Last Updated: March 2017
One of the worst things is waking up the next morning and immediately having back pain that makes you reach back to soothe it. Worst case, you climb out of bed, and you’re hobbling around bent over like a senior citizen, and it can take a while to ease the discomfort. If you are looking for the best mattress for back pain in 2017 then continue reading our report below.
It is a fact that 80% of people feel pain somewhere in their back at some point in their lives. The American Chiropractic Association indicate that over 40% of the US population finds it difficult to get to sleep. Over 30 million Americans know this feeling all too well.
A great deal of this general distress is due to aches and pains in the body from sleeping on an old mattress that improperly supports the spin and the neck isn’t helped by that lumpy pillow either.
In this guide, we recommend what mattresses are best for back pain. Each person has a preference as to the level of firmness in a mattress that they feel is right for them. As such, there is no one mattress that is perfect for back pain sufferers. Because of this, we have some recommendations rather than only one.
What you need to know
Beds with firmer mattresses tend to be better for people with lower back pain. The best type of mattress is one that provides ample support for the spine regardless of the user’s sleeping posture.
Memory foam provides a firm level of assistance for the spine. The foam mimics the shape and weight of the body as it creates indentations to encompass the body, but its firmness cradles the user at the same time.
Mattresses that have either memory foam or innerspring can include a latex layer for a stretchable, bouncy feel at the top of the mattress. For memory foam mattresses which tend to lack the spring back effect, some latex in the mattress composition provides the best of both worlds.
Mattresses that don’t offer a consistent flat, supportive surface create an unnatural curvature of the spine that is the main contributory cause to people who only suffer back pain after sleeping in their bed.
Innerspring mattress with a low number of internal springs offers inconsistent support to the spine during use. One hundred and fifty coil springs are needed for a full or queen size bed to deliver consistent back support where it is required regardless of the user’s position on the bed during sleep.
The overly firm mattress can put additional pressure on certain points of the body and push the spine out of position. Spend too much time in this position and it will create back pain.
Adding a mattress topper may seem helpful because it could appear to relieve an uneven bed or one that has springs poking through, but any undulation in the bed will also be reflected in the mattress topper.
Best Mattresses for Back Pain in 2016 & 2017
*5 Star Rating: this is based on the percentage of consumers who rate the mattress 10/10.
Sufferers of back pain tend to need more support for their spine. Sleeping on a mattress that feels as flat as a board and unresponsive to body weight or positioning isn’t helpful either.
The best mattress for back pain sufferers tends to be one that delivers a relatively firm, but not too firm, sleeping experience. On a scale of 1-10, a 6 rating on firmness often is the most relieving because it provides excellent support while still delivering enough give in the contours of the mattress to mold with the spine and maintain its natural curvature.
It is perfectly okay to have a pillow top or another softer top layer for a mattress just as long as there is proper firm support beneath to provide much needed spinal support through the night. For instance, a cheap foam mattress that one sinks deep into and has trouble climbing back out of come the morning isn’t going to do the back any good at all.
Zinus Night Therapy Spring 13 Inch Deluxe Euro Box Top Spring Mattress
The Zinus Mattress combines the latest Euro Top layer with high-density foam layers and boxspring for back spring support. The mattress is available in Full, Queen, and King sizes.
There is a fiber quilted cover to the Euro Box top that feels soft to the touch. Layers of high-density foam provide pressure relief, with pocketed springs adding the kind of rebound bounce to the mattress that would be sorely missed otherwise.
The foam used is CertiPUR-US certified to confirm that it is safe in the home with low chemical emissions. The product is also made without using mercury, phthalates, formaldehyde, chlorofluorocarbons, or PBDE flame retardant.
The combined layers deliver a supportive, comforting feeling that aims to offer the best of the mattress for all types of people. The level of top comfort is exceptional with a feeling like this is a mattress topper laid over an innerspring mattress rather than an all-in-one product. The feeling is pretty firm overall.
Body transfer is not well transmitted, so people using a queen size Night Therapy Spring 13 Inch Deluxe Euro Box Top Spring Mattress are not likely to be woken by the other person who is already sleeping.
It does take a couple of hours for the mattress to expand and reach full size when it has been removed from the boxed packaging. The mattress does need a secure foundation to perform best for owners. A slatted bed frame or boxspring is ideal. A non-flat surface will not get the most out of this mattress.
Zinus continues to innovate when it comes to their mattresses. There is a 10-year limited warranty with this product.
Sleep Innovations Shiloh 12-inch Memory Foam Mattress
The Sleep Innovations Mattress has its 2.5-inch SureTemp memory foam with a medium firmness to it and better temperature control than most similar foam. The Shiloh model comes in many sizes: Twin, Full, Queen, King, and California King.
