What Is the Best Mattress for Spinal Stenosis and 5 product recommendations

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Written by: Alex Savy
Read 21 minLast updated September 14, 2020

These days, back pain is one of the most widespread issues people are dealing with, regardless of gender or age.

Just think about it: 8 out of 10 people may experience back pain at least once at some point during their lives (1). 

And this issue can penetrate all aspects of life, including sleep.

Today, we are going to talk about spinal stenosis, a condition that can cause back pain. You will learn how to find the best mattress for spinal stenosis and how to sleep better despite this condition. Let’s dive right in!

A Quick Preview

Nectar
Best Overall

Nectar
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Layla Hybrid
Best Value for Money

Layla Hybrid
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Puffy
Best All-Foam Mattress for Spinal Stenosis

Puffy
Shop Now on Puffy.com
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Saatva
Best for Height Variations

Saatva
Shop Now on Saatva.com
Read more about this mattress
Winkbed
Best for Firmness Variations

Winkbed
Shop Now on WinkBeds.com
Read more about this mattress

Our List of the Best Mattresses for Spinal Stenosis Sufferers

Best Overall – Editor’s Pick - NectarNectar Mattress

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Highlights:

  • Tencel-poly cover for a cooling effect;
  • medium feel, suited for different sleeping positions and body types;
  • extended 365-night trial to give you more time to test your new mattress;
  • cover quilted with foam for some extra plush;
  • motion-absorbing foams for uninterrupted partnered sleep.

The Nectar has the right to be called one of the best mattresses for spinal stenosis thanks to its medium feel that can be universally comfortable for a wide range of sleepers. It gets better: the Nectar’s layers work to evenly distribute one’s body weight and to support the neutral spine position. And since stenosis may cause stress on one’s spine, such mattress properties can be helpful for those suffering from this condition.

Best Value for Money - Layla HybridLayla Hybrid

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Highlights:

  • two firmness options in one bed thanks to its flippable design;
  • hybrid construction for a balanced combo of support and pressure relief;
  • zippered cover for easy cleaning;
  • integrated handles for more convenient flipping;
  • copper- and gel-infused comfort layers with cooling and antimicrobial properties.

The next model that belongs to the best mattresses for spinal stenosis is the Layla Hybrid, which is both supportive and versatile. And since spinal stenosis can cause painful pinching, Layla’s support would help keep your back in a neutral position and might even aid pain relief.

Ideal for value seekers, the Layla comes in two comfort variations combined in one bed thanks to the flippable design. Moreover, as this is a hybrid mattress, it provides sturdy, reliable support for the spine while gently cradling the protruding body parts. This can be especially helpful if your spinal stenosis is causing limb pain.

Best All-Foam Mattress for Spinal Stenosis - Puffy

Puffy Mattress

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Highlights:

  • superb pressure relief thanks to an all-foam construction;
  • gel-infused for a cooling effect;
  • removable, stain-resistant cover for easy maintenance;
  • dense foam in the transition layer to fight the quicksand feeling;
  • hypoallergenic fabric, suitable even for sensitive users.

If you are looking for a good foam bed, the Puffy can do the trick. What makes this model one of the best mattresses for spinal stenosis is the pressure-relieving properties it possesses. The Puffy conforms closely to one’s body, adapts to the curves, and fills in the gaps.  As a result, the body weight is distributed evenly, and there’s less tension in the spine, which can be quite sensitive when dealing with stenosis.

Best for Height Variations - Saatva

Saatva Classic

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Highlights:

  • 2 thickness options for sleepers of different height;
  • Euro top for a plushier, more luxurious feel;
  • stronger edges for expanded sleeping surface;
  • extra support (Active Wire Technology) for proper spinal alignment; 
  • 3 firmness variations for different sleeping positions.

Another model that has the right to be called the best mattress for spinal stenosis is the Saatva. This bed provides reliable, uniform support all across the surface, which is enough of a reason to be on this list. But it doesn’t end there: the Saatva comes in two thickness variations. This may be helpful if your spinal stenosis is causing back or limb pain, and you find it easier to get in and out of bed if it’s a taller one.

Best for Firmness Variations - Winkbed

Winkbed

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Highlights:

  • 4 firmness options for all sleeping positions and body types;
  • natural Tencel cover for improved breathability and cooling;
  • reinforced edges for more support around the perimeter;
  • Euro top (quilted with gel-infused foam) for extra cooling and enhanced comfort;
  • extra support in the lumbar section to aid proper spinal alignment.

Another model that deserves to be called the best mattress for spinal stenosis is this hybrid by Winkbeds. As the Winkbed comes in 4 firmness options, it can satisfy a wide range of sleepers and accommodate different body types. Another cool this about this mattress is the zoned, targeted support it provides for the spine. With an extra foam encasement in the lumbar section and the zoned coil system, the Winkbed creates all the conditions for optimal spinal position during sleep, which is crucial when dealing with spinal stenosis and tension in your back.

