Felt a sharp back pain waking up from bed? Or felt back sore instead of having a restful night of sleep?
You’re not alone.
Thirty-one million Americans suffer from back pain. Doctors and chiropractors are making a fortune offering pain relief. It’s estimated Americans spend close to $50 billion in healthcare costs each year just to get some relief from back pain. Some of them work, but most don’t.
But what if fixing your constant backaches could be as simple as getting the right mattress? It’s possible. In fact, before you rush to your doctor or chiropractor, you might want to consider getting the best mattress for back pain first. Which one is the best? Check out the guide below to decide your new mattress.
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But wait, what causes back pain?
Back pain happens for a lot of reasons. From exercising too much to carrying or lifting heavy items, to accidents, to arthritis, poor posture, weak muscles or issues with your internal system. There can be countless issues that can happen to cause it. Luckily, fixing a huge chunk of back pain problems can be as simple as correcting your sleeping posture and getting the right mattress for back pain.
What makes a mattress best for back pain?
Ideally, a firmer mattress with great support for your lumbar section and pressure relief is what you should be looking for. Mattresses like these will offer the right spinal alignment while being comfortable enough to contour to your body shape. In turn, these will relieve pressure points like your back, butt, hips, and shoulders. Note that just because a mattress is firm is not enough, you want to have support and contouring together.
Good posture while sleeping is as important as when you’re awake. If you get a squishy mattress or something too soft, you won’t get enough support for your spine and lower back causing you to wake up with a range of back pain or soreness. Similarly, if your mattress is too firm with no contouring or pressure relief, you’ll wake up with pain.
Best Mattress Types for Back Pain
Molecule – Best Memory Foam
Molecule might be the new kid in the mattress world but it’s already establishing credibility amongst finicky sleepers. It helps that one of the biggest names in American Football – Tom Brady – has declared he’s swapped his luxury mattress for a Molecule mattress.
Molecule has two main options you can choose from Molecule 1 and Molecule 2: Both have a similar design except for the construction of the transition and top layers. Molecule 2 has 5 transition zones on its top layer compared to the 3 zone layer of Molecule 1. This means the Molecule 2 mattress can give you extra support on the neck and knee area when you lie down. What’s more, there’s an advanced proprietary memory foam added in the Molecule 2 comfort layer. Called the MOLECULARFLO Foam, it’s said to have 5x better airflow compared to regular memory foams.
WinkBeds – Best Innerspring
Known for their luxury mattresses, thousands swear by WinkBeds as one of the best mattress brands for back pain relief. Offering four firmness options (Soft, Luxury Firm, Firmer and Plus), WinkBeds mattresses let you choose the right firmness you need.
For back pain, choosing the Luxury Firm, Firmer and Plus are ideal, depending on your preference. Thanks to an innerspring construction, it has a good bounce with excellent supportive features to cradle your body’s pressure points. WinkBeds mattresses also have a unique cotton lumber pad and specific zone coil support core, which is made to support your lower back. Highly recommended for back sleepers and even for those over 300 lbs. because of its supportive features and amazing edge support.
Zenhaven – Best Natural
Like your mattress all-natural? The Zenhaven mattress is for you. It comes with an all-natural construction using natural latex.
Talalay latex is made from a rubber tree sap and contains antimicrobial, mold and dust-mite resistant properties. It’s great for those with sensitive skin and helps keep away allergies. Aside from making Mother Earth happy, this latex mattress also gives you a good night’s sleep by making sure the temperature of your mattress remains cool and comfortable.
The mattress comes with two firmness options, the Luxury Plush and the Gentle Firm, in one bed. All you need to do is flip the mattress.
Zenhaven addresses back pain with its highly supportive latex design. The foam immediately contours to the shape of your back, cradling the lower back and relieving any pressure. Not recommended for those over 250 lbs.
Propel – Best Budget Friendly
The Propel Hybrid mattress is Brooklyn Bedding’s everyday recovery mattress, and it’s amazing with a more amazing price tag! Unlike the Spartan, which is designed for extreme recovery, the Propel Hybrid is made for daily recovery. The difference is in the materials used to make the mattress.
