HOW WE DECIDED
|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.|
Best Mattress For Back Pain
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 low back pain:
- Best Firm Mattress – Saatva
- Best Innerspring Mattress For Back Support – WinkBed
- Best for Side Sleepers With Lower Back Pain – Purple Mattress
- Best Affordable Bed In A Box – Brooklyn Signature
- Best Memory Foam Mattress For Back Pain – Loom & Leaf
- Best Mattress For Upper Back Pain – Casper Wave
This list is intended to be helpful, but is not meant to be used in lieu of a meeting with your doctor, nor are we giving any health advice. We did, however, collaborate with a chiropractor in our area in order to learn more about chronic back pain problems and receive some recommendations he had in regards to buying a new mattress. We are using his professional opinion to compile our mattress list and write this post. We don’t expect it to apply to everyone, but we’re hoping that it serves as a good starting point for back pain sufferers.
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, chronic back pain, and create this post.
We relied heavily on his professional opinion and advice throughout the process of selecting the best rated mattresses. 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.
Best Mattresses For Lower Back Pain When You’re A Side Sleeper
We have a larger section on this topic below, but for now, here’s what you should be thinking about as a side sleeper with low back pain. In general, you may prefer a medium to a medium firm mattress, but one that still has plenty of support to help with their low back pain. You don’t typically want an extra firm mattress since it might not allow for enough pressure relief for your upper back pain. That could cause additional issues for you. What we’re looking for here is proper alignment of the spine and a lot of back support. If the mattress is too soft and your hips sag too much, that could exacerbate your back issues.
When you try out a bed, be mindful of how your spine—and specifically your lower back—feels. If you think you’re properly aligned, that’s great. 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 as a chronic back pain sufferer is a bed that aggravates your already uncomfortable situation.
Best mattress for you: WinkBed 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 Firm Mattress
There’s no way around it, Saatva is one of the top mattress brands for back pain sufferers—that is regardless of where your pain shows up. Interestingly, Saatva has a medium firm and firm mattress, but also a softer option for side sleepers dealing with lower or upper back pain.
But it’s not just about the back support that Saatva offers, it’s also a highly comfortable and affordable mattress. The bed has two layers of coils—including traditional innersprings at the bottom—and a luxurious fluffy cover made, in part, of organic cotton.
As far as pricing goes, Saatva costs less than you’d expect. Guess what a queen size bed retails for. You’d be wrong. Saatva does not cost north of $2,000. It’s actually about $1,300 for the queen size, which is just ridiculous. Now, clearly, this is not a cheap mattress, but it sure is affordable.
The bottom line with Saatva is that you have two firm mattresses from which to choose—and we consider both of them to be a great pick for people with a bad back. You can read our full reviews of Saatva to get a better idea of what the beds are like.
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’s clearly very well made and has a lot to offer, particularly to back pain sufferers. It comes in three different firmness levels (Softer, Luxury Firm, and Firmer), which allows you to pick one based on your sleep position (side, back, stomach).
Additionally, since it is 15” thick with two layers of coils, it will be supportive enough for larger individuals and they even offer a Plus version for extra heavier folks. But possibly the best part about this mattress is the price. Depending on discounts, you can usually find a queen size for around $1,400, which we consider a very fair price for what you’re getting. You can check current pricing on WinkBeds.com.
In terms of feel, it feels like exactly what it is: a thick and supportive innerspring bed with a soft quilted cover. We think the Softer version will be ideal for anyone with upper back pain and the Luxury Firm and Firm mattress versions will be suitable for individuals with low back pain. Overall, it’s a very nice, affordable, luxurious mattress.
Best for Side Sleepers With Lower Back Pain
Purple mattresses are in a league of their own. In fact, whether you shop in-store or online, Purple is about as unique as it gets—in a good way. There are four Purple mattresses on the market currently, but for this list we are specifically referencing the three Purple Hybrid mattresses because they offer plenty of support and pressure relief (at the same time). We think Purple could be just what you need if you’ve already tried traditional innerspring and foam beds.
What makes Purple worth looking into, though? Well, it all really comes down to the top layer of the beds. It’s a special material called Hyper-Elastic Polymer that is unlike any other comfort layer on a bed.
Hyper-Elastic Polymer is anything but typical. Oddly enough, however, it works on a mattress, and we think it just might be the best thing since sliced bread. Not only will it allow for excellent amounts of pressure relief for 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. You can read our full reviews for more context on Hyper-Elastic Polymer.
At the end of the day, Purple might not be for everyone, but we think it could be worth a try if you’re open to something new. If you want to see a more in-depth guide to all of the beds, make sure to read our Purple mattress comparison (Original vs Hybrid).
Great For Side Sleepers With Lower Back Pain
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. The way Purple’s line up works is that the original Purple mattress is the softest and most affordable bed that they offer and the New Purple Hybrid mattresses are a little more expensive, but incorporate pocketed coils for support and durability.
