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Are you one of those people who think that an aching back can be cured with firm-as-a-plank beds? If that’s the case, you may be very surprised at what will actually work!
While everyone’s pain is different, there are a few good practices to follow when picking a top mattress for back pain.
If you thought firmer was better, you may be surprised by recent studies because scientists have managed to discover that medium-firm beds have the highest chance of reducing soreness and stiffness.
Since the bedding industry specifically targets customers with back issues, it’s tough to determine which model can actually improve your health condition. For that reason, we’ve taken some time to research their features and help you select the best mattresses.
Our list includes a couple of premium brands that might be able to minimize pain and allow you to wake up fresh and rested.
And if you’re looking for more mattresses, see our overall highest-rated list.
6 Top Rated Beds for Back Pain Reviewed
Live and Sleep - Best Cooling
In our opinion, the best mattress for back pain is Live and Sleep.
Hot sleeping affects millions of people around the world, and it’s mostly pronounced with all-foam beds. However, brands such as Live and Sleep have implemented new technologies, with gel-infused mattresses, to provide a comfortable and calm sleeping experience.
The cool bed contains three layers of memory foam: 2.5 inches of airflow foam, 1 inch of gel-infused form, and 8.5 inches of the support base. This type of composition promotes great body contouring while alleviating pressure points and minimizing achiness.
Live and Sleep features high-quality and plush materials that additionally cool and relax your body. You’ll be happy to know that this unit has a minimal motion transfer, but lacks a bit of bounce. Therefore, if you share a bed with a restless sleeper, then Live and Sleep might be able to fix any potential disturbances.
Linenspa - Best in Support
Another product on our list, Linenspa mattress, is probably the most straightforward hybrid currently available on the market. With only two layers, this product might offer you cozy and reliable body support, while preventing back pain.
But, be aware that Linenspa is only 8 inches thick, which may not be enough for some body types. However, the mattress can be a suitable solution for lightweight individuals and kids. You don’t have to worry about allergens and dust mites, considering it’s hypoallergenic and resistant to bacteria.
As we already mentioned, Linenspa combines two layers of memory foam and innerspring, which offers great firmness, as well as full-body support. The bamboo cover is soft to touch and adds even more to the sleep experience.
Moreover, this bed has a decent recovery time, while gel-infused foam shapes according to your body and provides proper spinal alignment. Additionally, you can periodically rotate the mattress to prolong its lifespan.
A lot of beds tend to smell funny upon arrival, but that’s not the case with Linenspa. It is CertiPUR-US certified and bad odors and off-gassing are incredibly minimal and dissapate quickly.
Sweetnight - Best Motion Isolation
Motion transfer can be an issue for most couples sharing the bed. However, Sweetnight might be one of the brands to help you bypass this problem, and have a comfortable sleeping experience. Even though their products have no names, they are mostly recognized by height, so it’s easy to identify the specific product.
This 10” mattress features three layers of memory foam and two different firmness settings. Since Sweetnight is a flippable unit, you can either use a soft or firm side.
The soft side contains gel-infused foam that gently cushions your body and prevents hot sleeping. And the firm side utilizes a high-density foam, which allows proper spinal alignment and promotes back and stomach sleeping position.
In terms of motion transfer, Sweetnight offers appropriate motion isolation and prevent couples from waking each other during the night. The mattress is covered with a Rayon cotton fabric which naturally eliminates odor, stains, and mold.
Sleep Innovations - Best Bed in a Box
In a major way, the bed-in-a-box has revolutionized the mattress industry. We no longer have to visit countless stores in search of a perfect mattress because it’s now delivered to our doorsteps.
As the name implies, Sleep Innovations is one of the leaders and innovators in the memory foam niche, and their Shiloh mattress might change your perspective about bed-in-a-box units.
Shiloh combines three layers of memory foam, which contain open-cell technology to promote airflow and comfortable sleeping. Additionally, this product has a medium-soft to medium-firm feel, which might be suitable for various sleep positions. It will keep your spine correctly aligned and minimize back pain.
