How to Choose a Mattress for Back Pain

Mattress for Back Pain

There is a link between sleeping on an improper mattress and developing or worsening back problems. Beds that do not provide adequate support for the body during sleep lead to back discomfort by reinforcing incorrect sleeping positions and straining muscles.

Mattresses that don’t fit a person’s particular needs can harm their sleep quality. Beds that are both comfortable and supportive of the back assist in alleviating back pain by enabling the spine’s components to relax and regenerate. Below is a complete guide on how to choose a mattress for back pain.

There are many options to choose from when finding the proper mattress. The following guidelines help people with back pain choose a supportive and comfortable bed.

How to Choose a Mattress for Back Pain

    1. When it comes to lower back pain, there is no one-size-fits-all mattress. The best bed for a particular person is the one that alleviates their pain and stiffness as they sleep. They should select a mattress that provides adequate comfort and support and a decent night’s sleep.

    2. A mattress’s coils or springs provide support. The amount and placement of loops in each mattress vary. The thickness of the mattress’s padding differs widely. Mattresses can be as thin as seven inches or as deep as eighteen inches. Individual preference should guide the selection of coil count, padding material, and mattress depth.

    3. A decent bed should support the spine’s natural curvature and alignment. Patients with the proper amount of back support sleep better at night and experience less muscle soreness the next day. Despite the lack of clinical evidence on mattresses, one study indicated that medium-firm mattresses tend to alleviate back pain more effectively than firm mattresses.

    4. In addition to providing enough back support, a mattress’s overall comfort is also vital. Using an overly firm mattress can result in soreness at the sites of pressure. Shoulders and hips can sink deeper into a medium-firm mattress, making it more comfortable. People who want additional back support may choose beds with more significant padding.

    5. You should replace your mattress as soon as it shows signs of wear and tear. If your sinking bed is caused by the frame rather than the mattress, place boards under the middle to support it. This will not help if your mattress is sagging due to age.

    Which Mattress Type Is Best for Back Pain?

    Choosing the right type of mattress is essential. Based on their construction methods and materials, nearly all mattresses on the market at the moment fall into one of five categories.
    Some aspects are consistent among brands and models, but there are also significant differences. As a result, a mattress’s anticipated feel and functionality might vary significantly from one type to the next.


    A hybrid mattress’ comfort system includes layers of foam, micro-coils, down, latex, and wool to supplement the innerspring support. Compared to an innerspring mattress, the luxury layers on a hybrid mattress are significantly more resilient. Hybrid beds combine the most desirable parts of several types of beds while avoiding their drawbacks. Some hybrids have modest to substantial contouring, which helps alleviate pressure points. As a result of the excellent airflow provided by their coils, most hybrid beds won’t leave you feeling too hot during the night.


    In an innerspring mattress, metal coils make up the structure’s bulk. Adding cotton, foam, or polyester to a bed with loops won’t affect the bed’s performance much. As foam, hybrid, and latex mattresses have become more affordable and comfortable, innerspring mattresses’ popularity has declined.
    Customisable and inexpensive. Innersprings have the advantage of being one of the most affordable alternatives available. With the money saved, you can add a mattress topper to modify the firmness to your liking.


    Latex mattresses have an entirely latex-based internal construction. Most mattresses use natural latex from trees. However, synthetic or mixed latex is also used. Both the soft top layers and the firm center can benefit from the adaptability of latex in several ways.
    Latex offers mild shaping effects and supportive contouring, allowing it to support the body without sinking excessively.


    Inflatable chambers form the core of an airbed’s support structure. Adjusting the hardness of a mattress in real-time can be possible with a remote control or smartphone app. In addition to the mattress’s core is a layer of other materials, such as foam, latex, cotton, polyester, or wool.
    Adjustability is the most significant advantage of airbeds. It’s a major advantage for those with back pain since it allows them to “tune” the hardness of their bed depending on discomfort and posture at any given moment.


    The foam layers in the mattress serve both as a supportive core and a soft cushioning surface. Memory foam is just one type of polyurethane foam (polyfoam), which can be modified to take on a wide range of qualities. Latex may be utilised as one of the layers in a foam mattress, but coils are not.
    They have intricate detailing that sets them apart. In most cases, memory foam will offer the softest cushioning. With their sharp impact points, side sleepers benefit significantly from the shape-shifting cushioning offered by these mattresses.

    Is It Possible for a Mattress to Cause Back Pain?

    Your mattress determines your body’s position when you sleep, which can lead to back pain. It’s not uncommon for people to be aware of the importance of posture, but they tend to focus on their posture while standing and sitting. When buying a new mattress, select a mattress tailored to your unique body type, weight distribution, and sleeping posture.
    If your spine and joints aren’t in the right place while you sleep, you won’t be able to relax fully. When the body is stretched instead of resting, it can cause pain in the back, neck and shoulders. If you wake up in the morning with severe back pain, your mattress may be to blame.

    Can Sleeping Positions Help Back Pain?