The mattress supports larger people and is a good mattress for overweight users because of its 9.5-inch Support-Plus foam layer that ensures sound and motion transfer is minimized. Improved spine alignment is possible with this mattress due to the firmer high-density foam and deep base layer. Whether sleeping face down, lying on your back or your side, the mattress provides sufficient support for any position. The heavier person sinks into the foam more than a lighter person does. Therefore, for a couple who keep in shape, they may want a softer mattress than this one.
Due to the SureTemp material, heat is neutral rather than cool or hot, so people who tend to have problems with memory foam being too warm are likely to be pleasantly surprised here.
The product is made in the USA and comes with a 20-year limited warranty.
Dreamfoam Ultimate Dreams Queen Eurotop Latex Mattress
The Dreamfoam Mattress has a Talalay latex mattress which has a bouncy feel to it. The mattress also comes with a Eurotop bamboo zipper cover that is interchangeable and provides padding at the top layer for the user. The mattress comes in a Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, and California King size.
The Talalay latex is a particular kind of latex where it is first foamed, then poured into a mold that is only partially filled. The latex is then expanded through a vacuum, then frozen, and carbon dioxide gas is pushed through it to create a gel. As a result of the gel, Talalay latex has a bouncier feel to it which makes it ideal as a top layer of a mattress.
Being hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, and dust mite resistant, the latex is unusually protective against potential bedroom allergies and other irritants.
The top 3-inch Talalay latex foam offers excellent orthopedic support as it hugs the body’s shape. The 1.5-inch quilted bamboo cover has its own soft reflect foam and completely biodegradable bamboo fiber infused into the material. The 8-inch high-density base foam assists both with air flow and ensures that the bed mattress provides a consistent level of support throughout.
There are a few people who do have allergies to latex. For anyone who suffers in this way, they would probably be better off purchasing an all foam or innerspring mattress instead.
No detectable off-gassing from the latex material is noticeable on the first night of use.
Consumers with this mattress can choose their firmness rating and Dreamfoam Bedding, the manufacturer, selects the appropriate mattresses for your needs.
The mattress is made in the USA.
Table of contents
- Which mattress is the best for back pain?
- What makes a mattress for people with back pain different?
- Things to consider
- Best mattress brands
- Best mattresses for back pain
Which mattress is the best for back pain?
A mattress for back pain is one that is suitable for people who feel pain in their back when sleeping at night or when they wake up in the morning. While someone who regularly has back pain regardless of their mattress is likely to get some relief from using a better-suited mattress, a person who only has back pain when sleeping on their bed is likely to get the most relief due to the pain being caused by the old mattress directly.
What makes a mattress for people with back pain different?
Mattresses that help back pain sufferers tend to be ones that provide a right level of firmness without being overly firm at the same time. The type of mattress could be an innerspring, memory foam or latex mattress or even a hybrid one that mixes several of these characteristics in one product.
The spine needs to be allowed to curve with the mattress rather than attempt to be kept completely straight which isn’t a natural position for it. An old sloping mattress creates a downward and then upward curve to the spine which will cause problems; a new mattress that’s better suited for a back pain sufferer gets relief from a surface that has indentations matching their body shape and weight. The better posture helps the spine to rest overnight as the body floats on a supportive bed without any pressure points causing distress come the morning.
Things to consider
Maximum Spinal Support – The most common musculoskeletal discomfort is back pain. Anyone who has slept on a bed with an old, sagging mattress for even a single night will tell you that it’s hurting their back. Sleeping on a quality, supportive mattress is vital to personal health because the distraction from back pain interferes with your entire day even after taking pain pills. Getting anything achieved that day becomes a grind to get through, and overall performance suffers. Put simply, supporting the spine is supporting your continued success.
Soft vs. Firm – While a soft mattress initially feels pretty good when you sink deep into it and get lost in the feeling, the problem with soft mattresses is that your back gets little to no support through the night. The effect of this is a pain in the morning, which may not leave you until you go to sleep again, on a better mattress! A reasonably firm mattress that is supportive to your spine, not leaving any gaps where the spine isn’t supported, is what to look for. Be sure not to buy an ultra-firm mattress if you’re suffering from fibromyalgia because the firmness will exacerbate your symptoms.
Rotating and Flipping – To avoid a mattress sagging prematurely or to deal with one that has, it is a good idea to either turn it clockwise 180-degrees (top to bottom) or to flip it over. The process of moving the mattress around evens out its wear improving its durability and ultimately provides better support for the spinal joints. Please be aware that not every mattress is suited to flipping, so it is a good idea to check on this before purchasing.