When it comes to motion isolation, Shiloh has great motion transfer properties, as the majority of memory foam beds. The bottom layer is made of high-density foam which prevents sleepers from disturbing each other during the night.
Shiloh is encased with a cotton cover, that keeps the bed cool and dry, by allowing the moisture to evaporate quickly.
For more high rated bed in a box, click here.
Molblly - Best Pressure Relief
Pressure relief is one of the essential things to consider when selecting a new mattress. For that reason, Molblly has developed a bed that might solve your neck, shoulder, and back issues.
This is an all-foam bed with three layers of distinctive memory foam, specially designed to improve back support and minimize hot sleeping. Each of them is CertiPUR-US and free of ozone-depleting chemicals.
The top layer includes 3” of memory foam, while beneath lies 3.5” of comfortable foam. The bottom contains 5.5” of a high-density base for additional support. The manufacturer claims this bed employs premium quality materials that provide a superior sleeping experience.
On top of that, the foam composition promotes airflow and comfortable sleep. In this case, the mattress shapes according to your body and offers optimal pressure relief. The foam absorbs any motion transfer and keeps you undisturbed during the night.
Best Price Mattress - Most Comfortable
Best Price is one of the few brands on the market that wants to provide their customers with a premium sleeping experience at an affordable price. With three layers of memory foam, this bed should offer you high performance and the rest at night you deserve.
The Best Price combines various layers of memory foam, and the first one comes included with active charcoal, which helps the mattress maintains freshness and prevents odor. This is a medium-firm bed which might suit different types of sleepers.
Best Price has a unique pressure relief system designed to recognize the areas in your body, which requires additional support. Also, this bed does a decent job of absorbing any motion while helping you enjoy peaceful sleeping sessions.
Shopper’s Guide: Mattresses for Your Bad Back
Know Your Preferred Sleep Position
Sleep position can significantly determine the mattress selection. For instance, people who are back sleepers can tend to use a range of mattress firmnesses that cushion their body and keeps the spine properly aligned. On the other hand, stomach sleepers might need a firmer bed that doesn’t sink too deeply.
If you prefer sleeping on your side check our top rated mattresses for side sleepers guide.
Know Your Preferred Firmness Level
The level of firmness is an entirely individual thing and what’s soft for one person might be too firm for another. Therefore, for some people, this is a key consideration when shopping for a new model.
However, when it comes to back pain, doctors advise you should go for medium-firm beds (you can find great options in our top rated memory foam beds review) because they promote spinal alignment and alleviate pressure points (for a healthy back and spine support you should check our guide to best orthopedic beds here).
But, why does firmness matter?
It all revolves around comfort, and an inviting, cozy bed plays a huge role in getting a good night’s sleep. If the first thing you are thinking about when going to sleep is how uncomfortable you are, then the mattress is less likely to support your spine’s natural curves.
Comfort also matters because it can determine whether you wake up with soreness or not. On the other hand, the term “medium” should be taken with caution because it doesn’t only minimize the pain, but it should cradle the heavier parts of the body.
View our guide to top firm mattresses.
Check Your Weight
Beds naturally respond to a person’s weight, and as a result, the weight of a sleeper can influence how the mattress feels and what firmness level it usually provides. Please refer to the following scale when accessing your body weight.
- Less than 130 pounds – individuals who weigh less than 130 pounds should consider purchasing softer beds. A very firm mattress can have a negative effect on your spine alignment and offer less countering. Therefore, the majority of light sleepers require more plush mattresses.
- Between 130 and 230 pounds – usually, this category of sleepers does best with medium-firm beds. They offer enough cushioning to create a supportive sleeping surface without risking the comfort level.
- Over 230 pounds – at this point, people should select firmer mattress composition because they put more pressure on the bed. The firmer model will provide you proper cushioning and avoid a sinking-in sensation.
Like with any product you purchase nowadays; price plays a crucial role and can dictate the quality of the bed. Latex and airbed mattresses are often more effective for people with achiness; however, their price can reach a couple of thousands of dollars.
