Updated January 11, 2021Over 65 million Americans suffer from some form of back pain. Forms of back pain include scoliosis, osteoporosis, chronic back pain, and muscle strain. A high-quality mattress should provide lumbar support and encourage spinal alignment. Enhanced pressure point relief can reduce aches and pains to help you fall asleep faster.Best Memory Foam Mattress for Back PainBest Overall Memory Foam Mattress: Amerisleep AS2Best Cooling Memory Foam Mattress: Zoma MattressBest Budget-Friendly Foam Mattress: Vaya MattressBest Memory Foam Mattresses for Back PainMattressHighlightPriceAmerisleep AS25-zoned support system cradles the hips and encourages healthy spinal alignment$979ZomaThree zones of support relieve pressure points$699VayaBreathable, responsive foams relieve pressure points without risk of overheating$599BearGraphite-gel memory foam prevents overheating while relieving pressure in the back$800Nolah Original 10Responsive foams cushion the shoulders and hips while encouraging spinal alignment$10191. Amerisleep AS2The Amerisleep AS2 is one of the best memory foam mattresses for back pain. The AS2 is perfect for most sleepers. A thinner comfort layer provides excellent pressure relief. A thicker zoned transition layer improves lumbar support.Bio-Pur® is a plant-based memory foam. Castor oil partially replaces petroleum, producing a breathable and responsive memory foam. Bio-Pur® conforms to the body’s natural curves, relieving pressure points without overheating.The Affinity foam transition layer incorporates HIVE® technology. Hexagon-shaped segments form a 5-zoned support system. The layer is soft under the shoulders and hips, and firmer under the head, back, and legs.Bio-Core® is a durable base foam that distributes weight across the surface. Bio-Core® supports the body without the risk of sagging.2. ZomaThe Zoma mattress is for athletes or those with an active lifestyle. Cooling gel and responsive foams prevent heat traps. It may also reduce inflammation and improve muscle recovery. The Zoma mattress is an excellent choice for side and combination sleepers. The medium feel offers excellent pressure point relief in the shoulders and hips.The gel memory foam comfort layer uses Triangulex™ technology. Triangle-shaped segments form three zones of support. Areas under the head, shoulders, and legs, feel softer. A firmer feel is under the back and hips for enhanced lumbar support.Reactiv™ is a latex-like foam that has a responsive bounce and prevents sinking.Support+ is a base foam that distributes weight for consistent support.3. VayaThe Vaya mattress has a medium feel. This firmness is an excellent option for side and combination sleepers. The responsive foam layers make it easier to switch to other sleep positions.The soft, plush mattress cover allows better airflow for a cooler surface.Vaya Comfort foam has a supportive bounce, enhancing support to the spine. Vaya Comfort foam also forms to the body, relieving pressure in the hips and shoulders.Vaya Base foam is durable and built to last. Vaya Base foam distributes weight and reinforces the shape of the bed.SEE ALSO: Best Memory Foam Mattresses4. Bear The Bear mattress has a medium-firm feel, ideal for most sleepers. Foam layers relieve pressure buildup in the shoulders and cradle the hips.The mattress cover contains FDA-determined Celliant® technology. Thermo-reactive yarn transforms heat into infrared energy for a rejuvenating rest. Celliant® technology may also improve local blood flow.The graphite-gel memory foam disperses heat for temperature regulation. This comfort layer also contours to the body for pressure point relief.The responsive transition layer enhances pressure relief and supports the spine. This foam layer also prevents the body from sinking too deep.High-density foam supports the body with little risk of sagging.5. Nolah Original 10 Nolah Original 10 mattress is a great option for side and combination sleepers. This mattress is for side sleepers, reducing shoulder pain and soreness. The Nolah Original 10 offers optimal pressure relief in the shoulders and hips. Responsive foam layers also prevent sleepers from feeling stuck.Pressure-relieving AirFoam™ is a poly-foam comfort layer injected with large amounts of air. More air pockets create more airflow inside the mattress. This process also produces a more responsive foam. AirFoam™ gives optimal cushioning in the shoulders and hips.High-resilience foam is stronger and more durable than latex. This responsive transition foam gives a nice bounce, making it easier to climb in and out of bed. Plus, sleepers won’t feel trapped.The high-density base is a durable support foam. The support layer also reinforces the contouring properties of the top layers.Back Pain and Its Effect on SleepInjury, overused muscles, or sleeping on an old mattress can cause back pain. Most back pain is temporary, but pain that lasts more than three months may be chronic.Back pain sufferers find it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep, waking from discomfort. Without a good night’s sleep, you may feel drowsy and have difficulties focusing on daytime tasks.What Causes Back Pain in a Mattress?A mattress may cause back pain if it’s too soft or too firm, or is old and sagging.A too-soft mattress causes the body to sink too deep and can increase the pressure in the spine and pelvis. A too-firm surface leaves gaps between the body and the mattress and strains the muscles in the lower back. Gaps lead to more pressure buildup in the back. Most orthopedic injuries such as arthritis, tendonitis, and sprained joints all cause our joints to become inflamed. “Our bodies combat inflammation best during restful sleep, and impaired sleep can prolong the high levels of inflammation in our bodies,” says Dr. Bhavik Sheth, Physical Therapist.An old, worn-out mattress may have a visible sag in the middle, a