Everyone wants the best value when shopping, but finding the best mattress for back pain might even be considered priceless.
Here, we look at academic studies and high volume customer surveys to discuss the connection between sleeping surfaces and the alleviation of back pain.
As back problems prove highly personal, you might want to discuss your specific issues with a medical professional first.
Best Mattress for Back Pain: 30-Second Summary
- Amerisleep AS2 is our recommendation for a top-rated mattress to alleviate back pain. It contains pressure-relieving, plant-based Bio-Pur® and a clinically proven support technology to promote proper posture and foster a healthy spine. It’s dynamic support cushions major joints to eliminate pressure points, too. Plus, it comes with a lengthy 20-year warranty and a 100-night sleep trial.
- Zoma Mattress is another great bed for back pain. Featuring gel-infused memory foam and Triangulex™ technology, Zoma offers healthy support and cushioning comfort for your spine. Zoma is most comfortable for back and side sleepers, but is likely too soft for stomach sleepers. It comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.
In this article, we considered over 15 leading brands, researched dozens of reviews and articles, and spent 15 hours on research, writing, and revision.
The Best Mattresses for Back Pain
|Amerisleep AS2||Memory Foam||$1099||100 Nights|
|Zoma Sports Mattress||Memory Foam||$750||100 Nights|
|Bear||Memory Foam||$840||100 Nights|
|Avocado Green||Hybrid||$1399||365 Nights|
Our recommended mattress for back pain, for a multitude of reasons, is Amerisleep’s AS2. We aren’t the only ones who suggest it, either— Business Insider recently voted it as their top mattress for a bad back, too.
Let’s touch on why the AS2 is excellent at pain relief. For starters, it has a medium-firm feel. Sleep specialists agree firmer beds are ideal for helping to maintain a healthy spine and minimize aches and pains.
Next, the top layer is 2 inches of their Bio-Pur® foam, which molds to your body and provides instant pressure relief for your muscles and joints. However, their most pain-relieving technology— HIVE®— lies below the layer of memory foam.
HIVE® is a foam layer with hexagonal-shaped cut-outs. These are placed strategically throughout in five separate comfort and support zones to nurture your spine’s natural curvature and offer you healthy body support. HIVE® is one of the only technologies, as far as we know, that has been clinically proven to reduce pressure points up to 49%.
When you shop with Amerisleep, their beds come with a 100-night sleep trial so you have the chance to test it out.
Next on our list is the Zoma Sports Mattress, a memory foam mattress for athletes. Even though it’s engineered for athletes, we recommend the Zoma to those with back pain because it contains pain-relieving Triangulex™ technology to nurture a healthy spine.
Zoma is designed to facilitate deeper sleep and faster muscle recovery to leave you feeling refreshed every morning.
Zoma has a medium firmness and offers an even balance of comfort and support. While it’s a comfortable option for side and back sleepers, Zoma isn’t firm enough to properly support stomach sleeping.
Which leads us to mention, lower back pain is more common amongst stomach sleepers than any other sleeping position. Stomach sleeping alone can lead to chronic discomfort because it puts extra stress on your spine. To get the most pain-free sleep, we recommend switching to side or back sleeping as it is a lot easier on your back.
Zoma has only three layers: a layer of gel-infused memory foam with Triangulex™ technology, responsive Reactiv™, and a base of Support+ foam.
When you lay down on Zoma, the top layer of contouring memory foam molds to your curves and offers immediate comfort. The gel within the foam combats body heat to keep you at a comfortable temperature.
Triangulex™ technology offers your back dynamic support. Under your midsection, Triangulex™ is firmer to provide extra lumbar support and prevent uncomfortable (and unhealthy) sinkage. Under your shoulders and hips, this technology contains triangle-shaped cutouts allowing for deeper compression and better pressure relief under those major joints. This design keeps your spine in line with the rest of your body while still offering cushioning comfort for pain points.
The second layer of Zoma is proprietary Reactiv™, a latex-like poly-foam. Designed to be more responsive than memory foam, Reactiv™ gives Zoma a bit of bounce. It’s increased responsiveness prevents you from feeling “stuck” in the mattress and makes it easier to climb in or out of bed.
Last but not least, Support+ foam at the base of the mattress reinforces the two layers above and prevents sagging.
Zoma backs their mattress with a 10-year warranty. Plus, every Zoma comes with a 100-night sleep trial.
Bear mattresses are designed to help athletes get more reparative sleep, so they can recover quicker and perform better. Knowing that, it’s safe to say these beds are great at supporting your body, relieving muscle soreness, and eliminating aches and pains.
The Bear mattress contains only three layers. They use Celliant® fabric and graphite-infused memory foam to help you get restorative sleep. Celliant® fabric has been FDA-determined to recycle the body heat you emit while you sleep into infrared energy. Infrared energy then penetrates muscles and tissues to increase circulation and help you recover faster.
