a gel memory foam that regulates temperature, keeping you cool throughout the night while cradling the contours of your body—no matter what position you sleep in. Plus, the mattress is hypoallergenic and resistant to allergens, making it a great option for those who are sensitive to pollen and dust.

Final Verdict

There are countless mattresses on the market, each one with a different set of features to cater to your individual sleep needs. Amerisleep AS2 Mattress is a great option for anyone looking to upgrade their sleep habits, regardless of their go-to sleeping position. Most mattresses offer different levels of firmness, so it's not hard to find one that is most comfortable for you. If you're someone who overheats throughout the night and wakes up sweaty every morning, Tempur-Pedic's TEMPUR-Breeze Cooling Mattress is a great option. It uses multiple layers of cooling technology to help you wake up fresh and well-rested throughout the night.

What to Look for in Mattresses for Back Pain

Support: For the most part, the level of support you want in a mattress is subjective. Some people prefer a firmer mattress, while others want one that’s as soft and squishy as possible. If, however, you have back pain or other health concerns, then the level of support is likely even more important and you may want to consider a bed that’s tailored to meet those needs.

Materials: There are more options than ever when it comes to mattresses today. Do you want one with traditional springs or do you like memory foam? There are also hybrid models that combine both. Then, there are models that let you customize your sleep style, even if it’s different than that of your sleeping partner.

Affordability: Mattresses can be incredibly expensive, but there are also some good, affordable options. You do sleep on one every night, and the right (or wrong) one can significantly affect the quality of your sleep, so you want to make sure you invest in one that's going to help with your back pain for years to come.

The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Mattress for Back Pain

By: Rachael Schultz

It’s easy to overlook the importance of something you use every day. But anything that plays into sleep quality should be high on your list of priorities. Proper sleep influences everything from your physical health to your mental health, so fostering a good night's sleep is a must. If you suffer from back pain, finding a mattress that alleviates that pain is crucial to health and happiness.

“Just like trying to maintain good posture while standing and sitting, it is important to keep the components of the back—vertebral bones, intervertebral disks, and all associated ligaments—in healthy positions while sleeping,” says Harrison Linder, M.D., pain management specialist with The Center for Interventional Pain Medicine at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.

However, there’s a reason there are hundreds of different mattresses on the market right now—there is no one size fits all to the most comfortable and supportive mattress. What’s more, there is no single best option for what’s best for back pain, says Dr. Linder.

“The main thing to ensure is that the new mattress will keep the spine in proper alignment,” he explains.

One thing that certainly compromises spinal alignment is an old or structurally unsound mattress. “Beds are not meant to last forever. If yours is between seven to 10 years old, it’s probably time to start looking—especially if you are having trouble sleeping or waking up stiff and sore,” says Steve Knauf, D.C., executive director of chiropractic and compliance for The Joint Chiropractic.

The catch: This depends on your sleeping position, body habits, subjective ideal firmness, and many other factors. But when looking for the best option for your spine, you should also take your lifestyle into consideration. Budget, ordering method, delivery method, and overall sleep hygiene are all factors to consider when purchasing a new mattress.

Key Considerations

Sleep position

Mattress material and firmness are personal, but generally, your sleep position influences how hard feels comfortable. “The goal is to achieve pressure relief for adequate rest and renewal, while still keeping the spine and important structures in proper alignment,” says Dr. Linder. 

Firm mattresses aren’t usually comfortable for side sleepers—they can cause pressure to build in your shoulder and hip joints, delivering restless sleep and stiff and sore muscles the next day, says Knauf. But people who sleep directly on their backs or stomach tend to like it more.

Meanwhile, if you sleep on your front or back, soft mattresses can cause areas of your body that are heavier (like the pelvis) to sag, pulling your upper body out of alignment, Knauf explains. Softer mattresses help relieve pressure from the hips and shoulders for those that sleep on their sides, Dr. Linder adds.

Firmness

Mattresses come in every level of firmness from squishy soft to hard as concrete. Though a lot of people think harder is better, surprisingly there is no one ideal firmness to help ease back pain, Dr. Linder says. In fact, one study found when people were given seven different firmness to try, there was no collective favorite. Some people like to sleep on a harder surface, others on one that’s soft. Dr. Linder says in general, people usually prefer a “medium-firm” option. “They tend to be firm enough to offer support for back and front sleepers, but still offer some cushion from those that prefer to sleep on their sides.”

In fact, a 2015 study analysis in Sleep Health found medium-firm mattresses were most ideal for sleep comfort, quality, and spinal alignment. However, that level of firmness was subjective, so really it's still about what feels most comfortable to your body. Your best bet is to test beds out in person. 