On the other hand, hybrid and foam models are somewhat cheaper (check our top rated cheap memory foam beds), while online brands offer better deals compared to brick and mortar stores. But, when shopping for this type of unit, consider the best model within your price range. With a bit of research, you can find a cheaper mattress, which can be equally effective as a high-end product.
Check the Warranty Coverage
Almost any bed sold today comes with a product warranty, which often provides a decade longer coverage. However, a lot of sleepers tend to neglect researching the terms and conditions that warranties include, and eventually end up in a bit of a mess. Therefore, when picking up a new bed, pay attention to the following factors:
- Non-prorated coverage length: in this case, the warranty covers any repair or replacement costs for a predetermined number of years. However, the price doesn’t cover shipment.
- Prorated warranty: here you pay a certain percentage to have your mattress replaced or repaired. As older your bed gets, the more easily it becomes damaged, which eventually increases the costs of replacement or repair.
Since most of us have some control over the mattress use, we can effectively ensure that our unit suffers less damage. Therefore, the costs of repair might not be that high. Unfortunately, we can’t predict the final outcome, and what happens over the course of the year. So, with prorated warranty coverage, you are likely to pay more than with the previously mentioned model.
- Indentation depth: it’s a common occurrence that mattresses sink over time, usually in the middle of the bed. However, most warranties differentiate normal tear and wear from a severe indentation. For instance, some will cover even the slightest indentation, such as ¾”, while others require at least 1”.
Sinkage that measures one inch is considered to be most problematic for people suffering from back pain. For that reason, they are advised to seek out warranties that cover such damage.
Check if Has a Sleep Trial
Sleep trials are designed to help customers determine whether some mattress works for them or not. However, not every retailer offers this service; therefore, it’s best to stay clear of them.
On the other hand, a vast majority of brands do provide free trials, and if you are dissatisfied with the product before the trial period expires, you may return it and (most of the time) get a full refund.
Keep in mind that some trials require mandatory break-in periods. According to terms and conditions, sometimes the customer is obligated to test the bed for at least 30 nights before returning it.
After all, this shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. Once the mandatory break-in period expires, and you still don’t like the mattress, simply return it, and get your money back.
Do You Sleep Alone or Not?
Firmness setting can be a tricky issue, especially if you share a bed with someone. In that case, you may want to consider getting a mattress that offers dual firmness. Each side of the bed features a different level of stability, so you and your partner should be satisfied.
How to Choose Your Mattress for Back Pain
Based on Your Body Weight and Sleep Position
The majority of adults assume side, stomach, or back stomach sleeping position. Therefore, the following table illustrates these positions and provides more details.
|Position||Side sleepers||Back sleepers||Stomach sleepers|
|Types||Log – legs and arms are placed in a straight position.|
Fetal – legs and arms are bent.
Yearner – the legs remain straight, while arms are extended outwards.
|Shoulder – arms are straight, one leg is straight, while your other leg is bent at your knee.|
The Starfish – as the name suggests, arms are placed over your head, while legs are then slightly bent at knees.
Savasana – both legs and arms are straight.
|Freefall – both arms are placed beneath the pillow, while legs are fully extended and then slightly apart.|
|Is the spine naturally aligned?||Yes, however, uneven sleep surfaces may affect the spinal alignment, casing it slightly to bend and create additional pressure.||Yes, and it will stay that way, as long as sleeper maintains back position.||No, since we are putting too much pressure on the stomach, and this causes sleepers to sink in.|
|Advantages||Alleviates pressure and prevents heartburn.|
People with scoliosis and hip pain will experience minimal pressure.
|Minimizes acid reflux. |
The sleeper doesn’t require pillows for additional support and comfort.
No facial wrinkles.
|Less risk of and sleep apnea and also snoring. |
Fewer wrinkles compared to side-sleepers.
|Disadvantages||Creates additional pressure on the lungs and stomach.|
The blood flow might be restricted in arms and shoulders.