    A good night’s sleep can help alleviate back pain. If a mattress is overly soft or hard, side sleeping can lead to spinal malalignment, which can cause back pain.
    The Mayo Clinic recommends that side sleepers place a pillow between their legs and tuck their knees toward their chest at a 90-degree angle to relieve pressure on their backs. Although side sleepers love softer mattresses, they must opt for a bed that provides adequate support for the shoulders and hips.
    The Mayo Clinic recommends placing a pillow under the knees of back sleepers who suffer from persistent pain. Another factor to consider is the sleeper’s pillow. The head and neck can drop back too much when the pillow is too thin. Thicker pillows should be used to keep the head and neck aligned with the spine. Snoring is also more common when the head is not adequately elevated.
    Those who sleep on their stomachs are more likely to suffer from aches and pain—facing down while sleeping can cause the torso and legs to sink into the mattress too much while the head stays level. As a result, pain in the shoulders and neck is possible.
    The Mayo Clinic recommends placing a pillow under the lower belly for stomach sleepers to decrease the pressure on the back and prevent excessive sinking. A pad should be placed under the neck to avoid causing further discomfort in one’s upper back.

    Side Sleeper with Back Pain

    For side sleepers with back discomfort, Mattresses should provide adequate support for the shoulders and hips. Soft to medium-firm mattresses are best for side sleepers, depending on their weight. Additionally, a pillow between the knees can alleviate stress on the lower back.

    Combination Sleeper with Back Pain

    If you suffer back discomfort while sleeping, you can alleviate your symptoms by following a few simple practices. The shoulders and hips must be appropriately supported while side sleeping.
    You may need a pillow that you can move around during the night, as stated above; stomach sleepers benefit from a pillow under their lower stomach, side sleepers benefit from a pillow between their knees, and back sleepers benefit from a pillow under their knees.

    Back Sleeper with Back Pain

    The best mattresses mould to the body while maintaining a uniform surface. Smaller back sleepers should go for a medium-soft to medium-firm mattress. You’ll need a firmer mattress to keep you from sagging if you’re a larger build.

    Back Pain Relieving Mattress Features

    Some aspects are more crucial than others when looking for a mattress to ease back pain. It might be challenging to sort through the plethora of products and marketing gimmicks to find what’s important. Here are some tips to help you choose your new mattress.
    Mattress Type: The quality of a mattress can be significantly influenced by its construction and materials. Customers should look at a bed’s contouring, bounce, durability, temperature control, and motion absorption.
    Zoned Support: The body’s weight is not uniformly distributed; some body parts require more cushioning than others. That’s why a zoned mattress provides additional support in certain regions.
    Quality Materials: A high-quality mattress is far more likely to meet the needs of people suffering from back discomfort and will last longer.
    Firmness Level: Mattress firmness is an essential factor in determining a mattress’s comfort and is primarily a personal decision. Depending on a person’s weight and sleeping position, the hardness of a bed might affect whether it provides enough support.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What mattress is best for back pain?

    Memory foam mattresses are popular but not the most supportive. A hybrid mattress combines foam in the top layers with innerspring coils in the core to appropriately align the spine while soothing sore joints. Latex mattresses mould to your curves without letting your hips sink too far and out of alignment.

    Is it preferable to sleep on a soft or a hard mattress if you have lower back pain?

    Neither! The spine can rest in its natural “S” shape. A soft mattress may not provide enough support, while a hard bed may cause spinal misalignment. Firm mattresses can push the pelvis forward while lying on the back and stress the hips and shoulders when sleeping on the side. Studies reveal that a medium-firm to a firm-level blend of support and comfort is best. Very firm or very soft mattresses can disrupt sleep and cause lower back pain.

    Which sleeping position is the most effective for relieving back pain?

    Sleeping on your side or back will help alleviate your backache. While side sleeping, you can position a pillow between your knees to relieve the pressure on your spine. You can place a pad under your knees to keep your spine in its natural “S” curvature when you sleep on your back.

    Which mattresses cause back pain?

    Old, sinking mattresses cause lower back pain. Current mattresses can last anywhere from 7 to 10 years. Unsurprisingly, sleeping on a 20-year-old bed with no structure causes lower back pain. Choose a medium-firm to firm mattress that will support your back without overtaxing your shoulders and hips.

    What is the ideal firmness level for a mattress for lower back pain?

    Extra-firm mattresses used to be the norm for alleviating back discomfort, but that’s no longer true. A medium-firm to firm mattress allows your spine to relax in its natural “S” shape and provides cushioning for protruding joints like the hips and shoulders.

    Is a memory foam mattress beneficial for people who suffer from back pain?

    Memory foam relieves pressure points and uniformly distributes a sleeper’s weight throughout the mattress surface. A memory foam mattress will adapt to your body’s curves and ease pain in your upper back and shoulder blades. Memory foam mattresses, like innerspring mattresses, come in various hardness levels, with medium-firm to firm being the most spine-supportive.

    Final Thoughts

    The scientific agreement on what constitutes an optimal mattress has traditionally been uneven. However, recent research suggests that a “medium firm” mattress may be beneficial for alleviating back pain and other spinal symptoms.
    Mattress firmness is highly subjective and can differ significantly from one manufacturer to the next. Any potential mattress choice should be guided by your personal preferences and concepts of comfort.
    Try to improve your sleeping posture at night to lessen back and neck discomfort. If you have to get a new mattress, test it out for as long as possible and return it if it causes pain or does not suit you.

    Please note:  This article is not to be used as medical advice.  If you have any questions about your sleep health, speak to your doctor. This post may contain affiliate links.

Author profile
Daniel Markz
Daniel Markz
Wellness Writer
Daniel is a contributor who helps mattress lovers learn more about Mattress Guides, Mattress Reviews, and Mattress Toppers through his authentic reviews.
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