Ideally, your sleep should be a blissful and rejuvenating experience. But sometimes back pain intrudes into your peaceful snooze and may wreck your day, or even worse — your health.
If this happens to you regularly, then along with seeking proper treatment, changing a mattress can make a difference, especially if you change it for a firmer one.
In this guide, I will share my reviews of 5 best firm mattresses for back pain relief along with a guide on how to find the perfect bed for you. Let’s dive in!
A Quick Preview
Best for Construction
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Best for the Money
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Best for Edge Support
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Best for Design
Plank by Brooklyn Bedding
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Best for Pain Relief
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Our Top-5 Firm Mattresses for Back Pain Relief
Best for Construction - Winkbeds
The first item in my review of firm mattresses for back pain is the Winkbeds. This model is available in four firmness levels, including the Firm (7.5 out of 10) and the Plus (8 out of 10). They both can work great for people with back pain, as they both provide an even and supportive sleeping surface.
Each of them has a thoughtful hybrid construction but there are slight differences. The Firm option uses a layer of pocketed microcoils and a lumbar cotton pad as a transitional layer. This construction results in closer conforming and better load distribution.
The Plus, on the other hand, offers you layers of gel foam and natural latex above the spring block, which ensures decent cradling and good pain relief.
However, both the Firm and the Plus models have a zoned coil system as the supportive core, which results in a balanced feel and good breathability overall.
However, what makes this bed stand out is its construction. It feels it is made with back pain sufferers in mind. It has zoned support and will help you maintain the natural curves of your spine throughout the night.
The only issue with the Winkbeds is that it is somewhat pricey. Yes, that’s the price for durable and high-quality materials (and hence relaxed sleep), but it’s not the price everyone is ready to pay.
- Individuals with lower back pain. The Winkbed offers two different ways of supporting your lumbar area — depending on the model you choose — which are both equally effective when it comes to supporting natural spine curves and the lower-back region.
- Large sleepers. The Firm Plus option can withstand larger weight without sacrificing support.
- Those who tend to sleep hot. Hybrid construction promotes airflow between the mattress layers, and breathable foams encased in a Tencel cover enhance the cooling effect and ensure better sleep for you.
If you’re looking for a luxury mattress with a smart construction, choose one of Winkbeds models. It will give you proper support and the desired back pain relief.
Best for the Money - Bear
Another candidate in my review of firm beds for back pain is the all-foam option by Bear. It can provide you with a uniform sleeping surface and alleviate all your pain. Plus, it has a reasonable price (only $840 for a Queen).
Right under the breathable Celliant cover, which removes static and provides additional relaxation, you will find a layer of memory foam infused with graphite gel. Graphite memory foam allows for a more refreshing sleep and adapts to your body curves to maintain neutral spine alignment.
The transition layer is also made of foam and provides good rebound, preventing deep sinkage and allowing you to move easily.
And, finally, the dense foam base easily absorbs excess motion, which is great if you share a bed with a partner who moves a lot in their sleep.
What I liked the most, though, was the excellent value for money this mattress offers. The Bear is supportive and durable. It will ensure you will sleep well for years to come.
The worst thing about the Bear is its odor. Although the manufacturer states that they use odorless foams, it still had a very pronounced smell that took a couple of days to air out. So, if you’re odor-sensitive, keep in mind that you may not be able to use the bed right after unpacking it.
- Individuals with pain caused by muscle strains. Celliant technology can convert some amount of your body heat into infrared energy, thus aiding in faster muscle recovery and more restorative sleep.
- People with a limited budget. The Bear is a great choice if you need a durable and cooling all-foam bed that won’t cost you all the money in the world.
- Fans of a memory foam feel. If you need a mattress with a pronounced hug and little to no bounce, then the Bear is a good fit.
I think that the Bear will make a perfect mattress for memory foam fans and those who want a durable bed at a reasonable price.
