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Best Memory Foam Mattress for Back Pain: Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

Tyler Joseph (TJ) Thomas

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Nearly 65 million Americans report experiencing back pain. This all-too-common pestering pain gets old, fast. Perhaps the most frustrating characteristic of back pain is its interference with our day to day life, specifically our sleep quality. What if we told you the right mattress could help?

Many bedding brands have begun crafting products to meet the needs of their customers’ back problems. One of the most successful pieces of bedding to belittle the prevailing discomfort is the memory foam mattress.

In this article, we will examine the unique features and uses of the best memory foam mattresses for back pain today’s market has to offer.

Best Memory Foam Mattress for Back Pain

 HighlightsPrice (Queen)
BEST MATTRESS OVERALL FOR BACK PAINAmerisleep AS2
The AS2Amerisleep
Affinity transition layer with HIVE® technology supplies purposeful support and cushion in the places you need it most.
BEST MATTRESS FOR AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE Zoma Sports Mattress Three-zone support layer with cleverly-shaped memory foam provides substantial back pain relief.
BEST MATTRESS FOR SIDE SLEEPERSAmerisleep AS3
The AS3Amerisleep
The partially plant-based Bio-Pur® comfort layer is less dense and more responsive than traditional memory foam.
BEST VALUE MATTRESS FOR BACK PAIN Vaya Mattress
Vaya Vaya
Responsive layers alleviate pressure points and maintain optimal spinal alignment for a budget-friendly price.

Best Mattress Overall for Back Pain: Amerisleep AS2

amerisleep as2 BEST MATTRESS OVERALL FOR BACK PAIN
Amerisleep AS2

Amerisleep’s medium-firm option can soothe back pain as you sleep, ensuring you wake up pain-free to face the morning.

 

Save 30% off an Amerisleep Mattress

Use discount code: AS30

Get discount
Best mattress features
  • Bio-Core®'s sturdiness and stability makes it likely that an Amerisleep mattress will last more than 10 years.
  • Plant-based Bio-Pur® maintains a comfortable surface temperature for sleeping.
  • Extensive warranty minimizes the chances of sleeping on a sagging mattress that can cause or worsen back pain.
Recommended for...
  • Back sleepers who occasionally toss and turn.
  • Shoppers looking for a mattress likely to last more than a decade.

Featured on Business Insider as a “Best Mattress for Back Pain,” the Amerisleep AS2 lives up to these words of acclamation. Amerisleep’s avant-garde memory foam preserves your spine’s natural alignment all night long, ending morning aches and pains. The medium-firm mattress stands 12 inches tall and is a good choice for back and stomach sleepers.

Amerisleep’s innovative memory foam layers are covered in a plush and breathable material to keep sleepers comfortable and cool.

Beneath the airy cover, is a 2-inch top comfort layer composed of Bio-Pur®, a plant-based material with an advanced open-cell structure. The advanced open-cell structure allows for air to flow freely through the foam’s particles, resulting in a cool night’s rest. In fact, Bio-Pur® is more breathable than traditional memory foam. It is also less dense, so if you have a night filled with tossing and turning, you won’t feel stuck.

After the Bio-Pur layer, are 3 inches of Affinity with HIVE® technology. This section of the mattress accommodates those with back pain. Hundreds of hexagon-shaped cutouts are strategically placed, providing various levels of support for the head, shoulders, back, hips, and feet. Here’s how it works.

Near the head, back, and feet the hexagons are positioned closer together. When you lie on them, they do not expand or contour to your body, keeping you lifted. Firmness beneath the head, back, and feet create an adequate base for your spine’s neutral position. On the contrary, the hexagons are spread out near the hips and shoulders. When you lie down, they widen to cushion and comfort heavier pressure points.

Last but certainly not least is Amerisleep’s bottom Bio-Core® layer. Constructed from 7 inches of foam, it acts as a support core to the foam layers above it. The Bio-Core®’s stability hinders premature sagging and soft spots, permitting Amerisleep’s courteous warranty coverage.