clear sign that it’s time for a new bed. Sagging occurs when materials deteriorate under continued use. A sagging mattress lacks good support for the spine and creates pressure points.Why Is Memory Foam Recommended for Back Pain?Heat and pressure soften memory foam, causing it to conform to the body. Memory foam provides better spinal support and optimal pressure relief. Memory foam also has excellent motion isolation, restricting movement for fewer sleep disruptions.Traditional memory foam has a higher risk of trapping heat. But memory foam containing cooling materials may reduce inflammation from sore back muscles.How to Find the Best Mattress for Back PainChoose a new bed based on sleeping position, firmness level, and cooling materials. These factors ease discomfort and offer better support for a pain-free night.Sleeping PositionEach sleep position requires a different firmness to provide the best comfort and support. While back sleeping is best for those with a bad back, some may struggle to sleep in this position. Choosing the best mattress based on sleeping position can reduce chronic pain. Sleeping on a bed that encourages proper spinal alignment may reduce back problems.Back SleepingBack sleeping is best for sleepers with back problems. The body rests in a neutral position with less pressure against the spine. Some risks to back sleeping include snoring and developing sleep apnea.A medium to firm mattress is best for back sleepers. This bed encourages a neutral position and provides better support in the lower back.Side SleepingSide sleeping is the most common sleep position and the healthiest. Side sleeping improves heart health, enables better breathing, and reduces acid reflux. Adding a pillow between the knees relieves pressure in the hips.The best mattress for side sleepers has a soft to medium feel, relieving pressure buildup.Combination SleepingCombination sleepers switch between two to three sleep positions each night. They enjoy the benefits of each position, like better breathing. But, combination sleeping also has drawbacks, like snoring potential and low back pain.Combination sleepers need a medium to medium-firm surface. It offers a balance of comfort and support, maintaining spinal alignment.Stomach SleepingStomach sleeping is the least recommended sleep position for those with back problems. Stomach sleeping puts intense pressure on the spine. It may lead to neck strain and lower back pain. Placing a thin pillow under the hips can cut pressure on the spine.The best mattress for stomach sleepers has a medium-firm to firm feel. A firmer surface prevents deep sinkage, which could misalign the spine.Firmness LevelsA firmer mattress is an excellent option for back pain but you should consider your body weight first. A firm mattress may feel too hard to lightweight and average weight sleepers. But a firmer surface may feel perfect for plus-size sleepers who need extra support.Lightweight SleepersLightweight sleepers weigh less than 130 pounds. They need a softer mattress that will contour and relieve pressure. Anything firmer than a medium may feel too hard and create more pressure points.Average Weight SleepersAverage weight sleepers weigh between 130 pounds to 230 pounds. They find the best comfort from a medium surface for a balance of comfort and support. Too much softness may lead to sagging, and a firmer feel could create more pressure.Plus-Size SleepersPlus-size sleepers weigh more than 230 pounds. A firmer surface is ideal, offering comfort and support without the risk of sagging. A bed softer than a medium may lack support and lead to misalignment.Cooling FeaturesTraditional memory foam retains heat but incorporating cooling materials may reduce back pain. Incorporating cooling materials doesn’t take away from memory foam’s conforming properties. Additionally, they may soothe tense muscles and damaged nerves.Plant-Based OilsManufacturers partially replace petroleum with plant-based oils to produce more responsive memory foam. Plant-based memory foam is also eco-friendly and has less off-gassing potential (chemical smell).GelGel is mixed or swirled in, or gel beads are added during the production process. Gel absorbs and disperses body heat while conforming to the body for pressure relief.Copper or Graphite InfusionsCopper and graphite are natural heat conductors, drawing heat away from the body. Copper also has antimicrobial properties. Copper keeps bacteria away from the mattress for a cleaner sleep.Other Mattress TypesIf you don’t like memory foam’s hug-like feel, latex and hybrid beds are also great choices. with conforming pressure relief and even support. Innersprings are not recommended because they lack pressure relief. They may also escalate back problems.LatexLatex is like traditional memory foam—providing conforming, pressure relief and motion isolation. Unlike memory foam, latex sleeps cooler, forming around the body instead of against it. Latex is also slightly firmer than memory foam, offering spinal support.Latex mattresses contain synthetic or natural latex. Synthetic latex is created through a chemical process. Natural latex is made from rubber tree sap and is more expensive. Natural latex mattresses are more durable than other mattress types.HybridA hybrid mattress combines pressure-relieving memory foam or latex and innerspring coils. A true hybrid mattress contains a comfort layer at least 2 inches thick and a coiled support base.Hybrids combine the benefits of two mattresses into one. Memory foam or latex provides pressure relief and motion isolation. Innerspring offers bounce and cooling. Hybrids also come with drawbacks, including overheating and motion transfer.Hybrid mattresses are more expensive because they contain more materials. Yet, that extra cost is worth it for enhanced contour and support for back pain relief.InnerspringInnerspring mattresses are common