Side sleepers dealing with back issues will want to look into the coil models, and specifically 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.
Best Affordable Bed In A Box
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. We were really torn between Helix and BB Signature for this designation.
Brooklyn Bedding—like most online bed in a box mattress companies—offers completely free shipping and returns, alongside a 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 Brooklyn Bedding 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.
In terms of construction, this is a spring mattress with 6” pocket 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.
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. As such, we’d say this firm mattress is best for back sleepers and stomach sleepers, but it should also work for combo sleepers who sometimes find themselves sleeping on their sides. It’s actually quite supportive despite the fact that it’s made entirely of foam.
Given this is a thick, all-foam bed, Loom & Leaf is a nice option for heavier folks who don’t like the bounce most hybrid and innerspring beds provide (we know a lot of people out there prefer the deadening characteristics of foam).
Loom & Leaf is also available in a “Relaxed Firm” and “Firm” model so you can choose whichever seems to best suit your sleeping preferences. Remember, with back pain support is key.
But wait, there’s more! Under the center third of the bed (just under the cover) is a gel cooling panel. This won’t make you feel “cold” necessarily, but it will help to regulate your overall temperature. You can learn more about the cooling strip on Loom & Leaf’s website.
Overall, this is just a nice bed. It’s luxurious, supportive, versatile, and clearly built to a different standard than your average run of the mill memory foam bed. Hopefully Loom & Leaf will help your back problems eventually go away.
Best Mattress For Upper Back Pain
Casper Wave is our top pick for the best foam mattress for back pain, though, we should clarify that it’s available in an all-foam version and a hybrid version. Interestingly, the hybrid version is the only one available online at the moment. That said, whether it has coils or not, it does feel like a soft foam mattress.
What makes this mattress interesting, though, is that it has what Casper calls its Hyper-Targeted Support System.
All this means is that the bed offers more 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. You can learn more about the zoned support design on Casper’s website.
Similarly, if your lower back and hip is what’s bothering you, we think that the Wave offers plenty of support to keep your spine in proper alignment. It’s hard to think of a better rated foam mattress for people in regular pain.
At the risk of stating the obvious, your weight will impact your experience with the Wave—and every other mattress. The Wave is mostly ideal for medium and petite individuals. However, if you’re around 250 lb (give or take), you should be able to get by with this mattress, as well. It’s not our top pick for truly large folks, but if you’re in or around that 250 lb mark, the Wave is worth exploring further, particularly if you want more of a neutral feel and you don’t like a bed with bounce (as is common with coil mattresses).
Side, back, stomach, and combination sleepers should really enjoy Casper Wave, if you can get past the price tag. For side sleepers with low back pain, Casper Wave Hybrid might be a really nice solution. Remember, the most widely available version of Casper Wave is the innerspring mattress. Yes, you can find the foam bed, but only at certain physical stores.
If you’re interested in sticking with the Casper brand, they also sell a mattress topper that has a unique design that might help to alleviate some of the pressure in your back. Here’s the link to our Casper Topper Review.
More About The Selection Process
In addition to working with Dr. Sahota, we conducted our own tests related to motion transfer, support, firmness, etc. to select the best rated mattresses. 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 for all back pain sufferers.
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 and hip. It’s common to have a sore back here and there if you’re weightlifting, playing sports, or just sitting a lot, but chronic lower back pain can be an unrelenting, demoralizing burden.
There are many causes of lower back pain problems and therefore many different treatments options. When it comes to finding the right mattress, however, you might start by identifying what type of sleeper you are. I say this because the best mattress for a strict side sleeper will be different than for a strict back sleeper. Before you go mattress shopping, identify whether you’re a stomach sleeper, side sleeper, or back sleeper, or a combination sleeper that rotates positions at night.
Best Mattress For Side Sleepers With Lower Back Pain
For people with a bad back, this is the most common scenario. We say this for two reasons. Firstly, we have search data that suggests that there are a lot of side sleepers with lower back pain that need a new mattress. Second, we know that about 70% of people are side sleepers, and that about 55% of people report waking up with some form of soreness, stiffness, or pain. In any case, who cares how we know this, the reason question is what can be done.
For side sleepers with lower back pain, you 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 not guarantee that takes away your lower back pain.
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. I’m thinking of a mattress such as Purple, which has cushioning, but it’s really resilient and sits at about a medium firm for the mid-tier model. To be honest, there’s going to be some trial and error involved, but we’d rather have you start a little firmer because lower back pain is your primary issue.
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. 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.
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. Interestingly, combo sleepers typically need a larger size mattress. So, if you plan to sleep on a twin mattress, you may want to upgrade to a new kind of mattress. And if you can afford it, the king size mattress is the best for back pain because you just get overall space to roll and around and get situated.