Can cause face wrinkles
|Sleepers risk developing sleep apnea. |
Snoring potential is quite high.
|Many physicians discourage people from assuming this position because it has potential for discomfort and high pressure.|
Sleepers tend to toss and turn which leads to sleep disruption.
|Perfect sleep surface||A medium-firm mattress which supports a body and doesn't let it sink too much.|
Pillows might be used in specific areas, below ribs or knees, for optimal support.
|Beds that provide continual support throughout the entire body.|
Too firm mattresses can create a gap between the bed and lumbar.
On the other hand, products too soft may cause the spine to bend.
|A mattress should prevent sleepers from sinking too much if it si firm.|
Stomach –sleeping position isn’t always considered healthy, so you should consider other positions.
Know the Benefits and Downsides
Mattress composition is another feature to consider when selecting a bed for back pain. There are five common types which provide a different sleeping experience, and mostly depend on body weight and your preferred sleep position.
The following table shows similarities, as well as differences between them.
|Bed type||Innerspring||Memory foam||Latex||Hybrid||Air Mattress|
|Construction||Comfort layer – foam, while Support base – steel coils.||Comfort layer – polyfoam, memory foam.|
Support base – Polyfoam.
|Comfort layer – latex. |
Support base – polyfoam, latex.
|Comfort layer – latex, memory foam. |
Support base – pocketed coils.
|With or without a foam comfort layer. |
Support base – adjustable air chambers.
|Price point||Affordable||Medium – priced||High||High-end||Low to High-end|
|Availability||Quite common||Quite common||Somewhat common||Somewhat common||Somewhat common|
|Firmness level||Below average||Great||Average||Average||Average|
|Lifespan||Below average||Average||Great||Average||Below average|
|Lightweight sleeper rating||Average||Average||Great||Below average||Average|
|Medium-weight sleeper rating||Average||Great||Great||Average||Great|
|Heavier sleeper rating||Below average||Great||Great||Great||Below average|
|Rating for sleepers suffering from back pain||Below average||Great||Great||Average||Average|
Back Pain: Causes, Symptoms and Risk Factors
Functions of the Spine
Understanding the spine’s anatomy and its purpose is crucial for patients suffering from spinal disorders. The spine has three main functions, which might have a significant impact on your health.
- It protects the spinal cord, several body organs, and never roots
- Provides people balance, support, and upright posture
- Enables movement
Types of Back Pain
A sudden injury causes acute back pain, or often referred to as a pain you feel in your lower back. You may also notice limited movement, back stiffness, difficulty standing straight. However, don’t worry, with proper care, acute back pain should only last for a couple of weeks.
Subacute back pain tends to last up to 12 weeks, and most of these are due to a harmless injury. You can resort to injection therapy, which is one of the many treatments available for patients with subacute back pain.
Chronic back pain usually indicates you have a severe spinal disorder that requires immediate attention. It lasts more than three months, and it can be age-related or result from a prior injury.
What Causes Back Pain?
Are you familiar with the fact that there are more than 100 types of arthritis? However, they all have one thing in common, swelling and inflammation of joints. The symptoms usually worsen with age, but with proper treatment, you can minimize the discomfort.
The early signs:
- Joint pain and tenderness
- Limited motion
- Family history
- Previous injuries
You can check some appropriate bed options for this condition, just follow our guide of best beds for arthritis here.
Patients with psoriatic arthritis often experience inflammation of the joints and skin – better known as psoriasis. Psoriasis causes the skin to become patchy, red, and inflamed, and it commonly affects knees, elbows, navels, and scalp.
Up to 30% of individuals with psoriasis tend to develop psoriatic arthritis as well. It usually starts between ages 30 and 50, but it can appear in early childhood. The initial signs indicate the swelling around the toes and fingers.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means that the immune system is attacking certain parts of the body, in this case, joins. If not treated properly, it can lead to inflammation and severe joint damage.
However, doctors were still unable to determine what castes RA. They speculate that the immune system gets confused after bacterial or virus infection and starts attacking the patient’s joins.
- Swelling, pain, stiffness
- A couple of swollen joints
- Morning stiffens
- Symmetrical pattern
When uric acid crystals build up in your joints, they can trigger a condition known as gout. It usually happens as a sudden, sharp pain in your big toe in the middle of the night. However, stress, drugs, or other disorders can cause gout as well.
