If your mattress aggravates your back pain, the chances are that you are using the wrong type, or it’s time to replace it.
The major challenge that you might experience, however, is choosing your ideal mattress from the different types on the market today: memory foam, innerspring, hybrid, latex, and waterbed. Again, most manufacturers seem to use the term ‘’best for back pains’’ quite loosely today thereby making it hard to pick great mattresses from knock-offs.
Not to worry though. Our team has taken the liberty of comparing how the different types of mattresses stack up regarding back pain relief. We also have a few models that we feel are worth checking out if you are not sure about what mattress to pick.
How to choose the ideal mattress for your aching back
Allow me to be upfront with you on this one. Similar to buying a good mattress for sex, there’ll never be a ‘perfect’ mattress for everyone regarding pain relief. Purchasing a mattress is both subjective and objective.
For instance, if you are a back sleeper, you’ll need a mattress quite different from what a side sleeper or as stomach sleeper requires. This is because we all have different support requirements depending on our sleeping styles.
Again, remember that we have varying spine curves (a.k.a posture types). This means that a mattress that makes you hate life each morning might be nirvana to someone else. So, what matters when buying a mattress for back pain relief?
Proper spinal alignment
Although the causes of nocturnal back pain aren’t always clear, some studies strongly suggest that lack of proper spinal alignment is the common offender. Santhosh Thomas, a spine specialist with Cleveland Clinic, advises people with aching backs to consider a mattress that contours to their spine’s natural curves.
He says that a mattress that takes your body shape offers continuous support by ensuring full body contact which is great for excellent weight distribution.
Again, a mattress with this functionality prevents the gravity from pushing on any unsupported gaps which might lead to muscle and joint soreness.
Mattress Firmness and Softness
We cannot speak about a mattress that contours to your spine’s curvature without these 2 aspects showing up. There has been a long-standing consensus that a firm mattress is the number 1 solution to back pains.
While this could be partially true, Thomas says that overly firm mattresses are usually uncomfortable to sleep on for most people. So, it’s paramount that you get a mattress that strikes a balance between support and comfort.
Generally, most clinical and health reports including this one by The Lancet show that medium-firm mattresses are the best performers in relieving back pain.
These mattresses have been found to fit most people with varying kyphotic curve (mid back) and lordotic curve (lower back) size and shape.
Your body size and weight matters too
Although medium-firm mattresses seem the best option for curing back pain, let’s not forget that their performance may also be affected by your body shape and weight. That’s why we advise our readers to consider a brand that allows you to try out the mattress for at least 30 days and send it back if it does not meet your needs. Luckily, most of them do.
Go for a mattress that flips or rotates
It’s a well-known fact that old mattresses cause back pains. Beaten mattresses that have sagged in the middle cause your upper body and mid body to sink. Such a mattress causes misalignment of your spine and could aggravate a prolapsed disc or sciatica.
A quick fix for back pains caused by a sagged mattress is to flip or rotate the mattress. Unfortunately, some mattresses such as the Perfect Cloud Supreme Mattress cannot be turned over. So, you should care to check out the description keenly if you want to enjoy this convenience.
Other important features
If you are among those who enjoy sleeping on the edge of the bed, then you want to be sure that the edges won’t collapse on you.
Whether your bed is purely for sleeping or for ‘other things,’ it’s necessary that you get a mattress that does not make you feel like you are in an oven.
Does the price matter?
Not really. Do not be enticed by mattresses that cost double your gross income. In most instances, you’ll find out that most ordinary mattresses do the trick just fine.
Types of Mattresses
Memory foam has for long rated the highest for pain relief. This material is also called visco-elastic due to its viscous nature. Unlike its other alternatives, memory foam reacts to your body temperature and pressure. Consequently, it becomes soft and conforms to your natural body shape.
This means that the mattress contours almost perfectly to your pressure points (hips, shoulders, and knees). It cradles the pressure points plus muscles which helps in relaxing and releasing tension.
Keep in mind the density of the mattress though. If you have a petite body, a 2-3 inch model may suffice. Most people tend to do well with a mattress with medium-firmness (3-4 inches). 5-6 inch dense mattresses are ideal for large people.
- These mattresses are temperature sensitive: they absorb or dissipate temperature to remain comfortable
- They don’t transfer movements. This feature prevents the movements of others from waking you (you get enough time to rest).