The Propel Hybrid comes with an 11-inch, 5-layer composition as well as a unique Upcycle technology on its cover. Upcycle is a type of surface treatment done on the mattress cover to allow it to transform your body heat into Far Infrared Rays that are then transmitted back into your body as energy. The result? It leaves you feeling more energized and refreshed after a night’s sleep. For those sleepers who suffer from back pain will enjoy resting on the Propel.
Saatva – Editor’s Pick
Luxury with a budget-friendly price, Saatva prides itself on delivering a true innerspring feel with a matching luxurious touch. The Saatva lineup includes three firmness options so you can pick the most comfortable solution for back pain relief.
Saatva’s main innerspring mattress comes with 11.5” of foam partnered with steel innerspring layers. It has an organic cotton cover with a quilted foam top to offer a plush Euro Top feel. Individually wrapped micro coils are designed to accommodate every move and fidget, contouring to your shoulders, hips and back when you lie down.
Saatva’s most popular model, the Luxury Firm is designed to make sure you get relief from back pain. They are made with a patented Spinal Zone sleep technology and are clinically proven to reduce back stiffness and back pain by correcting spinal alignment when you sleep.
Recommended for all types of sleepers, the Saatva is our top pick if you want a mattress that not only helps with your back issues but also comes at a reasonable price.
Brooklyn Bedding Spartan – Best Luxury
Designed for athletes and anyone with an active lifestyle, Brooklyn Bedding’s Spartan combines top luxury and innovative patented technology to improve your sleep. Choose from three firmness options.
The Spartan is equipped with the company’s Far Infrared Rays (FIR) technology which uses your body heat, transforms them into wave energy then reflects them back to you using the mattress fibers. This helps promote faster recovery after a long day of activity while promoting quality sleep. Now this is refreshing, isn’t it?
Aside from the top technology, the Spartan is also made to be responsive. It’s Energex and Titan Flex foams let you sink just enough to be comfortable while still giving you pressure relief. Highly recommended for back pain sleepers! It also sleeps cool thanks to the inner coil construction.
How Your Body Shape Affects Back Pain
A study from the United Kingdom showed back pain can originate from body shape and personal characteristics rather than physical activity. In the study, 400 health care workers were questioned showing that despite the physical activity, none had suffered serious back pain causing them to miss work.
All of the subjects were examined for their spine and hip curvature and mobility, while their legs were tested for strength. For a period of 3 years, it showed personal risk factors only had a 12% effect on low back pain, instead a long, stiff and flat lumbar spine was a better predictor of “severe” low back pain happening in individuals.
When it comes to weight, heavier individuals have a higher chance of suffering from back pain, on top of other ailments like high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Carrying extra weight around the midsection pulls your pelvis forward. This creates an unnatural curvature on your spine. When the discs on your spine are compensating for the extra weight, they can become herniated resulting in sciatica. Worse, it could end up in slipped or ruptured discs. Extra weight also raises or aggravates existing spine arthritis or causes osteoarthritis to develop.
Experts recommend that even dropping just a few pounds can make a big difference to your back. For every 4 pounds you take off, you remove 16 pounds of pressure placed on your spine.
Best Type of Mattress for Each Body Type
Propel – Best for Lightweight Sleepers
The Propel Hybrid mattress is featuring both coils and foam, you get a combination of support and bounce. The coil offers the bounce while the Energex foam reacts fast to give you pressure relief the moment you lie down. Sleeping on your side or on your back this mattress will comfort you amazingly.
Propel comes with a medium firmness and is highly recommended for side sleepers and sleepers who are light – average in weight. Back and stomach sleepers can also rest easy because Propel’s proprietary foam and coils deliver great support for the spine even when sleeping in these positions.
Nectar – Best for Average Weight Sleepers
Churning out affordable and reliable beddings since 2017, Nectar has only gotten bigger and better over the years. Nectar Mattress is designed for budget sleepers and memory foam lovers who want great motion isolation and fantastic edge support.