Amerisleep equips their mattresses with two decades of warranty coverage. During the first 10 years, they will replace the mattress exhibiting a covered defect, entirely free of charge. Throughout the second decade, Amerisleep will replace the mattress for half the price you paid.

The company recognizes sagging to belittle a mattress’s quality, especially for sleepers with back pain. Therefore, they cover sagging above 0.75 inches. This is rare because most companies will not cover sagging until it has surpassed 0.75 inches.

Amerisleep also offers its customers a risk-free 100-night sleep trial. If you are not satisfied with your new mattress after a month, you can receive a full refund.

Best Mattress for an Active Lifestyle: Zoma Mattress

Zoma BEST MATTRESS FOR AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE
Zoma Mattress

Filled with innovative sleep technology for a good night’s rest,

Save $150 off a Zoma Mattress

Use discount code: WIN150

Get discount
Best mattress features
  • Reactiv™ and Support+ foam complement the gel foam with the responsive support needed to ease back pain.
  • Low emission levels ensure a sleeper will rest well the first few nights, thanks to the lack of a new mattress smell.
  • Three foam layers are wrapped in a breathable AirCloth cover.
Recommended for...
  • People who tend to experience sleep interruptions.
  • Sleepers seeking a cooling mattress to relieve back pain.
  • People sensitive to unpleasant smells.

Zoma employs innovative technology and design to enhance sleep health. Originally created for athletes seeking rapid muscle rejuvenation and restorative sleep, the mattress benefits more than just active bodies. Standing at 11 inches tall, the Zoma Mattress is a good option for anyone interested in healthier, deeper sleep.

Zoma’s three layers of memory foam are housed inside their ventilated AirCloth cover. Formed from 97 percent polyester and 3 percent spandex, the cover improves airflow and quickly absorbs moisture.

2 inches of deliberately placed foam rests below the AirCloth cover to deliver immediate comfort. Made with gel-infused memory foam, this layer reduces heat transfer and acts as a stable foundation to neutralize your spine.

The top and bottom sections of the foam are complete with Triangulex™ technology—triangular-shaped cut outs with contouring ability. Once laid upon, the triangular-shaped cutouts cushion the shoulders and legs, offering pressure relief. When complete with Triangulex™ technology, the foam operates as a three-zone support layer.

The second layer is 2 inches of responsive Reactiv™ foam. This foam is denser than the first layer and sometimes compared to natural latex for its bounce-like feel. Its quick response to movement reduces feelings of being stuck as well as motion-transfer across the bed, contributing to undisturbed sleep. The Reactiv™ foam also acts as a transition layer to the base of the mattress.

The base layer is formed from 7 inches of Support+ foam. The strong foam creates a solid foundation for the first two layers while curbing the development of sagging and soft spots.

Worthy of mention, each layer of Zoma’s foam is CertiPUR-US® certified, ensuring it has low emission levels and is made without harmful chemicals like PBDE flame retardants, formaldehyde, lead, mercury, and other heavy metals.

Zoma offers a decade-long warranty. The company will replace or repair any mattresses with a covered defect for free. Zoma also acknowledges sagging as a common worry amongst consumers. For this reason, their warranty will cover sagging above .75 inches.

Zoma also extends a risk-free 100-night sleep trial to its customers. If you or your sleep partner aren’t in love with your new bed after 30 nights, you will receive a full refund.

Best Mattress for Side Sleepers: Amerisleep AS3

amerisleep as3 BEST MATTRESS FOR SIDE SLEEPERS
Amerisleep AS3

If you’re a side sleeper, lying on an Amerisleep AS3 can soothe a bad case of back pain.

Save 30% off an Amerisleep Mattress

Use discount code: AS30

Get discount
Best mattress features
  • A soft, breathable cover houses the three foam layers and keeps a sleeper from overheating.
  • Every foam layer inside the AS3 is certified safe by CertiPUR-US®.
  • HIVE® technology relieves the pressure in a side sleeper's hips and shoulders.
Recommended for...
  • Side sleepers experiencing back pain.
  • Combination sleepers who want a mattress to support easy movement.

As Amerisleep’s’s best-selling mattress, the AS3 is the perfect combination of soft and supportive. Although a variety of sleepers have countless good things to say, the medium feel mattress is especially advantageous for side and combination sleepers.

