What is the best mattress for back pain? If you suffer back pain then that is a very valid question – and you often get conflicting answers! Health professionals might recommend you use a hard or firm mattress – but they will be wrong!
A hard, firm mattress may not give your body sufficient contact with the mattress for best support. Here is why:
- If you sleep on your back, it will put pressure on your shoulders and buttocks, but not support your spine.
- If you sleep on your side, it will put pressure on your hips and shoulders but your spine will have no support.
- If you sleep on your belly, your belly and chest will be compressed by the hard surface, and your spine be left unsupported.
I have spent some time considering this problem, and here are my conclusions regarding the best mattress for back pain in 2020.
Table of Contents: Best Mattress for Back Pain
- Top Eight Best Mattress for Back Pain
- What is the Best Mattress for Back Pain: Buyer’s Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Conclusion: What Type of Mattress is Best for Back Pain?
Best Mattress for Back Pain Review: 2020
Most back problems related to your spine. Here is how to choose the best mattress for back pain – particularly the best mattress for lower back pain, because it is the lower area of your back that generally tends to suffer most: that part of your spine between your ribs and your pelvis.
Here are my top 8 mattresses for those that suffer from back pain. I have used the Queen size for the purpose of this review.
* Comfort layer is a softer foam – may suit an individual better than any not memory foam unless stated.
1. Tuft and Needle Mattress
This has been selected mainly because of the pressure relief it offers and also for the level of back support provided for those with back pain. It is also favored for the bounce it offers for night-time activities, something which should be kept in mind with any mattress. The latter might seem relatively unimportant to some, but if you have back pain then anything that helps you to avoid pain during sex must be good.
The very high 90% of 5 star reviews is also a factor, particularly when most of these reviews related to its support for those with back pain.
Construction: The Tuft and Needle mattress is constructed using two layers of a high density CertiPUR-US polyurethane foam that is certified free from harmful chemicals in its construction. It is medium hard in construction and the bottom 7-inch support layer helps to support your neck and spine in their natural shape.
Editor’s Notes: Some find it too hard, particularly for stomach sleepers. It may be great for single sleepers, but perhaps not for couples where one partner prefers a softer mattress – however, this is a review for those with bad backs for whom a hard mattress is not a negative factor. It should be noted that these hardness comments comprise less than 5% of buyer reviews. This appears to be one of the best mattresses for back pain on the market.
2. Sleep Innovations Shea 10 Inch Mattress
The Sleep Innovations Shea mattress has a medium feel to it while offering the support needed by people with back problems. It is good for both back and side sleepers, with good relief for pressure points. This mattress is constructed with two layers:
- A 7-inch support layer of medium-hard Support-Plus foam (not memory foam).
- A 3-inch layer on top of SureTemp Memory Foam.
The memory foam is temperature neutral, and does not heat you up during use. It conforms to the shape of your body, providing comfort and support for your lower back and also support for pressure points such as hips and shoulders.
Editor’s Notes: The dual structure of this mattress provides good support plus the memory foam experience. Most people using it finds it offers comfort without making them feel ‘enclosed’ by the mattress or becoming too hot, a common issue with some memory foams. Back support seems to be excellent, although some have complained about sagging after a period of use ranging from a few weeks to 2-3 years. Such complaints appear regularly regarding foam mattresses in general.
3. Ultimate Dreams Queen Eurotop Latex Mattress
This mattress was selected for its place in my best mattress for back pain list due to its 12-inch thickness and latex foam construction with a Eurotop padding (see above). Many people prefer latex foam to polyurethane memory foam, and this is one of the best we have found that is suitable for those with back pain.
It is made using Talalay foam, which a softer, gentler form of latex foam that nevertheless provides a good level of support for those suffering back pain. Check out the Editor’s review, another reason why this figures in our reviews Note below for information on what Talalay foam is and how it is made.
The construction of the 8-inch convoluted base allows for a good air flow through the mattress, keeping it cool while you sleep. Over this is 3 inched of Talalay latex foam then a quilted biodegradable bamboo cover with 1.5 inch layer of super reflex foam that provides a plush lying surface, but great support for your back, shoulders, and hips. The mattress has a zippered cover which cannot be washed or dry-cleaned – it is only to allow you to interchange the mattress with the same cover.
