If you suffer from back pain it is important to choose the right mattress. We have selected our top rated mattresses for back and joint pain relief. Our recommendations are based on their ability to offer quality support and pressure relief.
Our Top Picks for 2019
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The PlushBeds Botanical Bliss is a 100% natural mattress. Organic latex offers exceptional support, body alignment and pressure relief. Organic cotton and wool create a soft, breathable encasement that adds comfort. For those experiencing back pain, we recommend considering the medium firmness option.
SpineAlign’s Deep Sleep Hybrid was developed under the guidance of Chiropractic specialist Dr. Jason Loth. The mattress combines pocketed coils and dense, quality foams for exceptional spinal alignment and pressure relief. This mattress is available in firm, medium and soft. For back pain sufferers we recommend considering the medium. This mattress will provide great support while accommodating most back, side and stomach sleepers.
Happsy is a certified organic hybrid made from all natural latex, wool, cotton and pocketed coils. Excellent support in a medium firm feel make this mattress an ideal choice for those suffering from back pain. For those who require a softer feel, a latex topper is available. We recommend starting with the base model and adding the topper if needed. As an added bonus, this organic mattress is great for those with allergies.
Natural talalay latex offers supportive body alignment without pressure points. Zenhaven’s unique, flpable design offers a gentle firm and a luxury plush side all in one mattress. Natural latex is buoyant and has more bounce than memory foam. This allows for easy movement with very little motion transfer. We recommend those with back pain try the gentle firm side first. You can always flip over to the softer feel.
Muse Sleep is one of the more pleasant surprises of the past few years. 4 lb. density gel infused memory offers great support and comfort for an exceptional price. The Muse mattress is also available in a firm model. Depending on personal preference, this may also be a good choice for back pain.
Backed by industry giant, Serta Simmons, this is one of the most pressure relieving mattresses we have tried. Dense, quality memory foam and individually pocketed coils create contouring supportive comfort. This mattress is also available in a medium soft offering. However, we recommend the medium firm for those with back pain issues.
The Avocado Green Mattress has attained our highest overall ratings. This natural latex and pocketed coil mattress Is available in both a standard and pillow top option. Expect superior support from this well designed mattress. That said, the standard is quite firm and may be a bit too rigid for those dealing with back pain. Natural latex has more bounce than memory foam. The pillow top version is our recommended option for sleeping with back pain.
5 lb. density foams rival far more expensive competitor models. Plant based memory foam offers great support and comfort while remaining environmentally responsible. This mattress is also available in a firm but our recommendation here for back pain relief is the relaxed firm.
|Name||Type||Support||Pressure Relief||Motion Transfer||Ease of Movement||Firmness|
|SpineAlign 14″ Deep Sleep Hybrid Mattress||Hybrid||10/10||9/10||9.5/10||9/10||6|
|Saatva Zenhaven Mattress||Latex||9/10||9/10||10/10||10/10||6 – 7|
|The Muse Mattress||Memory Foam||9/10||10/10||10/10||8.5/10||6|
|Tomorrow Sleep Hybrid Mattress||Hybrid||9/10||10/10||9.5/10||8.7/10||6|
|Avocado Green Mattress||Hybrid||10/10||9/10||9/10||10/10||6.5|
|Loom & Leaf Relaxed Firm Mattress||Memory Foam||10/10||10/10||10/10||8/10||6|
Back Pain Causes & Effects on Sleep
Back pain can result from a variety of issues. Causes range from herniated disc, sciatica, spinal stenosis and pregnancy. Everyday life can more be the source of more discomfort. Strain caused at work, exercise or normal activity can create back pain as well. A study by the National Sleep Foundation polled over 1,000 adults on how back pain affected sleep. The study revealed pain sufferers experienced significant sleep loss. These restless nights resulted in lowered work performance and raised stress levels. While a good mattress will not end all your pain, you don’t want it to be the cause of it either.
What Type of Mattress is Best for Back Pain
Today’s mattresses include traditional innersprings, memory foam, latex and a large assortment of specialty hybrids. Each year, a multitude of new and exciting sleep solutions are introduced. Every year, both new and established companies introduce more and more bedding options. Not surprisingly, most tout themselves as the best answer to all your bedding needs. However, no one type of mattress is best for everyone. Whether you are considering a pocketed coil hybrid, natural latex or memory foam, many great options exist. It’s really a matter of personal preference. Each has there pros and cons but all offer models suitable for back pain sufferers. The key is finding a quality mattress that meets your requirements for support and comfort.
