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.|
Outline Of This Best Mattress For Sciatica Review
You can use the links above to quickly jump to any section of this best mattress for sciatica review.
Best Rated Mattresses for Sciatica & Lower Back Pain
Sciatic pain can be an unrelenting, disheartening condition. In mild cases, it’s annoying, and in extreme cases, it can be near crippling. According to the American Chiropractic Association, half of all working Americans experience back pain symptoms each year. That’s a lot of people! Here’s our list of the top rated beds for people who suffer from Sciatica.
Best Mattress For Pressure Relief –Purple Hybrid Premier 3
Best Chiropractor Recommended Bed –Casper Wave Hybrid
Best Memory Foam Mattress For Sciatica –Loom Leaf
Best For Heavy People With Lower Back Pain –WinkBeds MemoryLux
Best Cheap Mattress For Sciatica –Brooklyn Bedding Signature
Best Latex Foam Mattress For Sciatica –Awara
We should acknowledge that we are not doctors. As such, we collaborated with a professional chiropractor to help us write this guide and to learn more about sciatic nerve pain. This post and our list of that best mattresses for sciatica are meant to be helpful, but they are not health advice.
Consult your doctor before you buy a new mattress or change your sleeping habits. Sciatica sufferers do not want to rush into anything—get it right the first time. Now, let’s talk about finding the best mattress for sciatica.
In this list, we’ll look at sciatic nerve pain, what causes it, and why these top six mattresses might help improve sleep quality for those with sciatica.
How We Created This Mattress Buyer Guide
For guidance and insight, we consulted Dr. Ranvir Sahota from Synapse Chiropractic to assemble this best mattress for sciatica list. In addition to specifically discussing sciatica nerve pain, we experienced an in-person demonstration of proper spine alignment and sleeping positions. Any of the recommendations or assertions we make in this post are based on his professional opinion. Of course, along with working with Dr. Sahota, we conducted our own tests related to support, firmness, motion transfer, edge support, and more.
Purple Hybrid – Best Mattress For Pressure Relief
Purple makes some of the most unique beds that you will ever encounter. They aren’t for everyone, but if you end up liking Purple, it has a number of advantages that you won’t get with other beds.
For example, Purple beds are soft and firm at the same time. They also tend to sleep at a more neutral temperature since they allow for a tremendous amount of airflow. And all of this is because the top layer on the Purple Hybrid beds and the Original Purple is a proprietary material called Hyper-Elastic Polymer. It’s laid out in a grid format that reduces surface area, which promotes airflow, and provides support and pressure relief simultaneously.
It’s difficult to fully explain the feel of these beds, but they’re somewhere between medium-soft and medium-firm, depending on the sleeper and the model. We selected Purple for this list for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that they’re completely unique. If nothing has worked for you in the past, Purple might be worth a try, especially considering they offer free returns.
We’d recommend that you first start by looking at the New Purple Hybrid mattresses, which have pocketed coils for their foundation layer. Typically, coils are a good idea if you carry around a little extra weight, or just want a more supportive bed.
Casper Wave – Best Chiropractor Recommended Bed
The Casper Wave mattress is unique in its “Zoned Support System,” which, in more basic terms, means that the bed is constructed to provide more support and more pressure relief in the appropriate areas. This makes it a great mattress for sciatica sufferers.
The center third, for example, has more support, since this is where the majority of your weight will lie–your trunk and hips. The top and bottom thirds of the bed are a bit softer, in order to provide more pressure relief for your shoulder, which is critical if you spend a lot of the night on your side. It’s subtle, but it’s a clever way to construct a bed.
Also, as an aside, the Casper Wave has actually been endorsed by the American Chiropractor Association. We aren’t aware of many other beds that have this stamp of approval. Perhaps the biggest knock against Casper Wave is just the price. For an online mattress, it is a little expensive, but then again, it is in the luxury tier and we really like the design concept.
Loom and Leaf – Best Memory Foam Mattress For Sciatica
The Loom and Leaf brand has been built, in part, off of the notion that they offer more than just beds — they offer wellness products. As such, much of their branding has to do with the luxurious nature of their products and how they work to improve sleep.
The main Loom and Leaf bed mixes dense core foam (for support) and memory foam (for pressure relief, support, and comfort), and has a unique gel-cooling strip under the cover to help draw body heat away. This keeps you at a comfortable temperature through the night.