Best for Edge Support - Helix Dawn
The next model in my review of best firm mattresses for back pain relief is the Helix Dawn. It has a hybrid construction that can offer you consistent support throughout the entire sleeping surface, even at the edges. And despite its firmness, it is very comfortable. That’s how it has made it to this list.
The coil block of the Helix Dawn has two zones: the main surface is supportive and does provide some sinkage, while the perimeter is reinforced and gives you more space. This is especially great for those who love sleeping closer to the edge.
The manufacturer uses its proprietary foams such as Helix Dynamic foam and Memory Plus foam for comfort layers. These materials provide you with decent cradling and pain relief.
What I loved the most, however, is the pronounced edge support of the Helix Dawn. You can share a bed with someone who loves to sleep in the ‘star’ position and still feel comfortable and supported on your side throughout the night.
The biggest downside of the Helix Dawn is that it might make you sleep hot, which is a bit surprising for a mattress with a spring construction. I did feel a little uncomfortable at night, but it wasn’t that dramatic, though.
- Heavy users. The zoned coil unit can ensure even weight distribution and more targeted cradling than similar models offer.
- Those who tend to roll over to the edge. The reinforced perimeter of the mattress contributes to better edge support, so you will have enough space to get comfy.
- Hot sleepers. Coils allow air to circulate inside the mattress, thereby aiding in refreshing shut-eye.
I believe that the Helix Dawn will work great for couples and those who utilize the entire sleeping surface of the mattress during sleep.
Best for Design - Plank by Brooklyn Bedding
Another memory foam option in my review of top-rated firm mattresses for back pain, the Plank by Brooklyn Bedding comes with 2-in-1 construction. Thus, it allows you to choose between the Firm and Extra Firm side to better match your sleep needs.
Both sides have quilted gel memory foam as a comfort layer, with the thickness being 0.75 and 1.5 inches for Extra Firm and Firm side respectively. Memory foam provides you with good cradling, which is important for pressure relief, while gel particles remove excess heat and keep you cooler than mattresses made from traditional memory foam.
Motion response and rebound are ensured by the combination of a dense foam base and durable Titanflex foam, which provide the stability of overall construction and make it easier for you to move around the mattress.
Now, the coolest thing about the Plank is that you are getting two firmness options in one mattress. So, if you’re not sure what your body needs yet, you can experiment with different firmness levels at no extra cost.
Still, the Plank isn’t devoid of drawbacks. I believe that it wouldn’t work well for overweight individuals because the foam layers might sink too deep under higher loads. So, if you’re in the market for a mattress that has little to no give, you may want to consider latex or innerspring models.
- Individuals with mobility issues. If your back pain constantly bothers you and interferes with your mobility, then this firm bed may help you get the support for your spine while allowing you to get in and out of bed more easily.
- Those who want a versatile option. The Plank combines two firmness levels in one mattress, so you can switch between them according to your preferences.
- Couples. The Plank is made of dense foams and has pretty sturdy edges, which is great for those who share a bed with someone and may need some extra space to stretch.
The Plank will work best for individuals who haven’t determined how firm they want their mattress to be. As soon as you find the comfortable side, you will surely get the desired back pain relief.
Best for Pain Relief - Dreamcloud
And finally, the last product in my review of best firm mattresses for back pain relief. The Dreamcloud isn’t as firm as the models I reviewed above because it uses softer foams, but its overall feel is perfect for back pain relief in individuals with chronic pain.
So, the bouncy and supportive core of this mattress is made of the patented BestRest pocketed coil system. This layer provides you with uniform support and good motion response throughout the surface.
To balance the rigidity of coils, there are several memory foam comfort layers, which can easily adjust to the curves of your spine to maintain proper alignment.
The Dreamcloud has breathable construction, so it’s an excellent choice for hot sleepers. Natural latex promotes the airflow between the layers, while the cashmere top and the gel-infused foam layer right under it work to remove heat and ensure cooler sleep.