The reason for that is that when you order, a customer service agent will discuss your preferred level of hardness with you. Your mattress will then be made to your requirement – another reason why this figures in our review of ‘best mattress for back pain 2020.’ If you are unhappy with the level of hardness when you receive your mattress, you may have it changed for a nominal fee – hence the zippered mattress cover.
Editor’s Notes: The offer to customize the level of hardness of this mattress on ordering is an excellent service. Each mattress is made to order, and the level of hardness meets the needs of the customer. If you are unhappy and find your mattress too soft or too hard, you have it replaced for a nominal fee. The use of Talalay foam on top of high density latex foam allows for good support combined with a comfortable top to the mattress.
Talalay latex foam and Dunlop latex foam are the much the same chemically. The difference between them is in the way each foam is manufactured. Dunlop is a harder and firmer foam. Talalay is best if you need a medium firm mattress. Ideal for allergy sufferers, Talalay latex mattresses are hypoallergenic and breathable. They offer optimal orthopedic support, naturally conforming to body contours, and luxurious resilience and feel.
4. Perfect Cloud Elegance 12″ Visco Gel-Pro Memory Foam Mattress
This mattress comprises 12 inches of four layers of foam. These layers are, from the bottom up:
- 5 inches of high density regular support foam. This layer provides the support needed for any mattress considered good for those suffering back pain.
- Over this is a 2-inch layer of gel memory foam that absorbs heat and helps keep you cool while you sleep.
- The next layer up, or second layer down, comprises 1.5 inches of regular air-infused memory foam. This is memory foam that allows free air movement that can remove the heat generated in a memory foam mattress from your body heat when you sleep.
- The top layer of the Perfect Cloud Elegance mattress is a thin 1 inch of high density air infused memory foam. This prevents the mattress seeming too soft for those needing back support.
When taken together, these various layers provide you with good support: the ability of memory foam to support your back and other pressure points regardless of your sleeping position preference. This mattress construction also wicks away the heat often associated with memory foams and provides a comfortable and cool sleeping surface.
Editor’s Notes: This is a medium-firm mattress which many believe to be best for relieving back pain. Too firm a mattress can make your back pain worse. The gel and air-infused memory foam help to keep the mattress temperature down during the night, helping you to get a deep sleep all night.
5. Live and Sleep Resort Ultra Gel Memory Foam Luxury Mattress
The Live and Sleep Resort Ultra Gel memory foam mattress is a beautiful mattress that many people with back pain love to use. This is another multiple-layer mattress with:
- 5” of Air Flow Visco Foam that allows good air circulation within the foam layer to keep you cool.
- 1” layer of gel memory foam that offers the memory foam experience without the heating often associated with it.
- 5” of high density support foam to give you a good firm base.
The overall result is a medium firm memory foam mattress designed to keep you cool while sleeping. It offers good support for both your upper back and lower back due to the memory foam conforming to your sleeping body shape. This supports your pressure points while also offering support to your lumbar lower back region – perfect for anybody with back pain.
This may not be the best mattress for lower back pain, but it certainly one of them with excellent reviews from users. The three layers in this 12 inches of foam combine beautifully to prove your back with an excellent level of support while also being extremely comfortable and cool to sleep on.
Editor’s Notes: This appears to be an excellent mattress for back pain – if it is looked after properly. One issue with multi-layer mattresses is the integrity of the adhesion between layers. Such mattresses may not withstand particularly robust use but can offer comfortable yet good support for those with lower and upper back pain, whether muscular or spinal.
6. DreamFoam Bedding Ultimate Dreams
The DreamFoam Bedding Ultimate Dreams 9-Inch Crazy Euro Top mattress is a 9-inch mattress manufactured using convoluted high density foam. At its core. Convoluted foam is designed to keep the mattress cool while you sleep. That said, the company recommend that it only be used in rooms where the temperature is controlled.
The dual ‘convoluted’ layer at the core provides a medium hard feel the mattress, while it supports the hips, back, neck and shoulders while the softer top layer provides comfort. The term ‘Euro top’ refers to the padded top that is squared in comparison to the rounded edges of the ‘pillow top.’ There appears to be some debate as to whether ‘Crazy Foam’ is memory foam or something else.
