best mattress for back pain

Best Mattress For Back Pain & Bad Back

Here are the top rated beds online for back pain sufferers

Back pain is no laughing matter. It’s a disheartening, discouraging curse that can made better or worse by your mattress. Given that we spend about a third of our lives asleep, our mattress just might be the most important thing in terms of curing or assuaging a bad back.
AT A GLANCEPRICINGHEADLINE
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Custom$100 Off

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Helix has a Sleep Quiz that matches you up with the best mattress for you. They have a number of options for side sleepers with lower back pain, neck pain, and even hip pain. Additionally, their firmer models can accomodate back and stomach sleepers.
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Hybrid20% Off

Code: SLUMBERYARD20

A supportive, responsive bed that’s available in multiple firmness levels. Brooklyn Bedding Signature could be a good option for back pain sufferers, especially if you want to select the firmness level of your mattress.
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Memory FoamFree Gift

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If you like memory foam, the TempurPedic Tempur-Adapt is a smart pick. It’s supportive, comfortable, and does a great job of cradling your body. We think it could help with everything from upper back pain to lower back pain if you get the right model.
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Latex$275 Off + Gift

Code: PILLOWS

This is a double-sided mattress that’s available in multiple firmness levels. It’s responsive, supportive, and very comfortable. The firm model is a great option for stomach sleepers with lower back pain.
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Heavy People$200 Off

Code: SY200

A bed designed for heavier folks. WinkBed is the quintessential hotel luxury mattress. Supportive beds like WinkBed tend to be the best type of mattress for back pain.

HOW WE DECIDED

  • Mattresses Considered100+

    Mattresses Considered

  • Brands 40+

    Brands

  • Made the List 6

    Made
    the List

  • Number of Contributors 7

    Number of Contributors

Best Mattress For Back Pain & Bad Back: Overview

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.

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 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 you.

Helix

BEST FOR:

  • Anyone that wants to customize/create their own mattress
  • Couples (you can customize each side of the bed or create a blend that works for both partners)
  • Those who want a more neutral feeling bed (i.e. doesn’t feel like memory foam)
  • All sleeper types (back, stomach, side, combo), given that you’re creating your own bed

NOT BEST FOR:

  • Anyone working with a shoe-string budget
  • Folks who don’t like a bed with a little bounce

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.

helix moonlight luxe mattress side sleeper
Helix has over ten different mattress models

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.

Brooklyn Bedding Signature

BEST FOR:

  • Anyone that wants a supportive, responsive bed
  • Side, back, stomach, and combo sleepers (they offer a Soft, Medium, and Firm version)
  • If you care about the fact that this bed is made in the USA in a company-owned facility
  • Anyone that doesn’t really like memory foam (it has more of a neutral feel)
  • People that want a borderline luxury bed at a very affordable price

NOT BEST FOR:

  • Memory foam lovers
  • Anyone that sleeps especially warm at night (no active cooling properties)

The Brooklyn Bedding Signature mattress is interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly, it has a really accommodating feel that’s nearly universally loved. It doesn’t feel like memory foam, but still offers great pressure relief. Secondly, it comes in three different firmness levels (Soft, Medium, and Firm), which gives you the flexibility to select your preferred feel.

For example, if you sleep mostly on your back and you’re suffering from lower back issues, you’ll probably want to check out their Firm version, as the Soft and Medium options will be too soft. But if you’re a strict side sleeper dealing with upper pain back, you probably want to look into the Medium or Soft version.

brooklyn bedding signature back sleeper
Back sleepers will probably want to go with the Firm version

In addition to all of that, since the Signature mattress uses 6” pocketed coils as its base, it’s a very supportive, responsive mattress. This is great if you’re a bit on the heavier side and plan on keeping your bed for a while, or if you tend to switch sleeping positions at night.

Despite having these coils, it’s pretty efficient at reducing motion transfer, which can be helpful for couples and light sleepers, especially if one partner is an active during the night and the other has a sore back.

