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How Firm A Mattress For Back Pain

Flip Or Rotate Your Mattress

Mattress firmness for back pain, hip pain, and shoulder pain? Bed firmness breakdown

Sometimes the simplest fix is the most potent. But before you start flipping, read the manufacturers care advice for your particular mattress. Not all models can be flipped, but most can and should be rotated regularly. This spreads out wear and tear so that your bed remains more comfortable and supportive for longer.

Most hybrids and memory foam models can be rotated, while traditional mattresses are usually the ones you can fully flip. Why not all hybrids? If yours has a dedicated support layer at the base, you may find that it is far too firm to sleep on if you flip it so that youre lying on the base rather than on the top of the mattress.

We know youre here because you want to know how to make a mattress firmer, but theres a difference between supportively firm and downright uncomfortable. Ouch! To learn more, read our feature answering how often should you rotate or flip your mattress.

Swap Or Flip The Layers

Latex mattresses often have individual, non-fused layers that can be swapped around.

Similarly, some mattresses specifically come with dual firmness settings so that you can pick and choose.

For example, the Mend Adapt has a flippable comfort layer that allows you to choose between firm and soft as you see fit.

Choosing The Best Mattress For Lower Back Pain

Sleeping on the wrong mattress can cause or worsen lower back pain. Lack of support from a mattress reinforces poor sleeping posture, strains muscles and does not help keep the spine in alignment, all of which contribute to low back pain.

Sleep comfort is also sacrificed if a mattress does not match one’s individual preferences. A mattress that provides both comfort and back support helps reduce low back pain, allowing the structures in the spine to really rest and rejuvenate during the night.

See Mattresses and Sleep Positions for Each Back Pain Diagnosis

With the vast variety of mattresses on the market, choosing the right mattress can be difficult. The following practical guidelines are designed to help patients with low back pain choose the best mattress for both back support and sleep comfort:

  • Personal preference should ultimately determine what mattress is best.There is no single mattress style or type that works for all people with low back pain. Any mattress that helps someone sleep without pain and stiffness is the best mattress for that individual. Patients with low back pain should choose the mattress that meets their standards for comfort and support and allows them to get a good nights sleep.

    Read more: Chronic Pain and Insomnia: Breaking the Cycle

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    Trial Period And Warranty

    When shopping for any bed, especially online, its important to find out the trial period before pressing purchase. Luckily, most online mattress retailers offer generous risk-free trial periods in which you can try your bed at home for up to a full year. If you dont like it, you can send it back for a refund or exchange.

    Youll also want to check out your mattress warranty. Things like manufacturing defects and premature wear should be covered for at least five or so years.

    Dont Sleep On A Mattress Thats Too Soft Or Too Hard

    Best Mattress for Back Pain

    Goldilocks was onto something when she picked Baby Bears just right bed.

    A mattress thats too soft will cause your back or hips to sag and your spine to fall out of alignment, which can lead to significant pain. A mattress thats too firm will put too much pressure on your joints, especially if you sleep on your side or your back.

    Thats why if you want to reduce your back pain in bed, you need a mattress that offers support but that also contours to your body to provide pressure relief and relieve pain.

    That being said, theres no one-size-fits-all-best mattress for back pain. Plus, there are plenty of different materials to choose from. So be sure youre investing in a mattress made from suitable materials for your unique needs.

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    Is Soft Or Firm Mattress Better For Back Pain


    • Best Overall: Amerisleep AS2 12″ Memory Foam Mattress.
    • Best Luxury: Saatva Classic Mattress.
    • Best for Back Sleepers: Nora Mattress.
    • Best Boxed Mattress: Helix Mattress.
    • Best Budget: Linenspa 8″ Memory Foam and Innerspring Hybrid Mattress.
    • Best for Side Sleepers: The Casper.

    bedmattresscausing back painmattresscausemattressfirmcausepainbackmattresstoo softyour backyourcanpainbedyourpainmemory foamlatex mattresses

    The Saatva Mattress Supports Natural Spine Alignment To Relieve Back Pain

    We independently research, test, review, and recommend the bestproducts. Healthcare professionals review articles for medical accuracy. Learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

    Verywell Health / Sabrina Jiang

    Anyone who lives with back pain understands what a major difference a restful nights sleep can makeand, on the flip side, how disruptive it is when you wake up already experiencing discomfort. There are many causes of back pain, including sleeping on a bad mattress, so you’ll want to make sure that the mattress you sleep on every night is meeting your needs.

    Also Check: Do Fibroids Cause Lower Back Pain

    Are Memory Foam Mattresses Good For Back Pain

    Memory foam mattresses are often touted as the best option for back pain, and they certainly can be, thanks to their balance of support and cushioning. However, choosing the right firmness is essential. If you go this route, find a mattress made with high-quality, dense memory foam designed to provide ample support. Keep in mind that many inexpensive memory foam mattresses are too plush to keep the spine properly aligned, which can actually worsen your back and joint pain.

