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While we’re sleeping, our body heals and restores energy for the next big day.
And nagging back pain is the last thing we want upon awakening.
The good news is that you can make your sleeping environment friendlier and reduce the chances of lower back pain visiting you by doing one simple thing:
Purchasing a mattress pad.
This simple item can add some cushioning you need to relax your deep muscles and provide the much-needed pain relief. So, dive right into the recommendations on how to choose the best mattress toppers for lower back pain and check the selection of the best models for lower back pain relief.
A Quick Preview
Latex for Less
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Best for Comfort Variety
Memory Foam Topper by Plushbeds
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Best for Cool Pressure Relief
Layla Memory Foam Topper
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Best for Owners of Firmer Beds
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Our List of the Best Mattress Toppers for Lower Back Pain Sufferers
Editor’s Choice — Latex for Less
- natural latex instantly adapts to your body shape and relieves pain;
- comes in three comfort levels for different types of pain;
- has a soft cotton cover that wicks away moisture and ensures cool sleep.
So, my first pick for this list of the best mattress toppers for lower back pain is the Latex for Less pad. This topper, being made of organic latex, can adjust to your body shape and promote healthy spinal alignment, which is crucial for lower back pain sufferers.
To start with, this model is pretty versatile. You can choose between 2” and 3” options, specify the firmness level (Soft, Medium, or Medium-Firm), and decide if you want the topper encased in a cotton cover. I strongly recommend you buy the cover, as it can add some softness to the final feel and prolong the lifespan of your mattress by keeping the dust and moisture away from its pores.
The medium option works best among the three for relieving the pressure in pressure points and supporting the spine. Latex feels spongier than foams and can offer the same close conforming without restricting your movements. Isn’t it exactly what you need for a therapeutic sleep?
Also, the Latex for Less topper sleeps cooler than synthetic foams, and this effect is further enhanced by small perforations across the surface. So, if you’re suffering from hot sleeping, this pad is definitely the way to go.
Overall, despite the higher price, the Latex for Less is worth every dollar spent. Its cradling effect can help you alleviate even chronic back pain and make your sleep more restorative.
- Eco-enthusiasts. The topper is made with natural, renewable, and certified materials. So, if you’re trying to make a step towards eco-conscious living, this is your go-to option.
- Allergy sufferers. Latex is initially hypoallergenic, while the cotton cover feels soft on your skin and doesn’t provoke hypersensitivities.
- Hot sleepers. The Latex for Less effectively deals with hot sleeping without sacrificing comfort and spinal alignment.
- latex feels different from the traditional memory foam, which might be a turn-off for some;
- may have a rubber odor after unpacking.
Best for Comfort Variety — Memory Foam Topper by Plushbeds
- conforming memory foam to aid fast relaxation and pressure relief;
- thickness and density variations to achieve different comfort levels and to satisfy more users;
- open-cell structure for added air circulation.
The next item I simply couldn’t forget to include in this list of the best mattress toppers for lower back pain is the Plushbeds memory foam topper. What makes this model ideal for those dealing with pain is its conforming abilities. Memory foam can help reduce tension, allowing your back to relax and alleviating the pain. And since the Plushbeds topper uses high-density foam, it can also offer extra support for your body, redistributing your weight evenly and kind of extending the pressure all across the body instead of letting it accumulate in one spot (which can often worsen the pain).
However, the best part is – you are free to choose among different comfort options.
You see, the Plushbeds topper comes in two thickness and two density variations. Therefore, you get a chance of getting exactly what you need for your current mattress. For example, if you want to make it softer and require more cushioning, you can pick a thicker topper of a lower density. Or, if you need more support or want to fix (temporarily) a slightly saggy mattress, choose denser foam and lower thickness to achieve a firmer feel.
Another aspect that might pleasantly surprise you is the resilient construction of this mattress topper. The Plushbeds foam returns to its shape after the pressure is applied and does not develop dents. Chances are, this topper will serve you loyally for a very long time. Plus, it’s backed by a 5-year warranty for your customer protection (which is always a nice bonus, as for me).
Overall, it seems like the Plushbeds mattress topper was built to impress. And it also looks like this model was meant to satisfy a wide range of sleepers, given the fact that it offers multiple comfort variations to work with different mattresses.
- Shoppers looking for a long-term investment. This mattress topper uses top-notch materials and feels quite sturdy. It isn’t likely to develop premature sags and should maintain its supportive properties for a long time.
- Sleepers who want to choose their comfort level. Since the Plushbeds topper comes in different density and thickness options, you have a chance of achieving a specific firmness level that would work for you.
- Fans of the classic memory foam hug. This model offers close conforming and has that enveloping feel memory foam is famous for. If that’s your jam, you are certainly going to enjoy using the Plushbeds topper.
