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Best Mattresses for Spondylolisthesis: Buyer’s Guide and Top 5 Recommendations

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Written by: Alex Savy
Read 25 minLast updated on June 14, 2022

Sleep, as simple as it may seem, can sometimes be unattainable for certain people, especially for those dealing with spondylolisthesis and back pain.

Here’s the good news, though: a good mattress can make a huge difference, making restful slumber possible.

Today’s review will offer recommendations of the best mattresses for spondylolisthesis that can handle back pain, plus a buyer’s guide that can help shoppers find their ideal match.

A Quick Preview

Puffy Mattress Topper
Best overall

Puffy
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Saatva Mattress Topper
Runner up

Saatva
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AS3 by Amerisleep
Best for Partnered Sleepers

AS3 by Amerisleep
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WinkBed
Best hybrid mattress for spondylolisthesis

WinkBed
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GhostBed Luxe
Best Cooling Mattress for Spondylolisthesis

GhostBed Luxe
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Our Reviews of the Best Mattresses for Spondylolisthesis: Top 5 Picks

Best Overall – Editor’s Choice — Puffy

Puffy Mattress

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Highlights

  • zippered cover for easier maintenance (great for allergy sufferers);
  • close conforming to achieve fast tension alleviation;
  • cooling gel to prevent heat build-up.

The Puffy is an excellent choice for spondylolisthesis patients because of its conforming, hugging feel. The second I laid down on this mattress, I started feeling as if it came to life. The foam was adjusting to the shape of my body, filling in every curve and allowing the protruding parts to sink deeper. This led to a completely tension-free sleep, which is crucial for people with spondylolisthesis. After all, less tension means less pain.

Read our full Puffy mattress review for more information.

puffy mattress firmness
Puffy Mattress On Bed Frame

Runner Up — Saatva

Saatva Classic Mattress

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Highlights

  • suitable for all sleeping styles (three comfort variations);
  • breathable hybrid construction to combat night sweats;
  • proprietary lumbar support layer to help sleepers maintain proper spinal alignment.

Another model that deserves to be among the top mattresses for spondylolisthesis is the Saatva. It may seem like an average hybrid mattress, but the Saatva hides something special inside. I am talking about the Lumbar Zone, which combines an extra layer of foam and an active wire for additional support. Such a design helped my back stay neutral and tension-free even after a long day of slouching over my desk. That’s why I believe the Saatva will be an excellent solution for people with spondylolisthesis. It will help keep the spine straight, reducing the pressure on the affected bone and alleviating the pain.

Best for Partnered Sleepers — AS3 by Amerisleep

Amerisleep AS3

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Highlights

  • medium feel to accommodate more types of sleepers;
  • adaptive and slow-moving, great for couples who want a motion-isolating mattress;
  • convoluted transition layer for improved airflow and cooler sleep.

Because spondylolisthesis pain can cause sleepers to toss and turn, they may disturb their partners during the night. However, that’s not the case with the AS3 by Amerisleep. This cradling mattress doesn’t allow shock from motion to travel from one side of the bed to the other. I tested it with my wife, and she slept through the night even though I’m a pretty active sleeper. Needless to say, the AS3 makes an excellent solution for couples.

Read our full Amerisleep AS3 mattress review for more information.

Amerisleep AS3 Review-P1133774
Amerisleep-as3

Best Hybrid Mattress for Spondylolisthesis — WinkBed

Winkbed Mattress On a Bed Frame

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Highlights

  • Euro-top construction for enhanced comfort and additional cradling for sensitive parts of the body;
  • rigid edges to provide uniform support;
  • breathable Tencel cover for enhanced cooling.

Looking for a balanced combination of support and tension relief? Then the WinkBed mattress might be the right choice for you. This hybrid model has everything to achieve both superb comfort and back pain alleviation. I especially appreciate the thick Euro-top layer. It nicely counteracts the resilient coils and provides pinpoint support, allowing the spine to remain neutral. I, for one, didn’t experience back tension in all sleep positions when testing the WinkBed. That’s why I think it’s one of the best mattresses for scoliosis, spondylolisthesis, and other back-related issues.

