|Medically Reviewed by Dr. Gregory Minnis, DPT|
|Dr. Gregory Minnis is a physical therapist with an interest in orthopedic manual therapy. He graduated from the University of St. Augustine in Florida with a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. His work experience includes orthopedic physical therapy, sports medicine, neurological rehab, advanced assessment and treatment of running injuries, and advanced treatment of the pelvic complex, spine, and extremities. He loves spending time outdoors biking, skiing, and surfing.|
Finding The Best Mattress For A Bad Back
If you have chronic back pain, the right mattress, or even a mattress topper, can make all the difference. Likewise, the wrong mattress can make your situation worse. It is extremely important that you consult your physician, physical therapist, 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 back pain:
Best Firm Mattress For A Bad Back –Saatva Classic
Best Innerspring Mattress For Back Support –WinkBeds Classic
Best Affordable Bed In A Box –Brooklyn Bedding Signature
Best Mattress for Side Sleepers With Lower Back Pain –Purple Hybrid
Best Memory Foam Mattress For Back Pain –Loom Leaf
Best Mattress For Upper Back Pain –Casper Wave Hybrid
Jump-To Links For This Best List
Best Bed For Bad Backs Video Review
Top 6 Mattresses For Bad Backs
Best Firm Mattress For A Bad Back
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 pain in the lower or upper back.
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 fluffy cover made, in part, of organic cotton. Additionally, they offer two height options, 11.5″ and 14.5″ so you can choose how thick and supportive you want it to be.
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 is one of the best mattresses under $2,000. It’s actually about $1,400 for the queen size. Clearly, this is not a cheap mattress, but it sure is affordable for what it offers.
Why we chose this bed – The bottom line with Saatva is that you have two firm mattresses from which to choose—and we consider both of them to be great picks for people in the market for the best beds for back pain. We also love its premium materials including the eco-friendly cover!
Best Innerspring Mattress For Back Support
WinkBed is a 15” innerspring mattress that looks and feels like it belongs in a five-star hotel—it’s one of the best rated mattresses, period. 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.
In terms of feel, it feels like exactly what it is: a thick and supportive innerspring bed with a soft quilted cover.
Why we picked this mattress – Overall, it’s a very nice, reasonably priced luxurious mattress. It offers maximum support for those who suffer from back pain thanks to its dual-coil/innerspring construction, without compromising comfort. 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.
Best for Side Sleepers With Lower Back Pain
For this list, we are specifically referencing the three Purple Hybrid mattresses because they offer plenty of support thanks to their pocketed coil bases, and pressure relief (at the same time).
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.
Not only will it allow for excellent amounts of pressure relief for side sleepers 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.
Purple can accommodate all sleeping positions, but if you’re mostly a side sleeper (which about 65% of people are), we’d recommend you first look into either the Purple Hybrid Premier 3 or Hybrid Premier 4.
Side sleepers dealing with back issues will want to look into the coil models, and specifically the Purple Hybrid Premier models. 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 a cushion for side sleeping.
Why we picked Purple – We think Purple could be just what you need if you suffer from back pain and have already tried traditional innerspring and foam beds. Purple Hybrid mattresses are in a league of their own, and offer a unique feel thats seriously supportive and comfy. 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.
Best Affordable Bed In A Box
In terms of construction, Brooklyn Bedding Signature is a spring mattress with 6” pocketed coils for back support. The comfort layers are composed of “Energex” and “TitanFlex” foam, which offer a “soft foam” feel. They are truly really comfy. Anyone with back issues should likely start with the firm mattress model, which they just call “Firm.” That said, we could see side sleepers and those with upper back pain preferring the “Medium” model.
Of course, there’s no absolute guarantee that the bed will cure your back issues, but at least BB Signature gives you the opportunity to save money and still get a really nice bed. For the king mattress, the price is under $1,400, and the queen mattress is under $1,100.
Why we added Brooklyn Bedding – Brooklyn Signature is our top pick for the best affordable mattress for back pain, however, it’s much more than that. It’s also one of our favorite bed in a box mattresses, considering it’s a really nice bed and the price point is very reasonable.
Best Memory Foam Mattress For Back Pain
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.
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 that support is key here.
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.
Why Loom and Leaf was added – Overall, this is just a luxurious, supportive, and versatile back pain mattress because it offers firm mattress profiles that promote a neutrally aligned spine. It’s clearly built to a different standard than your average run of the mill memory foam bed, and can even help those who tend to sleep hot at night.