A Word on Spinal Stenosis and How It Can Ruin Your Sleep

To pick the best mattresses for spinal stenosis, it’s important to understand what you are dealing with first.

Now, spinal stenosis is a condition that involves the narrowing of the spaces in your spine. And less space for the nerves means they may become compressed or pinched. According to Dr. Debra Sullivan, It occurs either in the cervical part of your spine (neck) or in the lumbar part of your spine (lower back). Therefore, there are two types of spinal stenosis, cervical stenosis, and lumbar stenosis. As a result of the nerve compression that occurs in spinal stenosis, you may start experiencing numbness, weakness, and pain in your legs and feet, plus back pain if you are experiencing lumbar stenosis or neck pain if you are experiencing cervical stenosis.  

Spinal stenosis cases are growing in number these days. It can be either congenital (from birth) or acquired. Congenital cases are usually caused by a small spinal canal. In acquired cases, it can be caused by either age-related spinal changes or by other conditions such as injuries or previous spinal surgery, bone wear and tear, excess calcium or fluoride, scoliosis, or other illnesses (2, 3).

“If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above and think you may have spinal stenosis, but have not had a diagnosis, we recommend speaking with your healthcare provider, as it could be caused by a more serious issue” says Dr. Debra Sullivan.

Growing Pain of Spinal Stenosis

Source: https://www.ahrq.gov/data/infographics/spinal-stenosis-pain.html

One of the risk factors is the age-related degenerative changes, which explains why spinal stenosis is more common among people over 65 (4).

Age distribution central spinal stenosis

Source: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Age-distribution-central-spinal-stenosis-n-953-patients_fig37_298545636

Since spinal stenosis can cause  neck, back and limb pain, this condition might make it challenging to get a good night’s sleep. Additionally, you may even start experiencing more pain due to the lack of movement and staying in one position for a long time during the night. The lack of motion during sleep puts more pressure on the joints and your spine. As a result, your stenosis symptoms can worsen.

And that’s why it’s so important to get yourself a proper mattress for spinal stenosis. While it can’t treat the condition, a suitable bed has a chance of making you feel more comfortable and relaxed, and thus improve your sleep quality. Plus, a proper mattress may even help relieve the pain.

What Is the Best Type of Mattress for Spinal Stenosis?

The best mattresses for spinal stenosis are generally foam, latex, and hybrid beds. A good mattress is supposed to distribute your weight evenly and keep your spine properly aligned during the night. While this is the main rule, some extra characteristics may vary depending on the materials used.

Let’s look at the most common ones and see which material can make the most suitable mattress for spinal stenosis.

Foam

Whether it’s memory or polyurethane foam, this material offers close conforming and adapts its surface to the curves of your body. It effectively distributes your weight, which aids spinal alignment. This makes foam mattresses a good mattress option for lumbar spinal stenosis, which is often accompanied by kyphosis (5) that requires a correct sleeping posture. The cradling properties of foam also help with pressure relief. This, consequently, can help reduce the pain levels.

The main drawback sleepers usually have to deal with is sleeping hot. Foam tends to trap body heat while giving you a generous hug. All of that can make you wake up sweaty in the morning. Now, if you don’t want to sacrifice the superb pressure relief that these mattresses can offer, you may want to consider models that use gel infusion or an open-cell technology for a cooling effect. 

Hybrid

Hybrid mattresses combine pocketed coils for base support and foam (or sometimes latex) for comfort layers. This type offers the best of both materials: sturdy support and good air circulation (coils) with pressure relief (foam or latex).

Hybrid beds are a good option for sleepers with spinal stenosis due to their balanced feel. Such a mattress would be supportive enough to aid proper spinal alignment while gently cradling your body and reducing pressure points.

However, keep in mind that hybrid models are usually quite expensive. They also tend to be very heavy and hard to move. And because of the multiple layers used, many hybrid mattresses are quite thick, so you have to be careful here. If your spinal stenosis pain causes mobility issues, an overly tall mattress can make it hard for you to get in and out of bed every day. Check out our 5 favorite hybrid mattresses here

Latex

Latex mattresses have a fast response, so they aren’t supposed to make you feel stuck. At the same time, latex does a great job of relieving pressure and tension, helping your muscles relax, and reducing stress on the joints. This can help alleviate the pain caused by spinal stenosis.

Here’s the deal, though:

Some people are allergic to latex, so this option would not work for everyone. Additionally, since this is a natural component (made from the rubber trees), latex beds tend to be quite pricey.

On the other hand, latex mattresses don’t sleep hot. And while this factor is not directly linked to spinal stenosis pain, it can help you feel much more comfortable and relaxed, which may improve your sleep quality.

Innerspring

Using coils for support, innerspring beds are quite bouncy and responsive. Such mattresses often use a thin layer of foam for improved comfort, but it’s not usually enough for decent pressure relief. That’s why this type is more suitable for back and stomach sleepers rather than side sleepers.