Read our full Winkbed mattress review for more information.

Winkbeds-P1077851
Winkbed Mattress On a Bed Frame

Best Cooling Mattress for Spondylolisthesis — GhostBed Luxe

Ghostbed Luxe

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Highlights

  • well-made and promises durability in use;
  • proprietary cooling components to ensure effective thermoregulation;
  • responsive transition layer to prevent the quicksand sensation.

There is probably nothing worse than back pain combined with night sweats. Luckily, the GhostBed Luxe can deal with both. This foam mattress delivers close conforming needed for fast pain alleviation (I, for one, experienced almost instant relief after straining my back at the gym). But the best part is, the GhostBed sleeps cool. Even the cover is cool to the touch, contributing to the overall effect. I also appreciate that this mattress isn’t overly hugging, which also helps it remain temperature-neutral throughout the night.

Layers
Construction

What Exactly Is Spondylolisthesis and How Does It Affect Sleep?

To find the best mattress for spondylolisthesis, it’s crucial to understand what this condition means. 

Spondylolisthesis occurs when one of the spinal bones (vertebrae) in the lower back, usually the fifth or last vertebrae slips forward and fractures. In other words, spondylolisthesis is a condition when one of the bones in the lower back shifts out of place causing a fracture in the bone between the vertebrae and the spinous process (the projection on the back of the vertebrae. This condition most typically occurs in children and adolescents when they experience growth spurts, but can also occur in adults due to injuries.

What-Exactly-Is-Spondylolisthesis-and-How-Does-It-Affect-Sleep

Source: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/spondylolysis-and-spondylolisthesis/

Spondylolisthesis is similar to spondylolysis, which is basically when the vertebrae slips slightly out of place causing a fracture, versus a complete shift out of place in spondylolisthesis causing a more severe fracturee.. So, the latter can be considered a more serious condition than the former. 

Now, how exactly does spondylolisthesis affect sleep, and why do people with this condition need specific mattresses?

The thing is, spondylolisthesis is typically accompanied by lower back pain (1). Many patients also experience muscle stiffness, pain that radiates down their legs, thigh pain, etc. Naturally, persistent back pain and other symptoms can make it almost impossible to sleep well. Chronic low back pain is often linked to sleep issues and even insomnia (2).  

However, a suitable mattress is one of the things that can make things better (along with a proper diagnosis and treatment).

What Makes the Best Mattress for Spondylolisthesis?

The first task of a great mattress for spondylolisthesis is relieving pain. And pain alleviation can be achieved only when the spine is properly aligned, the back is neutral, and the sleeper does not experience pressure build-up.

Therefore, a suitable mattress for pain-free sleep is something that excels at pressure relief. Such a mattress has to support the back properly, keeping the spine in a relatively straight line while supporting the lumbar curve. In other words, the mattress has to conform to the body and adjust to its curves. 

It also has to be firm enough to ensure decent support but soft enough to be gentle on pressure points and sensitive areas. To achieve that, shoppers need to pick mattresses according to their preferred sleep positions (which this review will discuss in detail below).

Also Read: Best Mattress for Herniated Disc Sufferers

What Is the Best Mattress Type for Spondylolisthesis?

The first thing shoppers need to realize is that each mattress has its unique feel. And what may seem perfectly comfy to one sleeper might also feel unbearable to someone else. That’s why it’s important to distinguish between different mattress types. This way, shoppers will know what might work for them the best.

Now, when it comes to spondylolisthesis, the most suitable mattress types are:

  • Memory foam. Memory foam models can be considered a giant on the mattress market. They are extremely popular, and one of the main reasons is their ability to reduce pressure. Memory foam is elastic and adapts to every curve of the body. It can deliver the needed support levels for each body section, which typically results in even pressure redistribution, fast relaxation, and pain relief. That’s why memory foam models are suited for spondylolisthesis and can also be found among mattresses for hip pain sufferers, back pain, tender joints, etc. On the downside, this mattress type is notorious for trapping heat (unless infused with gel particles). The foam also offers a generous hug, which some people may consider restricting.  
  • Polyurethane foam. Polyfoam is a bit different. First of all, it usually has an open-cell structure and thus, can boast of improved breathability. And this means fewer chances of experiencing night sweats. Additionally, polyurethane foam moves a bit faster than memory foam. Therefore, it doesn’t feel that restricting while still delivering unparalleled pressure alleviation. At the same time, this mattress type is generally less durable than memory foam.
  • Latex. What makes latex mattresses stand out from the crowd is their ability to relieve pressure without feeling too hugged. In other words, latex is adaptive but doesn’t feel restricting. These mattresses also don’t typically retain heat. Many models are made using natural organic latex, making this mattress type ideal for eco-conscious shoppers. At the same time, latex models are typically expensive.
  • Hybrid. Hybrid mattresses are becoming more and more popular thanks to their construction. They combine responsive coils with cradling foam or latex, making these mattresses hit that golden middle between bounciness and a deep hug. It’s also worth mentioning that there is an impressive variety of hybrid mattresses and countless material combinations. This means each shopper is likely to find a model that would tick all the right boxes for them. That being said, shoppers should remember that hybrid mattresses are typically thick and bulky. So, this type might not work for all interiors and bed frames.

A word on innerspring mattresses: while many of them can be comfortable and well-made, most spring models lack pressure alleviation. They typically have thin comfort layers, making these mattresses the least conforming among all types. That’s why innerspring models might not be ideal for people with spondylolisthesis. They may work for strict stomach sleepers who don’t need that much cradling, but this sleeping style can aggravate spondylolisthesis pain, so it’s not an ideal scenario either.

Other Considerations When Shopping for the Best Mattress for Spondylolisthesis

Multiple components go in a good mattress for spondylolisthesis. Some of them are often overlooked by shoppers, which can put their comfort and sleep at risk.

So, here are the essential factors shoppers might want to consider in order to make the best choice possible: 

  • Firmness. To provide optimal pressure relief the mattress has to be not too firm and not too soft for the sleeper. To achieve that, shoppers should pick mattress firmness based on their favorite sleeping styles. For example, side sleepers usually enjoy softer mattresses, as such models are gentle on the protruding shoulder and hip in this position. Back sleepers are usually advised to go with something medium or medium-firm. Such mattresses can keep the back aligned while offering moderate cradling for the hips. And stomach sleepers are recommended to choose firmer mattresses that can provide sturdy support. This way, sleepers will be less likely to make the back curve too much, causing pressure build-up. That being said, this sleeping style is not ideal when it comes to spondylolisthesis pain.
  • Weight. The sleeper’s weight may affect how their mattress feels. For instance, a medium model may seem too firm to a petite sleeper and overly soft to an overweight individual. That’s why lightweight people (less than 150 pounds) are advised to choose slightly softer mattresses for each sleeping style described above. This will help them prevent tension build-up and sharp pressure points. And good options for heavier people (over 230 pounds) are always a bit firmer. Many overweight stomach sleepers prefer ultra-firm mattresses, as they can maintain reliable support and prevent the belly from sinking in. The spine has more chances to remain neutral in this case.
  • Pressure relief. As mentioned before, a good mattress for spondylolisthesis has to excel at tension alleviation. Such mattresses typically use foam or latex in their construction. This includes hybrid models that often have conforming comfort layers.
  • Durability. Finding a suitable mattress for spondylolisthesis pain can be challenging. Naturally, no one wants to shop for one every couple of years. That’s why it’s better to get something durable (and a bit pricier). Now, mattress durability would depend on its material quality. If it’s foam, the manufacturer must use high-density materials (at least 5 PCF for memory and 1.7 PCF for polyurethane foam). If it’s a latex mattress, it should use latex that measures at least 5 PCF. And if readers decide to go with a hybrid, they should pay attention to the coil gauge (it signifies the thickness of the coils). The lower the gauge, the thicker and more durable those coils will be.
  • Compatibility with adjustable bed frames. Many people with spondylolisthesis experience relief when sleeping in a reclined position (3). This sleeping style allows spondylolisthesis patients to make an angle between the thighs and the torso, creating more space between the vertebrae and reducing pressure from the spine. That’s why a mattress that works with adjustable frames is an excellent solution for people with spondylolisthesis. Such mattresses include foam models, latex, and hybrids that use independent (wrapped) coils for the support core. Anything with continuous coils might get damaged when paired with an adjustable frame. Extremely thick mattresses aren’t a good idea either. 
  • Temperature regulation. Overheating is one of the most common reasons behind sleep disturbances. Combined with spondylolisthesis pain, it can create a mixture that may simply ruin one’s sleep. That’s why cooling mattresses are always a safer option. Shoppers might want to look for latex models, foam mattresses that use gel infusion, or breathable hybrids with gel foam or latex for the top layers. It’s also worth looking for models that use convoluted foam or latex layers. This design leads to improved air circulation that contributes to thermoregulation. 
  • Adjustable firmness (for hesitant shoppers). Mattresses that allow for firmness adjustments (by either flipping the mattress or rearranging the layers) make an excellent solution for spondylolisthesis patients who aren’t sure what they need. This design may cost a bit more, but it will allow sleepers to test multiple comfort levels and find their perfect match.
  • Extra-long in-home sleep trial. Pain makes choosing a comfortable mattress tricky, which is why spondylolisthesis patients may require more time to test their new mattress. Luckily, many companies offer more than just 100 days (often 120, 180, and sometimes even 365 days). This will help sleepers understand how the mattress performs in the long run and how it may affect spondylolisthesis pain.
  • Edge support. Getting out of bed can be challenging when lower back pain is involved. That’s when firm edges may help. Sturdy mattress edges will give a little boost instead of compressing under the sleeper’s weight, allowing them to get up more easily. Now, mattresses that can boast good edge support are usually hybrids. Foam and latex models are typically lacking in this department, unfortunately.
  • Motion isolation. When dealing with spondylolisthesis pain, sleepers may toss and turn to find the most comfortable (and the least painful) position. Needless to say, all that movement can disturb their partner. That’s why many couples prefer mattresses with a slow-moving feel and minimal bounce. Such mattresses are foam and latex ones. A hybrid might also perform well in terms of motion isolation, but only if it has extra-thick foam/latex comfort layers and wrapped coils.

