10 Best Mattresses for Back Pain 2021: Tested by Experts

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The best mattresses should provide the support you need to align your spine and come with plenty of cushioning to keep you comfy. But did you know just how damaging sleeping on the wrong mattress can be? According to the American Chiropractic Association, more than 30 million Americans suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. It’s the single leading cause of disability and one of the main causes of sleep disruption. And not only can chronic pain interfere with sleep, but a sleep deficit can make you more sensitive to pain

Thankfully, there are several online mattresses specifically designed to help ease back pain while delivering pressure relief for sensitive joints. The expert review team at Mattress Advisor tested hundreds of beds to find the best mattresses for back pain.

The 10 best mattresses for back pain

Here’s why these beds made our top 10 list of the best mattresses for back pain:

Best overall: Saatva Classic

Back pain sufferers need a comfortable, supportive mattress that helps align the spine and neck. The Saatva Classic scored near-perfect results in the spinal alignment test, earning it the top spot on this list. The mattress combines coils and high-quality memory foam with lumbar support technology to provide extra support in the middle of the mattress.

Best innerspring mattress: The WinkBed

The WinkBed is technically a hybrid mattress, but it’s made with layers of coils for support and airflow, giving it the bouncy feel of a traditional innerspring bed. Lumbar support is a must if you’re avoiding back pain, so the WinkBed mattress has a pad made of extra-dense cotton to offer back pain relief. It also uses a comfort layer of gel memory foam and Euro pillow top to provide more cushioning.

Best for side sleepers: Leesa Hybrid

Side sleepers with back pain have specific needs when it comes to mattresses. This foam and coil hybrid bed received a perfect 10 out of 10 on spine alignment-a must for side sleepers who suffer from back pain. The Leesa also received high marks in the pressure relief test; it contours to sensitive pressure points like the shoulders and hips that sometimes cause pain for side sleepers.

Best memory foam mattress: Nectar

Nectar’s gel memory foam mattress combines several layers of foam that provide ample cushioning with the support back pain sufferers need. Nectar’s memory foam distributes body weight across the bed, relieving tension at pressure points. And at just $899 for a queen-size mattress, plus a full year sleep trial and a lifetime warranty, the Nectar is a great value as well.

Best hybrid mattress: DreamCloud

The DreamCloud hybrid mattress combines the support and responsiveness of coils with the comfort of gel memory foam, creating a mattress with excellent spinal alignment and pressure relief. Covered with a plush cashmere and quilted foam top layer, this affordable luxury hybrid comes with a modest price tag, a 365-night trial period, and a forever warranty.

Best firm mattress: Casper Original

If you’re looking for a firm mattress to help alleviate back pain, the Casper is an option worth considering. This memory foam mattress is split into three zones to keep key parts of the body uplifted, from the shoulders, lower back, to hips. Memory foam can often trap body heat, and some sleepers may feel like they’re sinking in too much, but not with Casper. In testing, this mattress earned high marks in sine alignment, cooling, and responsiveness.

Best for hot sleepers: Helix Midnight Luxe

When it comes to sleeping cool, the Helix Midnight Luxe has it down pat-this hybrid mattress is one of the coolest mattresses the review team has ever tested. The Helix Midnight also features a cooling pillow top designed to absorb excess body heat, while a coil system works to offer breathability and zoned support for near-perfect spinal alignment. For those who sleep hot while dealing with back pain, you can nix both with this bed.

Best for lower back pain: Nolah Original

The Nolah Original mattress’s layers of foam keep your back supported but still feel soft enough to not agitate lower back pain. The specially engineered foam is made with shock-absorbing air pockets that deliver good pressure relief and spinal alignment to prevent low back pain. The Nolah also scored well in responsiveness, which makes it a good option for couples and combination sleepers who tend to shift positions.

Best pressure relief: Puffy Lux

The Puffy Lux is a memory foam mattress that delivers on pressure point relief and spine alignment, supporting achy joints and your back. Contouring foam layers keep weight off your back while also preventing too much pressure on your hips and shoulders. Its gel-infused memory foam layer also helps cool the mattress so you can sleep more comfortably.

Best for back and hip pain: Layla Memory Foam

The Layla mattress features support zones designed to target pressure points in the lumbar region, making it the top option for sleepers who commonly wake up with pain in their back and hips. The Layla mattress is also flippable. On one side, it’s a medium-soft mattress and on the other it has a medium firmness, so you easily customize your mattress based on your needs.

What to consider when choosing the best mattress for you

When it comes to sleeping position and back pain, back sleepers fare the best. That’s because lying flat on your back is the easiest and most natural way to keep your head, neck, and spine aligned. But it’s not ideal for all sleepers, especially those who snore or suffer from acid reflux. Side sleepers can achieve good spine alignment if their mattresses have enough support. Stomach sleepers, however, are often prone to neck pain and back problems because stomach sleeping causes the lower back to overarch and the neck to twist awkwardly to the side. 

Contrary to common belief, a very firm mattress may not be the best option for back pain sufferers. According to a one Harvard survey involving 268 people, those who slept on an extra-firm mattress experienced the worst sleep. Those who slept on an ultrasoft mattress also didn’t sleep great. But those who slept on a firm or medium-firm mattress had the best sleep quality of all.

What you should know about mattress types

Traditional innerspring mattresses are more bouncy but have less cushioning than other mattress types. Their coil support systems promote elevation, which is helpful for the spine alignment and responsiveness that sleepers with back pain need. 

Memory foam mattresses are famously popular among back pain sufferers because they provide good spine alignment and pressure relief. But be warned, this material can sleep hotter than other types.

Latex is naturally breathable, so latex mattresses generally sleep cool. They’re also bouncy and feel more like you’re sleeping “on” the mattress rather than “in” it, which back pain sufferers generally prefer.

Hybrid mattresses incorporate multiple mattress materials, usually foam layers over innerspring for optimal spine support, while cradling the hips and shoulders.