HOW WE DECIDED
Best Rated Mattresses for Sciatica & Lower Back Pain
Sciatic pain can be some of the most unrelenting, disheartening conditions. In mild cases, they’re annoying, and in extreme cases, they 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
- Best Chiropractor Recommended Bed – Casper Wave Mattress
- Best Memory Foam – Loom and Leaf
- Best Budget Option – Brooklyn Bedding Signature
- Best For Heavy People – WinkBed
- Best Latex Foam Mattress – Awara
We should acknowledge that we are not physicians or chiropractors. We are normal people just trying to do good work. As such, we collaborated with a professional chiropractor to help us write this guide and to learn more about Sciatic nerve pain and those suffering from the condition. This post and our list below are meant to be helpful, but they are not health advice.
You should consult your physician or chiropractor 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. With that out of the way, let’s talk about finding a new mattress.
|AT A GLANCE||PRICING||HEADLINE|
|Unique Popular Pick!||$125 Off Discount In Cart||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.|
|Soft Foam||10% Off Code: KEEPCOOL10||Casper Wave is a luxury mattress featuring an upgraded “Zoned Support Max” system and “Airscape” foam.|
|Memory Foam||$200 Off Discount In Cart||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.|
|Pillow Top||$300 Off Code: SLEEP300||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.|
|Soft Foam Value Pick!||20% Off Code: SUMMER20||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.|
|Latex Foam||$350 Off Discount In Cart||One of the most affordable natural mattresses online is Awara. It has 9″ pocketed coils and 4″ of latex foam. It also comes with a full-year trial period and free returns.|
How We Created This Mattress Buyer Guide
In an attempt to be as helpful and insightful as possible, we worked closely with Dr. Ranvir Sahota from Synapse Chiropractic to assemble our mattress list and write this post. In addition to specifically discussing sciatica nerve pain, we went through an in-person demonstration of proper spine alignment and sleeping positions. Any of the recommendations or assertions that we make in this post are based on his professional opinion. Of course, alongside working with Dr. Sahota, we conducted our own tests related to support, firmness, motion transfer, edge support, and more.
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 at the same time.
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.
The Casper Wave mattress is unique in the sense that it has a Zoned Support System, which essentially means that the bed is constructed to provide more support and more pressure relief in the correct areas.
For example, the center third has more support since this is where the majority of your weight will lie (i.e. 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.
The Loom & Leaf brand has, in part, been built off of the notion that they offer more than just beds, they offer wellness products. As such, a lot of their branding has to do with how luxurious their products are and how they can improve your sleep.
The main L&L bed mixes dense core foam (for support) and memory foam (for pressure relief, support, and comfort). It even has a special gel cooling strip under the cover to help draw body heat away and keep you at a more comfortable temperature. It wont turn L&L into a cooling mattress, but it will help with overall temperature regulation.
This bed is best for memory foam lovers that want a slightly firmer feel. That said, Loom & 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 makes more sense. If you’re a strict stomach or back sleeper, the Firm model is the way to go.
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.
At the end of the day this bed really doesn’t have many cons. WinkBed likes to say their bed is like a “Luxury Hotel Mattress” and we’d have to agree. It’s definitely like a mattress you’d find at the presidential suite at the Ritz-Carlton.
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 are made in the USA and sell for under $1,000 for the queen.
But it’s not just the price we like, we’re also big fans of the mattress itself. It has 6” coils that offer a nice amount of support and you can choose between three firmness levels (Soft, Medium, and Firm).
This means if you’re more of a side sleeper, you might prefer the “Medium” option. We’d say, however, for sciatica pain, the “Firm” model is where most folks should start. It’s around a medium-firm and is surprisingly supportive given the price of the mattress.
Awara is a hybrid latex mattress from Resident Home, the company that brought you Nectar and DreamCloud. This bed is constructed with pocketed coils and a latex foam top layer, that’s about it. It’s pretty comfortable for those who like a supportive, bouncy feel.
Overall we rate the firmness at about a medium-firm (maybe slightly firmer), which means it should be able to accommodate all sleeping positions, although strict side sleepers might consider it too firm. Still, we think the level of support and responsiveness it offers could be helpful for those suffering from sciatica back and leg pain.
And if it doesn’t help your situation, at least Awara comes with free shipping and returns, not to mention a full-year trial period, so you have 365 nights to figure out whether or not you like it.
What Is Sciatica Pain?
I think it’s important that we talk at least a little about 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 L4, L5, and the sacrum bone. 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 and big toe.
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 physician or chiropractor before you make an 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 physician or chiropractor 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, which can result in lower back pain—frequently as a result from a pinched or irritated nerve root. However, Sciatic back and leg 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 physician and/or chiropractor as soon as the pain starts.
What To Consider When Looking For A New Mattress
Before you start your mattress review search you should take an introspective look at yourself. What kind of pain are you experiencing? How heavy are you? What type of sleeper are you (back, stomach, side, combo)? You should also 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.
Sciatica Pain 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 is everyone is different and therefore there is no one-size-fits-all mattress. That is indeed the case for Sciatica pain sufferers, but we can highlight some of the best types of beds. So, with that in mind here’s our list, in no particular order, of the best type of mattress for sciatica:
- Coil/Hybrid Mattress
- Zoned Support Design
- Memory Foam
- Pillow Top
- Latex Mattress
- Polyurethane Foam
- Premium Air Bed
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.
Back And Stomach Sleepers
I bucket back sleepers and stomach sleepers in together because you’ll be looking at similar firmness levels for the bed. You should consider a bed that’s medium-firm to firm in order 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.
If you sleep exclusively on your stomach, you 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. You should look at some of the content on our Pillow Reviews page for more info on finding the right pillow.
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.
If you sleep with someone else, you essentially have three options:
- Get a split king or split California king. This way you have two different beds. You can also use certain adjustable bed frames here, as well.
- 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. These are a good option for couples.
|What type of mattress is best for Sciatica pain?||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.|
|How much is shipping for a new mattress?||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.|
|Can I return a mattress that I bought online?||Most of the time, yes. About 90% of the online mattress brands will offer totally free returns during the trial period.|
|How long is the warranty for a new mattress?||Most brands offer a 10-year warranty, however, there are plenty that offer even longer warranties.|