Support

While ideal firmness is subjective, support is not. What’s important for your back is the curves: “The spine has a natural curve to it and your mattress needs to be supportive of that natural curve as well as the entire body,” Knauf explains. When you’re laying down, there should be no place where your body is not touching the bed. 

Construction

There is a seemingly endless list of materials your mattress could be constructed of—and every material has its own advantage: Coil beds provide good bounce and cooling; memory foam provides even support, says Knauf. There’s also latex, waterbeds, and hybrids of different materials. 

Affordability

Beds can—and should—be an investment. “Sleeping well and waking refreshed can be invaluable. A good bed should last close to a decade, so this is money you’re investing into yourself,” Knauf says. 

You can easily drop a full paycheck or two (or three!) on a new mattress. But with so many brands and models on the market, there are also some quality options that can help support your spine without breaking the bank.

Allergies

If you suffer bad allergies, especially to mold or dust, you should take a closer look at which material you buy. Traditional beds can be more prone to unhealthy mold growth because moisture and air can circulate among air or coil mattresses, while natural latex and foam are resistant to fungal growth. Knauf explains.

Toppers

Mattress toppers are an opportunity to add another layer to the base you will be sleeping on. This gives you a chance to either further enhance characteristics of your current mattress or attempt to change some of the dynamics, Dr. Linder explains. 

For example, if you feel like your firm mattress is supportive but leaving you achy, you can get a soft topper to allow your body to sink in more and find relief from painful pressure points while still benefiting from the more firm base underneath. On the flipside, if your mattress is too soft, adding a firmer topper might help cancel out some of that effect and lead to a more comfortable, healthier sleep, Dr. Linder explains.

Note that if your mattress is old and structurally broken—sagging in the middle, coils that no longer compress—a mattress topper won’t help. But if the base is still in good shape yet it’s causing pressure points or bodily pains, a topper can help make your bed more comfortable without a complete overhaul.

Sleep hygiene

In addition to sleeping pain free, you also want your mattress to maximize your sleep hygiene—that is, your overall quality of sleep. The factors that affect how often you’ll wake up in the night and how well you sleep include your partner or pet moving in the night, body temperature regulation, noise in the room (like bed coils squeaking when you roll over), and pressure points outside just your back like the hips and pelvis.

These are important considerations, but adequate support and comfort definitely take priority over any other features, Dr. Linder adds.

Return policy

“It’s important to try out a mattress for a while before you know if it will provide the support you need,” says Knauf. “Make sure you have a window of time in which you can give it a test run at home, or a return option if it doesn’t provide what you need to keep your spine healthy.” 

Some companies offer a worry-free trial period, while others will charge a return fee, so make sure you check before you buy—especially if you’re ordering online and haven’t tested it out yet.

Product Types

Memory foam 

Memory foam has become enormously popular. Though most of us associate the material with the Tempur-Pedic brand, it's widely used by other mattress brands.

Aptly named, memory foam sinks in wherever you put pressure and molds to that shape, bouncing back when you take it away. Because of this, these mattresses provide even support all along your spine, Knauf says. It’s also great for isolating motion—that is, not being disturbed when your partner or dog moves in the middle of the night. Plus, it’s hypoallergenic.

Memory foam mattress can be made of a few different materials which come with their own pros and cons:

Traditional memory foam is petroleum-based polyurethane. It's temperature sensitive so it softens with your body heat and stays hard where it's cool, making it great for not only cradling your body shape but also isolating movement. However, it also retains that body heat which can interrupt sleep for some.

Plant-based memory foam is made from coconut, soy, and other plant materials so it has the perk of being vegan, sustainable, and environmentally friendly. These materials often spring back more quickly, too, so they're great at shaping around your body as you move in the night.

Gel-infused are memory foam mattresses finished on top with a layer of gel. This adds both comfort and breathability. While full memory foam can be quite hot from your body heat, the gel allows air to circulate more, making for a cooler sleep surface. They also spring back to their initial shape very quickly after weight is removed.

Coil

Coil mattresses (also called innersprings) are the most traditional and most common type available. That's largely because they've been the leading type of mattress for nearly forever. 

The mattress is comprised of a series of steel coils that compress when you sit or lay on them. The shape, size, and number of coils all vary from mattress to mattress, as well as the different coil options—continuous, Bonnell, offset, pocketed coil. But in general, the more coils, the higher the quality and support.

The main draw of this type of mattress is that it's the most affordable option (other than an air mattress). It's also very bouncy and keeps you cool because there’s more room for air to circulate, Knauf points out.

However, coil beds also usually wear out faster so while you may get it cheaper, you'll have to replace it sooner to maintain sufficient spine support. Also, coil beds can be squeaky, so it's not an ideal choice if you or your partner move a lot in the night.