Durability – Every mattress is expected to last a different amount of years. One knows when it is time to replace the mattress when it is sagging in any area, or you wake up with back pain most days. At that point, you know you need to buy a new mattress that will support a healthy posture for better musculoskeletal support. Quality mattresses tend to last 6-10 years, with some more expensive ones offering a 10-year or 25-year limited warranty.
Memory Foam – This type of mattress is popular with people who experience back pain because it cushions their sleeping position while matching the curvature of their spine at the same time. High-density foam tends to be better than medium or low-density options because the high-density provides a firmer base while still molding to the natural shape of the spine. These mattresses often need 1-2 days to fully expand. There is often some off-gassing from the chemicals uses in the foam which can take a few days to dissipate. A bedroom with windows that can be opened is advisable when buying a memory foam mattress.
Latex – This type of mattress is often thought of as the best choice for people with back pain. The main difference between a latex and foam mattress is that the latex one has more bounce back and as such feels more responsive. The spongy material is often faster to respond to body movements potentially leaving less of a gap for shorter periods along parts of the spine when tossing and turning during a sleep cycle. The push back effect of latex helps to provide excellent contouring on the body while still delivering pressure point relief.
Innerspring – This type of mattress uses hundreds of steel coils that are each pocketed inside their fabric to provide a contoured supportive sleeping experience. The more springs, the better, with the more expensive spring mattress sporting hundreds, if not thousands, of springs to provide orthopedic support to the back. A spring mattresses is usually considerably heavier to move around with a buyer often needing help to install it.
Best Mattress Brands
Sleep Innovations from Innocor has been making mattresses for over 20 years. They also now produce mattress toppers and pillows too. Their mattresses include memory foam and gel memory foam in sizes from Twin to California King.
Dreamfoam Bedding makes foam, memory foam and latex mattresses. The company also makes RV mattresses and other bedroom accessories. Their latex mattress can be ordered with the customer able to choose the exact level of firmness that they require with their product. This standard of customization is pretty rare. Made in the USA, their mattresses all have 10-year warranties along with a 90-day return policy.
Brentwood Home has been crafting mattresses in California for over 30 years. They have a steadfast dedication to producing well-crafted, durable products that are comfortable and supportive. The company makes latex infused, memory foam, spring coil, and hybrid mattresses.
Zinus have continued to innovate with their product selection since starting in business over two decades ago. Today, they make memory foam, spring, and hybrid mattress models. They also produce memory foam pillows too.
Serta is a multiple Women’s Choice Award winner for their range of bedroom products. Everything is designed and made in the USA; their mattress range includes memory foam, boxspring, air bed, and hybrid types. The Sertapedic and Perfect Sleeper ranges are the most relevant for people with back problems.
Casper Sleep is a winner of multiple awards including Fast Company for Innovation by Design and Time Magazine for Best Invention. The Casper Mattress uses an open-cell latex layer to provide spring back softness, combined with a memory foam layer, along with several others, to create a free-floating experience that takes the pressure off the back while still supporting it. There is a 100-day return policy with their mattresses.
Lucid has both latex foam and gel memory foam mattresses. Both types manage heat retention better than standard memory foam does alone. Their latex mattresses also tend to combine memory form in lower layers for added support of the spine.
The GhostBed company makes only one mattress. Their mattress uses a 1.5-inch layer of aerated latex foam followed by a 2-inch layer of memory foam. Their 7.5-inch base layer provides ultimate support. The company also makes a box spring foundation for people who want a bed frame to support the GhostBed mattress. There are a 101-night risk-free sleep trial and a 20-year warranty with their mattress.
Best Mattresses for Back Pain
Brentwood Home Bamboo Gel 13 Memory Foam Mattress
Brentwood Mattress is a gel memory foam mattress with temperature control.
The mattress comes in Twin, Twin XL, Full, Full XL, Short Queen, Queen, Olympic Queen, Split Queen, King, Split King, California King, and Split California King sizes.
The 3.5-inch gel memory foam layer responds to the heat of the body by liquefying the relevant gel pack to make it more pliable. The process ensures that there are no pressure points because the gel packs mold to the shape of the body lying on them. Below the gel layer is a ventilating air flow layer that acts to move heat around to avoid hot spots building up that would cause discomfort. The supportive base does its part to absorb body movement so that this adjustment is not transferred over to another person who may be sharing the other side of the mattress.
There is a bamboo zipper cover with a wool lining that protects the mattress while whisking away odors. The cover is also removable for washing.
Independent testing has confirmed that the mattress is certified for CertiPUR-US to ensure the foam used has no flame retardants, phthalates, or heavy metals.