To keep sleepers cool and avoid the heat retention often associated with memory foam, the 12-inch mattress’s soft cover was crafted to promote constant airflow.

Presenting next, are 3 inches of a comfortable Bio-Pur® layer. The AS3’s top layer is 1 inch thicker than the AS2, creating a softer feel. With a partially plant-based and open-cell structure, air effortlessly flows in and out of the Bio-Pur® material and lessens your chances of waking up hot. Although this layer contours your body, it is also extremely resilient, making it easier to move on top of.

Next in line, Amerisleep’s Affinity transition layer with HIVE® technology equips side sleepers with a foundation plush enough to relieve pressure from their hips and shoulders, but sturdy enough to neutralize the spine. The HIVE® technology employs 2 inches of hexagon-shaped Affinity foam intentionally spaced to ease pain.

The head, spine, and feet rest upon compact hexagons. These closely-placed hexagons do not spread out once laid on, providing the steadiness necessary to protect the natural arch of your spine. Heavier parts of the body, like the hips and shoulders, settle on spaced-out hexagons that extend once laid on. In turn, the foam contours, carrying any additional pressure the hips and shoulder bear while asleep.

The Affinity transition layer with HIVE® is followed by a bottom Bio-Core® layer. This 7-inch layer considerably increases the strength and durability of the AS3, granting its two-decade warranty and 100-night sleep trial.

Like Amerisleep’s AS2, a covered defect occurring within the first 10 years warrants a replacement of the AS3 mattress at no cost. If the damage appears within the second 10 years, Amerisleep will replace the mattress for half the price you paid. This mattress also covers sagging above .75 inches.

All Amerisleep mattresses are complete with a risk-free 100-night sleep trial. If you and your new mattress just don’t mesh, the company will facilitate a full and quick refund. Amerisleep will also work with their local partners to receive and recycle the mattress for you.

Best Value Mattress for Back Pain: Vaya Mattress

vaya mattress BEST VALUE MATTRESS FOR BACK PAIN
Vaya Mattress

A bed to relieve back pain doesn’t have to deplete your funds, as the Vaya Mattress proves.

Save $300 off a Vaya Mattress

Use discount code: VAYA300

Get discount
Best mattress features
  • Vaya's open-cell foam allows heat to quickly escape, preventing sleep disturbances.
  • The balanced feel between soft and springiness eases back pain, supporting a sleeper for many years.
  • A thorough 10-year warranty covers sagging over 0.75 inches.
Recommended for...
  • Bargain shoppers hunting for a durable, comfortable, yet inexpensive mattress.
  • Sleepers of all styles and body types.

The Vaya Mattress is a simple two-layer foam mattress that feels both soft and springy. This bed is a budget-friendly option fit for all types of sleepers.

At 12 inches tall, the mattress has a cozy yet breathable material to keep you comfortable and cool all night.

The top layer consists of a 3-inch Vaya foam, designed with an open-cell structure to prevent overheating. The open-cell structure is cooler and less dense than traditional memory foam. This comfort layer gently conforms to the body while maintaining sufficient responsiveness. The responsiveness of the foam makes for a medium feel supportive enough to keep your spine properly aligned.

The second and last layer is a 9-inch base of Vaya foam. This durable foam relieves pressure points while contributing to the mattress’s longevity.

Both layers of Vaya foam are CertiPUR-US® certified, guaranteeing the foam layers are free of off-gassing chemicals.

Vaya supplies their customer’s with a 10-year warranty covering manufacturing or material defects. The warranty also covers sagging deeper than 0.75 inches. If your mattress displays any covered damage, the brand will fully repair or replace it free of charge.

Vaya mattresses are complete with a 100-night sleep trial. If you are not pleased with the product, call Vaya within the first 100 nights.

Muse Mattress

muse mattress MUSE MATTRESS
Muse Mattress

A gel memory foam comfort layer is supported by transition foam and sturdy foundational foam, all wrapped in a phase-changing fabric cover.