Toppers

Like mattresses, toppers in themselves are made in a variety of materials, densities, and thicknesses. Polyester blends are a decent option and usually the cheapest, but they don't provide a ton of support and degrade quickly over time. Feather toppers, often called featherbeds, feel extremely soft and luxurious but they don't offer much support for your spine (and a lot of people are allergic to them). 

For more spine support, latex and memory foam are typically best. They add either softness or firmness, good support for your joints, and motion control for others on the bed. 

Latex

Natural latex comes from the sap of a rubber tree, so it's a great option for those concerned with chemicals and environmental footprint. 

In a mattress, it performs similarly (but to a slightly lesser extent) to memory foam with its ability to contour to your body and bounce back. But it offers a little more bounce than full memory foam, so it's nice if you don't want that full sinking feeling. It also retains less heat than memory foam which can be good for sleep hygiene. Plus, it’s hypoallergenic.

Brands/Manufacturers

Nowadays, there are dozens and dozens of boutique mattress brands in addition to the companies that have been making beds for decades. Some of the top manufacturers include:

Casper

Casper has become one of the best online sleep brands. For starters, their mattresses are highly rated. And the company makes bed buying convenient: If you live near New York or LA, you can pop into a showroom to test different models. Otherwise, their mattresses are all sold online and come with free shipping, delivery in a box (great for apartment deliveries), and a 100-night trial. If you don't like it, you can return the mattress for free.

Beautyrest

Beautyrest is a classic mattress producer still following the classic bed-buying method: Their models are available to test out in specialty sleep chains, furniture stores, and department stores like Sears. They can get pricey quick—the cheapest model is still about $500—but the name is synonymous with quality.

Tempur-Pedic

Tempur-Pedic is the original memory foam mattress and, while others are now on the market, they still retain their proprietary foam blend that has given them high customer satisfaction ratings for years. They're on the expensive end of memory foam options, starting at $1,200. But they have the brand loyalty to back it and offer in-person testing at showrooms around the country.

Novaform

Novaform is a line of memory-foam mattresses, toppers, and pillows sold exclusively at Costco and online. Most of their beds are a medium firmness so would be pleasing to most. Novaform follows Costco's return policy of a full refund if brought back in a reasonable amount of time.

Serta

It is another heritage brand with a long-standing reputation for quality beds available at stores like Sears and furniture stores. They make all types of beds, but their unique angle is offering beds to try in person but starting at a lower price point—about $200 entry level. 

Sleep Number

Sleep Number beds are best known for their dual-adjustable features, which lets the owner customize the degree of firmness on the right and left side of the bed separately. They're air beds, which is what controls the firmness or softness of your number. They run pricy, starting at $900 and running through to nearly $5,000. But they're sold nationally, are established as high quality and reliable, and offer a unique fix for couples that can't agree on what firmness level is best.

The Original Mattress Factory

The Original Mattress Factory makes both innerspring and foam mattresses, sold at their brick-and-mortar stores. This is a great option if you're in one of the nine states that has stores, but online orders get a little tricky: The company offers free shipping, but if you don't love your mattress, you can only exchange, not return—and for a fee of 25 percent of the cheapest of your exchange.

Sealy

Sealy is one of the largest manufacturers of mattresses and has a Posturepedic line billed specifically as orthopedic, back-friendly beds. The brand is available nationwide at big box stores like Sears, speciality sleep stores, and furniture stores. Most of their mattresses start at $500 and can get up into four-digits quick. But the brand is well-established and widely available if you want that in-store experience.

Maintenance

Mattresses are an investment, so you want to be sure to take care of them. A mattress should last you seven to 10 years, says Knauf. You can maximize that lifespan by:

  • Rotating your mattress every six months. Moving your head to your feet every so often can help avoid lumps or compression in specific places.
  • Don't jump on the bed. Obviously, this can speed up the taxing of your coils or encourage compression of foam and latex.
  • Put a waterproof mattress cover between your mattress and the sheets to prevent dirt or water from getting in and creating mold.

Accessories

“Finding features that allow you to settle into bed comfortably rather than having to toss and turn throughout the night are usually worth the money for troubled sleepers,” Knauf says.

Adjustable beds, for example, can be great for people with lower back problems, he says. Usually, this allows your head and shoulders to elevate at a slight angle and your knees to bend slightly. This can help relieve pressure from your low back.

And when you’re thinking about keeping your spine in alignment, make sure you’re keeping your neck supported by quality pillows.

Conclusion

There is no one size fits all for an ideal mattress for people with back pain. Side sleepers will likely prefer softer mattresses while those who sleep on their front or back will be more comfortable on a firmer mattress. If you sleep in every position, you'll want to test different beds out for yourself to see what's most comfortable. If you're ordering online and don't know what you prefer, opt for medium-firm which studies and experts agree is most commonly preferred, and check to see if the company offers a trial period before purchasing.

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Article Sources
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