FAQ

Which mattress is the best for spondylolisthesis?

The best mattress for spondylolisthesis has to be conforming and pressure-relieving (like foam or latex). At the same time, it has to provide decent support. This means the mattress has to correspond with the person’s sleeping style and weight.

Are firm mattresses better for spondylolisthesis pain?

Not necessarily. An overly firm mattress can throw the spine out of alignment, leading to pressure accumulation and more pain. Generally, people with back issues feel the most comfortable on medium-firm mattresses.

Is memory foam good for spondylolisthesis-related back pain?

Yes. Memory foam is a conforming material that can provide targeted support and pinpoint pressure relief. Therefore, it may also help with spondylolisthesis pain.

Wrapping Up

The road to a perfect mattress for spondylolisthesis may be winding. But if shoppers remember a few simple rules, they will find exactly what they need. For example, it’s crucial to pick the mattress based on one’s sleeping style. Readers should also learn the differences between the main mattress types to understand what the market has to offer.

Now, I know that it can be difficult to make the final choice. So, allow me to share one recommendation - the Puffy. This is a mattress that I would use every single night, as the Puffy is very comfortable. Additionally, this model excels at tension alleviation. And this means the Puffy can help people with spondylolisthesis relax more, reduce strain on their backs, and achieve pain relief. 

How long have you been dealing with spondylolisthesis? And what mattress do you currently use? Let us know in the comments!

References:

  1. Jenna Fletcher (August 14, 2017). What to know about spondylolisthesis. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318925
  2. H. Bahouq, F. Allali, H. Rkain, I. Hmamouchi, and N. Hajjaj-Hassouni (November 05, 2012). Prevalence and severity of insomnia in chronic low back pain patients. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00296-012-2550-x
  3. Ashley Marcin (August 25, 2020). The Best Sleeping Positions for Lower Back Pain, Alignment Tips, and More. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sleep/best-sleeping-position-for-lower-back-pain

Our research

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Mattresses Considered

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