Back pain is a nuisance. The aches and tenderness of a bad back can stop you from doing the things you want to do throughout the day. Back pain is also a major issue when trying to get a good night’s sleep. If chronic back pain is something you experience, your mattress may be the culprit.
An unsupportive mattress is often worn down, leading your hips to sink in too far into the bed, putting significant pressure on your lower back. Meanwhile, a supportive mattress contours to your body, offers pressure-relief and promotes the natural curvature of your spine.
In this article, we cover the best mattresses for back pain, as well as exploring how different mattress types and sleeping positions impact your quality of sleep.
The Amerisleep AS2 is the best mattress for back pain if you’re a back sleeper. The AS2 uses two inches of pressure-relieving, plant-based memory foam to reduce aches and pains and limit tossing and turning. The AS2 also uses clinically-proven zoned back support which is shown to reduce pressure points by nearly 50%. Plus, like every Amerisleep mattress, the AS2 comes with a 100-night risk-free trial and a 20-year warranty.
The Zoma Mattress has zoned support in the top layer of the mattress, which is a unique feature great for those suffering from back pain. Plus, the mid-section of the mattress is firmer and offers great spinal support. The mattress comes with free shipping, a 100-night sleep trial, and 10-year warranty.
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Best Mattresses for Back Pain
|Amerisleep AS2||2 inches of pressure-relieving foam and a thick back support layer makes this great for back sleepers.|| |
|Zoma Sports Mattress||Designed to help athletes sleeper better and recover quicker; features state-of-the-art sleep-enhancing technologies.|| |
|Amerisleep AS3||Using an inch more Bio-Pur® foam than the AS2, the AS3 is the best mattress for side sleepers with back pain.|| |
|Bear Mattress||Contains graphite cooling gels to promote sound sleep and prevent hot nights.|| |
We recommend Amerisleep’s AS2 for sleepers with back pain because it’s built with a support technology clinically proven to reduce pressure and pain points by 49%. Plus, we’re not the only ones recommending the AS2— Business Insider recently featured it as their preferred bed for back pain relief, too.
Amerisleep’s AS2 is a memory foam option. If you didn’t already know, memory foam is exceptional at relieving pain and preventing future discomfort— so we like this bed already. In their mattresses, Amerisleep uses proprietary Bio-Pur®, a plant-based memory foam.
When you lay down on the AS2, Bio-Pur® contours to your body and alleviates pressure in your spine and joints. The real pain-relieving technology lies below the layer of memory foam. The Affinity layer featuring HIVE® technology fosters proper spinal alignment and promotes healthy sleeping positions.
HIVE® technology contains five comfort and support zones tailored to maintain neutral spinal alignment. Under your hips and shoulders, HIVE® feels softer and allows for deeper compression and better pressure relief for those major joints. On the other hand, HIVE® is firmer under your neck, midsection, and feet to prevent unhealthy sinkage in the bed. So not only is this mattress great for relieving back pain, it’s an excellent bed for hip pain, too.
The third layer of the AS2 is a supportive 7-inch base of durable Bio-Core®, a poly-foam. Bio-Core® offers extra support for the sleeper above and prevents the bed from wearing down.
Amerisleep offers a lengthy 20-year warranty with each of their beds. Plus, every mattress comes with a 100-night sleep trial.
We also like the Zoma Sports Mattress for sleepers with back pain because it contains gel-infused memory foam and Triangulex™ back support technology. Tailored towards athletes, Zoma is designed to help you sleep deeper, recover faster, and perform better in your day-to-day life.
Because it’s designed to facilitate muscle recovery and prevent pain points, it’s perfect for those with pain. Let’s talk about its construction.
Zoma has three layers: gel memory foam with Triangulex™ technology, Reactiv™ transition layer, and the Support+ base.
When you lay down on Zoma, the pressure-relieving memory foam contours to your body to offer immediate comfort and alleviate pressure points. The gel within the foam combats body heat and keeps you at a comfortable temperature. Triangulex™ comes into play to offer dynamic back support.
Around your midsection, Triangulex™ is firmer to offer extra lumbar support and prevent uncomfortable sinkage. Under your shoulders and hips, this technology contains triangle-shaped cutouts to allow for deeper compression under those pressure-prone joints. This design holds your spine in line with the rest of your body and prevents future pains from forming.
The second layer of Zoma is Reactiv™, a proprietary latex-like poly-foam. Reactiv™ is designed to be more responsive than memory foam, so it gives Zoma a bit of bounce. Primarily, it functions as a transition layer between the memory foam above and the dense core below. Because it’s so bouncy, Reactiv™ prevents you from feeling “stuck” in the mattress and makes it easier to climb in or out of bed.
The third and final layer of Zoma is Support+, a durable poly-foam. Support+ reinforces the two layers above and prevents sagging.
Every Zoma comes with a 100-night sleep trial and 10 years of warranty coverage.