- may not work for strict stomach sleepers (even the denser option);
- not the coolest model on the market (despite the open-cell structure, it still might sleep warmer than, let’s say, gel-infused competitors).
Best for Cool Pressure Relief — Layla Memory Foam Topper
- sleep trial to guarantee user satisfaction;
- infused with gel to offer a cooling effect;
- charcoal component for a fresher sleeping environment.
Another model that’s worth your attention is the memory foam topper by Layla. What makes it stand out from the crowd is an effective combination of cradling memory foam and cooling components. As a result, the Layla offers close conforming and pressure relief (which usually helps reduce the pain levels) without making users sleep hot. To me, that’s enough of a reason to put this model among the best mattress toppers for lower back pain. However, it goes beyond that.
Aside from gel, the Layla topper is also infused with charcoal. This component is antibacterial and resistant to odors, so it’s meant to help keep your sleeping space fresh and clean. Additionally, the Layla comes with a removable cover. So, even if you enjoy breakfasts in bed or, let’s say, allow your pets to sleep with you, you can keep your bed fresh by regularly washing the cover.
Now, if you are an active sleeper, you may also appreciate the large elastic straps this mattress topper uses. The Layla would work with a variety of mattresses, including high-profile models. The straps allow for a secure fit, which means they will keep the topper in place even if you tend to toss and turn during the night.
All things considered, it’s safe to say that the memory foam topper by Layla deserves to be on this list. It’s reliable, cradling, and temperature-neutral, which is a winning combination, in my opinion.
- Restless sleepers. Thanks to the handy straps, the Layla topper should “stick” to your mattress nicely without slipping off even if you move a lot.
- Couples. Since this is a memory foam topper, it absorbs shock from motion nicely and can help you and your partner enjoy undisturbed sleep (even if one of you can be restless sometimes).
- Those who hate sleeping hot. Thanks to the cooling gel particles, this mattress topper can create a temperature-neutral sleeping environment even while gently enveloping your body.
- might be too soft for stomach sleepers;
- may still sleep warmer than some of the competitors if you are a heavier user who sinks in a bit deeper.
Best for Owners of Firmer Beds — RECCI
- pure and soft memory foam that can alter the feel of an overly firm mattress;
- removable bamboo cover for easy cleaning;
- comes in three thicknesses — 2, 3, and 4 inches — so you can select the one that suits you.
One of the causes of lower back pain is the wrong mattress choice. But if your brand-new bed feels too firm, or if you sleep on an old innerspring mattress with coils poking you, the RECCI topper has got you covered, literally! The topper has claimed its place in the list of the best mattress toppers for lower back pain because of its incredibly soft feel and generous cradling that can make your current mattress more bearable.
The construction of the RECCI is pretty straightforward: it’s just a slab of memory foam encased in a bamboo viscose cover. The cover is removable, by the way, and you can easily wash it in a washing machine, which adds some points to maintenance. The pad is available in three thicknesses — 2, 3, and 4 inches — so you can adjust your choice depending on how much cushioning you want to add.
The 3-inch option is the most popular pick. It can be great for side and back sleepers of average weight. This thickness sufficiently masks the imperfections of your mattress and offers a great hug for your pressure points.
Despite the fact that the RECCI uses pure memory foam without any additives, it doesn’t sleep hot. The bamboo cover with a breathable weave manages to deal with excess heat and moisture and ensures cool sleep.
To sum up, the RECCI topper can really turn your firm mattress into a cozy cradle and eliminate all the discomfort and pain related to the mattress stiffness.
- Owners of firmer mattresses. According to the manufacturer, the RECCI utilizes memory foam with 13 LD points, which means that it’s pretty soft. It will easily improve the feel of your firm bed.
- Side and back sleepers. This soft mattress topper, if paired with an overly firm mattress, creates a perfect surface for back sleepers and those who sleep on their side.
- Lightweight sleepers. Soft mattress toppers are a good pick for small sleepers, as they hug their body gently and don’t allow too much sinkage.
- might restrict your movements to some extent;
- the zipper on the cover doesn’t seem very durable.
What Types of Mattress Toppers Work Best for Lower Back Pain?
Most mattress toppers you will find on the market are made of these three materials:
- Memory foam. The queen of contouring, memory foam, quickly adjusts to your body shape and relaxes the deep spinal muscles, thus putting your spine into a natural position. This is the best pick for chronic lower back pain. However, traditional memory foam is a thermosensitive material, meaning that it can change the feel depending on body temperature. While this explains the cradling properties, temperature sensitivity is also a culprit of heat retention, so choose open-cell and gel-infused memory foams to avoid hot sleeping.
