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7 Best Mattresses for Back Pain based on consumer ratings, reports and personal experience

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Written by: Alex Savy
Read 26 minLast updated on July 7, 2021

There are many great mattresses on the market; there’s no denying that.

But not all of them would work for someone who’s dealing with back pain (and can’t sleep well because of that).

After all, back pain is a serious issue that requires proper care. That’s why I’ve prepared a selection of the best mattresses for back pain. Each of these models has the potential to help sleepers reduce back issues and start sleeping better.

A Quick Preview

WinkBeds
Editor’s Choice

WinkBeds
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AS2 by Amerisleep
Best for Cool Pressure Alleviation

AS2 by Amerisleep
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Refresh Mattress by Natural Form
Best for Adjustable Firmness

Refresh Mattress by Natural Form
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Saatva
Best for Pinpoint Support

Saatva
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Nectar
Best Value for Money

Nectar
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Puffy
Best Memory Foam Mattress for Back Pain

Puffy
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DreamCloud
Best for Hesitant Shoppers

DreamCloud
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Our List of the Best Mattresses for Back Pain based on personal experience, consumer ratings, and reports

Editor’s Choice — Winkbeds

Winkbed-P1077807

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Highlights

  • zoned support system to aid proper spinal alignment;
  • Eurotop for extra cradling and pressure relief;
  • 4 firmness options, suitable for all body types and sleeping positions;
  • enhanced edges for more sleeping space would work for couples;
  • breathable design, ideal for hot sleepers.

The next mattress that could help with back pain is the Winkbed. Not only does it feature a special lumbar area to guarantee proper spinal alignment, but it also comes in 4 firmness variations. This mattress would work for any sleeper out there, regardless of their weight or favorite sleeping position.

The Winkbed uses a system of individually encased coils for targeted support. There’s also an extra layer of smaller coils for even more precision. Such construction allows heavier body parts to sink in and compress the individual coils while the rest of the system retains its shape and delivers reliable support to the body. The Winkbed promotes even weight distribution and can reduce pressure from the spine, keeping it neutral, rested, and pain-free during the night.

Winkbeds-P1077851
Winkbeds-P1077848

Best for Cool Pressure Alleviation — AS2 by Amerisleep

Amerisleep AS3

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Highlights

  • all-foam construction to reduce pressure effectively and to promote fast relaxation;
  • open-cell design for cooler sleep;
  • extended warranty to ensure long-lasting performance.

The next model on our list of the best mattresses for back pain is the AS2 by Amerisleep. This is an all-foam mattress that delivers close conforming and can promote instant relaxation even if you are currently dealing with back pain. This little trick is achieved thanks to the foam’s adaptiveness. It fills in the body curves and redistributes the tension, which often leads to pain alleviation. And the best part is, this mattress does not sleep hot (take it from me, a side sleeper who always sinks in a little bit deeper). This is courtesy of Amerisleep’s proprietary Bio-Pur foam. It has an open-cell structure and allows for unobstructed air movement during the night. As a result, the AS2 does not retain heat (unlike most memory foam mattresses).

Best for Adjustable Firmness — Refresh Mattress by Natural Form

Refresh Mattress by Natural Form

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Highlights

  • merino wool cover for improved thermoregulation and cooler sleep;
  • adjustable air pods for targeted pressure relief and customizable firmness;
  • resilient foam comfort layer to aid pressure distribution and tension alleviation.

If you want to be in control of the way your mattress feels (or aren’t sure which firmness level you might need), the Refresh Mattress can be an excellent solution. Being among the best mattresses for back pain, it can offer a bit more than just proper spinal support (which it excels at, by the way). 

The Refresh Mattress uses adjustable helix air pods. They respond differently to the applied pressure (to provide targeted support), but they can also change how this mattress feels. With a simple dial, you can adjust the firmness of the mattress (on both sides) according to your needs. My wife and I were really impressed by this feature. We have different comfort preferences and could use this mattress without finding a compromise or sacrificing someone’s comfort.

Best for Pinpoint Support — Saatva

Saatva

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Highlights

  • wrapped independent coils to provide targeted support;
  • three comfort options to satisfy different types of sleepers;
  • patented spinal zone technology for proper back support.

Another mattress I would love to introduce in today’s review of the best mattresses for back pain is the Saatva Classic. This model has a coil-on-coil design, with individually wrapped coils on top. Such construction results in unparalleled support. Each independent coil adjusts to applied pressure and helps redistribute the body weight evenly. I felt that particularly clear after a long day of sitting in online meetings, as my back felt super stiff and I got almost instant relief once I laid on my Saatva mattress. Additionally, there’s an extra support layer in the lumbar section. It contributes to healthy spinal alignment and can alleviate the pressure in one’s back. This may come in handy when experiencing back pain or stiffness.

Best Value for MoneyNectar

Nectar

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Highlights

  • medium-firm feel, suitable for a wide range of users;
  • foam construction for good motion isolation, would work for partnered sleep;
  • infused with gel to create a cooler sleeping environment;
  • quilted cover for extra padding and increased comfort;
  • extended sleep trial, great for uncertain users.

