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Best Mattresses for Degenerative Disc Disease: Top 5 Options and How to Choose One

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Written by: Alex Savy
Read 25 minLast updated on August 5, 2022

Degenerative disc disease can be very disruptive, often making restful sleep a pipedream. 

However, things aren’t that dire with the right mattress.

So, this guide will show you how to find your perfect match and share the 5 best mattresses for degenerative disc disease. They each prove that quality sleep is not unattainable even when dealing with back pain.

A Quick Preview

Puffy Mattress
Best overall

Puffy Mattress
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AS3 by Amerisleep
Runner up

AS3 by Amerisleep
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Saatva Classic Mattress
Third best choice

Saatva Classic Mattress
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WinkBed
Best for all sleeping styles

The WinkBed
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GhostBed Luxe
Best Cooling Option

GhostBed Luxe
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Our Reviews of the 5 Best Mattresses for Degenerative Disc Disease

Best Overall – Editor’s Choice — Puffy Mattress

Puffy Mattress

Highlights

  • all-foam construction to effectively reduce sharp pressure points;
  • gel infusion for a cooling effect;
  • anti-slip cover to secure the mattress on the foundation, great for active sleepers.

The Puffy has a lot to offer, as this model has a smart design and comes with multiple perks. However, it also deserves to be called one of the best mattresses for degenerative disc disease, thanks to its pressure-relieving properties. Sleeping on the Puffy feels like being hugged by a cloud. It redistributes the weight evenly and reduces tension in the back. I, for one, felt almost immediate back pain relief when lying down on this mattress. This mattresse’s weight distribution properties make it perfect for people with degenerative disc disease by reducing back pressure and allowing a more comfortable sleep.

I also appreciate how the Puffy manages to absorb shock from motion. It allowed me to shift in bed as much as I wanted without disturbing my wife, a light sleeper. This is another reason why the Puffy may work for people with degenerative disc disease. They often toss in bed due to pain. But with the Puffy, they can do that without waking their partners up.

Read our full Puffy mattress review for more information.

puffy mattress cover review
Puffy Mattress On Bed Frame

Runner Up — AS3 by Amerisleep

Amerisleep AS3

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Highlights

  • medium feel to satisfy a wide range of sleepers;
  • breathable open-cell foam to eliminate heat retention;
  • zoned HIVE layer to achieve adaptive support and exceptional comfort.

Sleeping on the AS3 by Amerisleep for the first time felt like a revelation. I could not believe that such a simple (at first glance) mattress could feel so comfortable. However, the AS3 hides a lot under its cover. And the best part is the HIVE transition layer. It has 5 adaptive support zones that ensure a healthy spinal alignment during sleep. I forgot about my lower back pain after just a couple of nights with the Amerisleep, which makes me feel like this model can be among the best mattresses for lumbar degenerative disc disease.

I was also impressed by Amerisleep’s cooling properties. No matter how much I was moving during the night, I did not feel hot. The AS3 achieves cooler sleep thanks to its proprietary Bio-Pur foam. It has an open-cell structure and allows for unobstructed airflow. In other words, this mattress is breathable, which is why it helped me stay comfortably cool all through the night.

Read our full Amerisleep AS3 mattress review for more information.

Amerisleep AS3 Review-P1133774
Amerisleep-as3

Third Best Choice — Saatva Classic Mattress

Saatva Classic Mattress

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Highlights

  • extended in-home trial to ensure customer satisfaction;
  • lumbar layer to achieve unparalleled back support;
  • wrapped comfort coils for targeted support and even weight distribution.

This luxurious coil mattress by Saatva is bound to impress, especially if you are looking for a very balanced feel. However, my favorite thing about this model is the lumbar layer. It managed to support my back in a neutral, tension-free position, helping the mattress fill in the spine curves. That’s why I believe the Saatva deserves to be among the best mattress for lumbar degenerative disc disease.

