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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 27 minLast updated on November 22, 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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Tempurpedic Cloud
Runner Up

Tempurpedic Cloud
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Saatva Classic Mattress
Best for Side Sleepers

Saatva Classic Mattress
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Eight Sleep Pod 3
Best Cooling Mattress

Eight Sleep Pod 3
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Chill Hybrid by Sealy
Best Affordable Luxury

Chill Hybrid by Sealy
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AS3 by Amerisleep
Best for Petite Stomach Sleepers with Degenerative Disc Disease

AS3 by Amerisleep
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WinkBed
Best for Back Sleepers

The WinkBed
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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 — TEMPUR-Cloud (Medium Hybrid)


TEMPUR-Cloud

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Highlights:

  • Compatible with a variety of bases, such as a power base, flat foundation, and platform bed, giving the sleeper extra versatility.
  • Easy to unpack and use, simply remove it from its package bag, unroll onto your bed frame, and use after a few minutes for a restful, effortless night’s sleep.
  • Filled with TEMPUR-foam and over 1000 spring coils to give a luxuriously comfortable, yet responsive experience.

The TEMPUR-Cloud (Medium Hybrid) is our runner-up for the best mattress for degenerative disc disease as it promises a comfortable, pain-free night with its hybrid mix of TEMPUR foam layers over adaptable spring coils. I like how it has several layers of comfort that sleepers can take advantage of, such as its top Comfort layer, designed to be pressure-point relieving, conforming and cushioning. Then, the next layer is TEMPUR’s Support layer, filled with slow-adapting foam that conforms and supports a sleeper’s weight all night long, keeping the spine in perfect alignment, followed by responsive coils, and then a base layer filled with additional cushioning foam.

On top of having a major emphasis on pressure-point relief and comfort, TEMPUR-Cloud is also equipped with a stretch cover that’s breathable as well as moisture-wicking, ensuring that not only is the whole night comfortable, but sleepers won't overheat in bed either. 

Best for Side Sleepers — 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.

The Saatva Classic Mattress is the best for side sleepers due to its balanced feel and lumbar layer. The mattress’ best feature, which I like most by far, is how its lumbar layer supports back, neck and spine in a neutral, tension-free position, keeping the spine aligned all night so you can wake up in the morning free of aches and pains. 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.

Read our full Saatva mattress review for more information.

Best Cooling Mattress — Eight Sleep Pod 3

Eight Sleep Pod 3

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Highlights:

  • Advanced sleep tracking to improve a sleeper’s health and sleep quality over time.
  • Dual-zone heating and cooling, ideal for couples with different temperature preferences.
  • Conforming memory foam gives sleepers pressure relief for a better sleep.

The Eight Sleep Pod 3 is our best cooling mattress for people with degenerative disc disease due to having some of the best cooling technology on the market, going as low as 55 F, keeping sleepers cool throughout the night. Going beyond TEMPUR’s breathable cover, Pod 3 takes staying cool to a new level. With options to manual set the temperature, or have the smart app’s Autopilot set the temperature based on sleep data, sleepers will be able to stay cool and enjoy a more restful sleep.

I also like how Pod 3 offers sleep tracking technology seamlessly woven into the top layers of the mattress, which is useful for sleepers who want to glean insights into their sleep patterns. And with their digital sleep coach, you can improve your eight hours of sleep so you’re more refreshed in the morning.

Best Affordable Luxury — Chill Hybrid by Sealy 

Cocoon Chill Hybrid

Highlights:

  • The hybrid version offers a mix of memory foam and springs for a more responsive mattress.
  • Unique fabric-wrapped spring technology ensures less motion transfers and a noise reduction.
  • Superior edge support, reinforced with special steel springs, makes the mattress easier to stand up from.

The Chill Hybrid by Sealy is the best affordable luxury mattress for sleepers with degenerative disc disease due to its full suite of features, such as its premium mix of memory foam and springs, all wrapped up in a cooling sheet for extra comfort at night. It’s at a better price point than most other luxury brands, being $471 cheaper than Saatva, $200 cheaper than Purple, and $426 cheaper than Casper. However, despite being on the more cost-effective end, I have found that Chill does not compromise on quality, only offering customers the best of a luxurious sleep, making their mattress of great value for money.

On top of this, I enjoy how Chill Hybrid gives their mattress an edge over the competition with their Quantum Edge® technology, with a reinforced perimeter along the entire edge of the bed. This means that the edge of the bed won’t sink when you’re getting in and out of bed, which can help those with sensitive lumbar pain. It also helps the bed feel larger, as you’re getting to use every square inch of space.

Best for Petite Stomach Sleepers with Degenerative Disc Disease — 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.

The AS3 by Amerisleep is the best for petite stomach sleepers with degenerative disc disease due to its robust HIVE transition layer. It has 5 adaptive support zones that ensure a healthy spinal alignment during sleep. This makes the AS3 ideal for those who are on the petite side, as it can easily support the hips of lightweight stomach sleepers, which is especially important for sleepers with lumbar pain.

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

Best for Back Sleepers — 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.

The Winkbed is the best for back sleepers with degenerative disc disease due to its high variety of comfort variations. It comes in four firmness options, making the Winkbed suitable for back sleepers as well as combo sleepers. For example, I tested the Luxury Firm model as a back and side sleeper and felt zero tension. It offers complete comfort and I was able to get a full night’s rest.

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

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

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Mattresses Considered

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