- Polyfoam. A cheaper alternative to memory foam, polyfoam has an open-cell structure and a spongier feel. The latter is great if your pain limits your mobility because polyfoam leaves you able to move without making you feel trapped. Note that polyfoam is generally less durable, so you should always opt for a higher density (1.5-1.8 PCF) — this will prevent premature sagging and breaking.
- Latex. Latex is a natural material, and along with good contouring and pressure relief, it offers other benefits — such as cool sleeping, durability, hypoallergenic and antibacterial effects. However, natural latex might be too expensive for some, which is its main drawback.
There are also dual-layer mattress pads with fiberfill padding. They might seem comfy at first, but the fiber layer often goes flat very quickly and loses its cradling effect.
What to Consider When Shopping for a Good Mattress Pad for Lower Back Pain?
When it comes to finding a suitable mattress topper for lower back pain, you need to consider your body’s needs. After all, we each have unique bodies, and no topper will be equally comfortable for everyone.
So, check out some tips that will help you make the right choice.
A good rule of thumb is to choose the optimal firmness in accordance with your weight, preferred sleeping position, and pain localization. Here’s why it’s important:
- Weight. Heavier users tend to sink deeper into the topper, and if it’s too soft, it may fail to provide proper support to them. So, if you’re a heavy guy, you might need a medium-firm or even a firm mattress pad to deal with the increased weight yet properly contour your lower abdomen area.
- Pain localization. Sometimes, lower back pain may affect not only the lumbar area but also the pelvis or the sacrum bone. If this is your case, you’ll need to look for a mattress pad for hip pain relief. Such pads can usually cradle your lower back better and prevent unnatural curvature of the spine.
- Sleeping position. Different sleeping positions create different pressure points in your body, and hence, require different firmness levels to distribute your weight properly. For example, a mattress topper for side sleepers should have a soft-to-medium feel in order to cradle the protruding hips and shoulders. Back and stomach sleepers can benefit from medium and medium-firm pads that would conform closely to their lower back. In fact, according to a 2003 study, most low-back pain sufferers feel better on a medium-firm surface (1).
Try to avoid sleeping on your stomach if you have lower back pain. This position flattens the natural curve of your lumbar area and can make things worse (2).
Sleeping hot is what we all want to avoid when shopping for a new mattress or topper. But if you’re initially prone to overheating during sleep, this might actually decrease your tolerance to pain.
Unfortunately, many mattress toppers that properly cradle your body also tend to sleep hotter because of the increased area of contact between your body and the topper.
Don’t worry, though. You can still improve the situation:
- Choose open-cell foams. Polyfoam or memory foam with an open-cell structure create a pathway for the heat to escape the material, which makes it easier for them to cool your body down.
- Go for infused foams. Gel or copper infusions make the foam more temperature-neutral and act as conductors of your body heat.
- Opt for egg-crate toppers. An egg-crate topper has a specific design that improves airflow between your body and the pad, thus helping you sleep cooler. Also, the crates provide a slight massage effect that contributes to pain relief.
Can a mattress topper cause pain?
Yes. If it’s not chosen based on your unique body needs, it may feel too soft or too firm, which is likely to result in morning back pain.
What kind of mattress topper is best for lower back pain?
The main things to look for if you suffer from lower back pain are medium firmness and close conforming.
A mattress pad is a sure way to make your sleep more comfortable and adjust the feel of your mattress to your needs.
To choose the model that will become your ally in combating lower back pain, go for materials that offer you good contouring: traditional or gel-infused memory foam and natural latex. Also, if your pain is the result of the old or overly firm mattress, consider thick pads with a softer feel that can address these problems and reduce your time of tossing and turning.
Or, you can pick one of the models listed in this selection.
My absolute favorite among them is the Latex for Less topper. Not only because I’m fond of latex, but also because this particular model really works. The Latex for Less pad adjusts to your body curves and can support natural spine alignment in any position while keeping you cool and cozy.
Have you tried mattress toppers for dealing with lower back issues? What was your experience? Share your thoughts below!
- Francisco M Kovacs, Ph.D., Víctor Abraira, Ph.D., Andrés Peña, MD, José Gerardo Martín-Rodríguez, MD, Manuel Sánchez-Vera, MD, Enrique Ferrer, Ph.D., et al. (2003, November 15). Effect of Firmness of the Mattress on Chronic Non-Specific Low-Back Pain: Randomised, Double-Blind, Controlled, Multicentre Trial. Retrieved from https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(03)14792-7/fulltext
- Deborah Weatherspoon, Ph.D., R.N., CRNA (2018, June 29). How These 3 Sleep Positions Affect Your Gut Health Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sleep/sleep-effects-digestion#stomach-sleeping
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