Best mattress features
  • Phase-changing cover fabric regulates surface temperature, preventing sleep disturbances.
  • The choice of firmness allows side, back, and stomach sleepers to pick a suitable mattress.
  • CertiPUR-US® certified foams are free of possibly dangerous chemicals.
Recommended for...
  • All sleeping styles.
  • Hot sleepers looking for a bed with phase-changing fabric.

The Muse Mattress is available in a variety of firmness levels to meet the needs of different sleep positions. Muse recommends their soft mattress for side sleepers, their medium mattress for combination sleepers, and a firm mattress for back or stomach sleepers. Each one is 12 inches tall with four memory foam layers.

The Muse Mattress is well-known for its cover’s phase-changing yarn. Crafted from polyethylene and polyester, the phase-changing material retains or releases heat with changes in body temperature, keeping you in a comfortable state while sleeping.

The first layer is 2 inches of soft but responsive foam with an open-cell structure to progress airflow. It is followed by a 2-inch liquid gel memory foam meant to diminish heat transfer and keep the spine aligned.

After the gel-memory foam, is a 2-inch responsive comfort layer. This comfort layer contours pressure points, diminishes motion transfer, and acts as a smooth transition to the base of the bed.

Lastly, is 6 inches of Muse’s foundational foam. This layer is extraordinarily strong and dense. Its density combats the engulfing feel memory foam sometimes gives off while suppressing sagging and soft spots.

Like the Vaya and Zoma Mattress, each foam layer is CertiPUR-US® certified meaning the mattress is free from potentially harmful chemicals.

With the purchase of a Muse Mattress, you receive a 10-year limited warranty covering material or manufacturing flaws. The warranty includes sagging below 0.75 inches as well. If your mattress demonstrates any covered wear and tear, Muse will repair it or replace it with a new mattress.

The purchase of a Muse Mattress also includes a risk-free 120-night sleep trial. If you or your sleep partner are dissatisfied with the bed, simply notify Muse. The company will work with you to donate it to a local charity or arrange a pick-up.

How to Find the Best Memory Foam Mattress for Back Pain

If you are browsing memory foam mattresses to soothe back pain, you are bound to come across a variety of different options. We suggest selecting one with zoned support and your preferred level of firmness because these features can be crucial to finding simultaneous relief and comfort.

Zoned Support

Mattresses with zoned support are specifically designed for back pain. This is because the different zones offer either firmer support or extra comfort, both of which are crucial to pain-free sleep. The varied zones are typically created on a single foam layer housed within a mattress.

One section of the zoned support layer is firm and usually located near your mid-section. The firmness pushes back against your torso to stop it from sinking into the mattress and settling into an unnatural arch during sleep.

The additional sections of a zoned support layer are soft and typically where the hips and shoulders lie. The softness cushions these heavier body parts, freeing pressure on your back.

Different Firmness Levels

The firmness of a mattress is usually determined using a scale of 1 to 10, ranging from extra-soft to extra-firm.

  • 1-2: Extra-soft mattress
  • 3: Soft mattress
  • 4: Medium-soft mattress
  • 5: Medium mattress
  • 6: Medium-firm mattress
  • 7-8: Firm mattress
  • 9-10: Extra-firm mattress

Until recently, firm mattresses were thought to be the best for back pain, but now sleep specialists advocate for a medium-firm feel because it is more likely to provide pressure relief as well.

Perhaps most interesting, recent studies show the medium-firm feel is subjective. Meaning, the right firmness level for you may not be a good choice for the next back pain sufferer. More often than not, the firmness you prefer is dependent on your sleeping position and body type.

Other Important Factors to Consider

Although we believe the above mattresses are best for back pain, we encourage you to contemplate your unique circumstances before purchasing. Your sleeping position, body weight, and type of back pain should all have a say in the mattress you select. Let’s discuss how.

Sleeping Position

Different sleeping positions put pressure on different parts of your body, so analyzing the type of sleeper you are is important when choosing firmness.

Back Sleepers

Back sleeping is the best position for back pain relief. With the assistance of a good mattress, this position effortlessly maintains your spine’s neutral position.

