How We Chose The Best Mattresses For Back And Neck Pain
We explored top-rated mattresses on the market, paying careful attention to features important for pain relief. To create our list, we considered:
- Customer reviews: Many brands say their mattresses can relieve pressure and pain, but reviews from other shoppers often present a more accurate picture. We read what customers had to say to see how these picks actually helped improve their pain and sleep quality.
- Company reputation and transparency: We focused on brands known for good business practices, quality mattress construction, and a reputation for providing good customer service.
- Company policies: Most brands understand the leap of faith required to buy a mattress online, and many offer a trial period so you can return the mattress if it doesnt work out. Reputable mattress brands generally offer a lengthy warranty to cover product defects and excessive sagging.
- Expert insights: We consulted peer-reviewed studies for more information on the connection between sleep and pain and the qualities that make a mattress good for pain relief. We also reached out to Krystle Howald, PT, DPT, owner of Expecting and Empowered and Empower Movement Physical Therapy, for her tips on getting pain-free sleep.
- Vetting: The mattresses on our list have been vetted to ensure that they align with Healthlines brand integrity standards and approach to well-being. You can read more about our vetting process.
Should Side Sleepers Use A Soft Mattress
A soft mattress may be suitable for side sleepers because it can relieve pressure on the shoulders and hips, which are common trigger points.
However, people should purchase a mattress that has a comfortable level of firmness. Some individuals may find that a medium or medium-firm mattress is a better fit than a softer mattress.
Three Zones Of Foam Provide Ultimate Comfort
Type: Hybrid | Firmness: Medium-firm | Delivery: Bed in a box | Trial: 100 nights | Warranty: 10 years
The Casper Original Hybrid mattress has three zones of targeted support to help align your spineand hopefully ease your back pain in the process. Softer foam around your shoulders cushions your upper body, while firmer foam under your hips, waist and lower back keep your spine in the right position. The durable foam base underneath allows for added firmness and support, so the mattress doesnt sink or sag under your weight. Its available in all-foam or hybrid options, with the former being the firmer pick, the latter having a medium-firm feel. When asked, a Casper Snooze Specialist recommended the hybrid for back pain due to its combination of support and give. That said, it also comes in an all-foam version for those who prefer it.
What the reviews say: Over the past year woke up daily with hip and back pain, recounts a reviewer. Our son and his wife have a Casper. We slept on it for two nights and I woke up with no pain! immediately went home and ordered online, figuring we had 100 days to try it out. It’s been 30 days and no amount of money could make us part with this mattress!
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Can A Mattress Give You Back Pain
It is definitely possible for a mattress to cause back pain – if the mattress is not supportive enough, a persons spine might not stay in proper neutral alignment.A mattress that is incredibly soft may be the culprit when it comes to back pain if it does not provide enough overall or, specifically, lumbar support, sleepers could find themselves with feelings of back strain.
What Else We Tested
I test a new mattress every two weeks. While I’ve tested dozens of models, I only considered 14 candidates for potential inclusion in this guide. Here are the beds we still recommend but that didn’t make the cut.
What else we recommend and why:
Bear Mattress: If you’re interested in checking out the cooling properties of Celliant fibers and want a firmer mattress, you might consider the medium-firm Bear Original. It’s made of CertiPUR-US and Greenguard Gold certified foams, including a graphite gel memory foam that I found did a great job of cooling. However, it failed my motion isolation tests, and it wasn’t comfortable for side sleeping.
Casper Original Mattress: The medium-firm feel of the Casper Original will appeal to a broad range of back-pain sufferers, especially hot sleepers, since it has impressive heat dissipation. It was easy to set up and move around in our tests and features exceptional motion isolation. However, the edge support was poor. Read our full review.
Puffy Lux Hybrid Mattress: I slept on the Puffy Lux while recovering from a back-pain spell, and I think it did a great job of facilitating my recovery. I also like that this mattress comes with a lifetime warranty, is easy to move around, and has great motion isolation. On the downside, it had an intense initial odor that took days to dissipate, the edge support is poor, and it will be too soft for many back pain sufferers.
When To See A Doctor About Lower Back Pain
If lower back pain is interfering with your ability to get a good nights sleep, and the problem is persisting, its time to see a doctor. The same is true if your lower back pain is making daily activities difficult, or if youd characterize it as severe.
Some types of back pain are associated with other symptoms, like pain that extends into other body parts, tingling or numbness, or a fever. These can be signs of nerve irritation or infection, and its important to see a doctor for more information.
If you suspect that your mattress is to blame, your doctor may be able to offer recommendations for better sleep positions to help.
If you arent able to buy a brand-new mattress, there are other things you can try to help alleviate lower back pain.