I’m sure sleepers will also love that this model doesn’t sleep hot. I was testing the Saatva during a heatwave, and this mattress made my nights so much more comfortable. This probably has to do with the Saatva’s breathable coil construction. And here’s more good news: such a breathable mattress won’t be likely to attract dust mites. So, if you’re allergy-prone like me, the Saatva might be the right choice.

Best for All Sleeping Styles — The WinkBed

WinkBeds Mattress Review P1077759

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Highlights:

  • independent coils to deliver pinpoint support;
  • extra-strong edges to offer more sleeping space;
  • Euro pillow-top to guarantee gentle cushioning and increased comfort levels.

Another model that deserves to be among the best mattresses for degenerative disc disease is the WinkBed. The first thing it impressed me with was the number of comfort variations. The WinkBed comes in 4 firmness options, making it suited for all sleep positions and different types of users. I, for example, tested the Luxury Firm model. I felt perfectly comfortable on this mattress as a combo side and back sleeper and experienced zero tension.

Next, sleepers may also appreciate the edge support the WinkBed offers. People with degenerative disc disease can toss and turn to find a less painful position. All the movement can disturb their partners (often by touching or bumping them). But lying further from each other can help both feel more comfortable. And that’s exactly what the WinkBed’s firm edges can offer. For example, I didn’t reach my wife even once when tossing in bed, allowing her to keep sleeping peacefully.

Read our full Winkbed mattress review for more information.

WinkBeds Mattress Review P1077851
WinkBeds Mattress Review P1077801

Best Cooling Option — GhostBed Luxe

Ghostbed Luxe

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Highlights

  • Ghost bounce layer responsible for pressure relief and pain alleviation
  • Gel-infused to deal with body heat
  • Medium plush feel great for cradling and body contouring

Having degenerative disc disease is a problem no one wants to encounter, coupled with being a hot sleeper, going to bed is bound to be really painful for such a person. The GhostBed Luxe is however here to the rescue, as it is great at solving both problems.

With its surface and core cooling properties, it ensures that you get a sleep devoid of heat, reducing your problems by half. Also, because of its medium plush setting, you are able to sink without giving up sturdiness: this feat is also partly due to its high density core and bottom layer.

The mattress is also great for pain relief; its gel-infused memory foam helps in massaging your pressure points, which will definitely come in handy with the degenerative disc disease.

Layers
Construction

How Degenerative Disc Disease Affects Sleep

Degenerative disc disease occurs when the discs between the vertebrae in the back face age-related breakdown. They tend to compress and provide less support for the spine vertebrae (spinal bones). Age-related wear and tear is normal, but it often results in back pain (most commonly in the lumbar region) (1). This breakdown of tissue between vertebrae can lead to other painful disorders over time, such as a herniated disc which can cause pain and numbness in the arms and legs, or bone spurs which can lead to problems walking and bladder control alongside pain and numbness in the arms and legs (1). If the tissue breaks down completely, it can lead to very painful nerve damage (1).

How Degenerative Disc Disease Affects Sleep

Source: https://www.neurosurgery.columbia.edu/patient-care/conditions/degenerative-disc-disease

Naturally, it can be challenging to sleep well when dealing with such symptoms. That’s why insomnia is widespread among people with degenerative disc disease. 

That being said, a suitable mattress can help improve the situation. There are many great mattresses recommended by chiropractors that can aid pain relief, thanks to their smart construction.

What Is the Best Mattress Type for Degenerative Disc Disease?

Each mattress type has its unique feel that can affect the sleeper’s comfort. That’s why shoppers need to understand the main differences between various mattress materials when choosing the one suited for degenerative disc disease. Here are the most common options:

  • Memory foam. This mattress type is famous for its cradling feel. Memory foam adapts to the sleeper’s shape and aids proper weight redistribution (which leads to reduced pressure). However, shoppers should remember that memory foam can feel restricting. This might not work for people with degenerative disc disease who find it challenging to move due to back pain. 
  • Polyfoam. Polyurethane foam is slightly more responsive than memory foam. Therefore, it’s not likely to restrict movement while delivering effective tension alleviation. On the other hand, polyfoam is less durable than memory foam.
  • Hybrid. These mattresses typically combine coils (for support) and foam or latex (for comfort). That’s why hybrid mattresses have a balanced feel and can deliver just the right amount of cradling and support. However, this mattress type isn’t usually cheap. Plus, hybrids often look bulky, which might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
  • Latex. Latex mattresses do an excellent job of relieving tension, as this material is conforming and adaptive. At the same time, latex springs back to its shape after the pressure is applied, which means these mattresses don’t limit movement. On the downside, latex models are rather expensive.
  • Innerspring. Innerspring mattresses aren’t ideal for pressure alleviation, but they work great for stomach sleepers who require sturdy support. Spring beds are bouncy and don’t restrict movement. They also don’t sleep hot. That being said, innerspring models are among the least durable ones.

What Makes a Good Mattress for Degenerative Disc Disease?

Finding a suitable mattress may require time and patience. However, it’s worth the effort, as this bedroom accessory can change one’s sleep for the better. 

When shopping for a new mattress, it’s crucial to find a model that possesses the needed characteristics to work with degenerative disc disease. Below, readers can find a few examples of what makes an excellent mattress for people with this condition.

Pressure Relief

Pressure build-up and back pain often go hand in hand. That’s why a great mattress for degenerative disc disease has to reduce the tension levels. To achieve that, it must use conforming materials such as memory foam or latex. When the top layers conform to the body, they offer support where it’s needed and hug the heavier areas, aiding an even weight redistribution. This prevents pressure from accumulating in certain areas, including the back. And less pressure often leads to reduced pain levels.

Good examples are these comfy mattresses. They offer adaptive support and can cradle the sleeper’s body, allowing the body to relax and release pressure from the back.

Suitable Firmness

Firmness is subjective. Larger individuals require sturdier mattresses that can deliver reliable support and prevent heavier bodies from compressing the mattress materials too much. Readers can find out more about extra-firm mattresses here.

And lightweight individuals are advised to pick softer mattresses to enjoy proper cradling. The thing is, their weight might not be enough to sink into the mattress and receive the needed conforming and pressure relief. Readers can find more details about mattresses for skinny people here.

Now, aside from their weight, shoppers should also consider their favorite sleeping style when choosing the right mattress firmness. Thus, side sleepers require more of a hug and typically feel better using softer mattresses. Back sleepers are recommended to choose medium to medium-firm models to enjoy the right combination of cradling and back support. And stomach sleepers are advised to pick firm mattresses as they need to avoid sinkage in the belly or hip area (to prevent straining the back).

It’s worth mentioning that people with degenerative disc disease are often advised to sleep on their stomachs. This position can help them relieve pressure on the disc space. They can also try placing a thin pillow under the abdomen and hips to achieve proper alignment.

However, sleepers need to be careful with this position, as it often puts a lot of strain on the neck. Therefore, it’s crucial to use a thin pillow to prevent the neck from curving.

For back sleepers, it might be a good idea to lie elevated with a large wedge pillow or use an adjustable bed frame.

And those who can’t give up sleeping on one side should place a pillow between their knees. It will help align the hips with the spine. Hopefully, this little trick will prevent tension build-up in one’s back, especially the lower area that’s more prone to pain.

Compatibility with Adjustable Bases

Adjustable bed frames allow sleepers to lie with their backs or legs elevated. Many models also have a Zero Gravity mode that can effectively relieve pressure from the back. That’s why a good mattress for degenerative disc disease has to work with adjustable beds.

Now, most foam and latex models fall into this category. Sleepers can also use hybrid mattresses with adjustable foundations, but only those that use individually wrapped coils. As for innerspring models, they don’t usually work with adjustable frames due to potential coil damage.

Durability

Degenerative disc disease isn’t something one can get rid of. And if it’s going to stay with the sleeper for quite some time, the mattress also must preserve its supportive and pressure-relieving abilities. That’s why durable models are a must in this scenario.