Even better, Nectar accommodates any average weight sleeper looking for a mattress with a balanced support and amazing pressure relief qualities. It’s made for side, back and stomach sleepers who weigh at least 130 pounds. It comes with a medium firmness so you don’t immediately sink into the mattress like other foam mattresses.
Even though it’s created with memory foam, the mattress doesn’t sleep hot. In fact, it allows good airflow and doesn’t absorb as much body heat as other mattresses. Pain relief is also a plus. When you lie on your back, it’s immediately comfortable and pleasant, with hardly any pressure on your lumbar region and shoulder area – the key points for back pain.
Winkbeds Plus – Best for Heavy Weight Sleepers
Winkbeds Plus combines foam and pocketed coil to create a luxurious mattress with bounce and amazing support for heavyweight sleepers. The mattress is made especially for larger individuals (over 300 lbs.) solving the issues heavier people normally encounter when using a regular mattress. The Winkbeds Plus features anti-sagging foam and a wrapped coil system for bounce and support.
It has an extraEDGE Support to give you more surface area while preventing the edge from sagging and slipping under the weight. The breathable fabric and latex support layer also adds to the coolness of the mattress at night. All in all, you get a total of 15-inches worth of foam and coil layers that combine to create a comfortable, pressure relief bed.
Eight Pod – Best for Couples
For couples who want a customized sleep, The Pod by Eight Sleep is a true technological marvel. It’s a Wi-Fi-enabled mattress with temperature control and sleep tracking capabilities, making it the best for couples who require different things for a good night’s sleep.
You can customize your side of the bed to track your sleeping pattern and control the temperature which will allow you to sleep better. The mattress comes in medium firmness, offering good support while giving you a natural foam feel. It’s also equipped with smart features like an alarm and can be integrated with other devices with IFTTT or smart home products. Highly recommended for anyone who wants a futuristic home. Not recommended for lightweight sleepers who prefer to sleep on their side.
How does sleeping position affect back pain?
Everyone sleeps in their own unique sleeping position. But there are general sleeping positions that are most common among individuals, these include back, stomach, and side sleeping.
What’s key is that your sleeping position, along with your weight, can contribute to your back pain. Let’s do a quick breakdown of the most common sleeping positions and see how they affect the existence of your back pain.
If you have a tendency to lie flat on your back each night on your bed, you’re likely a back sleeper. This is the ideal sleeping position since it allows your spine to be in proper alignment. A few things to note, have a small pillow supporting the crook of your neck. Make sure your mattress isn’t too soft, otherwise you won’t get the right support on your neck, shoulders and hips. If your mattress is too firm, you’ll end up having stiff alignment since the pressure points won’t reach where you need it to be enough for support.
Stomach sleepers are uncommon but if you find yourself taking this sleeping position for much of the night, know that health professionals suggest you should try and correct it. When you sleep on your stomach, you flatten the natural curve of your spine which increases the chances of lower back pain. Your neck will also regularly hurt because you’ll be sleeping craned or turned for much of the night. And don’t forget about the wrinkles it forms on your face! It does have some good points though, it can help with sleep apnea and can help you sleep quicker.
The most common sleeping position, sleeping like this has a lot of advantages. It’s great for alleviating insomnia and reducing sleep apnea. It’s also great for your internal organs since you will experience less acid reflux and improve your digestion and blood flow. The problem, however, is you could wake up with a numb arm or body since your weight will be pressing down on one side. This also means added pressure on your lower back and spine. Also, similar to stomach sleeping, but worse, it’ll create wrinkles on your face.
Best Mattresses for Your Sleeping Position and Back Pain Relief
While your sleeping position can increase the likelihood of back pain, there are mattresses you can use to give you relief and lessen the chances of back pain.
Propel – Best for Side Sleepers
Propel Sleep is great for any type of sleeper including side sleepers, as long as you’re not on the heavier side. It is a medium firmness giving you extra support on your shoulder, back, and hips. While conforming your body and pressure points when you’re sleeping on your side, like your hips shoulder, it’ll give you nice support, and responsive feeling to turn around and switch sides. This gives you a gradual pressure relief without the feeling of being stuck. For those light – average weight sleepers who suffer from back pain will enjoy sleeping on Propel.