Best Mattress For Upper Back Pain
Casper Wave is our top pick for the best foam mattress for upper back pain, though, we should clarify that it’s available in an all-foam version and a hybrid version.
What makes this mattress interesting, though, is that it has what Casper mattress calls its Hyper-Targeted Support System.
All this means is that the bed offers more back 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 chronic back pain. If you’re suffering from upper back pain, you should get the requisite pressure relief with the Wave.
If you’re interested in sticking with the Casper brand and suffer from back pain, you may want to consider a topper for additional support. Here’s the link to our Casper Topper Review for more info.
Why we picked Casper Wave – All body and sleeper types who experience back should really enjoy Casper Wave, if you can get past the price tag. It has a soft foam feel, and we think it can be a solution for sleepers who want additional support or pressure relief for your upper back, as it’s designed to target those common problem areas.
Best Mattress For Back Pain Price Table
|Mattress||Twin||Twin XL||Full||Queen||King/Cal King|
|Brooklyn Bedding Signature||$599||$649||$799||$949||$1,149|
|Loom and Leaf||$849||$1,149||$1,599||$1,699||$1,999|
Selecting The Best Mattress To Help Back Pain
In addition to working with Dr. Sahota, a chiropractor in our area who educated and worked with us to create this list, we conducted our own tests related to motion transfer, support, firmness, etc. to select the best rated mattresses for a bad back. We have a diverse team comprised of men and women who’s weights range from 95 lb up to 230 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.
What Type Of Sleeper Are You?
There are many causes of lower back pain problems, including sleeping on an improper mattress. When it comes to finding the right bed, 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.
Best Mattress For Side Sleepers With Lower Back Pain
If you fall into this category, you likely have a bit of a conundrum on your hands to find the best rated mattress. Sure, you need to pay attention to all the normal mattress shopping topics like price and materials, but also you need to balance back support with pressure relief. That’s not easily done and it’s not always perfectly apparent to you when you’re first testing a bed. For instance, we love Helix Moonlight Luxe because it’s ultra supportive, and yet still has a comfy/pressure relieving suite of foams, but there is no guarantee that it takes away your pain.
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. Make sure to keep an eye on it throughout your trial period with the bed. But if you feel like the mattress is pushing or pulling you out of alignment, you should probably continue your mattress search. The last thing that you want is a bed that aggravates your already uncomfortable situation.
Best mattress for you: WinkBeds Mattress
WinkBed mattresses are great for side sleepers with lower back pain because they provide luxury dual-spring support. You’ll have plenty of support for your hip and other pressure points that are often triggered by sleeping on your side all night.
Best Mattress For Back Sleepers With Back Pain
If you sleep primarily on your back—and you are a 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 make sure that you keep your back in proper alignment and avoid excess sagging under your lower back and hip—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 hip 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.
Best mattress for you: Saatva Mattress
A Saatva mattress is our pick for the best firm mattress, so it’s no surprise that it is popular among back sleepers with pain. You won’t sink or sag while you sleep on your back on a double coil mattress like this as it offers maximum support.
Best Mattress For Combination Sleepers With Back Pain
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.
Best mattress for you: Purple Hybrid
Combo sleepers with back pain who switch positions throughout the night should sleep on a mattress that provides both support and comfort. Purple Hybrid achieves that feel by utilizing supportive coils, and soft, pressure relieving Hyper-Elastic Polymer. It’s also available in a medium-firm feel, or you can opt for the Purple Hybrid Premier, which we rated a medium.
Best Mattress For People With Upper Back Pain
Anyone that suffers from upper back and shoulder pain is sort of in a different category. Typically people experience soreness and stiffness in their lower back. But in the event that your shoulder, 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.
Best mattress for you: Casper Wave
Casper Wave’s zoned support system is designed to help promote proper spinal alignment. That makes it a top pick for people with pain in their upper back, because it offers additional support where your body needs it most.
Should You Get A Mattress Topper?
Even more, you might consider a mattress topper. In many cases—especially for petite individuals—adding a new layer of foam can be a cost-effective way to help with back pain. We’ve published a guide to the best mattress toppers in which we made a selection for individuals with back pain. We would rather people consider a new mattress entirely, but if you simply cannot afford it, perhaps a mattress topper can help for a little while. At the very minimum, you know that the added layer from the mattress topper can help to alleviate some pressure points. You probably won’t want to end up with a soft mattress, but the extra layer could be helpful.