    Zip And Link Beds For Bad Backs

    Choosing a Mattress for Back Pain

    Zip and link mattresses can be an excellent option if youre a sleeper with a bad back. Zip and links are particularly useful for differently weighted sleepers.

    So if you and your partner need different spring tensions then a zip link mattress is ideal.

    This means that you and your sleeping partner dont need to compromise when choosing a mattress for a bad back.

    A zip link mattress can give you both a tailored support unit making for a far more comfortable nights sleep if you have backache or back pain.

    Recommended Reading: Is Bayer Aspirin Good For Back Pain

    Dreamcloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress

    Type: Luxury hybridMaterials: Cashmere blend, foam, springsHeight: 14 inchesTrial/Warranty: 365 nights/lifetimeFor our DreamCloud Mattress review, those on our testing panel with back and hip pain sang the praises of this hybrid memory foam mattress. Our side sleepers found ample pressure relief along their shoulders, hips and legs, while our back sleeper experienced contouring along their lower lumbar. A layer of gel-infused comfort foam coupled with a breathable cashmere-blend top cover lulled even our hottest sleeper to slumberland.

    Sleepers with a petite-to-average build may need time to adjust to the DreamCloud as it is quite firm for those body types at first. Fortunately, the brand offers a full year to try it risk-free, with a lifetime warranty to back you up if you opt to keep it. The current DreamCloud mattress sale knocks the starting price of its entry-level bed to $600, with up to $499 of bedding included for free.

    Consider Buying A Mattress Online

    A great way to score a deal on a new mattress is to buy online. While it might seem like a strange concept if youre used to going to a brick-and-mortar store, the truth is that buying online offers some huge advantages.

    Most online mattresses are sold directly by the manufacturer. Eliminating the middle-man and the need for showroom space means lower prices, and the growing competition between retail and online storefronts has only generated more deals for shoppers.

    But the benefits go beyond just price. Shopping online is convenient, allowing you to browse options from the comfort of your own home and without any salespeople eagerly pushing a sale to earn a commission. Having the time to research each mattress and compare it to others is a major contrast to the brick-and-mortar experience where youre limited to just whats available in that store.

    When buying online you dont have the ability to feel out a mattress before purchasing, but almost all online retailers provide a sleep trial with no-hassle returns, offering you a full refund if you try out the mattress and dont like it. This gives you a no-risk opportunity to try out a mattress for weeks or months in your own bedroom as opposed to for just a few minutes in a store. Over the longer-term, virtually all online mattresses come with a warranty of at least 10 years to protect against future problems, which are rare in mattresses sold both online and in-store.

    Read Also: Does Tuft And Needle Mattress Need Box Spring

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    What To Consider When Purchasing A Mattress Topper For Back Pain

    There is a wide variety of different mattress toppers on the market that claim to do a number of different things. Rather than getting caught up in jargon and marketing claims, we encourage shoppers to look at the specific factors that contribute to whether or not a mattress topper will feel comfortable for them. Below, well share some of the most important things to take into consideration as you select a mattress topper.

    A Zoned Model Thats Firm In The Middle And Softer At The Edges

    Best Mattress For Seniors With Back Pain Reviews 2020
    • Materials: Pocketed coils, wool comfort layers
    • Firmness level: Medium-firm
    • Trial period: 100 nights

    Made with layers of pure New Zealand wool and 100% organic cotton, the Parachute Eco Comfort Mattress is another eco-friendly mattress that can help alleviate back pain. It has two layers of pocketed steel coils, and its designed to be firm in the middle for back support and softer at the head and feet for pressure point relief and spinal alignmentgreat for combination sleepers. In between the coils is a comfort layer made from real wool, and the whole thing is wrapped in an organic cotton cover.

    What the reviews say: One customer, who had been accustomed to sleeping on a very firm mattress due to back pain, says, After sleeping on this mattress for a week, I was pleasantly surprised that I had no back pain even though this mattress is so comfortable. Another buyer claims, This is the first time I actually look forward to getting into bed at night because I’m finally getting a full nights sleep and not waking up with back pain!

    Also Check: What Does Pain In The Back Of Your Head Mean

    Contact With The Support Core

    If a mattress is too soft in the upper comfort layers to support your body weight, then you may find that youre sinking too far into the mattress materials to the point where youre touching the support core below.

    This can result in back pain not only because youre lying in poor posture, but also because the support core tends to be firmer and can create pressure points that may lead to back pain.

    This tends to be an issue if youre a heavier weighted sleeper over 230 lbs and youre sleeping on a mattress with a relatively thin foam comfort layer especially if the materials are old and losing their resilience.

    The Nolah Evolution is the best mattress that Ive reviewed for sleepers over 230lbs because its 15 inches thick and has a lot of foam in the upper comfort layers.

    Tips For Choosing A Mattress If You Have Back Pain

    The jury is still out on whether a firm or soft mattress is the best option for people whose back pain keeps them up at night. That said, most health experts in the know say the choice is yoursthat the mattress that makes you feel most comfortable is likely your best option.

    And what does research say so far? That medium firmness seems to yield the most painless sleep.