Editor’s Notes: If you are trying to find out what is the best mattress for lower back pain, then this is one of them. Were it not for the warranty issue (no details unless you purchase) it may have been listed higher in our Best Mattress For Back Pain 2020 review.
7. DynastyMattress 15.5-Inch Grand AtlantisBreeze
The DynastyMattress 15.5-inch Grand AtlantisBreeze is a gel memory foam mattress consisting of six layers. These are, from top down:
- 5″ High density cool extra comfort 5 pound gel memory foam – the gel keeps the mattress cool when in use. The quilted Euro top provides a plush sleeping surface.
- 2″ High density regular 4 pound gel memory foam.
- 2″ High density regular 3 pound memory foam layer.
- 2″ High density 3 pound Sleep Cool Technology memory foam.
- 2″ Cool-Airflow Foam layer
- 6″ Super-Base foam support layer. This is a hard foam that supports the layers above.
Are all these layers a gimmick or sales thing, or do they all contribute to the comfort of the mattress and the way it handles back pain? Most people find it offers good support, although some tend to be wary of multiple-layer mattresses. The majority of people using this mattress gave it a thumbs up.
The overall result is the medium hard mattress that utilizes the benefits of memory foam to offer support to those with back pain, and also the cooling properties of gel foam and foams that allow a good flow of air through the foam structure.
Editor’s Note: If not the best mattress for lower back pain, this mattress appears to offer excellent support along with a high level of comfort. Gel foams, and memory foams with a good air flow, tend to remain cooler than regular memory foams. This largely overcomes the heat issue that many find with regular memory foams. It conforms to the properties that the best mattress for back pain should possess.
8. Sleep Innovations Taylor 12″ Gel Swirl Memory Foam Mattress
This is our final selection for the best mattress for back pain 2020. It is a medium-firm mattress, though many complain it is too firm. However, this review relates to the best mattress for a back pain 2020, and a medium-firm mattress provides good support for your back. A soft mattress does not offer much pain relief for lower or upper back pain.
This mattress comprises three layers:
- Top layer: Plush 2” cooling gel memory foam
- Middle layer: 2” layer of air channel foam to promote cooling air flow within the layer.
- Bottom layer: 8” of Support-Plus foam for a hard support base.
This combination results in a hard base that provides support for your back and a cool plush gel memory foam layer for comfort and pressure point relief. These are further cooled by the middle layer of cooling foam. While the main issue from those providing bad reviews related to the hardness or firmness of the mattress, this is not a bad thing for those suffering back pain. Orthopedic mattresses tend to be hard because that is best for back pain.
Editor’s Notes: The Sleep Innovations Taylor 12″ Gel Swirl Memory Foam Mattress appears to be an excellent mattress for those suffering back pain. It comes in at #8 for just one reason: 15% negative 1-2 star reviews.
What is the Best Mattress for Back Pain: Buyer’s Guide
What type of mattress is best for back pain, and what is the best mattress for back pain? There are many views on this subject, but most tend to agree today that a medium-firm mattress is better than a firm option. Too hard a mattress might cause pain in their back for many, and there generally should be some give. A medium hard mattress is now accepted as being the best type of mattress for back pain.
This has been accepted by many orthopedic doctors and chiropractors, particularly after a publication in The Lancet that reported Spanish researchers finding that those sleeping on medium-firm bedding were twice as likely to experience a reduction in their back pain than those sleeping on a hard or firm mattress. Check this out here:
You can find more about this topic in this report from the Harvard Medical School. I have taken both of these resources into consideration when compiling this review.
What Type of Mattress is Best for Back Pain?
That is a very good question and is not an easy one to answer. Most people have their own favorite types of mattress – innerspring, latex foam, memory foam and so on. If they have back pain, they may have to consider purchasing a new mattress so let’s have a look at the factors involved.
Your body needs support when in bed, which leads to many people to state that a hard, firm mattress is best for those suffering back pain. In fact, this is not the case. Too hard a mattress can place undue pressure on those parts of your body that come into contact with the mattress. That pressure is not equally distributed, so your hips, shoulders, and buttocks can feel painful both in bed and when you rise.
Current medical thinking is that a comfortable medium-firm mattress both supports your spine correctly and helps you sleep better. You can find more information on the benefits of a medium form mattress over a form mattress in this paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2007.