in hotels, dorm rooms, and many households. Their hallmark features are bounce and edge support. Innerspring coils also provide better cooling thanks to its open support structure.Despite these benefits, innerspring mattresses are not recommended for back pain. They’re supportive, but they lack contouring properties. The comfort layer (pillow top) is too thin and doesn’t offer adequate pressure relief. Innerspring mattresses are also the least durable and break down quicker.Bedding AccessoriesIf a new mattress isn’t possible right now, bedding accessories could ease back pain. They can also reduce pressure in specific areas of your body and align the spine.Mattress ToppersMattress toppers alter the feel of your current mattress, adding softness or support. Mattress toppers enhance contouring pressure relief, especially for innerspring mattresses. Mattress toppers can’t bring back lost support from a sagging mattress. Once a bed starts to sag, a mattress topper is only a temporary fix. Also, most warranties cover sagging and may repair or replace the mattress at no extra charge.Mattress toppers are available in any standard size and made of memory foam.PillowsPillows are designed to cradle the head and neck, aligning the spine. The right pillow fills in the gap between the neck and mattress surface. The wrong pillow could create pressure points, leading to neck pain and upper back pain.To find the best pillow, look at the loft, or height. Pillow loft depends on your preferred sleep position:Back SleepersBack sleepers need a low to medium loft pillow (between 3 to 5 inches thick) to support the head and spine.Side SleepersSide sleepers need a medium to high loft pillow to fill in the bigger gap, about 5 inches or higher. Some side sleepers may prefer a body pillow to support the head and neck. Simply place it between the knees to prevent the lower back from twisting.Combination SleepersCombination sleepers need a medium loft pillow, no higher than 5 inches. The medium loft keeps the spine aligned, no matter the sleep position.Stomach SleepersStomach sleepers need a low loft pillow because they have the smallest gap. A pillow no thicker than 3 inches is best. Some stomach sleepers prefer sleeping without a pillow.Adjustable BedAn adjustable bed might seem like a luxury option, but if your budget allows it, this might be worth the cost. Elevating the upper and lower body reduces pressure buildup and improves circulation. Most adjustable bases allow the body to rest in a neutral position.If you’re not sure if an adjustable base is a good idea, talk with a professional healthcare provider first.Consider Sleep Trials and WarrantiesBefore purchasing a new bed, check out the sleep trial or warranty. These perks reassure the customer of a high-quality sale. They also give an idea of how long the mattress will last.Sleep TrialSleep trials allow customers to try a new mattress within the comfort of their own home. These trial periods last between 90 to 120 nights. Some mattress companies require customers to keep the bed for at least 30 days as a break-in period.If the customer doesn’t like the bed, most companies will offer a full refund. If a sleep trial isn’t offered, a return policy is an okay substitute, but only lasts 30 days.WarrantyWarranties protect the mattress from manufacturing defects and sagging. Most high-quality mattresses come with a standard 10-year warranty. Warranties only apply to the original purchaser and can’t be transferred.Other Things to ConsiderHow do I know if my mattress is causing my back pain?If you wake most mornings with back pain, but the pain fades during the day, your mattress could be the cause. A too firm or too soft surface may increase pressure points in the body, leading to back pain. An old bed or a mattress with a visible sag can also cause back pain. Choose a new mattress based on your body weight and preferred sleeping position. This type of bed will keep the spine aligned and may improve sleep quality.What is the best mattress for side sleepers with back pain?A medium-firm mattress is the best choice for side sleepers suffering from back pain. The medium-firm feel relieves pressure points, and also supports the spine. Placing a pillow between the knees can take the pressure off the hips.Can a firm mattress hurt your back?A firm mattress may cause more harm and disrupt your sleep. For example, a lightweight sleeper needs a softer surface and shouldn’t go any firmer than a medium. In contrast, a plus-size sleeper needs a firmer surface for better support.A firm mattress is best for plus-size, and back and stomach sleepers. Side and combination sleepers may find a firm mattress is too hard. A firmer surface won’t compress as much in the hip and shoulder area, creating pressure points.How should I sleep to ease lower back pain?Ideally, you should sleep flat on your back with a pillow below your knees. However, back sleeping is rather uncommon and many people have trouble trying to sleep flat on their back. With that, those with back pain also find relief from sleeping in the fetal position (on their side with their legs curled into their chest).What mattress is best for your spine?Medium and medium-firm mattresses with zoned support technologies are the best at nurturing a healthy spine. These beds are firm enough to maintain neutral alignment, and their zoned technologies offer extra support to the midsection to prevent uncomfortable sinkage.ConclusionBack pain affects 8 out of 10 people in the U.S. and can affect any age group. The discomfort from back pain may disrupt sleep, but the right mattress can reduce this risk. Memory foam is the perfect choice for back pain sufferers. The best memory foam mattress for back pain supports the spine and relieves pressure.This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional. 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