- Natural memory foam is hypoallergenic. It might help in reducing symptoms such as itchy eyes, sneezing, and itchiness on the skin
- Eliminates negative space which is great for spine alignment
- Promotes evenly distributed body weight for optimal blood flow
- It eliminates numbness and soreness
- Memory foam responds to temperature changes. It might be softer than average in hot conditions and harder than you’d expect when it’s cold
- Most natural foam mattresses tend to have minimal edge support.
- Some mattresses may have strong odors that take a few days to dissipate
Best natural foam mattress for back pain
The Bear Mattress claims to be designed with the athletes in mind. However, anyone else including you could use it irrespective of how often you hit the tracks.
The Bear’s excellent performance in back pain reduction boils down to its structure. It features high-density memory foam for its base followed quick response foam layer that gives it some considerable amount of bounce.
The second layer from the top is graphite gel-infused memory foam which works like a charm in keeping you cool. The top-most layer is a proprietary fabric that has been designed with Celliant fiber technology.
This is a new technology that involves infusing micro particles of active quartz, titanium oxide, and silicon oxide to fibers. Celliant technology has been proven to increase oxygenation and to minimize minor aches and pains.
Among other things, we like that this mattress has minimal motion transfer. This feature promises uninterrupted sleep throughout the night. Again, it has excellent cooling features which make it ideal for people who sweat a lot.
- It’s fairly priced for what it offers (not everywhere though)
- Innovative pain-relief technology
- It’s highly breathable
- CertiPUR-US certified
- A few people claim that it’s too firm for them
- Very little about the company
Latex is no match to memory foam in terms of back pain relief. I would not recommend it to you if you are suffering from moderate to chronic back pain caused by an injury or herniated disc. However, it might be a great option if you are replacing an old mattress that tends to cause you pain.
The reason for this is that latex is known to be a little bit firmer than memory foam. We could look at this as a pro and a con at the same time.
On the upside, this material’s firmness makes it a great option for chunky and heavier-than-average people who might bottom out on a medium-firm foam mattress.
Its dense and spongy material tends to push into your body which might make the mattress to mold to your natural body contouring. This full body contact might result in incredible pressure point relief and great spinal alignment.
On the downside, most petite and average-sized people might feel uncomfortable being suspended on the mattress. As such, the mattress might not align your spine to its natural position which is exactly what you need.
Worth mentioning, there are 2 different types of Latex; Talalay and Dunlop. Although the major difference is in their construction design, Dunlop tends to edge out the Talalay regarding excellent weight distribution and pressure point reduction.
On the other hand, you might want to consider Talalay if you want something a little bit softer.
- Latex has hypoallergenic and anti-microbial properties
- Natural latex don’t have off-gassing issues
- They are cooler than memory foam
- Their minimal springiness nature might be great for heavy people
- Latex mattresses are incredibly durable
- They are not good for moderate to several back pains and aches
- They are pricey
- Most of them are made to order
Best latex mattress for pain relief
Ultimate Dreams Queen Eurotop
Our consensus about the best latex mattress for pain relief is the Ultimate Dream from Dreamfoam Bedding. The best thing that we like about this mattress is that it’s made to order and, therefore, customized to your firmness liking.
How is that possible?
After placing your order online, a customer representative will contact you and help you select the firmness level for your back pain needs. This sounds pretty good to those who might find it hard to determine the best firmness level in relation to their weight and shape. Amazingly, you could return it free of charge if you feel that the firmness level isn’t the best for you.
How does it stack up regarding back pain relief?
Several past buyers including this one claim that the Ultimate Dreams has been a lifesaver regarding back pain relief.
Unfortunately, there have also been complaints about the mattress being a tad stiff during the first few weeks, but the feeling subsides after a couple of days.
- Customized to your firmness design
- It’s durable
- Takes time to form indentations in the middle
- It’s naturally hypoallergenic and dust-mite resistant
- Free shipping and return
- It’s so heavy. Tucking might require some effort
- You might find its standard firmness a little bit firmer
- Its zipper-cover isn’t easy to remove for washing
The typical innerspring mattresses are hands down, the poorest performers from a back pain relief point of view. Although they offer an impression of comfort right off the bat, most of these mattresses do not deliver the optimum pressure point relief that an aching back might require.
Innerspring mattresses tend to push you back and do not conform to your body contours. This means that it’s quite hard to achieve proper support since there will be uneven body contact and weight distribution.
In fact, rather than relieving your back pain, most innerspring mattresses tend to aggravate it further. The uneven support may result in pressure joints that may consequently lead to joint pain and poor blood circulation.
- They have excellent edge support
- They are great for other activities, for instance, sex since they have lots of bounce, responsiveness, and traction in them.
