We’ve posted dozens upon dozens of reviews, and this is our hand-selected list of the best mattresses for people with shoulder pain or neck pain. The general prescription is that you need a softer mattress for your shoulders, but probably need to look at your pillow for any issues related to your neck.
Neck and shoulder pain can be a horribly persistent issue, made better (or worse) by your mattress (and pillow). Assuming you get your full eight hours each night, that’s a third of your day spent sleeping. You’re either making forward progress or you’re adding to the problem. With that said, here are the best rated mattresses for shoulder and neck pain.
This post is not an offering of health advice and we are not physicians or chiropractors. We did, however, work closely with a licensed chiropractor to assemble our list, learn more about neck and shoulder pain, and write this post. Any advise or recommendations we give are based on his professional opinion.
If you have any questions, you can always contact us directly, but we urge you to consult your physician and/or chiropractor before you buy a new mattress or change your daily habits. The last thing that we want is for you to get a bed that doesn’t actually help your back and neck pain, and/or the issues related to your shoulders.
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Soft Foam Mattress
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|Nolah is a soft foam mattress that offers plenty of pressure relief for your shoulders without that stuck-in-the-mud feeling. This is a wonderful mattress for side sleepers with neck pain, but also other conditions.|
Memory Foam Mattress
|$160 Off + Gift|
|Layla is a double-sided memory foam mattress with a "Soft" side and a "Firm" side. It’s very comfortable and offers a lot of pressure relief. As such, it's a versatile option for anyone with back and neck pain, as well as other ailments.|
Best For Couples
|$100 Off + Gift|
|Helix, via their Sleep Quiz, allows you to select the bed that best fits you. They have plenty of mattresses that will work for people with back and neck pain, as well as issues with the back and shoulder. Helix allows you to select the type of mattress you think is best.|
Pillow Top Mattress
|Brentwood Oceano is luxurious, comfortable, and comes with a giant, plush pillow top. It's a fantastic option for people with back and neck pain that sleep on their side. We say this because it has thick comfort layers and two separate coil layers.|
|This is probably the coolest bed available right now. It also has plenty of support thanks to the coils, and is offered in three different firmness levels.|
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Clearly, we’d be making a big mistake claiming that there’s one root cause of neck and shoulder pain. You could be experiencing pain for any number of reasons, including an irritated joint, pulled muscle, pinched nerve, strained ligament, or some other reason. All you know is that it doesn’t feel good and you need a mattress to help (or at least to not make things worse). As I’ve said for the third time now, please visit your doctor and/or chiropractor to learn more about what’s going on with your spine.
While we have a great group of editors, testers, and production people, we do not have a full-time doctor or chiropractor on staff. Therefore, in order to feel at least somewhat comfortable putting this post out there, we sought the counsel of Dr. Ranvir Sahota of Synapse Chiropractic.
We discussed in-depth some of the many causes of neck, back, and shoulder pain as they relate to mattresses. We also went through an in-person demonstration and presentation about proper spinal alignment and health. We relied heavily on his professional opinion in order to assemble this list and add all of the necessary context.
Even so, we do sincerely recommend you consult your physician and/or chiropractor before you purchase a new mattress or change anything in your daily routine. In addition to working closely with Dr. Sahota, we conducted our own tests and ultimately spent hundreds of hours researching, testing, and producing our list and this post. We take great pride in remaining above the fray and doing good work. Hopefully you learn something and finally find the mattress that you’ve been looking for.
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Nolah is a softer all-foam bed that’s extremely comfortable and is most ideal for strict side sleepers. It’s comprised of three layers of foam, including a top layer that feels somewhat like memory foam, but without a quicksand feeling that you may have experienced with older memory foam beds.
Nolah is also a fantastic value. The MSRP might float around $1,000 for a queen size, but after discount it typically sells for around $900. You can check the green discount box above for current deals, which tend to be in the $100-$135 range.
Nolah is made in the USA and comes with a 15-year warranty. Like most bed-in-a-box mattress companies, it also offers free shipping and returns, plus a 120-night risk-free trial period (that’s about 20 days longer than the policy of most brands). Nolah is not a mattress for heavy individuals, but if you have a medium or petite frame, it should do just fine.