This bed is best for memory foam lovers that want a slightly firmer feel. That said, Loom and Leaf can be found in a “Relaxed Firm” and “Firm” model. If you’re spending more of the night on your side, or you rotate positions, the Relaxed Firm might make more sense. If you’re a strict stomach or back sleeper, the Firm model is the way to go. Both are great mattresses for sciatica.
WinkBed – Best For Heavy People With Back Pain
Those are the major boxes the WinkBed checks, but that’s not it. We also like that WinkBed offers a Plus option for heavier individuals that uses a triple-zone pocketed coil system for extra support. They recommend this mattress for heavy sleepers that are over 300 lb.
All of their mattresses have two layers of coils and a puffy, soft pillow top. We can’t imagine anyone complaining about the support and construction of WinkBed mattresses.
This bed, in short, really has no cons. WinkBed calls their bed a “Luxury Hotel Mattress,” and we’d have to agree. It’s akin to a mattress you’d find at the presidential suite at the Ritz-Carlton, and it’s one of the best mattresses for sciatica.
Brooklyn Bedding Signature – Best Cheap Mattress For Sciatica
Brooklyn Signature is our top pick for the best “budget” mattress for sciatica pain. It’s not a cheap mattress, but we think it’s a great value overall.
Brooklyn Signature is one of very few hybrid mattresses that’s made in the USA and sells for under $1,000 (for the queen).
But it’s not just the price we like. We are also big fans of the mattress itself, which boasts 6” coils that offer nice support. We also like that you can select among three firmness levels (Soft, Medium, and Firm). If you’re more of a side sleeper, then you might prefer the “Medium” option, for example. We’d say, however, for sciatica pain, the “Firm” model is where most should start. It’s around a medium-firm and is very supportive for the price.
Awara – Best Latex Foam Mattress For Sciatica
Awara is a hybrid latex mattress from Resident Home, the same company that makes Nectar and DreamCloud. This bed is constructed with pocketed coils and a latex foam top layer, and that’s about it. We think it’s comfortable for those who like a supportive, yet bouncy feel.
Overall, we rate the firmness at about a medium-firm (maybe a touch firmer), which means it should accommodate all sleeping positions. Strict side sleepers, though, might consider it too firm. Still, we think the level of support and responsiveness it offers, it’s a helpful mattress for sciatica.
What Is Sciatica Pain?
Let’s pause and briefly discuss what sciatic pain is. According to Harvard Medical School, sciatica affects as many as 40% of people, though it is frequently misunderstood. The sciatic nerve is your body’s largest nerve and is about the thickness of your finger. It starts from the lower lumbar area of your spine at the L4 spinal nerve. Smaller nerves come out from your spine and connect together to travel down your buttocks and the back of each of your legs, all the way down to your feet.
Sciatic pain can form as a result of several issues, but the most common cause is a herniated disc where the nerve roots are pinched or irritated. You may feel anything from slight numbness or tingling all the way up to a stabbing sensation or throbbing pain. And the pain can be anywhere along the sciatic nerve, whether that be lower back, buttocks, or the back of your leg. As such, you should consult your doctor before you make any decisions with regard to a mattress or your daily habits. In many cases, sciatica goes away by itself relatively quickly, in a matter of minutes, hours, or days. There are some cases that are more longstanding, but a lot of sufferers find that applying ice to the area and taking an anti-inflammatory drug can be helpful in reducing the pain. Even so, often the root cause remains. As a result, you may consider taking proactive steps with your doctor to treat the issue.
What Causes Sciatica Pain?
Your back is a complex structure of muscles, nerves, joints, and ligaments and therefore it’s impossible for me to say what causes pain for everyone. In the section above we covered sciatica, — frequently as a result from a pinched or irritated nerve root. However, Sciatic pain can come from a car crash, sports injuries, poor posture, obesity, arthritis, and countless other incidents. You can experience pain from pulled muscles, ruptured disks, sprained ligaments, aggravated joints, and more. This is why it’s so important that you consult with your doctor as soon as the pain starts.
What To Consider When Looking For A Mattress For Sciatica
Before you start your mattress review search, ask yourself: What kind of pain are you experiencing? How heavy are you? What type of sleeper are you (back, stomach, side, combo)?
Think critically about your budget and preferences in terms of materials. For example, do you like memory foam? Some people love it, others hate it. Do you like the feeling of a pillow top? It’s fluffy and softens up the bed, but some people feel like it heats up the mattresses. So, as you can see, even from this short list there are a lot of things to consider in the mattress hunt. Let’s start with the pain topic as it relates to sciatica sufferers.