Back sleeping exerts the most pressure on your hips, shoulders, back, and head. To properly support your back and head while cushioning your hips and shoulders, we propose a medium-firm mattress. A medium-firm feel is sturdy enough to push against your spine but cushioned enough to comfortably carry the weight of your hips and shoulders. Anything softer than medium may cause your hips and shoulders to sink too far into the bed, misaligning your spine.

Side Sleepers

The side sleeping position is the most common. This position puts the majority of pressure on your hips and shoulders. These body parts require increased pressure relief because they tend to carry more weight. We recommend a medium memory foam mattress for side sleeping because these beds are soft enough to contour your hips and shoulders but firm enough to encourage optimal spinal alignment.

Stomach Sleepers

We do not suggest stomach sleeping. Stomach sleepers feel the most pressure on their knees, hips, and chest. When these areas sink too far into the bed, it disturbs the neutral position of your spine, straining your neck and back. Still, some people have a difficult time sleeping in a new position. If this is you, we advise a firm mattress to prevent sinking of the knees, hips, and chest.

Combination Sleepers

If you tend to roll from your back to stomach to side throughout the night, try a medium mattress. Medium mattresses are versatile and typically give an even amount of support and cushion to support changing sleeping positions.

Body Type

Just as important as your preferred sleep position, is your body type. Weight affects the amount of pressure applied to your mattress and should be considered when determining the right firmness level.

  • Light weight sleepers (weighing less than 130 pounds). If you are a light weight person, a soft mattress may be best. Firm mattresses will not easily give to your hips and shoulders. This will make it feel like you are sleeping on the very top of the mattress, without any pressure relief. On the contrary, soft mattresses will efficiently contour the shape of your body without sinking excessively, providing plenty of support and pressure relief.
  • Average-weight sleeper(s weighing anywhere from 130 to 230 pounds). Medium or medium-firm mattresses are a good choice for people within this weight range. To choose between the two, also consider your sleeping position.
  • Heavy sleepers (weighing 230 pounds or more). For this weight, we suggest a firm mattress. Heavy people place more pressure on the mattress, so any memory foam bed below firm may cause you to sink too far into it. However, a firm mattress will gently cushion the hips and shoulders without sacrificing the supportive foundation beneath the spine.

Types of Back Pain

Back pain is often characterized by the area it affects you: the lower, mid, or upper back. All three have their own causes and treatments.

Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is the most common. It affects your L1-L5 vertebrae or lumbar spine. This area bears a majority of your upper body weight and is located between the rib cage and pelvis

Lower back pain is commonly associated with age, weight, lack of exercise, genetic conditions like arthritis, and heavy lifting, pushing, or pulling.

Mid Back Pain

Your mid-back makes up the small and inflexible area between the lumbar spine and rib cage. This type of back pain is rather uncommon but may be caused by the strain of a nearby muscle, poor posture, fractured vertebrae, or the breakdown of cartilage separating joints from bones.

Upper Back Pain

Upper back pain is less common than lower back pain but more common than mid back pain. Pain in the upper back can occur anywhere between the base of the neck and bottom of the rib cage. The thoracic spine or T1-T12 vertebrae make up this region and work with the rib cage to protect the organs.

Upper back pain is typically due to poor posture, herniated discs, deteriorating or strained upper back muscles, the decay of cartilage separating joints and bones, pinched nerves, or arthritis.

Back pain can also be categorized by the length of time it is sustained. The two main categories are acute and chronic.

Acute Back Pain

Acute back pain lasts no longer than a few weeks and usually resolves when treated with ice or heat, stretching, exercises specific to the area of pain, and any physician-prescribed medication.

Chronic Back Pain

Chronic back pain lasts 12-weeks or longer. Nearly 20 percent of people who do not treat acute low back pain will develop chronic low back pain. However, chronic pain can also be the result of age as well as muscle, ligament, or nerve injury.

Other Sleeping Accessories for Back Pain Relief

Sometimes a memory foam mattress isn’t enough to reduce back pain. You can enhance your sleep quality by pairing your new mattress with other sleeping accessories like an adjustable base, mattress topper, or high-quality pillow.