The Brentwood Mattress arrived rolled up and compressed. The decompression takes a couple of days for the mattress to expand to its original size.
The mattress is made in the USA and comes with a 25-year warranty.
Zinus Memory Foam 12 Inch Premium Ultra Plush Cloud-like Mattress
Zinus Mattress uses several types of foam in the construction of their sleeping solution.
The mattress is available in Twin, Full, Queen, and King sizes. The depth is also selectable with an 8-inch, 10-inch and 12-inch mattress depth. We review the 12-inch model below.
The multi-layered mattress starts with a 1-inch microfiber quilted layer that is merged on the top of a soft jacquard knitted cover. Below this, a 1-inch Viscolatex responsive foam is used which is usually a closed-cell type. A 2-inch memory foam is then used, which is capable of molding itself to the contours of the body shape, followed by a 3-inch comfort foam that adds further support. Lastly, a 5-inch high-density base support foam is used to provide a robust foundation for the mattress which helps to avoid movement and noise transference.
The foam is infused with natural plant oil, green tea, and charcoal which act together to create a pleasant background aroma and remove unpleasant ones at the same time. The inclusion of all three substances helps to also remove the off-gassing that is present in many new foam-based mattresses upon delivery.
The mattress has been tested and certified for CertiPUR-US certification. The certification means that no harmful substances were used in its creation.
The mattress arrives compressed and once unpacked takes two days to decompress. The product is covered by a 10-year limited warranty.
DreamFoam Mattress Ultimate Dreams 13-Inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress
The DreamFoam Mattress is a sleeping product that uses all USA components to create its unique sleeping experience.
The mattress is available in Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King or California King sizes. It is in the middle of the firmness level which his fine for most people.
The first layer is a 3-inch one using 4 pounds of gel memory foam followed by a 2-inch second layer using 5 pounds for support. An 8-inch high-density base layer sits at the bottom. The top layer of gel infused memory foam works its magic by collecting the heat internally and conforming its shape to match that to the person sleeping on it.
The polyurethane foam is certified with the CertiPUR-US mark confirming that it has low emissions and is safe for indoor use. No PBDE flame retardants, lead, mercury, heavy metals or ozone depleters are used when making this mattress.
The mattress is compressed upon delivery and needs about two days to reform back to its uncompressed state. It is not advisable to sleep on the mattress until it has had a chance to decompress fully.
Made entirely in the USA.
Serta Perfect Sleeper Edinburgh Super Pillow Top Mattress Hybrid Gel Innerspring
The Serta Mattress tries to be the best of both worlds with multiple layers using different components.
The mattress is available in Twin, Full, Queen, King, California King, and two set box foundation options.
The combination of Serta PillowSoft Foam, Pillo-Fill and FireBlocker Fiber in a 1-inch Pillow Top layer provides enhanced cushioning without a loss of support that is needed for the back.
The Cool Twist Gel Memory Foam layer comprises a liquid gel that relocates heat by distributing it away from where the body is sleeping. The 2.5-inch Comfort XD foam also provides pressure relief just below the top layer.
The Innerspring continuous design is the spring back support with a reinforced edge that delivers even support across the bed while offering improved stability. Motion is absorbed rather than transferred to another occupant in the bed, so everyone gets a good night’s sleep.
The Serta Perfect Sleeper is the only mattress to be officially recommended by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF). The design of this product was made following consultation with the NSF to help improve sleep and deal effectively with the five most repetitive sleep issues: tossing and turning, sleeping too hot or cold, mattress sag or roll-off, movement transference to the partner, and a lack of back support causing pain.
The mattress is manufactured in the USA and comes with a 10-year warranty.
Casper Sleep Mattress
The Casper Sleep Mattress is custom designed four-layer sleeping improvement that really impresses.
The mattress is available in Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, and California King sizes.
The first layer is made of hypoallergenic open-cell latex foam that keeps your body cool and delivers a nice bouncy feel. The second layer is a responsive memory foam that uses its high-density to provide pressure relief. The third layer is an adaptive transition foam that distributes weight well enough to provide a deeper level of comfort. The fourth layer is a supportive foam that lends additional support to the comfort layer above it. Wrapping around this four-layered mattress is a fabric woven cover using breathable, strengthened textiles from Belgium and the USA.
The combination of latex and memory foam in the top two layers create a bounce with a contouring supportive feel for the back. The open-cell design of the latex top layer also helps to keep the overall temperature down. There isn’t the sinking into it feeling that one gets with memory foam mattresses.
The mattress sits fine on a slatted base, a flat base, or a boxspring and foundation just as long as there is no gap between slats greater than 3 inches.