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 from what we normally classify as back pain. 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.
Why A Pillow Might Be Able To Help
I know we’re discussing mattresses here, but having the right pillow is also crucial in dealing with upper back pain. For example, back sleepers will require a pillow with a much thinner loft so as to not kink their neck. It’s already easy to get out of alignment as a back sleeper and too thick of a pillow can take matters from bad to worse. Back and side sleepers will want a pillow with more loft, but to what degree depends on the sleeper. In general, side sleepers want their nose to be in close alignment with their spine (i.e. your head shouldn’t be sitting too high or low). Back sleepers will probably want to look for a pillow that allows them to sink in a little and end up sleeping with their head more or less straight upward—we’re trying to maintain the “C” curvature in the back. For more information on pillows check out our Pillow Reviews page.
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.
A Mattress To Help With Sacroiliac Joint Pain
Before we discuss the best mattresses for the SI Joint, let’s first explain what the SI Joint is. The gist of the story is the Sacroiliac Joint is a joint between your spine and pelvis and is, in part, responsible for absorbing impact as you walk, run, and jump. Pain from the SI Joint will typically manifest itself in your buttocks or lower back, but it can also radiate through your hip and leg causing numbness or a tingling sensation. Usually, pain from your SI Joint occurs on just one side of your body.
So that’s just a quick overview of lower back pain caused by the Sacroiliac Joint, but how can your mattress help? To be frank, your mattress is most likely not going to drastically improve your low back pain from the SI Joint—you might consider pursuing physical therapy, stretching, and even chiropractic care. The biggest thing that you want with your mattress is support. Anytime you’re dealing with back pain, the support level of your mattress should be the first element you consider.
What Is The Best Mattress For Lower Back And Hip Pain?
This is a tricky one because we don’t necessarily know you or your sleeping preferences. All we can say is that lower back and hip pain is no fun whatsoever. Our first inclination (and, again, we are not doctors) is that you don’t have a supportive enough mattress if you’re dealing with lower back and hip pain. That’s not to say that your mattress is 100% affecting your body, but we expect that an unsupportive bed is not making your lower back and hip pain any better.
We recommend that you reach out to your doctor before you choose a bed. If you’re a side sleeper with lower back and hip pain, we are concerned both with support and comfort. You probably want a bed with cushioning, but a ton of support—something like Leesa Hybrid. If you’re a stomach or back sleeper that has lower back and hip pain, you likely need something that’s pretty firm and extra supportive.
Best mattress for you: Purple Hybrid Premiere
The Purple Hybrid Premiere Mattress combines a supportive pocketed coil system and the brand’s special Hyper-Elastic Polymer material that conforms to your body. Plus, it’s available in a medium firmness level, meaning it offers relief to side sleepers’ pressure points.
A King Size Mattress Is Best
Firstly, as we mentioned in the start of this post, don’t make any final decision until you consult your doctor about your back problems. Selecting the wrong mattress could make your issues worse. Also, if you sleep with your wife, husband, partner, kids, you will want to think about other elements such as motion transfer and edge support. If you sleep with someone that’s especially active in their sleep, you won’t want them waking you up throughout the night. It’s hard enough to fall asleep with chronic back pain issues, so you won’t want their motion disturbing you when you finally do fall asleep. In this case, you have two options.
You should absolutely consider a more spacious mattress—a king size mattress over a twin mattress, as an example. The king mattress will allow you and your partner to stretch out and hopefully avoid contorting yourselves to get into a comfortable sleeping position. The king size mattress might be the best move you make to help with your back problems. If you just compare the king size bed to a queen, you’re getting 25% more space. If you compare the king bed to a twin mattress, you’re getting roughly double the overall space.
Also, you may look into beds that have pocketed coils rather than a traditional innerspring system. The pocketed coils move more independently of each other than a large coil system does. This usually helps to dampen cross-mattress motion. The pocketed coils still provide great support and airflow, but with the advantage of less motion transfer. The king size mattress with pocketed coils is the pinnacle in terms of comfort. You get space and limited motion transfer. As you can tell, we are huge fans of the king mattress.
Edge support can also be an important element to consider, especially if your partner/wife/husband hogs the bed all night. If you find yourself along the perimeter of the bed, certain mattresses may compress too much and give you a roll-off sensation, which obviously is not great for you back problems. Most people will hate this sensation, but it could be particularly troublesome if you have existing back issues. When you go to try out a mattress, you may consider laying on the edges to see how the support is there. The king mattress also helps to avoid issues related to edge support since you have more space on the bed.