    A 2015 review gathered information from 24 controlled trials where participants used mattresses that were soft, medium firm, firm, or custom inflated. The results found that the medium-firm and self-adjusted mattresses were found to be best for sleep comfort, quality, and spinal alignment.

    Dr. Michael Perry, former medical director of the Laser Spine Institute in Tampa, Fla., agrees that a medium firm mattress is generally the way to go. But he firmly adds that one size does not fit all in the choosing of a mattress by those with spine pain. A number of other factors play a role, as well, he says.

    Read Also: Why Do I Have Sharp Lower Back Pain

    Image Attribution And Licensing

    Main image: Young woman sitting on bed suffering from back pain by westend61 used with permission under the terms of Canvas One Design Use License Agreement.

    Bedroom Style Reviews is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases on Amazon. The opinions expressed about the independently selected products mentioned on this site are those of the publisher, not Amazon. The Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc, or its affiliates. We do not provide medical advice, treatment or diagnosis. Always consult a qualified medical professional before buying items based on your health needs.

    Bedroom Style Reviews is owned by LiveWell Media LTD registered in England and Wales at 71-75, Shelton Street, Covent Garden, London, United Kingdom, WC2H 9JQ. Company Number 13192624.

    How To Pick A Good Mattress For Your Back

    Choosing A Mattress For Back Pain & Sciatica

    Every one has different sleep preferences, which can make it hard to find the perfect mattress. Look for one that is not too firm or too soft. If the mattress is too firm, it will push on your pressure points and cause misalignment. Similarly, if the bed is too soft, it will allow your body to sink into the bed causing bad posture while you sleep, which can then lead to pain. The right mattress should make you feel like you are floating on air.

    Financial times might be tough at the moment, but one should consider in investing in a good mattress. Think about it, you should be spending 7-9 hours on your mattress each night, which makes it an important piece of furniture. You want to invest in something that will give you better sleep and less pain, instead of going frugal and buying a mattress that is not right for your body.

    Also Check: How To Cure Chronic Back Pain

    Mattress Firmness Guide Chart

    All mattresses are not made or advertised the same.

    Mattress firmness, measured in numbers, is one of the first criteria you will notice if you are shopping around for another mattress. Low numbers mean a softer mattress, while higher numbers indicate a firmer surface to sleep on.

    Which firmness level you choose can be up to your sleeping position, or whether you are hoping to relieve back or hip pain. Most bedding companies use a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest.

    Every manufacturer will have its own scale, the mattress firmness scale below is what Saatva uses.

    Stomach Sleepers

    Use A More Supportive Frame

    Sometimes, a mattress can feel too soft because its resting on a bed frame or surface thats not supportive.

    In many cases, putting an otherwise healthy mattress on a compatible frame can help to stop the support core from sagging.

    In general, slatted frames with slats that are no more than 3 inches apart and solid platform frames are the most supportive although good quality adjustable frames are also an option.

    The least supportive frames are typically those with a mesh base that lack proper structural support.

    Most high quality mattresses these days dont need to be placed on a box spring and some mattresses can also be placed directly on the floor.

    Read Also: What Is The Best Bed For A Bad Lower Back

    What Makes A Good Mattress

    Obviously, not all beds are created equally when it comes to back pain. In general, there is no specific type or brand of mattress that is better than another. The perfect mattress is a matter of personal preference, but some innate properties must exist for that mattress to be healthy for your delicate back.

    Here are the top 3 things to look at when shopping for or analyzing mattress quality:

    • The bed needs to be supportive of your entire body when it is in a neutral position with proper spinal alignment.
    • It must not be too firm, lest it pushes on the main pressure points of your spine.
    • It must not be too soft, lest it leaves your pressure points unsupported while creating spinal curvature.

    Check Out Our Guide:Best Rated Mattresses for Back Pain

    According to experts at the UCLA Medical Center, a mattress that does not fit into the Goldilocks Zone of firmness and softness can lead to serious back discomfort in the morning the type that could ultimately turn into a chronic problem.

    Its better to figure it out now than to be sorry in the months and years to come as you develop a more serious issue.

    Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Firm Mattress

    Best Extra Firm Mattress Topper for Back Pain

    A firm mattress is considered to be a hard mattress that has little or no indentation when you sit or lay on it. Good-quality form mattresses are usually made from memory foam and can vary in firmness.

    Extra firm mattresses will have no indentation and medium-firm mattresses will show little indentation under body weight. For more info, lets look at the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing a firm mattress


    • Comfortable for every sleeping style, especially for back and stomach sleeping positions.
    • A firm mattress might enable a natural body alignment and position, allowing a better, deeper, and uninterrupted sleep.
    • A firm mattress resists body weight and prevents the body from sinking into the mattress, which makes it excellent for heavier people.
    • For those with back pain, it is believed that a firm mattress provides the necessary back support, especially in the lower lumbar region.
    • A firm mattress is great for isolating motion so, if your partner tosses and turns during sleep, youll stay uninterrupted.


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