What Are The Advantages Of The Mattress Toppers For Back Pain
Back pain is a very serious problem that can certainly be alleviated, if not solved, by using a mattress topper for back pain. In addition, getting the best mattress that suits you will also reduce your issues with the back pain. As a result, the position of the body during sleep will reduce the pain, and the body posture will be improved. Of course, mattress topper for back pain will provide you with all the benefits as all other toppers, like cooling features and quality sleep.
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How A Mattress Can Impact Back Pain
If you live with back pain, the wrong mattress can exacerbate your discomfort. Likewise, the wrong mattress can cause back pain. When a mattress is unsupportive or not supportive enough, it can strain muscles, reinforce poor sleeping posture, and cause spinal misalignment.
Choosing the right mattress for your needs can help minimize back pain, which may help increase sleep quality. A comfortable, supportive mattress can help keep your spine aligned, which can help you rest throughout the night and help alleviate back pain the next day.
How Can I Get Relief On A Budget
While there are budget-friendly mattresses on the market that could be good options for people with arthritis, pillows and mattress toppers may also prove effective. A good pillow can help support your natural spinal alignment. Some people with arthritis may also like a wedge pillow to support their knees or upper bodies. If your existing mattress is in good condition but youre looking for more pressure relief, a quality mattress topper can add plushness and contouring without the expense of replacing the whole mattress.
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What Increases Your Risk Of Experiencing Back Pain
There are also a plethora of factors that could make it more likely for someone to develop back pain.
- Age: As we grow older, we have a significantly higher chance of dealing with back pain aging can cause degeneration of spinal discs so they arent as effective at absorbing shock. Its also possible to develop Spondylolisthesis, where one vertebra moves into another vertebra.
- Lack of exercise: If we dont exercise, our bodies can become susceptible to back pain. Also, if our back muscles are weak, the back pain can potentially become more severe. Many studies have shown that exercise can help alleviate back pain. In fact, one 2012 study from Informed Health Online found that exercise can prevent a recurrence of acute back pain in 1 out of 3 people.
- High body weight: For those that are overweight, back pain becomes more likely. One 2016 study, which was published in the journal Medicine, found that higher BMI and waist-hip ratio were associated with high-intensity low back pain and/or high disability.
- Depression and/or anxiety: According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, people with these disorders are more likely to struggle with back pain than people who dont experience anxiety and/or depression.
- Smoking: The Mayo Clinic states that smoking cigarettes cuts down on blood flow to the lower back area and reduces the nutrients that are delivered to the spine. For those with acute back pain, nicotine can slow the healing process.
What To Look For In A Mattress
Before shopping for a new bed, take a step back and evaluate what you want. For back pain sufferers, support and pressure relief are major factors. Back pain sufferers need a mattress to evenly support the body while relieving pressure points to reduce pain and inflammation. Those with back pain also need to consider their preferred sleep position, body weight, and mattress type.
Sleepers may also want to consult with their doctor or another medical professional before making a choice. A mattress recommended by chiropractors or doctors can provide just what a sleeper needs to relieve back pain.
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What Should People With Back Pain Look For In A Mattress
Recognizing the subjective comfort experience of mattresses, Huff stressed the importance of finding a bed that comes with a long, risk-free sleep trial. She was a fan of the custom feel of adjustable air beds and Tempur-Pedic foam mattresses.
In addition to warning against very soft or hard mattresses, Jain recommended thicker mattresses and ensuring you purchase the appropriate base for your mattress. Jain also stressed the importance of reading reviews before you buy.
Best Adjustable Mattress For Back Pain: Sleep Number 360 I8
Sleep Number states that this adjustable mattress may suit back and stomach sleepers. The mattress is split down the middle. Users can adjust comfort and firmness on each side separately.
An adjustable mattress may suit people with back pain as they can adapt the firmness and position to their needs.
The mattress features responsive Air technology that automatically adjusts according to a persons movements. The contouring surface also conforms to the individual to provide more support.
Sleep Number claims that this mattress can absorb and release excess heat to keep users cool throughout the night.
The mattress has a height of 12 inches .
The price depends on the mattress size chosen, as follows:
- Twin XL: $3,349
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Sleep Republic Mattress $1249
The Sleep Republic Mattress represents outstanding value and its also an excellent mattress to help with back pain. It is beautifully balanced with comfort and support, and comes with the peace of mind of a 100 night free trial period.
This mattress has 1,850 pocket springs , more than twice that of a standard pocket spring mattress. This high spring count helps with body contouring and has very minimal partner disturbance. Here is our full review .
Is A Firm Mattress Better For Back Pain
Many people will tell you that you need a firm mattress to stop back pain, but thats not necessarily true. A mattress thats too firm can also cause spine misalignment by pushing up the shoulders and hips. Instead, look for a medium-firm mattress that offers some cushioning for these key pressure points. Ultimately, it comes down to your comfort level, so be sure to choose a mattress brand that offers a generous trial period in case you choose to exchange or return your purchase.