The bottom line with the Brooklyn Bedding Signature mattress is that it has more of a neutral feel—which people tend to really like—and it comes in three firmness options. We also think it’s a well-made, comfortable mattress that will work for a lot of people. All you need to know is whether you want a soft, medium-soft, or medium-firm mattress. If you can handle that, you’ll probably like the Signature mattress. And if you don’t like it, send it back for a full refund (it comes with a 120-night trial).

TempurPedic Tempur-Adapt

BEST FOR:

  • Hot sleepers (this bed has a cool-to-the-touch cover)
  • Memory foam lovers
  • Peite, medium, and large individuals
  • Back, stomach, and combo sleepers

NOT BEST FOR:

  • Anyone that doesn’t like a traditional memory foam feel
  • People that sleep cool to begin with
  • Anyone looking to spend under $1,000 for a mattress

Getting a mattress from Tempur-Pedic can be a somewhat confusing process, given that they have so many models. And, honestly, a big part of the Tempur-Pedic brand is creating not just beds, but also wellness products.

As such, putting a Tempur-Pedic mattress on this list was a no-brainer. We selected the TEMPUR-Adapt Medium Hybrid, which uses a blend of memory foam and coils to provide localized support and pressure relief.

The bed has pocketed coils, which tend to be more effective than innerspring systems at reducing motion transfer, alongside dense memory foam, which is supportive, but contours nicely to the shape of your body. All this means is that the bed isn’t especially soft, but sort of cradles your body. It’s not so much that you get a stuck-in-the-mud feeling, but enough to take away pressure in certain areas.

As you probably know, your BMI (essentially weight to height ratio) affects your experience with a mattress and therefore (along with other things) dictates which bed is good for you. Knowing this, for the average person, we think the TEMPUR-Adapt Medium Hybrid is a solid back, stomach, and combination sleeper mattress.

We don’t think it’s the most ideal bed if you spend the majority of the night sleeping on your side, but if you tend to rotate positions here and there, it should be fine.

tempurpedic tempur adapt mattress review
We think the Tempur-Adapt is a great option for back, stomach, and combo sleepers

We just think that the bed is really comfortable, very supportive, and a wonderful option if you’re open to sleeping on memory foam. And one other point with the TEMPUR-Adapt is that it has a phase-change cover, which is literally cool to the touch and will actively cool you down at night. If you sleep hot and like memory foam, this is a really nice cooling mattress for you.

IDLE Latex Hybrid

BEST FOR:

  • Anyone that wants a responsive, supportive mattress
  • Large, medium, and petite individuals, regardless of sleeper types
  • Those who want to choose their firmness level
  • Hot sleepers
  • Anyone that wants a flippable mattress and a lifetime warranty

NOT BEST FOR:

  • Memory foam lovers or anyone that wants a very soft mattress
  • Budget shoppers that can’t afford a relatively expensive online mattress
  • Couples that need a bed with amazing motion isolation

It is hard to say anything negative about the IDLE Sleep Latex Hybrid. It’s a flippable mattress that’s supportive, durable, and responsive—oh, and it does a good job of regulating temperature as well.

And since this is a double-sided mattress, IDLE Sleep allows you to select your firmness preference for each side. You can create a mattress with two Firm sides, two Soft sides, or one with a Firm side and a Soft side. We have not seen many brands offer this level of flexibility and we think it’s part of what makes this a standout mattress.

But why would you want to flip your mattress? Great question. It’s all about longevity. Typically, with a new mattress, you want to break it in and then rotate the bed two to four times per year, so that it wears evenly.

With the IDLE Latex Hybrid, you not only can rotate the bed, but you can flip it, which in theory should lengthen the useful life of the mattress. This is particularly helpful for couples and heavier individuals that tend to put more stress on a mattress.

idle sleep latex hybrid mattress
Flipping the IDLE Latex Hybrid is fairly easy

We also like the IDLE Sleep Latex Hybrid because it incorporates pocketed coils and natural latex foam. The overall feel of the bed is bouncy and responsive, yet still very comfortable. The Firm side is about a medium-firm and we think it’s ideal for back, stomach, and combo sleepers. The Soft side is about a medium in terms of overall firmness and it’s able to accommodate all sleeper types, including strict side sleepers.