Clearly, all back pain is not created equal. You may experience soreness or you may be virtually paralyzed by the pain. I don’t know your situation, but I can tell you that lower back pain and upper back pain are an entirely different beasts. If you’ve experiencing upper back pain, I’d suggest you look at our Best Mattress for Back Pain list. It overlaps a little with this list, but we discuss the upper back in more detail there.
For sciatica pain (and again, I don’t know your specific situation), you generally want a firmer mattress to help keep your spine in proper alignment. You’ll probably be choosing anything from a medium to medium-firm, or even a firm mattress. But even more than the firmness, you should look into a supportive mattress, especially if you’re heavy or overweight.
The Best Type Of Mattress For Sciatica
In many of our reviews, we acknowledge a reality that everyone is different and there is no one-size-fits-all mattress. That is, indeed, the case for sciatica pain sufferers, but we can highlight, based on what we know from research and consulting with experts, some of the best mattresses for sciatica and back pain.
- Coil/Hybrid Mattress – good combination of softness and support
- Zoned Support Design – provides extra support in the center of the bed to keep your body level
- Memory Foam – nice blend of softness and support
- Pillow Top
- Latex Mattress – comfortable blend of support and pressure relief
- Polyurethane Foam – designed to reduce pressure points without the viscous feel of memory foam
- Premium Air Bed – doesn’t have traditional springs, rather, inner air coil channels to provide full-body support
Heavy Individuals With Sciatica
If you’re experiencing back and leg pain because you’re overweight, you will definitely want to look into a supportive mattress, perhaps one that uses innersprings, pocketed coils, or dense/thick foam. And now a word on innersprings vs pocketed coils. Given that your profession is presumably something other than reviewing bedding products, I wouldn’t be surprised if you weren’t 100% clear on what the difference is. Traditional innersprings are part of a larger system and are extremely durable. They offer great support, but not many advantages beyond that. Pocketed coils are individually-encased steel coils that move freely from one another. As such, they tend to deaden motion more efficiently and offer more localized support.
Because you’re heavier, you will wear down an all-foam mattress relatively quickly and the support will basically vanish. Therefore, innerspring beds and mattresses with pocketed coils are probably your best bet, as coils tend to be more durable and supportive. They also have the added benefit of letting in great airflow and helping to keep you cool, which is an issue that a lot of heavier individuals have to deal with. And they’ll give you a little of that bounce that you’re probably used to with a mattress.
Additionally, since firmness is subjective, you should probably consider a firmer mattress. Here’s where I should clarify that firmness and support are not the same thing. Firmness refers to how hard the mattress feels, whereas support refers generally to the thickness and density of a mattress. We’ve tested plenty of beds that are supportive, yet soft. Just know that there’s a difference. But the reason we say that you should consider a firmer bed is because a heavier individual will perceive a bed to be softer than will a lighter person. It’s all relative.
If you’re a sciatica pain sufferer, you should almost certainly stay away from soft, thinner beds. You should probably look for a bed in the 12” to 15” range that has coils (innersprings or pocketed coils). Having said that, we understand that sometimes your budget doesn’t permit buying an expensive, thicker mattress. And in this case, we would implore you to go no thinner than a 10” mattress.
Your Sleeper Type Is Important As Well
In general—regardless of your weight—it’s probably best to look at a bed with coils or dense support foam. That said, your sleeper type is crucial to know. For example, if you sleep on your back, you’ll be looking at a slightly different mattress than you would if you slept exclusively on your side. And keep in mind that firmness is a relative term, which is why we try to depict firmness on a spectrum. You’ll want good support either way, but someone that’s say 95 lb can get by with a much thinner, softer bed than a 300 lb sleeper. Totally different ballgame. Also, keep in mind that all beds soften up. Therefore, the mattress you get day-1 will always be firmer than it will be after you’ve slept on it for six months.
You may also want to take a look at these best pillows and sleep positions for sciatica. In short, those who suffer from sciatica want to consider:
- Plump pillows
- Pillows on the side
- Contoured pillows between your knees
- Large, customizable pillows
- Pillow below your hips
Back sleepers will want to consider a bed that’s medium-firm to firm in order to keep proper spinal alignment. You may want a bed that’s a tad softer if you sleep on your back, simply because you want to support the natural curvature of your spine. For example, if you sleep on a hardwood floor, you’ll feel a gap between your low back and the floor. You want the mattress to cradle you, almost as though you’re floating. It should fill that space under your low back, but your hips should not feel as though they’re sinking in too much. Pillows are equally important, and we suggest you check out our list of the best pillows for back sleepers.