Though we recommend Amerisleep’s AS2 as the best mattress for back pain, their AS3 is a better option for side sleepers experiencing discomfort. Their AS3 model is designed for medium firmness and contains an extra inch of pressure-relieving Bio-Pur® than the AS2. This extra inch of cushioning memory foam allows for adequate pain relief under the shoulders and hips— two places side sleepers can develop pressure points. Apart from pressure points, side sleepers can also experience lower back pain if their bed is too soft, which is why we suggest side sleepers stick to medium mattresses.
When you lay on the AS3, you’ll feel the Bio-Pur® comfort layer contour to your body to offer instant cushion. The thickness of this layer allows you to sink just enough to alleviate tension under your shoulders and hips, but Bio-Pur® is still supportive enough to facilitate proper spinal alignment. Though the AS3 is ideal for side sleepers, it’s also a great option for back sleepers who prefer a softer mattress.
Amerisleep’s AS3 is equipped with HIVE® technology, as well. HIVE® offers better spinal support and enhanced pressure-relief. Under your shoulders and hips, HIVE® is softer to allow for deeper compression; meanwhile, HIVE® is firmer under your midsection, head, and feet to prevent uncomfortable sinkage. HIVE® and Bio-Pur® work in tandem to promote a night of pain-free rest.
Amerisleep’s AS3 also comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty.
4. Bear Mattress
Bear is a relatively new brand but has made a name for itself quickly in the online mattress industry. Bear offers two beds, but we like their flagship all-foam model the best. On their website, they mention the all-foam Bear bed feels medium-firm and is comfortable for all sleep styles.
The Bear mattress has a Celliant® cover and four layers of foam. The top layer is 1.5 inches of graphite-gel memory foam to offer cooling comfort. Then, Bear has two 1-inch layers of bouncy transition foam designed to increase the bed’s responsiveness. The fourth and final layer of Bear is high-density poly-foam to support the layers and sleeper above.
The Bear mattress has made a name for itself with athletes, due in large part to the Celliant® cover which helps promote physical recovery.
This mattress comes with a 100-day home trial, but they do ask you to sleep on the mattress for 30 nights before deciding to return or exchange it. As we discussed, this is not unheard of within the industry, as it takes time to adjust to a mattress.
The Bear mattress comes with a 10-year warranty, which mainly covers sags of 1 inch or greater which develop within your mattress. Bear’s website does not reveal whether or not they replace or attempt to repair defective mattresses.
Choosing the Best Mattress For Back Pain Relief
A quality mattress can alleviate back pain, while a cheap mattress can cause it. That’s because supportive mattresses contour to your body, providing you with the comfort and support you need.
However, quality is not the only thing to consider. If you sleep on a well-made mattress that isn’t right for your body, then you may still experience discomfort. Mattresses are not “one size fits all.” For the most comfortable and healthy night’s sleep possible, you want to find a mattress to fit your needs. According to Jeffrey N. Katz, M.D., a professor of medicine and orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School and a leading professional in the back pain field, “one study conducted on 313 patients suffering from lower back pain, [shows] those using medium-firm mattresses reported less pain when lying in bed as well as less pain-related disability compared with those using firm mattresses.”
This scientific finding goes against the traditional adage to sleep on a firm mattress for healthy back support. It supports a new understanding of back health and its relation to your mattress. Your mattress is unique to you, and there isn’t a single mattress that is best for all people. Therefore, a firm mattress is not always going to be the right choice for your back.
This is why Dr. Katz recommends trying a variety of mattresses with different firmness levels to find out which firmness you prefer.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go to your local mattress store to find the right bed for you. Online mattress companies now provide quality mattresses at a competitive price, and they generally ship for free and come with a trial period. If the bed you choose isn’t the right fit, you can return it at no cost to you.
This aspect of today’s industry is a fantastic improvement upon the old model. But, it also means you have options. We know it can get confusing. So, we created this comprehensive comparison of the best mattresses for lower back pain. Read on for a better understanding of what mattresses are available and which ones are your best bet.
Mattress Types to Consider
Mattress shopping can get complicated. Not only do you need to consider the size, your budget, and your needs, you also want to look at mattress types. This is especially true when shopping for a mattress to relieve back pain. Below we will go over the main types of mattress technology on the market and how they each try, in their own way, to relieve back pain symptoms.
Memory foam mattresses are known for their pressure-relieving abilities. Memory foam – given its name because it adapts to your weight and shape – is an ideal mattress type for back pain.
When looking for the best memory foam mattress for back pain, consider the type of pain you have. A softer, thicker memory foam mattress is great for those looking to take as much pressure off their body as possible. If you need a firmer mattress, something which serves as a way to correct your posture, look for a firmer memory foam mattress.
Since high-quality memory foam is designed to provide the best comfort and support for people, we think a quality memory foam mattress is the best type of mattress for sleepers suffering from back pain.