This condition can last up to ten days and then go away. At this stage, no treatment is necessary and might pass months and years until you have another attack. But, as you get older, the attacks will grow more frequent and may last longer.
- Your blood is making more uric acid
- The kidneys have a hard time processing uric acid your body produces
- You eat food that raises levels of uric acid
- Joint pain
- Limited movement
- Redness and inflammation
This is the most common type of arthritis, often caused by a tear and wear over the years. It usually happens with age, but it can also come from an injury or obesity. In the case of osteoarthritis, your joints lose cartilage, the slippery material that covers the ends of the bones. This makes every movement painful and extremely uncomfortable.
- Swollen joins
- A significant amount of pain
- Limited movement
- Morning stiffness
- Pain while walking
Back pain is a common reason why people visit a doctor. However, not every achiness is the same, nor has the same causes. When it comes to muscle/ligament strain, you will notice a temporary pain that affects your lower back.
It usually occurs during heavy lifting or sudden movements, which strains your back muscles. Additionally, if you are in poor physical condition, continuous strain on your back can affect your spine and result in painful ligament/muscle spasms.
A condition in which your spine curves to one side and leads to discomfort is known as scoliosis. The angle of the curve can be smaller or larger, but anything that measured more than 10 degrees is considered scoliosis.
Usually, doctors use the letters “S” and “C” to describe the curve of the bone. When it comes to the causes, in more than 80% of cases, they weren’t able to discover the exact cause.
However, with two kinds of scoliosis, we do know the reasons:
- Non-structural – in this case, the spine looks curved, but it works normally. Muscle spasm, inflammation, or one leg being longer than others are the common causes of non-structural scoliosis.
- Structural – with this type, the curve of the spine is rigid and can’t be reversed. Causes include infections, congenital disabilities, tumors, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, and many others.
The disk acts as a buffer between the bones in your spine. It is composed of the jellylike center, nucleus, which is encased in a more robust, rubber exterior annulus. But, when the core pushes out through a tear in the annulus, it can irritate a nearby nerve and cause pain, weakness, and numbness in arms and legs.
The majority of herniated disks appear in the lower back; however, it can happen in the neck as well.
- Arms and legs – if the herniated disk is located in the lower back, you will feel pain in calf, thighs, and buttocks.
- Numbness – people who have herniated disk tend to feel numbness and tingles throughout the body.
- Weakness – muscles that surround the affected nerve can weaken over time and affect your ability to hold or lift things.
Take a look at mattresses that can help herniated discs.
Osteoporosis affects bone density, and it usually happens when the body loses too much bone or makes too little. It results in weakness and brittle bones which can break just from sneezing.
When observed under a microscope, healthy bones appear to be in a honeycomb shape. But, in the case of osteoporosis, these holes are much bigger and not as small and densely packed.
As bones become less dense, they tend to break more often than not. But, older patients with osteoporosis could experience severe complications. Besides permanent pain, they could lose weight as well.
Factors that May Increase Your Chances of Back Pain
Excessive lifting is one of the reasons why people experience soreness. If a person lifts too much weight or lifts with their backs instead of legs, then they may injure the spine. Additionally, any job that requires constant bending and lifting has a high chance of back injury.
The lack of exercise may increase the risks of back pain. On the other hand, smoking can reduce the blood flow, which prevents your body from delivering enough nutrients to the discs in your back.
According to scientific research, numerous theories confirmed that smoking affects the vascular structures of the disk, which further leads to achiness. Therefore, if you want to prevent this condition or even minimize the symptoms, then you may want to consider your life choices.
Some medical conditions may lead to back pain:
- Cancer – a tumor on the spine can press the nerve and cause an uncomfortable feeling
- Infection – tender and feverish areas on the back could be due to a spine infection
- Insomnia – people with sleep disorders are more likely to experience a back disorder
- Philological conditions – individuals prone to anxiety and depression appear to have more issues with their back
- Other infections – pelvic inflammatory disease, kidney infection, or bladder may also provoke this condition
Excess weight might increase stress on your lower back and other joints. However, not many people realize that obesity is actually contributing to their achiness. Even though there aren’t enough studies to back up these claims, people who are overweight are often at higher risk of developing back disorders.