The next contestant for the right to be among the best mattresses for back pain is this simple yet comfortable model by Nectar. This is an all-foam mattress that can deliver a nice balance between support and effective pressure alleviation. However, the best part is: you get all of that for a very attractive price. The Nectar would be an excellent solution for those who want a quality, comfortable mattress that wouldn’t strain their budget too much.

As this is an all-foam mattress, it absorbs shock from motion quite well. It would work great for partnered sleep, especially if one of you tends to toss and turn a lot because of back pain.

Another cool thing about the Nectar is its conforming abilities. The mattress gently cradles the body and aids fast relaxation. This can help your muscles and joints experience less stress and pressure build-up, which might reduce the pain levels too.

Best Memory Foam Mattress for Back PainPuffy

puffy mattress

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Highlights

  • gel-infused foam for cool pressure relief;
  • removable stain-resistant cover for fuss-free cleaning;
  • close conforming to deliver effective tension relief;
  • high-density core for proper support;
  • medium feel to accommodate a wide range of users.

The next item that has the right to be called one of the best mattresses for back pain is the Puffy.

The Puffy’s comfort foam gently molds to the sleeper’s body, filling in the curves and ensuring even weight distribution. This minimizes the pressure points and helps with muscle relaxation, which might aid pain relief.

Additionally, the Puffy is well-made. It is likely to serve you for years without sagging or causing discomfort. This model is also very easy to care for thanks to its removable, washable cover.

Best for Hesitant Shoppers — DreamCloud

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Highlights

  • cashmere cover, soft to the touch and can be used even without bedsheets;
  • enhanced edge support for more sleeping space;
  • gel-infused foam for cool pressure relief;
  • quilted cover for extra padding and comfort;
  • extra-long sleep trial, ideal for hesitant buyers.

Another model that deserves to be among the best mattresses for back pain is the DreamCloud. This mattress makes a suitable pick for hesitant customers who aren’t sure about what they want exactly. The thing is, the DreamCloud comes with a 365-night sleep trial. That’s quite rare for the mattress market (and can compete only with the Nectar on this list). Such an impressive trial period would give you more than enough time to test your DreamCloud mattress and decide whether it works for you or not. Plus, it can help you find out how this model would affect your back pain in the longer run.

The DreamCloud has a medium feel that would be suited for a wide range of sleepers. It works to maintain a neutral back so that the spine remains tension-free all through the night. This can help users relax faster and experience less pain during the night.

What Causes Back Pain (And Could It Be Your Mattress?)

The reason behind back pain can hide in countless aspects, including even “innocent” day-to-day occurrences. Let’s take a look at the most common factors that may cause back pain to understand why you might experience it:

  • Your mattress. Yes, a mattress can cause or worsen back pain if it’s unsupportive, overly soft for your sleeping position or body type, overly firm, old, lumpy, or saggy. In any of these scenarios, a mattress would not be able to keep your spine properly aligned (in a neutral state) and support it correctly. This can lead to unnatural (and unhealthy) curves in your back, tension build-up in some of its parts, and back pain (sometimes chronic).
  • Sprains, strains, or injuries (may be caused by overworking the back muscles, falling, playing sports, car accidents, etc.) (1).
  • Arthritis (2). Arthritis can affect different parts of one’s body, including the back.
  • Age-related changes in the spine (3). They may involve disc degeneration, tissue alterations, muscle changes, joint stiffness, etc.
  • Nerve and spinal cord issues and diseases. Those might include spinal stenosis, sciatica, osteoporosis, herniated (or ruptured) discs, nerve inflammation, and so on (1).
  • Lack of exercise. Weak back muscles (and also the abdomen muscles) don’t provide enough support for the spine, which can cause back pain (4).
  • Spinal irregularities. Back pain can also be caused by more serious congenital issues, such as scoliosis or another spinal irregularity (1).

Also Read: Best Mattress Topper for Lower Back Pain Relief

Best Mattress for Sciatica Pain Relief

What makes a Good Mattress for Back Pain: Buyer’s Guide

As we already know, a bad mattress can cause back pain

Just like that, a good mattress might help alleviate the symptoms and has a chance of improving your sleep quality.

But what makes a great mattress for back pain? Well, there are certain factors you should consider when shopping, including:

  • Support. A good mattress for back pain has to be supportive (especially in the lumbar area), no compromises. It has to maintain a fairly uniform surface all across the area, keeping your spine in a healthy line (with its natural curves). It doesn’t mean that your mattress’s surface has to remain completely flat when you lie on top of it (this would actually mean that your mattress is brick-wall-firm).  The heavier parts of your body should sink in, but not too deep. And the rest of the body has to remain on the surface, supported and comfortable. To find a mattress like that, you need to check what materials the manufacturer uses for the core (in other words, the support layer). Stay away from low-density foams (or latex) and thin coils. The base support layer of the mattress also has to be rather thick. 
  • Conforming and pressure relief. When a mattress has good conforming abilities, it can reduce tension and prevent pressure build-up in one’s body. This might come in handy if your back pain is caused by strain or, let’s say, a pinched nerve. Pressure-relieving beds work to promote muscle relaxation and make sleepers comfortable overall, which can help reduce the pain levels. For good pressure relief, give your preference to mattresses that have thick comfort layers and use memory foam or latex (at least for the top layer).
  • Suitable firmness. Now, this factor depends on your weight and preferable sleeping position. If you are an average stomach sleeper, for example, you should choose a firm bed (rated around 7-8 on the firmness scale, with 1 being the softest and 10 – the stiffest). Back sleepers are advised to pick medium or even medium-firm beds (around 5-6). As for back sleepers, they require extra cushioning and should consider softer models (rated around 4). Now, heavier individuals (over 230 pounds) need a little bit extra support, so they need to pick slightly firmer mattresses for each sleeping position. Alternatively, petite sleepers (under 130 pounds) should choose plushier models.
  • Mattress type. The most popular ones are foam, latex, and hybrid mattresses (innerspring mattresses are often frowned upon due to their limited lifespan and mediocre pressure relief, so we will leave them out of it). When choosing the mattress type, you need to remember that each of them has a unique feel. For starters, foam is hugging and enveloping, with little to no bounce. Latex is conforming but resilient. It adapts to one’s body curves but makes sleepers feel like they are lying on top of the bed, not “in” it. As for hybrid mattresses, those usually have a bit of a bounce (due to the coil support system) but can be cradling and conforming too (especially if the comfort layers are thick enough). 
  • Quality and durability. We have already discussed how dangerous a saggy or a lumpy mattress can be for your back. That’s why you probably don’t want your new mattress to develop these characteristics after a short time. To pick a top-quality mattress, you should firstly consider the materials. Give your preference to high-density foams, latex, and lower-gauge (thicker) coils. Additionally, you can read other buyers’ reviews to see how a mattress you are considering holds up with time.
  • Temperature regulation. I doubt you would feel comfortable when sleeping hot. Combine that with back pain, and lying in bed might become unbearable. That’s why it’s always a safer option to choose mattresses that use cooling materials, such as gel-infused (or open-cell) foams or latex (which is naturally cooling). Hybrid mattresses offer good breathability and usually sleep neutral, but if they have thick foam comfort layers, those should also have gel particles or an open-cell structure.
  • Sleep trial and warranty. These two factors are quite obvious, aren’t they? A free sleep trial would allow you to test the mattress, see what it does to your back, and return it for a full refund in case it doesn’t feel comfortable enough. And a good, extensive warranty protects you as a customer (and grants you peace of mind).
  • Motion isolation (for partnered sleep). Needless to say, it can be quite hard to sleep peacefully when dealing with back pain. But even if you find a comfortable sleeping position, you may be disturbed by your partner, especially if they tend to toss a lot. In this case, it might be a good idea to pick a pain-relieving mattress that could also absorb shock from movement effectively. If you agree, look for an all-foam model. You can also consider a hybrid mattress that uses wrapped coils and extra-thick foam comfort layers. A latex mattress might also work well if it’s more on the softer side.

Also Read: Best Mattresses for Neck Pain & Back Pain Sufferers

F.A.Q.

What is the best mattress type for back pain?

Memory foam is often considered the best for back pain thanks to its pressure-relieving properties.

Can a mattress cause back pain?

Yes, if it’s old and lumpy, or doesn’t suit your body type and sleeping position (either too soft or too firm).

What are the best and the worst sleeping positions for back pain?

The healthiest sleeping position is considered lying on one’s back, as it creates the optimal conditions for proper spinal alignment. The least healthy position is considered stomach sleeping, as it can put a strain on one’s back and might create unnatural curves in the neck and spine.

Wrapping Up

Back pain can become your worst enemy when it comes to daily life and healthy sleep.

However, if you have a suitable mattress as your ally, things can take a different turn. A good mattress for back pain can help with muscle relaxation, tension reduction, and pain management. Just make sure you pay enough attention to the materials used and choose the appropriate firmness level (according to your favorite sleeping position and body weight).

And while there are plenty of great mattresses that can help ease your back pain, my personal favorite is the WinkBed. It’s hard not to love this mattress, as it’s quality made and has a smart design meant to help keep your back supported and pain-free. Plus, the WinkBed is available in 4 firmness variations. This means there’s a perfect match for pretty much any sleeping style. Add an attractive price tag to the equation, and what else is there to wish for?

How about you? Which mattress managed to impress you the most? Share your thoughts in the comments!

References

  1. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (April 27, 2020). Low Back Pain Fact Sheet. Retrieved from https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Low-Back-Pain-Fact-Sheet
  2. Arthritis Foundation (n.d.). When Back Pain May Mean Arthritis. Retrieved from https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/about-arthritis/where-it-hurts/when-back-pain-may-mean-arthritis
  3. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (July 2019). What is back pain? Retrieved from https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/back-pain
  4. Mayo Clinic Staff (August 21, 2020). Back Pain. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/back-pain/symptoms-causes/syc-20369906

Our research

27

Mattresses Considered

112

Hours of Research

2

Sleep Experts Consulted

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