Best Type of Mattress For Back Pain
There really isn’t one single best kind of mattress for individuals suffering from back pain problems. As mentioned previously, it has more to do with the support of the mattress than anything else. Heavier folks will need a lot more back support, which for the most part means either an innerspring mattress or a dense foam mattress. Lighter people can usually get by with an all-foam bed, but an innerspring mattress isn’t a bad option either. 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:
- Innerspring and hybrid
- Zoned support
- Memory foam
- Polyurethane foam
- Premium air mattress
- Latex mattress
Now that we’ve shown the list, we should go through each mattress type so you can get a better idea of their pro’s and cons. We would say that 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.
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. We have seen plenty of memory foam mattresses that we think could and would help people with back issues. 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 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 resilient responsive. 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.
Polyurethane foam is another viable kind of mattress for those with back problems. 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 is the kind of mattress 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. 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. Many of the best mattresses for a bad back have coils, whether they are traditional innersprings or pocket coils.
All this is to say that there is no perfect mattress type 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 back problems are, how much you weigh, and the construction of the mattress, among other things. And, as we’ve said many times, talk to your doctor before you make a final decision and pick a new mattress type.
Best Mattress Brand
Now that we’ve discussed construction and types of mattresses extensively, let’s go through some of the top rated mattress brands if you’ve got a bad back. To be clear, each brand is constantly releasing new—and updating existing—products but from what we’ve seen, here’s a list of some of the best mattress brands for back pain:
- Big Fig
- Helix Sleep
- Loom & Leaf
- Nest Bedding
To be fair, the list above is by no means exhaustive. In fact, there are dozens of other brands that we could see being a good fit for people with back pain. We just had to keep the list brief. You can visit the “Mattress Reviews” page on our site to see all of the other mattress brands we have experience with.
The Right Size Of Bed For You
There is no single best size of bed for everyone, but there are better sizes for particular situations. For instance, a twin mattress for back pain might be appropriate for a single adult that has a smaller room. This obviously has nothing to do with the twin size mattress because it’s all about the type of bed, but if space is limited the twin can work just as well as any other size. For instance, you might prefer a twin mattress if you’re dealing with back pain and you’re sharing a room with another person.
Perhaps the most obvious size for a person with back pain is the queen mattress. It makes a lot more sense than the twin mattress because you get more overall space (length and width) so you can spread out to get comfortable. If you have two people on the bed, however, space can get tight, which is why we are huge fans of the king size mattress for people with back pain. You need extra space to roll around and get comfy. The king size mattress obviously gives you way more space than the twin mattress and queen.
What We Consider To Be A Bad Back
Not to beat a dead horse here, but we need to remind you that we are not doctors. It is true that we’ve done a lot of research and even consulted a chiropractor in order to learn more about back pain, but we simply aren’t in the business of giving health advice. That said, since this entire list centers around people with a bad back—whether it’s upper back pain or low back pain—we thought we should layout some definitions.
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 some more specific advice.
|AT A GLANCE||HEADLINE|
|AT A GLANCE Pillow Top||HEADLINE Saatva Classic is the original innerspring mattress online. It comes in three firmness options, all of which have coils for support and a fluffy pillow top.|
|AT A GLANCE Pillow Top||HEADLINE WinkBed is a thick, durable hybrid mattress that includes a comfortable euro pillow top. In our opinion, it’s one of the best mattresses you can purchase online.|
|AT A GLANCE Unique||HEADLINE Purple Hybrid is a coil mattress that features a proprietary comfort layer called Hyper-Elastic Polymer. It’s a unique mattress thats comfortable and great for hot sleepers.|
|AT A GLANCE Soft Foam||HEADLINE Brooklyn Bedding Signature is one of the best mattresses for the money online. It has pocketed coils, it’s made in the USA, comes in three firmness options, and sells for far less than you’d expect.|
|AT A GLANCE Memory Foam||HEADLINE Loom & Leaf is one of the nicest, most luxurious memory foam mattresses online. It comes in two firmness profiles and has an organic cotton cover.|
|AT A GLANCE Soft Foam||HEADLINE Casper Wave is a luxury mattress featuring an upgraded “Zoned Support Max” system and “Airscape” foam.|
|What is best for side sleepers with back pain?||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.”|
|What is the best type of mattress for back pain?||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.|
|What are the best mattress brands for people with back pain?||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.|
|How do returns work with online mattresses?||Most of the mattress brands will offer 100% free returns, or returns with a modest fee. As such, during your trial period (typically 90 nights or longer) you can request a refund if you don’t like your new bed or it doesn’t help your back pain.|
|What firmness of mattress is best for lower back pain?||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.|
|Is a memory foam mattress good for back pain?||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.|
|Is a hard mattress good for your back?||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.|
|What is the best mattress for neck and back pain?||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.|
|What is the best Tempur-Pedic mattress for back pain?||The Tempur-LuxeAdapt is made to be ultra conforming and has a firm option with 30% more support than other models.|
|What is the best mattress for seniors with back pain?||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.|