Casper offers a 100-night trial for new purchases.
LUCID 10 Inch Plush Memory Foam Mattress
LUCID Mattress is a memory foam one with a comfortable feeling throughout.
The mattress comes in Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King and California King sizes.
The 2.5-inch memory foam layer delivers a cushioned feeling that lets one drift off to sleep quickly. The 7.5-inch base layer provides a strong foundation and stops motion transfer between partners when sleeping. The top layer uses an open-cell structure which both makes it lighter and also helps it to ventilate the air flow better. Aches and pains of everyday life are less noticeable or removed entirely when enjoying this mattress.
The CertiPUR-US certification ensures that there are no prohibited substances were used in its manufacturer and that the emissions are at a healthy level. There are no ozone depleters, mercury, phthalates, formaldehyde or PBDEs either.
The product comes with a 25-year limited warranty.
GhostBed 11-Inch Queen Latex & Gel Memory Foam Luxury Mattress
GhostBed Mattress is a four-layer product that delivers exceptional comfort and support using a blend of different materials.
The mattress is available in Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, and California King sizes.
The mattress has a depth of 11-inches. The top premium aerated latex layer is 1.5-inches to cushion the body and provide a bouncy feel to the sleeping experience. The latex responds to body movement while not retaining body heat. The second layer is a 2-inch one using 4 pounds of gel infused memory foam that serve to distribute weight and heat better. The gel beads inside the foam layer absorb heat which helps keep the body temperature down while sleeping. The final layer is a 7.5-inch high-density support core which contributes to the minimized movement transfer, enhanced comfort and added support.
The mattress is supplied with a smooth top cover which has a quilted finish on one side. It has a side zipper to remove it for washing.
Made in the USA, the mattress comes with a 20-year limited warranty.
Q: Is Innerspring not advisable when experiencing back pain?
A: It depends on how much support is provided by the spring mattress. Spring mattresses have a different number of springs inside, and this partly determines their suitability for supporting people with consistent back pain.
Q: Is there much of a difference between latex and memory foam mattresses?
A: Latex is springier with push back when lying on it, as compared to memory foam which tends to be firm with no push back at all. For someone coming from an innerspring mattress, a latex one may feel more like they’re used to.
Q: Is the blended latex layer with memory foam underneath a good idea?
A: There is a sense that this provides the best of both worlds with this combination. A bouncy, more responsive latex layer, with memory foam that contours to the body shape and firm enough to support the spine properly too.
Q: I like a soft mattress. Should I still buy a soft one if I have back pain?
A: It is unlikely that a soft mattress is going to elevate the back pain. Look for a medium firmness level with a latex or latex and memory foam mattress that will deliver a comfortable feeling while supporting your back better.
Q: I get hot in bed. Is a memory foam mattress still a good idea?
A: Depending on the type of memory foam, they can feel hotter than other types of mattress like an innerspring or a latex one.
Q: What’s the main difference between a cheaper, locally available memory foam mattress and a well-known brand?
A: Well-known brands use high-density foam that has passed multiple independent tests for safety in the home. The denser foam properly supports the body instead of letting the user sink into the foam without proper spine support.
Q: Can I choose the firmness of a mattress myself?
A: Some manufacturers like Dreamfoam Bedding let consumers buy from Amazon and choose their firmness level after having a discussion with the staff at Dreamfoam. It is not always easy to know what firmness level is most appropriate, but the staff there has considerable experience in this area. Alternatively, consumers need to choose a mattress with a firmness rating that matches their personal requirements.
Q: Is a mattress topper or a pillow top worth the extra cost?
A: A mattress topper is only worthwhile if the mattress is already supporting the spine properly, and you would just like something a little softer. When the mattress is already old and sagging, a mattress topper won’t fix that problem at all. A pillow top as the top layer of a new mattress feels luxurious and works well just as long as there is adequate firmer support layers underneath it.
Related Consumer Guides
If you are interested in reading more about shopping for a mattress, please be sure to check out our other consumer guides which I have highlighted below.
- Our guide to the best Air Mattresses available
- Suffer from back pain? Read our guide to the best mattresses for back pain
- Do you have a baby? Make sure they sleep in comfort with our best crib mattress guide
- Find out how Latex mattresses compare to others
- Find out how Memory Foam Mattress compare to others
- Find out how Pillow Top Mattress compare to others
- Be sure to protect your new mattress with the best mattress protectors
- Are you a side sleeper? Read our guide to the best mattresses for side sleepers
- Find out how Spring Mattresses compare to others
- Get some extra comfort out of your mattress with our guide to the best mattress toppers
- Find out which mattress is the best with our mattress reviews