This mattress makes a lot of sense for anyone that really cares about durability, support, and having options (Soft vs Firm and lifetime warranty). It doesn’t hurt that it also uses naturally cooler materials (coils and latex) and has an organic cotton cover that smells like a burlap sack (in a good way, it’s very earthy). The only real downside that we could note for someone with back pain is that the bed doesn’t come with free white glove delivery or setup, which means you should have a friend, family member, or neighbor help you get it all setup—don’t want to aggravate that back any further.

WinkBed

BEST FOR:

  • Those who want a hotel luxury mattress
  • Anyone that wants options in terms of firmness levels
  • Value shoppers (it’s a great mattress at a very fair price)
  • Petite, medium, and heavy individuals (it’s very supportive)

NOT BEST FOR:

  • Extremely hot sleepers (no active cooling technology unless you get the coolControl system)
  • Couples that need a bed with next to no motion transfer
  • Memory foam lovers

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 heavy folks. But possibly the best part about this mattress is the price. Depending on discounts, you can usually find a queen size for under $1,300, which we consider a very fair price for what you’re getting.

winkbed mattress
WinkBed is a solid option for heavier people

In terms of feel, it feels like exactly what it is: a thick and supportive innerspring bed with a soft pillow top. We think the Softer version will be ideal for anyone with upper back pain and the Luxury Firm and Firm versions will be suitable for individuals with low back pain. Overall, it’s a very nice, affordable, luxurious mattress.

Review Team

Jeff Rizzo

Jeff Rizzo

Combo Sleeper

carla thrower slumber yard

Carla Thrower

Back Sleeper

Kelsie Longerbeam

Stomach Sleeper

Owen

Owen Poole

Side Sleeper

How We Assembled This Mattress Buyer Guide

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. 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.

SEE ALSO: Today’s Best Mattress Deals & Coupons

What Type Of Sleeper Are You?

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 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 combo sleeper that rotates positions at night.

Back Sleepers and Lower Back Pain

If you sleep primarily on your back, 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 hips and shoulders—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. 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.

Side Sleepers That Are Dealing With Lower Back Pain

Side sleepers may prefer a medium to a medium-firm mattress, but one that still has plenty of support. You don’t typically want an extra firm mattress since it might not allow for enough pressure relief under your hips and shoulders. That could cause additional issues in your upper back, shoulders, and hips. What we’re looking for here, again, is proper alignment of the spine. If the mattress is too soft and your hips sag too much, that could exacerbate your issue.

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.

Stomach Sleepers That Have Low Back Pain

Stomach sleepers are a bit tougher to deal with when it comes to low back pain. In general, stomach sleeping is probably not the best position for keeping proper alignment. All of this really depends on how you sleep, but it’s really easy to get out of alignment when you sleep on your stomach. That said, if you’re dead-set on sleeping on your stomach, you will likely prefer a firmer mattress. You’re looking more at a medium, medium-firm, or a firm mattress for ample support.

And as a reminder, your weight heavily affects the level of support that you need. If you’re lighter, you can most likely get away with a thinner, softer bed since you don’t create much downward pressure. If you’re, say, 250 lb or more, you will need a much heftier mattress, probably one that utilizes innersprings or pocketed coils.

What About People That Rotate Positions At Night?

This all depends on which positions you rotate between. If you’re 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 shoulders from getting too firm of a mattress. If you’re a back and stomach 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.

People With Upper Back and Shoulder Pain

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 (shoulder blade), neck, 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.

I know we’re discussing mattresses here, but having the right pillow is also crucial in dealing with upper back and neck pain. For example, stomach 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 stomach 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 neck. For more information on pillows check out our Pillow Reviews page.

Don’t Forget About Edge Support and Motion Transfer

Firstly, as we mentioned in the start of this post, don’t make any final decision until you consult your physician and chiropractor. Selecting the wrong mattress could make your situation 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, so you won’t want their motion disturbing you when you finally do fall asleep. In this case, 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.

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. 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.

Types of Mattresses

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 spring mattress or a dense foam mattress. Lighter people can usually get by with an all-foam bed, but a spring 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 heavy individuals or anyone that wants maximum support. Innerspring beds also tend to last longer because they’re made of steel. The downsides are that 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.

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