Aging is a natural process; therefore, tear and wear of the spinal disks tend to happen over time, especially as we get older. For that reason, people over 30 or 40 are more likely to experience back pain and disk-related issues, than younger individuals.
For more information, you can check our guide to the best mattresses for elderly people.
Best Accessories to Use for Back Pain Sufferers
Adjustable beds are designed to offer people a customized sleep experience. The majority of models now can be lowered or elevated at both hands and legs. Therefore, you can create various sleeping positions, and the angled surface can help you alleviate back pain symptoms.
On the other hand, a lot of units provide a silent massage function, which generates slight vibrations, to minimize the discomfort. Also, they might come with remotes or be paired with smartphone devices.
However, adjustable beds are quite expensive and can cost a couple of thousands of dollars. But, a lot of sleepers with back conditions state that it’s a worthwhile investment, mostly because it improves their sleeping habits.
Nowadays, there are a lot of models to choose from, and if you have even the slightest achiness, then you might want to consider getting an adjustable bed.
Take a peek at adjustable bed mattresses.
Choosing the Best Topper
The topper is an additional bedding accessory used for extra cushioning that rests on the top of a mattress. Also, toppers can change mattress firmness, and most people use them to make the bed feel less firm. However, some of them may help you achieve the opposite effect.
Generally, toppers might be a great solution for people who aren’t satisfied with their mattress or are unable to actually return it, as well as a couple with different firmness preferences. They feature wide ranges of materials, such as foam, latex, wool, or polyfoam and aren’t that pricey.
But, when selecting thickness and firmness, there are a couple of things to pay attention to, like weight and preferred sleep position. For instance, back and side-sleepers might enjoy medium-soft to the medium-firm topper, while stomach sleepers could feel more comfortable sleeping on the medium-firm topper.
Choosing Your Pillows
A pillow is another accessory that plays a significant role in how well you’ll sleep during the night. When shopping for pillows, you must consider pillow loft, also known as thickness, especially if you have back pain issues. The right ratio of loft can significantly minimize the discomfort and reduce pressure on your shoulders and neck.
On the other hand, if you happen to select the wrong loft, it can worsen your condition. To determine what you need in pillow loft, please consider the following:
- Your head size
- Shoulder width
- Mattress firmness
Additionally, pillow composition plays a vital role because some materials offer better comfort and support than others. For instance, memory foam, buckwheat, and latex can help you minimize pressure, but they are also more expensive. More affordable models, like polyester are less effective.
People suffering from chronic back pain might find supplemental pillows quite beneficial. Also, the back sleeper can experience relief after putting a pillow under their knees, while side sleepers should try a pillow between their knees.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Brands Are Recommended by Doctors?
Doctors are typically against a specific brand or type of mattress. They consider that every mattress might relieve pain, as long as the person finds it comfortable. However, they do suggest medium-firm beds because they have the highest potential in alleviating the pain.
Are Spring Mattresses Ideal for Lower Back Pain?
It all comes down to what you think is the most comfortable material and sleeping surface. Spring beds may be firmer in terms of composition depending on the brand; therefore, they might suit well with people suffering from back pain issues.
Are Side Sleepers More Prone to Having Back Pain?
Side sleeping is the most common position among people. While it can create some pressure points on your body, especially in the shoulder and hip areas, side sleepers aren’t necessarily more prone to back pain than others.
Mattresses for back pain can vary in support, material, and price point. However, we have to agree on one thing, the previously mentioned features are highly subjective, and choosing the most comfortable bed mostly depends on personal impression.
Some people might prefer firmer mattresses, while others enjoy softer and plush models. But, now that we covered some of the basics concerning mattresses for back pain, you have the whole picture of features to look for and things to avoid.
It’s time to get rid of the pain and finally enjoy the sleep you deserve!