The reason that we put the Nolah Original 10 mattress on this list is that it offers a great amount of pressure relief for your shoulders and hips. It’s not a bed for back and stomach sleepers, but for side sleepers, it will do a good job of cradling your body and alleviating pressure.
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Layla is a very comfortable, two-sided flippable mattress that used quite a bit of memory foam. It has a “Soft” side and “Firm” side, which allows you to try out two different firmness levels on the same mattress.
You should start with the “Soft” side, as that offers the greatest amount of pressure relief, but they “Firm” side is no slouch either. It might technically be the “Firm” side, but it feels more like a medium or medium-firm. Side sleepers should be just fine on either side, but if you’re really concerned with your shoulder pain, again, the “Soft” side is the way to go.
Layla also has the added advantage of being reasonably priced and it comes with a lifetime warranty. We could go on and on about how much me like Layla, but it really all boils down to comfort, dual firmness levels, and value. You’re almost getting two mattresses for the price of one.
And speaking of price, Layla has an MSRP for the queen size bed of just about $1,000, but of course they offer discounts. If you go to LaylaSleep.com you can see the deals and specials they’re running today, which are probably some sort of bundle or cash discount.
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Helix is one of the most unique mattress companies out there. Unlike most companies that offer between one and three firmness levels, Helix allows you to personalize your bed, including its firmness, support, and coolness. Helix actually has a Sleep Quiz on their website that matches you up with a bed that most suits your sleeping habits.
Helix is probably the outright best mattress for couples, given that you can personalize each side of the bed or try out a blend that works for both partners.
Beyond that, Helix offers supportive mattresses that combine coils and several different types of foam (i.e. these are hybrid mattresses). They even make a model for heavy individuals that weigh over 250 lb. And, on top of that, they offer a separate mattress cover that incorporates a phase-change material that makes the bed cool to the touch.
Ultimately, what we like about Helix is just the sheer number of options they provide. Rather than have us guess which bed is best for your situation, with Helix you can select whichever bed you feel is best for you. If you want a softer bed, they make that. Want a firm bed? They make that too—and everything in between.
Brentwood Oceano is one of the most impressive mattresses out there. It’s a 14” monstrosity that’s perfect for heavy people that need a durable mattress. It actually has two layers of coils, which isn’t all that common in the online mattress industry.
Further, it happens to be a very comfortable bed that has a plush pillow top. This is the type of bed that you nestle into and never want to get out of. And, given its firmness level (close to a medium-soft), it’s a fantastic option for side sleepers with neck and back pain. You will get plenty of support from the coil layers, but also plenty of pressure relief thanks to the comfort layers on top and the pillow topper.
Perhaps the worst thing about the Oceano mattress is that it’s (somewhat) difficult to find sheets that fit. You need really stretchy sheets because it’s 14″ thick. Beyond that, however, if you’re ok with spending between $1,000 and $2,000 on a new bed, it’s hard to do better than the Oceano. Simply put, it’s one of the most comfortable mattresses we’ve ever tested.
The Brooklyn Bedding Aurora is quite possibly the coolest mattress on the market right now. Brooklyn Bedding combines 8” pocketed coils with various layers of foam and then a cover with a phase-change material woven in. The bed is literally cool to the touch and could possibly be too cool for some people out there.
For example, if you’re a petite young lady that tends to always be cold—like Kaite on our team—then the Aurora mattress is likely not for you. You have to sleep very hot to want Aurora. And if you that’s you, you’re definitely in luck.
A few other things that we should note about the Aurora mattress. Firstly, it’s basically the same bed as the Nest Bedding Hybrid Luxury Contour and that’s because Brooklyn actually makes both mattresses in their facility in Arizona. The Aurora, however, comes in a Soft, Medium, and Firm feel, which gives you the ability to select which firmness is right for you.
As a heads up, the Medium option is still quite soft. It offers plenty of pressure relief, but as you’d expect, still great support thanks to those 8” coils.