What I liked about this model is its balanced construction, even though there’s only one firmness level available. I’m sure the Dreamcloud can work for any sleeper in terms of pain relief and support for a long time.
So, the Dreamcloud seems nearly perfect, but there’s one downside worth mentioning. This bed has eight layers overall, which results in noticeable heaviness. Thus, if you decide to rotate the mattress, you may want to recruit someone for help, as it can become challenging to do this alone.
- Side sleepers. The Dreamcloud offers a thick cushion of foam layers above the coils, so it can cradle even a heavy side sleeper.
- Couples. The coil unit with foam padding around the perimeter ensures good edge support helps you get comfy if you share a bed with a partner.
- Those who sleep hot. Hybrid mattresses tend to trap less heat than foam ones. And even though the Dreamcloud’s comfort layers are pretty thick, you won’t sleep hot, as the air will freely circulate between the coils.
So, if you want a luxury mattress that will provide you with painless, heaven-like sleep, then the Dreamcloud is your option.
The Relationship Between Your Mattress and Back Pain During Sleep
Back pain is a very unpleasant condition, which has many potential causes. Along with aging, injuries, or structural changes in the spine, the quality of your bed determines whether you will wake up sore and grumpy or refreshed.
Here are the main things that define an uncomfortable mattress:
- It has noticeable sagging spots. While some mattress types are more immune to sagging than others, they all will develop indentations eventually. Especially if you prefer to sleep on one particular spot on the bed. If you are heavyweight, this will happen even sooner. Sleeping on an uneven surface will lead to tension in lower back and neck areas, resulting in morning stiffness.
- It’s more than seven years old. The ability of a mattress to support you properly depends on the mattress type and quality of materials used. Some mattresses may serve you longer than 7 years and remain supportive. However, most beds start to lose their supportive properties after the seventh year of use, causing soreness.
- It doesn’t meet your sleeping demands. Hot deals, salespeople trying to hurry you with your decision, and little time to test and feel the mattress in the store — and here you are, sleeping on an uncomfortable bed, trying to convince yourself that you will get used to it. You probably won’t, and the pain is the first signal for that.
“A wrong mattress can aggravate the existing conditions, leading to chronic pain and the loss of spine flexibility.”
So, how do you determine that your back pain is caused by the mattress and not by some other factors?
Easily! Just look for these signs:
- the pain passes itself later in the day or after a slight stretching routine;
- the episodes of back pain don’t last longer than 2-3 hours;
- after changing a bed — or putting a mattress pad on top of yours — the pain symptoms alleviate or diminish completely.
If you’ve noticed any of these signs, congratulations — better sleep is closer than you expected — you just need to get a new bed.
“Note that mattress toppers for lower back pain relief can help you within a limited time only, as they typically wear out in 2-3 years of active use. So, you will probably need to replace a mattress with a new one sooner or later.”
Which Mattress Type Is the Best for Back Pain Sufferers?
The choice of beds on the market is so diverse today that even experts in the industry may get confused.
The good thing is, nothing changes in terms of classification — you will still have to choose between four main types: foam, latex, innerspring, and hybrid.
Let me give you a brief explanation as to how well (or not) each type may work for back pain relief.
- Innerspring. Traditional innerspring beds typically have only a couple of layers above the spring block, which makes them pretty firm initially. If you are a petite sleeper, you may feel too much tension in your pressure points, which will only aggravate the pain instead of relieving it. Heavier individuals, on the other hand, may feel pretty comfortable on an innerspring mattress.
- Foams. Polyfoam and memory foam are the best when it comes to pressure relief. They may work especially effective for people who have an episodic back pain or inflammation processes. Those who suffer from arthritis may also benefit from sleeping on a foam bed, but they need to opt for denser and firmer options, which will make shifting and changing positions effortless.
- Latex. Latex has a more rubbery feel and may actually suit almost anyone with back pain because it combines precise contouring and springy support. But along with that, latex may feel too firm for lightweight sleepers.