At the same time, innerspring beds allow for consistent support throughout the surface. They also have strong edges, which can make them a good option for a mattress for cervical spinal stenosis. You see, as this condition often causes weakness in the arms and hands (6), patients may rely on their mattress and its bounce to help them get in and out of bed. So, if you press against the edges of the mattress to help yourself stand up, an innerspring model would be strong enough to hold up under the pressure.

It gets better:

Innerspring mattresses don’t sleep hot. This can make you feel more comfortable and relax faster during the night.

Things to Look For in a Good Mattress for Spinal Stenosis

On your quest to find the most comfortable mattress, spinal stenosis may seem like a scary complication.

However, the recipe for a good bed and a great sleep is quite simple. You just need to pick the proper “ingredients,” which means consider the most important factors that make a suitable mattress for spinal stenosis:

  • Back support and proper alignment. As it was mentioned before, proper posture during sleep is very important, especially if you have back issues. A good mattress has to distribute your body weight evenly and keep your spine in a neutral position. Keep in mind that an overly thin or soft bed would not be able to do that. Additionally, this factor often depends on your weight, which leads us to the next aspect. 
  • Suitable firmness for your weight. Heavier individuals put more pressure on the mattress’s surface, which may result in unwanted sinkage and unhealthy curves in the spine. If you weigh more than 230 pounds, you may need a firm bed that would offer you solid support. At the same time, if you are a petite sleeper, be careful with medium-firm and firm mattresses. When the bed surface feels too stiff, it will put more pressure on your joints, which can lead to increased pain levels. 
  • Pressure relief. Reducing the tension may come in handy when suffering from spinal stenosis. Since this condition often causes too much stress and pressure on spinal nerves (7), a pressure-relieving mattress can help reduce the tension and, consequently, relieve the pain. Memory foam and latex models would be the most optimal options to consider.
  • Compatibility with your sleeping position. Side sleepers need softer mattresses that would allow enough sinkage for the shoulders and hips. Back sleepers usually benefit the most from medium firmness, which doesn’t offer that much cushioning but still allows for the hips and buttocks to sink a bit deeper. Sleeping on your stomach is not generally recommended, but if you can’t sleep in any other position, at least make sure that your mattress is firm enough and offers sturdy support. Also, keep in mind that spinal stenosis sufferers are recommended to sleep in a fetal position (on their side with the knees curled up a bit) (8).
  • Breathability and cooling. No one likes sleeping hot, especially when you also have to deal with back pain. Therefore, a temperature neutral mattress would be the best choice for spinal stenosis. Look at hybrid, latex, innerspring, or gel-infused foam mattresses.
  • Adjustable frame compatibility. Some people find it more comfortable to sleep in a reclined position when dealing with spinal stenosis pain, as this can help relieve nerve pressure (8). If you are one of them, make sure that your new mattress would work with an adjustable frame. Usually, manufacturers provide that information on the product’s page.

F.A.Q.

Can a good mattress help spinal stenosis?

While a mattress can’t treat the condition, a suitable bed can help alleviate the symptoms.

Can spinal stenosis get worse because of the wrong mattress?

An unsuitable mattress can put too much pressure on your spine or create unnatural curves, which can lead to increased discomfort and higher pain levels.

Conclusion

Dealing with spinal stenosis can be hectic.

And with this condition, your sleep quality is twice as important.

A good mattress can help with that. Keep in mind that your bed has to offer proper support and good pressure relief if you have spinal stenosis. And don’t forget that suitable firmness, quality materials, and your sleeping position also play an important role in your choice.

How does your current mattress work for spinal stenosis? Do you have your own mattress considerations that could be important for shoppers with this condition? Feel free to share in the comments!

References

  1. MedlinePlus (n.d.). Back Pain. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/backpain.html
  2. C. Lillis (2019, July 22). Spinal stenosis: Everything you need to know. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325817#symptoms
  3. Mayo Clinic Staff (2018, March 08). Spinal stenosis. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/spinal-stenosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20352961
  4. R. Kalff, C. Ewald, A. Waschke, L. Gobisch, and C. Hopf (2013, September 13). Degenerative Lumbar Spinal Stenosis in Older People. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3784039/
  5. A. Truszczyńska, J. Drzał-Grabiec, M. Płszewski, K. Rąpała, A. Tarnowski (2015). Posture of Patients With Lumbar Spinal Canal Stenosis. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24968797/
  6. University of Virginia (n.d.). Cervical Stenosis. Retrieved from https://med.virginia.edu/neurosurgery/services/spine-surgery/cervical-stenosis/
  7. A. A. Sama, F. P. Girardi, F. P. Cammisa Jr. (2011, July 26). Lumbar Spinal Stenosis - An Overview. Retrieved from https://www.hss.edu/conditions_lumbar-spinal-stenosis.asp
  8. R. Staehler (2017, October 25). Mattresses and Sleep Positions for Each Back Pain Diagnosis. Retrieved from https://www.spine-health.com/wellness/sleep/mattresses-and-sleep-positions-each-back-pain-diagnosis

Our research

30

Mattresses Considered

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Hours of Research

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Sleep Experts Consulted

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