Like back sleepers, stomach sleepers should consider a bed that’s medium-firm to firm in order to maintain proper spinal alignment. Stomach sleepers also can get away with a slightly firmer mattress since you really want to avoid your hips or trunk sagging in too much. In general, sleeping on your stomach isn’t the best for avoiding back pain. You’ll more typically experience pain in your upper back, shoulder, and neck, but it can irritate your low back, as well. Stomach sleepers will want to pay close attention to their pillow. That affects the angle of your neck and can either help you out or make things much worse. Also consider these best pillows for stomach sleepers.
Side sleepers dealing with sciatica or low back pain will still want a supportive mattress, but they may prefer one that’s a bit softer. You’re probably looking at something in the medium to medium-firm range, although this depends on your weight. You want a bed that has good support, but let’s your shoulders and hips sink in a bit. You need good pressure relief in those areas, otherwise you’ll wake up feeling sore or stiff, especially in your scapula (shoulder blade). You don’t want a bed that’s overly soft or firm. The bottom line is that you will have to determine how it feels. If you feel too much pressure on your shoulders, move on to the next.
Couples Dealing With Sciatica Nerve Pain
Finding a bed for one person is tough, but adding a second person really throws a wrench into the equation, unless you have the exact same body types and sleeping preferences. Your best bet here is to pay attention to motion isolation with your mattress, which refers to how efficiently a bed deadens motion. Once you fall asleep, the last thing you want is your partner waking you up because they move around a lot in their sleep. Pocketed coils and foams tend to be better than traditional innersprings when it comes to motion transfer.
Also, edge support is worth testing. Edge support refers to how supportive the bed is around the perimeter. If you find yourself sleeping along the edges of the bed, you’ll want to make sure you don’t get a roll-off sensation. That can be annoying and detrimental for someone with back issues. Typically, coil/spring mattresses are better than all-foam beds for edge support. That’s not always the case, but more often than not, you get better edge support on a bed with innersprings or pocketed coils.
Couples have three options:
- Go with a split king or split California king. This way you basically have two different beds. You can also use certain adjustable bed frames here.
- Compromise. Consider everything that you and your partner want and compromise where you can. As long as it’s close, you should be fine.
- Get a custom mattress. There are a few brands, such as a Helix Sleep, that allow you to customize each side of the bed or create a blend.
Treatment Options For Back Pain And Sciatica
We’ve talked with a lot of people, and with Dr. Sahota to help us understand a little bit better about how it feels for those who suffer from back pain and sciatica. First of all, we want to say that we’re on a mission to help you find alleviation for that pain, through this post, looking at the best mattresses for sciatica and back pain.
For some added pointers, to help alleviate your pain from sciatica, your doctor may prescribe the following medications:
- Muscle relaxants
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Anti-seizure medications
If medications don’t work, your doctor may look to:
- Physical therapy
- Steroid injections,
- Surgery, in extreme cases
For less extreme cases, some at-home everyday care tips include:
- Cold packs
- Hot packs
- OTC pain relievers, such as Motrin or Advil
According to the Mayo Clinic, back pain can be chronic or acute. Chronic back pain typically lasts more than three months and is less common than acute back pain, which lasts no more than six weeks. Acute back pain can be caused by a fall or heavy lifting, though, can often occur with no cause. A visit to your physician will likely result in imaging and tests to determine just where your pain is.
- Muscle or ligament strain
- Bulging or ruptured disks
- Arthritis, osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis
- Skeletal irregularities, such as scoliosis
- Osteoporosis, when your bones become porous and brittle.
It’s not so much about the “type” of mattress, but rather the support the mattress offers. This is the reason that we so often recommend coil mattresses that have a firmer profile. They just tend to offer a lot of back support.
As we’ve discussed through our website, a mattress should provide the support you need to keep your spine aligned, but it’s heavily dependent on your sleeping style. So, it’s not even that a bad mattress could lead to back pain, rather the wrong mattress could. Our goal with this post is to help you find the best mattress for your unique needs.
Again, this depends on your preferences and needs. Stomach sleepers and back sleepers, for example, will opt for a medium-firm or firm mattress, while side sleepers might like a medium to medium-soft mattress. The main takeaway is finding a mattress that will keep a proper spinal alignment.
Most of the time, yes. About 90% of the online mattress brands will offer totally free returns during the trial period.
Interestingly, shipping is almost always free when you buy a mattress online. It takes about a week for the bed to get to you, but you shouldn’t be paying anything extra for delivery.
Most brands offer a 10-year warranty, however, there are plenty that offer even longer warranties.