In general, if you’re experiencing back or neck pain, it might be better to look for a more supportive mattress. Notice that I didn’t say firmer or softer. That’s not the same thing as support. You want a mattress that doesn’t sag too much and can easily support your weight. That said, you can get away with a slightly softer mattress if you’re worried about shoulder and neck pain. You will need it to be comfortable and give you a certain level of pressure relief. I should follow up by noting that firmness level is subjective based on your weight. If you’re lighter, the bed will feel firmer. Conversely, if you’re heavier, the bed will likely seem softer to you, although you may also find yourself sinking right through the comfort layers and feeling only the support layers of the mattress. This is why we present firmness on a spectrum—it’s not the same for everyone.
Everyone is different, so there’s no single best mattress, but there are a few types of beds that we have more confidence in. In no particular order, here’s our list of the best types of mattresses for neck and shoulder pain:
Back and neck pain together is a nasty. You need to get to the root of the cause before we can give any concrete advice. In general, however, there is a difference between your upper back and neck pain and other types. If you do have upper back and neck pain you’ll probably want to take aim at your pillow first. We’ve seen plenty of stomach sleepers using a pillow that’s too thick. The pillow, in this case, could make the upper back and neck pain worse. Again, everyone is different, so please contact your doctor to get their advice. If he/she says that you need a firm mattress, well then, go for a firm one.
Below is more information about different sleeping positions. Identifying your dominate sleep style will be helpful in alleviating your back, neck, and shoulder pain.
Side sleepers are definitely going to want to test out beds that offer more pressure relief. Since you’ll be putting a lot of pressure on your shoulders, you’ll need the mattress to compress quite a bit. Firmness is up to you, but if you get too firm of a mattress you can make your existing shoulder pain worse—and it can also cause even more neck or back pain. All mattresses will soften over time, but if you think there’s excess pressure on your shoulder, move on to the next bed.
When it comes to neck and back pain specifically, it’s really important that you pay special attention to your body. Feel the mattress out. If it’s not making you better, get rid of it and move on—that’s why we include so many beds with free returns.
Back sleepers generally prefer firmer mattresses that make them feel like they’re sleeping on the mattress, not in it. That will also help to prevent your hips or shoulders from sinking too far into the mattress. That can stretch your muscles and throw your back out of alignment. Of course, this is a general statement. It really comes down to how you feel. Anywhere in that medium to firm range is a good idea for back sleepers. Bottom line, back sleepers with neck and back pain need a supportive mattress.
Similar to back sleepers, stomach sleeper will likely gravitate to firmer beds so that they don’t sink in too much. Having said that, sleeping on your stomach is not really advisable if you have neck issues. It’s really easy to get out of alignment on your stomach and your pillow is incredibly important, as well. Check out all of our pillow reviews. If you are a strict stomach sleeper and you simply cannot learn to sleep on your side or back, you’ll want a thinner pillow for sure to help make your back and neck pain better. You really don’t want your neck overly angled upwards, as that can overstretch your ligaments and muscles and mess with your spine. One thing you will want to think about if you’re committed to exclusively sleeping on your stomach is sleeping flatter. The more you contort and twist your body, the more you could be pulling yourself out of alignment and making your situation worse.
I know we’re talking about mattresses here, but you can’t overlook how important your pillow is. After all, if you have back and neck pain, it’s probably as much to do with your pillow as your mattress. Knowing this, stomach sleepers should take special care to pick the right pillow. As I touched on earlier, you’re looking for a pillow with a thinner loft. You’ll know the right height when you feel it. Test a few pillows and don’t settle until you have the right one. Back sleepers will also want somewhat of a thin pillow so that you can maintain the natural “C” curvature of your neck. You almost want to be pointing your head directly upward. The pillow should not be pushing your head forwards, thereby stretching out your neck. You’ll likely end up with even more neck pain this way. Side sleepers should look for a pillow with a moderate loft that keeps their head aligned with their spine. A good way to think of it is to follow a path from your nose down your body. You should be drawing a straight line that follows your spine.