Best Type of Mattress For Back Pain
If we could only pick one kind of mattress for people with back problems, it would most likely be an innerspring bed, whether it has traditional coils or pocketed coils. Though, there really isn’t one single best kind of mattress for individuals suffering from back problems. Instead, it has more to do with the support of the mattress than anything else. With that in mind, in no particular order, here’s just a brief look at our picks for the best type of mattress for back pain:
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 back 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. We generally like latex mattresses for people with a bad back because the foam is so supportive and promotes a neutrally aligned spine. Yes, you can find softer options, but for the most part, these are firm mattresses. They provide ample back support and don’t tend to “give way” over time as much as other foams. Even though latex beds aren’t made specifically for a bad back, we tend to think they apply just as much, if not more so, than a lot of other constructions.
Innerspring Or Coils
Innerspring, coil, or hybrid mattresses are the kind of beds that will generally offer the greatest amount of back 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, and that’s obviously a good thing if you have a bad back. 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. You can find innerspring mattresses all over the place, and in different sizes ranging from the twin mattress to the king size.
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 likely be durable, have that stereotypical bounce factor, and can offer a lot of back support for individuals with bad backs.
What We Consider To Be A Bad Back
Firstly, a bad back is just chronic pain in your back, regardless of its cause. That means, it could be as a result of a birth defect, accident, or sports injury, etc. If you just sometimes experience back pain, you probably don’t have a bad back, but we’d still urge you to find a firmer, supportive bed.
Lower back pain is felt in the lumbar and sacral areas of the spine. Typically, our team at least, considers the thoracic region to be excluded from our definition. Back and stomach sleepers with this issue typically want a firm mattress. Side sleepers with lower back pain, however, have to strike an interesting balance between support and cushioning. We discuss these types of sleepers in the sections above.
Upper back pain is generally felt in the upper thoracic and lower cervical areas of the spine. Interestingly, upper back pain can also manifest outside the spine, even perhaps in your shoulders.
Middle back pain is somewhat uncommon even if it involves the largest part of your spine (i.e. the thoracic region). We typically get emails from people that have low back pain, but every once in a while we hear from someone that’s suffering from middle back issues either because of a birth defect or accident. The best kind of mattress for you is completely up in the air, though, we do know you need a lot of back support. You should reach out to your doctor for more specific advice.
If you need more help choosing the perfect mattress, try taking our mattress finder quiz.
Best Bed For Back Pain Overview Table
|Saatva||Best Firm Mattress||3 Firmness Levels|
|WinkBed||Best Innerspring Mattress||3 Firmness Levels|
|Brooklyn Bedding||Best Affordable Mattress||3 Firmness Levels|
|Purple Hybrid||Best For Side Sleepers||Medium-Firm|
|Loom and Leaf||Best Memory Foam||Medium-Firm, Firm|
|Casper Wave||Best For Upper Back Pain||Medium|
In general, side sleepers will want a slightly more plush feel, but in this case, we think the right mattress firmness is the medium to medium firm range—that is, so long as you don’t have issues with your shoulders. You want a highly supportive bed that cradles your pressure points, but doesn’t offer too much “give.”
There really isn’t one single best kind of mattress for individuals suffering from back pain. It has more to do with the support of the mattress than anything else. As such, that means getting a bed with plenty of bi-directional support that never feels like it’s “giving” too much.
There are about 20 brands that make beds we love for those with back pain. We primarily gravitate toward the brands that offer extra-supportive coil beds such as Saatva, WinkBed, TempurPedic, Helix, etc.
Medium to firm mattresses are ideal for lower back pain. They provide enough support to ensure your lower spine won’t curve unnaturally throughout the night.
Yes, memory foam can be both supportive and gentle enough to accommodate your back pain. The flexibility of memory foam allows it to contour to your exact shape. We just recommend you stray away from memory foam beds with softer profiles.
Firm mattresses tend to be better for back pain than super soft mattresses because they help maintain proper spine alignment, but if you’re a strict side sleeper, you probably won’t love a firm bed. Instead, side sleepers can opt for a hybrid bed if they’re looking for more support.
Purple mattresses use a proprietary material designed to be ultra supportive, which helps those who suffer from back and neck pain. Combined with a Purple pillow, this mattress is one of the most versatile mattresses for conquering back pain and neck pain.
The Tempur-LuxeAdapt is made to be ultra conforming and has a firm option with 30% more support than other models.
Loom & Leaf mattresses feature a comfortable pillow-top that can be soothing to aches and pains, yet they offer an ample amount of support. These mattresses also have a gel cooling panel that helps keep sleepers more comfortable throughout the night.