Winkbeds – Best for Back Sleepers
Winkbeds mattresses are the best for sleeping on your back or you switch from side to back, and vice versa. Just make sure to go for the Luxury Firm and Firmer options. If you are on the heavier side (above 300 lbs.) you can also look into the Winkbeds Plus for support when back sleeping.
Winkbeds is a hybrid mattress that combines innerspring coils with foam. You get a zoned pocketed coil system that targets key areas like your hips and shoulders for proper support. It relieves pressure and gives you proper spinal alignment while you sleep.
Saatva – Best for Stomach Sleepers
As a stomach sleeper, it’s ideal to have a medium-firm to firm mattress to sleep in. Since you sleep on your stomach, you want to avoid a soft mattress because it will cause further misalignment of your spine leading to back pain.
Saatva, thanks to its innerspring construction, gives stomach sleepers the best type of support. It’s firm enough not to pull the spine too much forward and create an exaggerated curve while comfortable enough to give you a great night’s rest.
The best part, Saatva also lets you sleep cool. A common complaint among stomach sleepers is they end up sleeping hot so a natural, innerspring mattress with plenty of airflow like the Saatva is ideal.
Nectar – Best for Multi-Positional Sleeper
The Nectar mattress comes with a medium firmness, an inbetweener for those who require a firm mattress when back sleeping or a softer mattress when sleeping on the sides. It’s a great mattress for anyone above 130 lbs. or more as it offers a good structure while supporting key pressure areas whenever you switch positions at night.
Featuring a combination of gel and memory foam layers, you get a moderate yet consistent conforming when you sleep on your side or stomach. At the same time, it distributes your weight evenly and lets you sink just enough (thanks to the memory foam) when you sleep on your back. Aside from helping you get rid of back pain, Nectar mattresses sleep cool with motion isolation properties perfect for sleeping with a spouse or partner.
Other Solutions to Relieve Back Pain
Aside from getting the best mattress for back pain and considering your sleeping position and your weight, there are other solutions you can do to provide relief to consistent chronic back problems. Here are some solutions you can consider:
Consider an Adjustable Bed
Sleeping at an incline of 30 to 45 degrees can help people with arthritis or back pain issues because it relieves the pressure and pain they feel compared to when sleeping flat on a mattress. You can find a variety of adjustable bed designs out there, but the important thing is to make sure it’s something you are comfortable with. Adjustable beds often come with a remote control to adjust the lower portion of the bed. The more nuanced the controls, the more expensive these beds will become.
Exercises to Strengthen Weak Muscles
Strengthening your back muscles and core can alleviate lower back pain. Researchers say it also helps in promoting flexibility, increasing blood flow, reducing stiffness and helps speed up healing. Some of the exercises that could strengthen your muscles in the legs, hips, and back regions include bridges, knee stretches, rotational stretches, leg lifts, and partial curls, among others.
Much like exercising, doing proper stretches every day or after prolonged periods of sitting down or remaining in one position can improve overall back pain. It helps reduce the muscle tension in your back area while improving your mobility.
Keeping a positive attitude in your daily life will increase the likelihood of relieving your back pain. How? Stress creates many issues, including sleep problems, the more you reduce the stress factor in your life, you’ll be closer to a happy life! Doing exercises? No problem, you’ll put a smile on your face, and strengthen those weak back muscles of yours. Similarly, you work out a lot, but not stretching enough? With a positive attitude to yourself and to your life, all will look easy and will be effortless. Even Coronavirus can’t affect you if you keep a positive outlook! 🙂
Back pain is no laughing matter. It can be annoying and downright debilitating when not taken care of. And it all starts with proper health and making sure you are sleeping on the right mattress for your body and sleeping style. Getting the best mattress for back pain relief is a healthy start to living a life without the hassles of pain. Any feedback you have, please write down below! 🙂