Whole Body Support is Important
A mattress that fails to support your whole body can make lower back pain worse because it does not keep your spine in proper alignment. What you need is a mattress that supports your whole back and also provides comfort. This mattress will be different for each person – there is no individual mattress that will suit everybody, which is why I have provided a choice of eight – each one of which may suit an individual better than any of the others. You can find more information on the benefits of a medium form mattress over a firm mattress in this paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2007.
Why is a Medium-Firm Mattress Best?
According to chiropractor Dr. Jason Tirado, in addition to comfortable support, you also need a mattress that provides you with undisturbed sleep. If you do not sleep well due to the design of your mattress, then this can, in turn, make your back pain worse. The old rule that those with back pain should sleep on a hard bed no longer applies. The best mattress for back pain appears now to be a medium firm mattress rather than a firm or hard mattress. A comfort layer on top may also help you get a better, deeper sleep which helps to alleviate the pain and the condition that causes it.
So What is the Best Mattress for Back Pain?
Finding the best mattress pain is not easy, but it will be made easier if you check out our list above. Taking all the above information into account, a medium-firm mattress will likely be better for you than a firm or hard mattress. This is true irrespective of whether you sleep on your back, your side or your front.
You are strongly advised to check out a variety of mattresses by lying on them in your normal sleeping position. Check out how your back feels, and whether or not you feel comfortable. A combination of comfort and medium-firm support will likely enable you to get a good sleep while your body is being supported correctly to reduce pain in your back. An uninterrupted sleep itself will help reduce your overall level of pain.
We have focused on foam mattresses, but if you prefer an innerspring mattress, then check out the following video for more information on this type of mattress with respect to back pain. Many people suffering back pain feel that a spring mattress does not help them, although this need not be the case.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, it won’t but it will help you to sleep more comfortably and feel more comfortable lying on your bed than if you chose a bed not designed for back pain.
You can use any of the mattresses I have recommended with any base. However, many people who suffer back pain find it better to lie on a hard, flat base such as a wooden slatted base rather than on a box spring. The less give that the base has, the better the mattress can do its job.
I prefer foam mattresses for those suffering various forms of chronic back pain for two reasons: a) because people tell me that this is the best type of mattress for them, and b) because foam more readily conforms to the shape of your body than springs do, and can, therefore, provide more support where it is needed.
Yes, I do personally, although I am neither a doctor nor a chiropractor. Current thinking seems to focus more on the level of hardness of the mattress than on the type of foam. A medium-hard mattress seems best. Check out some of the links I have provided above for more information on this subject. Many people like memory foam because of the way it supports all of their pressure points equally, but they don’t all have chronic back pain.
I cannot recommend what type of mattress is best for you, although many people like the comfort layer for its relative softness in comparison with the rest of the mattress. There are pros and cons for this: your mattress will certainly feel more comfortable, but that is only because the comfort layer has more ‘give’ and less proper support. If your back pain is not serious you may find a comfort layer suits you fine, but a firmer base definitely helps. You could try a thin topper first, and if that works for you then you don’t have to change the entire mattress.
See Also: Best Firm Mattress Topper for Back Pain »
Conclusion: What Type of Mattress is Best for Back Pain?
What is the best mattress for back pain? Only you can decide that. However, to sum up, it is practically certain that you should look for a medium-firm mattress with a thin comfort top layer. The comfort layer will help you sleep better and the medium-firm support layer will help your back remain in the correct position while you sleep.
Some people prefer memory foam mattresses, and I have offered a selection of these above including gel memory foams that tend to stay cooler during the night than regular memory foam. I have also included some regular foam mattresses for those who do not like the feeling of memory foam. I have not included an innerspring mattress because I believe that foam is better for a bad back than springs, but check the video above if you are a spring mattress fan.
Tuft and Needle
Sleep Innovations Shea
Ultimate Dreams Eurotop
Perfect Cloud Elegance
The Live and Sleep Resort
Sleep Innovations Taylor
Ultimately, the best mattress for back pain is the one you feel most comfortable lying on and less pain when you sleep on it. Most people find that only after making a choice and using the bed for a few weeks. Use our guide and recommendations to make sure you choose the best mattress for your needs and get it right first time.