Adjustable Base

An adjustable bed base allows you to quickly find comfort by adjusting the head and foot of your mattress with a remote control.

Adjustable bases also present an opportunity to sleep in the zero-gravity position, essentially a feeling of weightlessness. This position places your body at a 120-degree angle, elevating your head and legs slightly above your heart to increase circulation, promote natural spinal alignment, and evenly distribute body weight. The even distribution of body weight relieves pressure on the spine as well as tension in the lower back, making the accessory a good choice for back pain sufferers.

Mattress Toppers

Mattress toppers are a 2 to 4-inch foam comfort layer placed on top of your bed. They are an easy way to increase or decrease the firmness of your mattress and a good choice for anyone who has recently lost or gained weight or perhaps, just began experiencing back pain.

Some mattress toppers even include zoned support as well as separate buying options to increase either support or comfort.

Pillows

Your pillow is just as important as your mattress. Pillows offer increased pain relief by protecting the cervical spine (otherwise known as your neck).

Much like mattress selection, picking a pillow is individualized. Your pillow’s loft, or height, has the largest impact on sleep health. It is important to note, pillows can be also be placed elsewhere to increase support. We will discuss appropriate pillow loft and options for further support, below.

  • Side sleepers should use a medium to high loft pillow. For further support, you can place a thin pillow between your knees. Placing a pillow between your knees will lighten pressure from your hips and provide lumbar support. You can also prop a body pillow behind you to protect your lower back. Body pillows put an end to twisting into a half back, half side sleeping position.
  • For back sleepers, we advise a medium loft pillow. If increased support is necessary, put a low or medium loft pillow beneath the knees. Keeping your knees slightly above your heart and in line with your spine will evenly distribute body weight and relieve major areas of pressure.
  • We recommend breaking stomach sleeping habits, but if you cannot, opt for a low loft pillow or use no pillow at all. If you sleep on your stomach and find your hips dipping into the mattress, place a thin pillow beneath your pelvis to keep your spine from settling into an unnatural curve while you sleep.

FAQ

What is the best memory foam mattress for a heavy person?

A heavy person is defined as 230 pounds or more. If you are a heavy person who prefers memory foam, opt for one with a firmer feel. Heavier people apply more pressure on a bed and a soft mattress may cause excessive sinking, affecting the mattress’s ability to support your spine.

How do I know if my mattress is causing my back pain?

If a mattress is too soft, your body may sink in too far and misalign your spine as you sleep. If a mattress is too firm, it may apply too much pressure on your shoulders or hips, also misaligning your spine.

To find the best mattress, analyze your sleeping position, body type, and type of back pain, and then follow the above recommendations.

How do I know if I need a new mattress?

On average, mattresses last 10 years, but some memory foam and latex mattresses can last up to 15. The point is, no bed lasts forever. If you wake up in pain or frequently toss and turn at night, it may be time to invest in a new bed. Over time, a mattress loses its supportive qualities, is no longer responsive to movement, and is simply too soft. Some signs of an overly soft mattress needing replacement are excessive sagging and profound body impressions.

How should I sleep with lower back pain?

There are a few ways to alleviate lower back pain. First, try sleeping in a supine position. This position conveniently neutralizes your spine, putting less pressure on your neck and back. You can also use sleep accessories to find relief.

While sleeping on your back, slip a thin pillow beneath your knees to keep them even with your spine and relieve any pressure they may cause to your lower back.

What is the worst sleeping position?

Stomach sleeping is the worst position. Sleeping on your stomach puts strain on your neck and back. It can also cause your hips to dip into the mattress, interfering with the neutral position of your spine.

Conclusion

We experience back pain for a variety of reasons: lack of exercise, body weight, age, injuries, poor posture, genetics, and even stress. With such a high number of Americans experiencing the discomfort of back pain all day long, it is no surprise today’s beds offer personalized relief. The place you rest your head should serve as a haven from the struggles of your day, not worsen them.

If your mattress doesn’t offer relief, we encourage you to analyze your pain and individual needs then follow the recommendations of this article. While a new memory foam mattress may not take away all your problems, it can certainly improve the one thing you need to solve them—a good night’s sleep.

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