The benefits of memory foam vary with different characteristics. Typically, the higher the foam density, the greater the support. However, high-density isn’t a direct indicator of quality. The materials used in making memory foam are even more critical. Is the memory foam infused with gel beads to help disperse heat? Is the memory foam plant-based, to promote breathability and reduce risks of off-gassing? What is the memory foam’s ILD (Indentation Load Deflection)? A higher ILD means a firmer layer of foam, while a lower ILD means a softer layer of foam. All of these characteristics and more are used to design a memory foam mattress that is supportive and comfortable.
Here are the three curves found in your spinal cord:
- The Cervical Spine – This is the top-most part of your spine, and it directly supports the head.
- The Thoracic Spine – Unlike the other two parts of the spine, the thoracic spine is reverse C-shaped. It is found in the middle of your spine, and it supports your upper body.
- The Lumbar Spine – This is the bottom curve in your spinal cord. It supports your lower back and is the foundation of your entire back.
Chronic back pain is often the product of spinal misalignment. If you don’t have the right type of bed, you are more likely to become unaligned. A good mattress will contour to each of these curves in your back, keeping your back aligned properly, leading to greater levels of comfort and support.
Since it is the foundation for your entire back, your lumbar is one of the most important parts of your body. As mentioned above, the four mattresses we discuss in this article are made for relieving chronic back pain. To achieve this, they had to be soft enough for comfort and firm enough for support. This ideal balance provides maximum support to the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar curves of your spine.
Latex is highly responsive. By this we mean, when you push into latex it bends with you and when you take the pressure off of latex it snaps back into its original shape. It’s easy to see why this future makes latex mattresses a big win for any type of sleeper. But latex is definitely worth considering for back pain.
Innerspring mattresses are the most traditional beds on the market. If you grew up in the United States, chances are you slept on an innerspring bed. Innerspring – often called coil mattresses – come in a wide variety. There are two-in-one coils, connected coils, pocketed coils, and more. For the sake of brevity, we are going to focus on quality innerspring mattresses.
A quality innerspring mattress will have individually wrapped coils to help reduce motion transfer from one side of the bed to another.
These can be decent mattresses for back pain but if you’re looking for a coil mattress that works for aches and pains, we recommend considering a hybrid, which we go over below.
Hybrid mattresses can be hard to define. But, generally, it is agreed that a hybrid mattress has a half-and-half construction– half foam and half coils. So if a mattress ten inches tall, five inches would be foam and five inches would be made of coils.
The aim of a hybrid mattress is to have its cake and eat it too: a hybrid mattress wants the pressure-relieving features of foam (often memory foam) and the bounce and familiarity of coils.
Hybrids are definitely worth considering when looking to find a bed to stop back pain, but they tend to be more expensive than an all-foam option and often score worse on longevity.
If you suffer from chronic back pain, you know how uncomfortable the wrong mattress can feel. That’s why it is important to make the right decision. To ensure you get your best night’s sleep possible, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Back Sleepers – If you sleep on your back, you want a mattress firm enough to offer substantial support but soft enough to contour to your body. Mattresses that are too firm often push against your spine. While, mattresses that are too soft can cause your hips to sink below your thighs, putting pressure on your lower back. If you are a back sleeper, a medium-firm mattress is most likely your best option.
Side Sleepers – If you are looking for the best mattress for side sleepers, you are most likely going to want a mattress with more cushion and contouring. When you sleep on your side, your shoulders and hips quickly become key pressure points. If the mattress is too hard, it can cause discomfort and stiffness. But, you still want support for your hips to keep your spine aligned. A soft mattress with zoned support is likely to be your best bet.
Stomach Sleepers – Sleeping on your stomach is the least-recommended sleeping position. If you are most comfortable on your stomach, it is possible your current mattress isn’t supporting you on your side or back. But if you are looking for a mattress for stomach sleeping, you will most likely need a firmer mattress. A softer mattress will cause your hips to sink, putting pressure on your spine.
Combination Sleepers – Above are the three main sleeping styles. But some people sleep in a combination of these styles. If you’re a combination sleeper looking for a new mattress, ask yourself: Which sleeping position do you want to fall asleep in? What position do you find yourself waking up in? Answering these questions can help point you in the right direction. Also, it’s important to make sure your mattress is designed to reduce motion transfer, as combination sleepers move more throughout the night.
While the above suggestions will be correct more often than not, you may find your preferences are different. Like we’ve said, there isn’t a single mattress that fits everyone because factors such as weight, shape, pre-existing back conditions, and personal preference play an important role in finding the right mattress for you.
As first stated in this article, all four of these mattresses are quality products. Each of these beds was designed to promote a better night’s sleep, and each mattress company has its own unique design to offer.
We hope this comparison has been helpful. It is important to find a mattress that is right for you. Do your research and pick a mattress that will fit your sleep style. If you do that, your back pain may significantly improve, and you may sleep better than you have in a long time. Want a more involved list of our recommended mattresses? Check out our post on finding the best mattress of 2020.