When it comes to foam, shoppers need to pay attention to its density. They should choose models that use 3PCF (and up) memory foam or 1.5 PCF (and up) polyfoam. 

For latex mattresses, density isn’t that crucial. The thing is, latex models are among the most durable ones, with some keeping their properties for 20 years and more.

As for hybrid mattresses, coil gauge is what matters the most. Lower-gauge coils are thicker and, thus, more durable.

Other Factors to Consider When Buying a Mattress for Degenerative Disc Disease

Certain details can be real deal-breakers when it comes to mattresses for degenerative disc disease. They can either enhance or ruin the bed’s performance. That’s why shoppers should consider the following aspects: 

  • Temperature regulation. Overheating can lead to severe discomfort (on top of the pain caused by degenerative disc disease). That’s why shoppers might want to avoid traditional memory foam and polyfoam. Instead, they can look for mattresses that use gel-infused or open-cell foams. Hybrid models can also work, as they don’t typically sleep hot (thanks to the breathable coil core). Latex mattresses aren’t prone to overheating either. Innerspring models also don’t sleep hot, but shoppers should remember that this mattress type isn’t ideal for pressure relief.
  • Motion absorption. People with degenerative disc disease can often shift in bed due to back pain. Naturally, this can be a problem when sharing the bed with a partner. That’s when slow-moving mattress materials can come in handy. Memory foam usually performs the best in terms of motion absorption, followed by polyfoam. Latex mattresses can also absorb shock from motion rather well. As for hybrid models, they can seem a bit bouncy, but the combination of independent coils and thick foam layers should eliminate nighttime disturbances. However, shoppers might want to avoid hybrids that use continuous or Bonnell coils for support.
  • Warranty. Many shoppers ignore the fine print when buying new mattresses. But here’s the deal: warranty coverage can be a good indication of the mattress’s quality and durability. After all, when the manufacturer isn’t sure the mattress will serve for long, they don’t offer good customer protection. That’s why it’s crucial to study the warranty conditions before finalizing the purchase.
  • Edge support. Dealing with degenerative disc disease can often cause limited mobility due to pain. If that’s the case, shoppers might want to pick mattresses that have strong edges. They will help sleepers get out of bed by giving them a little boost instead of budging under their weight. Hybrid and innerspring mattresses typically have the sturdiest edges.

F.A.Q.

What kind of mattress is good for degenerative disc disease?

Memory foam mattresses are considered the best for degenerative disc disease because this mattress type does an excellent job of relieving pressure. Latex can achieve the same results without feeling restricting. Hybrid mattresses can also do the trick, but they aren’t very hugging.

Is it better to sleep on a soft or a firm mattress with degenerative disc disease?

The firmness level of the mattress has to correspond with the sleeper’s preferred position. Side sleepers should stick to softer models, back sleepers – medium and medium-firm, and stomach sleepers – firm.

Is memory foam good for degenerative disc disease?

Yes, memory foam excels at pressure alleviation, which makes it an excellent solution for degenerative disc disease (if the sleeper isn’t experiencing limited mobility). 

Wrapping Up

Getting the right mattress can change things drastically when dealing with degenerative disc disease. And to sift through the available options, shoppers need to pay attention to the firmness level, mattress type, and material quality. Plus, it’s crucial to pick a pressure-relieving mattress that can aid pain alleviation. Luckily, the list of great options is long.

But if you ask me, I would recommend the Puffy Mattress. This adaptive model can help sleepers experience significantly less tension, which may help with back pain alleviation. It feels like a gentle hug but also keeps the spine neutral, aiding a healthier sleep posture needed for degenerative disc disease. Additionally, the Puffy is quality-made and can deliver reliable performance for years to come. To me, that sounds like a perfect combination of features!

How long have you been dealing with degenerative disc disease? And what is the most important thing you’re looking for in a mattress?

 

References:

  1. Medicine Plus (n.d.). Intervertebral disc disease. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/intervertebral-disc-disease/

Our research

27

Mattresses Considered

112

Hours of Research

2

Sleep Experts Consulted

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