The design of the Bear bed is simple, the top layer is 1.5 inches of graphite-infused memory foam. This layer molds to your body to relieve tension in your joints and pressure points. The graphite-infused inside helps regulate your temperature, allowing you to sleep more soundly.
Then, we’ve got two 1-inch layers of poly-foam designed to be responsive and keep you lifted in the bed. These layers keep you suspended in the mattress, preventing you from over-extending your spine.
4. Avocado Green
Our favorite latex mattress brand for pain relief is Avocado. Not only are these beds comfortable, but they’re eco-friendly, too! If you prefer to shop green, look no further than the Avocado Green.
Avocado uses only four materials in their mattresses: 100% GOLS organic latex, GOTS organic certified cotton and wool, and a pocketed coil system. They also make a Vegan mattress without wool.
Avocado uses 1,414 individually wrapped coils, arranged in five comfort and support zones, to offer their sleepers targeted support. Their coil system offers extra support to your feet, torso, and neck to maintain your body’s natural alignment. Oppositely, these coils have more give under your shoulders and hips to allow them to compress in the mattress.
The latex they use as the top layer of their mattress is supportive and lifting too, so it helps you sleep more on top of the bed.
5. Awara Mattress
Awara is a relatively new mattress brand, and they sell only one mattress— Awara, a hybrid. The Awara features Dunlop latex and a pocketed coil system to create a bouncy, responsive sleep surface.
The bed contains only two layers: 4 inches of Dunlop latex followed by a 9-inch pocketed coil system. As we’ve mentioned, latex contributes to healthy sleep positions by keeping you more lifted in the mattress and preventing the over-extension of your spine.
The pocketed coils in the mattress help keep your spine aligned and evenly distribute your weight across the bed, preventing pressure build-up.
Overall, the bed has a “Luxury Firm” feel, or a 6.5 out of 10 on the firmness scale, that many agree is the best for minimizing existing aches and pains.
Finding Your Best Mattress for Back Pain
For relief of back pain, the mattress types that rank the highest amongst consumers are memory foam and high-quality latex. These mattresses function the best to limit sagging and loss of back support, especially when constructed of quality materials and foams.
Owner Satisfaction for Bed Types
|Back Pain Relief||Good||Good||Fair|
Types of Mattresses
High-quality memory foam makes the best mattress for back pain based on reviews. The material also helps properly support healthy sleep styles. It conforms to the sleeper’s shape allowing wider parts of the body, such as hips and shoulders, to sink and be supported. On the other hand, lighter areas, such as the waist and neck, lay atop the foam. Memory foam cradles the body’s curves while supporting the back’s muscular and bony structures, allowing it to relax.
Other key benefits to investing in a good quality memory foam mattress include comfort, breathability, and longevity. Quality memory foams are hypoallergenic. Low-VOC or plant-based memory foams drastically reduce chemical exposure.
Latex beds prove similar to memory foam in terms of benefits. This type of foam has a bit more bounce and responsiveness, which some people prefer. Natural all-latex beds offer a slight durability advantage as well. Excessive firmness was a specific complaint about latex beds. Now, retailers offer extensive customization options in all firmness levels.
Innersprings mattresses have only a 64% consumer satisfaction rating compared to 81% of memory foam owners. Springs may feel stiff and uneven, causing arching of the spine and a lack of support for other body parts. The spine is unable to properly decompress through the night, making back strains and sprains more likely.
Back Pain Basics
Back pain affects millions of people every day, with about 80% of adults suffering from it at some point in their life. It is the number one cause of workplace disability and missed workdays for people under 45. It also remains one of the hardest medical conditions to treat and cure.
Back pain may show up suddenly, or build over the years. It can be acute, lasting only a few days or weeks, or it can be chronic pain, lasting years. Causes include accidents, injuries, poor posture, heavy or incorrect lifting, lack of core strength, occupational strain, prolonged sitting or standing, stress, poor sleep surfaces, pregnancy, or disease. It can appear in many forms, such as a strain, inflammation, pinched nerve or disc problem.
As such, finding the right mattress for back pain means understanding your body, and a little bit about beds, too. Let’s dive in.
Your Spine While You Sleep
The spine comprises three gentle curves. The best mattress for back pain takes all of these needs into consideration.
- The cervical spine at the top supports the head.
- The central thoracic spine supports the upper body.
- The lower lumbar spine acts as the back’s foundation.
The key to an ergonomically correct sleep is the natural alignment of all three spinal sections. The best mattress for back pain supports good sleeping posture helps relax muscles, allowing tension to be released.
During sleep, your spine takes a break from supporting your upper body. This allows your vertebrae to release pressure gradually throughout the night.
If you toss and turn throughout the night or rest at an odd angle, your spine doesn’t get a chance to relax and release pressure. This can create or worsen back pain.
The relationship between sleep and back pain is two-fold: poor sleep may worsen back pain, and back pain may make it difficult to sleep. Two-thirds of people chronic back pain sufferers also suffer from sleep disorders.