A poor quality spring system with cheap foam will not feel as supportive (or as comfortable) as a more solidly built mattress. Likewise, all foam mattresses are not created equal either. Memory foam allows for greater conformity while latex has more bounce. Latex can be produced as a low end synthetic or a higher quality natural foam. Memory foam quality can be distinguished by density.
We’ll break down the differences for you. Each mattress type has subtle characteristics you may gravitate towards based on your sleep requirements.
Coil spring beds are the oldest and still the most commonly available mattress options. A combination of foam and steel creates a simple but effective support system. Individually pocketed coils provide the best support and spinal alignment. They also reduce motion transfer, which was a problem with previous designs. That said, springless mattresses like memory foam or latex offer the least amount of partner disturbance.
Durability of these beds is sometimes been brought into question. In fairness, quality differences can be found in all types of mattress. A poor quality spring system with cheap foam will not feel as supportive (or as comfortable) as a more solidly built mattress. Premium coil spring units will have significantly more steel than lower end models. While coil count is important, it is not the only thing to consider. Gauge of steel and number of turns per coil is important as well. Bottom line, a quality pocketed coil spring mattress can provide excellent spinal alignment and comfort. However, be sure to choose one that meets your needs for support and comfort.
Memory Foam Mattresses
These popular spring-less mattresses have been around since the 1970’s and continue to grow in popularity. They’re well-known for providing superior pressure relief and minimizing motion transfer. Quality memory foams can be defined by density and provide great support, alignment and comfort. A downside is their propensity for retaining heat. That said, cooling gels now in use offer significant relief. Because you’re body is absorbed into the mattress more than other foams, movement can be a bit more difficult. Overall, for those suffering from from back pain, memory foam is a viable choice to consider. However, we do caution not going too soft. Additional sinkage could aggravate existing back pain.
Latex mattresses offer more bounce and buoyancy than memory foam. These beds also sleeps cooler and allows for greater mobility. Materials used to produce latex can be natural, synthetic, or a combination of both. Compared to synthetic, natural latex is more durable and is less heat retentive. While it won’t give you the deep body hug memory foam offers, it is still pressure relieving. Natural latex provides solid support and spinal alignment. Latex relieves pressure without allowing your body to sink too deep, making It ideal for back pain sufferers.
A hybrid by true definition is two or more unique components combined to make one product. Throughout the bedding industry, this term is loosely interpreted. You could easily make an argument for almost any mattress being called a hybrid. Don’t lose any sleep splitting hairs over the difference.
Common hybrids include a combination of pocketed coils with memory foam or latex. Some have no coils at all but combine various specialty foams to create a unique feel. Regardless of the combo, use the same thought process when evaluating mattress quality. Look at the type and density of foams, as well as the design and structure of the coils. Don’t get caught up in marketing catch phrases. Shop smart!
What is the Ideal Mattress Firmness for Back Pain
In the past, the common rule of thumb was to find the firmest mattress possible. These beds were sometimes referred to as orthopedic mattresses. Primarily, because firm mattresses were frequently recommended by the orthopedic surgeons. However, current research contradicts earlier medical opinions. A recent study conducted at Harvard University, found that those sleeping on very firm beds actually had the poorest quality sleep. Very soft mattresses proved to be problematic as well. They often allow your body to sink too deep. This causes your spine to be out of alignment and creates lower lumbar pain.
A more moderate firmness range is most often recommended today. One that maintains alignment while offering enough body contouring to relieve pressure points. To alleviate back pain, a medium firm is a good place to start. However, what constitutes this feel is very subjective. No two people interpret firmness the same way and no two mattresses feel alike.
You could line up 10 medium firm mattresses end to end and have them all feel different. Having so many unique types and qualities to choose from can make shopping confusing. Your physical condition plays a large role in how your body interprets firmness. Understanding your own unique support and comfort requirements will help you make your selection.
How Physical Condition Affects Your Mattress Choice
For reducing back pain, the goal is to find that not too soft, not too firm mattress. One that both supports and conforms while providing a great night’s sleep. Depending on your physical condition or preferred sleep position, comfort solutions can vary. While the goal of finding a medium firm is the same, the ideal mattress will be different for everyone. Companies that produce only one mattress typically produce a medium firm or medium. It’s a shotgun approach designed to appeal to the majority, but not all sleepers needs. Despite what some companies may claim, no one mattress is right for everyone.