- They are not great for back pain relief
- They are indiscreet
- They are the least durable
Best innerspring mattress for back pain
Honestly, the market is yet to deliver a reliable innerspring mattress in this department. Although Saatva seems to be making remarkable progress in designing an innerspring mattress for back pain, their Saatva Luxury Mattress has not lived to the hype.
Brentwood Home Cypress Mattress
The Brentwood Home is a 13-inch mattress that might be a great option if you are looking for a mattress under $1000. It features 3.5-inch gel infused HD foam layer that adjusts easily to your body shape. This might lead to great pressure joint reduction and spine alignment.
This gel layer reduces tossing and turning and also minimizes motion transfer. These features mean that your partners’ motions might not startle you from your sleep.
The Brentwood features a ventilated cold airflow console layer that offers you a breathable bed. This means that you stay cool throughout your rest. It also minimizes the inconveniences of waking up hot in the middle of your sleep.
The Brentwood Home also features an all-natural bamboo fiber cover that is easily removable and washable. We also like its open cell technology which helps in keeping the mattress cool both in the summer and in winter.
- Has medium-feel for excellent pain relief
- Open cell technology to offer you cool sleep
- It’s CertiPUR-US certified
- Comes with a removable zipper cover for temperature regulation and odor suppression
- Some find it a little bit firm
Sleep Innovations Shiloh 12-inch Memory Foam Mattress
Sleep Innovations is a renowned mattress giant. It has several mattresses doing quite good in most top 10 best lists. Now, don’t get confused to see most of the reviewers referring to the Shiloh 12-inch as the SureTemp 12-inch. It’s the same mattress but under a new name.
Has medium to firm support
From our experience with Sleep Innovations, their standard firmness has always been a little bit stiffer than other mattress manufacturers. Therefore, it’s not surprising to realize that despite its medium firmness description, the Shiloh 12-inch is actually medium to firm. That being said, I wouldn’t recommend it to petite homeowners.
For the big guys, however, this mattress tends to have enough stretch to it. It might also contour excellently to your shoulders, back, hips, and ankles for the optimum support that you need. If the previous buyers’ reports are worth going by, most of them have reported a significant reduction in their back pain. So, it could work for you too.
This mattress has a 2.5-inch breathable top layer console for excellent temperature regulation. Similar to other mattresses of its type, it has incredible vibration dissipation. This feature makes it ideal if you’ll be sleeping next to a person who tends to move a lot when asleep.
- Comes at a great price
- It’s relatively durable for its price
- Air-channel foam has excellent temperature regulation
- Comes with a bad smell but it fades away after some time
- Has slow response (this might be a big issue to physically challenged users)
Live and Sleep Resort
Our last recommendation here is one of the most highly rated memory foam mattresses on the market today. This mattress comes in all bed sizes, and it’s also pretty much affordable. If you are looking for a mattress that won’t cost you the earth, I would highly suggest this one.
Despite its low price, the Live and Sleep Resort compares well with several other high-end competitors in terms of support and comfort. It features classic medium-firm HD core that might do a good job in relieving your pressure joints.
This solution’s 10-inch foam with visco-elastic performance contours around your pressure joints especially around the shoulders and hips. The Live and Sleep Resort mattress offers you a cloud-like sensation.
This feature helps in minimizing tossing and turning. What this means is that you’ll be waking up in the middle of the night less often. This is great news especially if you are suffering from chronic joint pain since you’ll be getting enough time to rest.
If you are tired of always waking up hot, you might appreciate that the Live and Sleep boasts a 2.5-inch air-flow layer that keeps you cool. It also has a soft fabric cover that is easily removable and easy to clean.
- Great price for its performance
- It’s hypoallergenic
- Comes with a 30-day trial period and 20-year warranty
- Breathable layer keeps you cool
- Some people report that the medium firmness is way too soft for them
In our opinion, the Bear mattress is currently the best mattress for pain relief on the market today. What we like most about this mattress is the great consideration that the manufacturer has put in its construction design.
Its 4 layers of quality material, for instance, give it its happy medium firmness that you probably need for your bad back.
I really like this mattress hugs and contours around your body shape. I imagine it will of great use in relieving pressure and joint pain. Its second layer, the Cool Graphite-Gel does a really nice job in creating proper air-flow, especially during summer.
Its scientifically proven Celliant Technology has also taken sleep to the next level. It’s understandable for you to find it a little bit hard to believe how this technology improves your sleep. However, do know that its claims have been proven clinically by some reputable institutions including the University of Calgary and Texas A&M University.