- Hybrids. Because hybrids combine coils, latex, and different foams, they have a balanced feel, which is important for pain relief. But you need to check the overall construction and the number of comfort layers to know if the bed won’t feel too firm for you.
Give a thorough test to your new mattress and do not hesitate to use your sleep trial. Yes, you probably won’t get the best sleep of your life during the testing period. But you’re choosing a mattress that can help you in relieving pain and soreness, and it’s okay to change one or two models before you find your perfect one.
Does a Firm Mattress Perform Better for Alleviating Pain?
When it comes to choosing the best mattress for back pain relief, suggestions as for the recommended firmness are controversial. Yet, many medical specialists conclude that a firm mattress could be more beneficial than other types in the following cases:
- Scoliosis. Poor posture is one of the leading causes of different aches and pains. People with scoliosis can benefit from sleeping on a firm bed, as it will help them maintain the spine in its anatomical position.
- Excess weight. Overweight and obese people usually have more weight distributed around their lower back and hip areas. Softer beds can sink too deep, which increases the tension in the lower back muscles, thereby making them sore. Mattress recommended for heavy sleepers are usually firmer, which allows them to easily compensate for an increased load and provide pain relief.
- Protrusions. Lower back protrusions are a pretty painful experience. But as with scoliosis, a firmer bed with additional lumbar support can help your lower back relax and thus ensure restful sleep.
“You may want to consult with your doctor before purchasing a mattress. He or she will give you recommendations based on your health issues.”
Other Things to Consider
While firmness does play an important part in the overall impression you get from the mattress, it isn’t just that.
You also need to consider a ton of other considerations to make your bed indeed the best one for yourself.
Here are some of them to ease your search:
- Edge support. Edge support basically refers to whether you will roll out of bed during sleep or not. This is a crucial characteristic for those who have another sleeper by their side. If you need a firm bed with pronounced edge support, check out innerspring mattresses or hybrids, especially the ones that come with a reinforced perimeter.
- Motion response. A very responsive mattress that bounces back to any move can be a hassle even for its owner, not to mention their partner’s inconvenience. On the other side, a mattress with excessive motion absorption typically makes you feel stuck and makes it difficult to move around the mattress. With that being said, it’s important to find balance. Hybrids and mattresses made of firmer and denser foams are a good place to start.
- Hot sleeping. A mattress that retains heat actually can be good for older people, as according to research, they tend to have problems with thermoregulation. But average people are unlikely to benefit from such a bed. To avoid hot sleeping, consider buying an innerspring, latex, or hybrid mattress, as these allow for better air circulation. Also, make sure you choose natural and breathable cover materials.
- Return policy. There’s nothing worse than an unsuitable mattress that you cannot return without losing some nerve cells. Thankfully, more and more modern brands show that they care about their customers by offering them to test a mattress at great conditions. However, it is still important to check the policy provided by the particular company you’re ordering from.
“If you and your partner happen to have different firmness levels to feel comfortable, you can look for double-sided mattresses. They have a firmer and a softer side, so you only need to choose which side you want to sleep on. Alternatively, you can purchase a split bed, which allows you and your partner to customize each half, based on your preferences.”
Now that you have read the guide and reviews I hope you’ve got a better idea of what mattress may work for your back pain. Each and every model I’ve mentioned here worked great in terms of relaxation and spine support, so finding the right one shouldn’t be a problem for you. As for me, my favorite is the Bear. Despite some minor flaws, this budget bed performs exceptionally well in keeping your spine correctly aligned and adjusts to your body curves in no time. But if you aren’t concerned about the money and want a mattress that is made specifically for pain relief, opt for the Winkbeds. This mattress can offer targeted support for your spine without excessive sinkage and can provide you with a durable sleeping surface for years to come. So, what is the preferable firmness for your ideal mattress? Was it your own decision or your doctor’s recommendation to start sleeping on a firm surface? Feel free to share in the comment section!
Hours of Research
Mattress Executives Interviewed
Sleep Experts Consulted
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