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Is It Better To Have A Firm Mattress For Back Pain
Very firm mattresses were often recommended for back pain in the past, but based on feedback from sleepers, a mattress that’s too firm can disrupt sleep and contribute to back pain. On the other hand, mattresses that are too soft also contribute to poor sleep quality and back pain, by throwing your spine out of alignment and putting too much pressure on your joints.
In general, the best mattress for back pain is one that’s rated medium to medium-firm, but it also depends on how you sleep. For example, side sleepers need a mattress that’s softer than back sleepers who generally need a firmer mattress, so the right mattress depends on your existing sleep habits.
Back Pain Pressure Points
If there is an overly vital area to be attentive to when suffering from back pain, its the pressure points that an improper mattress can cause on your body. These points mean that there is extra push back to a specific area. This can cause misalignment throughout your body and your spine.
Once it has moved out of alignment, there is an increased amount of pressure placed on your spine. Thats one of the common causes of back pain. Thinking about it that way may just help you answer the question, Is a firm mattress good for your back? from a whole new angle.
With this said, its essential to ensure that you arent sleeping on a bed that places too much pressure on your spine. This is also true for any major joints. Thats whats going to allow your body to rest in a relaxed state. The chance of pressure points forming along the spine as well as the lower back is diminished dramatically when the appropriate product is picked.
Pressure points are capable of causing long-term deformations and pains along your spine. This isnt something that you can likely afford as it can quickly turn into a chronic condition.
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When In Doubt Go Medium
Research is limited, but in one study, researchers assigned new mattresses to more than 300 people with low back pain. They used either “medium-firm” or “firm” mattresses for 90 days. Those in the medium group reported the least amount of discomfort.
You might consider getting a memory foam mattress . The foam molds to your body. The downside: Some memory foam mattresses keep in heat and the material might have more chemicals.
What Is The Best Type Of Mattress For Side
Most side-sleepers do well with a medium-soft to medium mattress, which should provide enough cushiness to relieve pressure on their hips and shoulders but enough support to keep their spinal alignment in check. People with back pain, however, ideally need a mattress that feels medium-firm, which is likelier to ease their aches and pains than a softer bed. We do suggest some slightly firmer mattresses for side-sleepers who require more support, and we think one of them will hit the sweet spot for back-pain sufferers who regularly sleep in that position.
If youre a side-sleeper with back pain, start by considering the Saatva Classic or Leesa Sapira Hybrid. These mattresses are still medium-firm, but weve found that theyre relatively plusher than the others, especially after a break-in period. If youre not sure about your firmness preferences, the flippable Zenhaven gives you two options to choose from, with one side slightly more pliable than the other. Finally, although the Tempur-Adapt Medium Hybrid feels firm, it also has a uniquely contouring memory-foam sink, and it should adequately cushion shoulders and hips for side-sleepers, too. Keep in mind that firmness level is subjective, so we strongly suggest trying the mattress before you buy, if you can, or paying close attention to the trial window so you can return the mattress if it doesnt feel right.
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How Common Is Back Pain
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 16.4% of Australians reported back problems in 2017-2018 through a National Health Survey. As you might expect, back pain is one of the leading causes of lost work days and comes at a huge cost to the economy.
Back pain can be complex and usually involves a number of factors. These include a persons age, physical activity, strength, flexibility, health conditions, occupation, activities of daily living, type of pillow, and type of mattress. Back pain can also be the direct result of an injury, such as a sports injury or workplace injury.
Pain in the lower back is a particularly common problem, and can involve irritation to the nerves that travel down the legs . In severe cases, sciatica can lead to muscle weakness, and loss of bowel and bladder function.
Koala Calm As Mattress $1799
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Does your mattress feel overly soft and unstable once you reach the edges like a waterbed? Koalas Calm As mattress features StayPut Edge support to stop anyone from rolling off and get rid of that unsteady feeling which usually comes from poor edge support. The brand also added a firmer base under the hips compared to the original Koala mattress to help you maintain a good posture and prevent your body from sinking.
I was hesitant to buy a mattress without trying but have no regrets, an impressed shopper commented on the Koala website.
Dont be put off if its not quite right on the first night, it takes two to three nights to properly settle. Have only used the firm cover and its been great, dont feel the need to even try the medium-firm cover. Even though it feels firm, its still giving enough flexibility to support the body.
+ Features multi-layered three zone support to minimise sinking across all layers and improve body support.
+ Includes a plush cover made with COOLMAX technology to keep your body cool and dry.
+ Contains an anti-slip bottom to reduce how much the mattress moves on the bed frame.
+ 120-night trial period.
+ Free delivery, plus free turns for metro areas in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
– Might smell for the first few days, similar to other bed-in-a-box mattresses.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
+ Can remove old mattress for free.
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