Many manufacturers produce 3 or more different firmness levels of the same mattress. This is very helpful because it allows for variances in comfort requirements. For example, brand X sells a mattress that comes in a firm, medium and soft model. One might assume, based on the premise that a more moderate feel is the ideal, the medium would always be your best choice. This is not necessarily the case. Physical condition causes your body to interpret firmness in a unique way. To some, the firm or the soft may feel more like a medium and actually be the better choice.
Let’s take a closer look at how your physical condition affects what type and firmness is right for you.
Weight And Sleep
A larger individual with a greater Body Mass Index (BMI), will require more structural support than a lighter, more petite person. How they interpret firmness will also vary. For example, a 270 lb. man will be absorbed into a mattress considerably more than a 120 lb. woman. For this reason, a bed that the larger man feels comfortable on may feel too firm for the lighter woman.
Age And Sleep
As we get older, our comfort needs change. As years pass, our bodies develop more aches and pains. This results in greater pressure sensitivities. While we still require as much support as ever, having adequate pressure relief becomes increasingly important. Be sure not to purchase a mattress that is not firmer than what your body can tolerate.
Injuries And Sleep
A temporary injury can affect the way we sleep but is not is not necessarily a reason to change your mattress. However, If your situation requires a long recovery period, or is permanent, consider reevaluating how comfortable your mattress is. An old, or poor quality bed can aggravate your condition and create additional back pain.
Fibromyalgia And Sleep
Fibromyalgia is a medical condition characterized by severe pain of the muscles and joints. This condition is often synonymous with back pain. One study revealed as many as two thirds of all chronic back pain sufferers also have Fibromyalgia. Back pain is actually one of the most prominent symptoms doctors look for when making a diagnosis. Severe pain caused by this disorder creates sleep disturbance that in turn exasperates the condition. A mattress that provides proper sleep posture and pressure relief is essential. While it won’t eliminate all your pain, creating the best sleep environment is a good start.
Arthritis And Sleep
Swelling and stiffness of the back is a common symptom of Arthritis. Back pain and other body aches are the reported cause of 80% of Arthritis sufferers’ difficulty sleeping. Making matters worse, not getting proper rest makes Arthritis symptoms worsen. If you are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, tell your doctor about it. Pain caused by Arthritis can keep you awake at night, but simple changes in your nightly routine can sometimes be beneficial. Good sleep hygiene practices such as establishing a consistent sleep schedule might help your cause. Also, keep the room temperature cool and dark to create the right sleep environment. Lastly, make sure your mattress provides the proper amount of support and pressure relief. You don’t want a poor quality or worn out mattress to contribute to additional discomfort.
Pregnancy And Sleep
Hormonal changes early on in pregnancy can cause a significant amount of back pain. This can make falling asleep and staying asleep difficult. If you are accustomed to sleeping on your back or stomach or back, you will also need to adjust to spending your nights on your side. Changes in your body and sleep habits can keep you from getting a good night’s rest. Make sure your mattress offers good support and body alignment. Also, having enough contouring to reduce pressure on the shoulders and hips is essential. The right mattress can go a long way towards making your nights more comfortable and restful.
Sleep Positions And Back Pain
Side Sleepers: On your side, your body weight shifts to your shoulders and hips. Too firm of a mattress can create pressure points that cause pain and discomfort. In most cases, a medium or medium-firm mattress should allow for pressure relief without compromising support.
Back Sleepers And Back Pain: Sleeping on your back distributes weight more evenly than side sleeping. This takes pressure off the shoulders and hips. You will want a bed that contours the curve of your spine. A medium to medium firm should suffice depending on your comfort preference.
Stomach Sleeping And Back Pain: Stomach sleeping, regardless of the mattress you choose can contribute to back pain. It also puts your head and neck in an awkward position that can cause soreness. If you are experiencing back pain, try to avoid this position. If you can’t avoid this position, a medium firm is a good place to start. While you still want pressure relief, you need to avoid letting your back dip too much. This arching of your back can cause lower back pain. You may also want to consider using a small flat pillow under your abdomen to relieve pressure. A pillow for your head is usually not necessary. It may actually cause more stress when in this position.
Disclaimer: This is general advice and doesn’t replace that of your doctor. Please consult your physician with any severe discomfort you are experiencing.