The Best Mattress for Back Pain: A Look at the Facts
A comfortable and ergonomic mattress eases soreness, reduces pain, prevents new aches, and facilitates better rest. The most important factors when selecting the best mattress for lower back pain are support, conformability and firmness.
Factor 1: Support
Support is the ability of the mattress to keep the sleeper’s body level. If a mattress is excessively soft or hard, has unresponsive materials or sags, it may create an unnatural sleeping position.
In a survey of 21,000+ mattress owners by Sleep Like The Dead, proper support was reported as a key factor in preventing and alleviating pain. 20% of owners noted excessive softness or sagging was exasperating back pain, making it one of the top consumer complaints.
Sagging occurs when part of the mattress becomes compressed and lowers, usually in the middle. Mattresses have a limited lifespan, and sagging occurs often with older mattresses. Lower quality mattresses tend to sag sooner than well-constructed mattresses.
Factor 2: Conformability
Conformability is the ability of a mattress to conform to the contours of a person’s body, supporting a natural sleeping position.
A lack of conformability refers to gaps in support. When part of the body rests in an unsupported, unnatural, stressed position, pain results. Unequal support causes larger body parts, such as hips and shoulders, to feel more pressure through the night, which in turn strains the back. Sleeping with a straight, natural spinal alignment helps relieve pressure associated with lower back pain.
The best mattress for lower back pain offers good conformability, aligning and supporting the spine while absorbing wider body parts such as hips and shoulders for side sleepers; buttocks and heels for back sleepers; and knees, chest or stomach for front sleepers.
Factor 3: Firmness
Firmness refers to how hard or soft mattress feels. It was long thought that firm mattresses were the best for back pain, however numerous studies and customer surveys have concluded that the best mattress for back pain is medium-firm. A medium-firm mattress provides a good balance between support and conformability while relieving pressure points.
In a randomized, double-blind study conducted of 313 adults with chronic lower low-back pain, patients with medium-firm mattresses reported less pain in bed, upon rising, and throughout the day. After sagging, excessive firmness is a top complaint of mattress consumers.
Soft mattresses may offer good conformability and pressure point relief but might lack the support that would keep the spinal column aligned correctly. Comfort layers ideally offer enough plushness to prevent pressure points, but not to much that your heavier areas sink too far in.
Firm mattresses provide support, but lack conformability. This causes the lumbar region to arch, creating a noticeable space between the lower back and the bed. In side sleepers, firm beds can make the spine arch in a U shape, contributing to back, hip and shoulder pain.
Sleep Position and Reducing Pain
Most people sleep in multiple positions during the night, so medium-firm mattresses are still your best bet for easing lower back pain overall.
Back sleepers tend to prefer medium to firm mattresses. The pressure on their body is already more evenly distributed than with other sleep positions. Back sleepers also require less contouring compared to side sleepers.
Stomach sleepers prefer medium mattresses. Too firm of a mattress puts pressure on the knees and hips, while too soft causes them to sink into the mattress and may hinder breathing. The best mattress for stomach sleepers keeps them afloat on the bed, while reducing pressure points.
Side sleepers prefer medium to soft mattresses because of the pressure points focused at the hips and shoulders. Beds with medium-firm support but thicker soft comfort layers contour around these parts better than a firm or shallow mattress.
People with pre-existing conditions or are healing from sprains may find firmer mattresses more desirable, especially if they are back sleepers.
Price, Durability, and Value
Mattresses do not last forever. Their materials break down, creating lumpy, unsupportive surfaces and eventually losing adequate support. When selecting a mattress for longevity in easing back pain, look for high-quality materials. Compare layer thicknesses and select a firmness that supports your sleep styles and body weight.
Premium, high-priced mattresses often have quality, durability, and warranties that make up for the high-prices, but budget and value also needs to be considered. Inexpensive beds, such as innersprings and cheap memory foam, tend to have poor long-term satisfaction. There are several decent options available in the mid-price range that offers quality, support, and longevity without breaking the bank.
When seeking back pain relief that works for you, look for a mattress with an in-home trial. Many companies, especially online distributors, offer in-home trials of around three months. This allows you to test the bed out over a long time. One thing to note — if you have back pain or it’s been a while since you’ve slept on a good bed, it can take a month or more to adjust.
Have You Found Your Next Bed?
When seeking the best mattress for lower back pain, it is wise to research the best mattress for your lifestyle and invest in a sleeping surface helps ease pain and provide you with a good night’s rest.
Medium-firm memory foam mattresses rank among at the top for back problems in reviews. They offer good support and conformability, which assists spinal alignment and reduces muscle tension, allowing spinal pressure and stress of the day to melt away into the night.
Medium and high-density foams in the support and comfort layers provide durability, so look for these traits. Best of all, quite a few good options exist in the middle price range.