The Bottom Line:

    • Medium-firm mattresses are usually the best choice for back pain.
    • The best mattress for back pain gives your spine plenty of support.
    • The most popular types of mattresses for back pain include memory foam/gel foam mattresses and luxury hybrids.

Uncomfortable mattresses aren’t the only causes of back and neck pain, but they’re one of the main triggers. If you’ve ever felt sore after getting out of bed in the morning, this connection shouldn’t come as a surprise. One of the first things you should do if you have persistent lower back pain is tossing out your old mattress and get a new one as soon as possible.

The Benefits of a Great Mattress for Your Back

A great mattress can offer countless benefits for your lower back, upper back, neck, legs, and other areas:

    • Relief from pain at night: Mattresses that adapt to the contours of your body keep your spine in a natural posture. This type of mattress avoids putting pressure on sensitive points and gives your muscles a chance to truly relax.
    • Sleep that heals you: If back pain normally wakes you up tons of times during the night, your body can’t heal its injuries properly. A great mattress helps you sleep all night long, so you wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. During deep sleep, the body goes into repair mode, restoring injured muscles and getting rid of inflammation.
    • Less pain the next day: Did you know that not sleeping can actually make you more sensitive to back pain? The better you sleep, the less you notice aches and pains during the day. This can create a positive cycle: You feel better, so you sleep better, which in turn helps get rid of the pain.
    • Prevention of back pain in the first place: Even people who don’t currently have problems with back pain can benefit. According to, a mattress that promotes spinal alignment can help just about anyone prevent back pain.

The reason modern mattresses are so amazing for back pain is that they’ve advanced a ton in the areas of comfort and body support. When your back gets the support it needs, the amount of stress your muscles and ligaments have to deal with is much less.

When Should You Replace an Old Mattress?

Only your body can tell you if it’s time for a mattress change. If you’re not sleeping well at night and don’t feel comfortable, something is wrong. After a while, some mattresses sag in the wrong spots, leaving your spinal column out of whack. This is almost sure to lead to sore muscles in your upper or lower back.

Some experts recommend changing your mattress every six to eight years, but it really comes down to the quality of the mattress. A cheap mattress can feel terrible after just a week, while a high-quality mattress may keep you happy for more than a decade. The bottom line is that frequent back pain is a pretty good sign that it’s time to get a new mattress.

Types of Mattresses That Help a Lot With Back Problems

There are several different kinds of mattresses that can alleviate or prevent back pain. The best mattress type honestly depends on your personal preferences and your budget. Each option has specific advantages that can make a world of difference for you:

    • Memory foam/gel foam: This mattress type has exploded in popularity, and for a good reason. Memory or gel foam conforms to your body’s natural posture, supporting everything from your neck to your hips. For maximum support, choose a well-known brand name such as Stearns & Foster with a medium-firm core.
    • Latex: You can also find eco-friendly versions of memory foam mattresses. Latex models are natural and breathable, keeping you cool all night long while providing great support.
    • Pocketed coils: Similar to innerspring mattresses, pocketed-coil models reduce the movement you feel from other parts of the bed. If you sleep with someone else, this type of mattress can prevent you from waking up if the other person tends to move around.
    • Airbeds: The power of air can provide one of the most comfortable mattresses for back pain. The main advantage of this type of mattress is that premium models let you adjust the firmness level however you want. This provides great support and can also adapt to your partner’s needs.
    • Hybrid mattresses: Hybrids such as our Sealy Posturepedic series combine the firmness of innerspring with the comfort of memory foam. You can even choose a custom hybrid mattress with different levels of firmness for each side of the bed.
    • Pillow Top or Euro-top mattresses: For maximum luxury, pillowtop mattresses let you dream like an authentic king or queen. They’re perfect for people who sleep best with a softer mattress but also want some underlying firmness for their back pain.

Are Firm Mattresses Better for People Who Have Back Problems?

In the past, many scientists believed that extremely firm mattresses were best for back pain; however, new evidence suggests this isn’t usually the case. Something that is too firm may put too much pressure on sensitive nerves and tender muscles. For many people, a medium-firm mattress is the best choice for back pain, especially if you can adjust the settings yourself.

Tips for Choosing the Best Mattress Type for Back Pain

Trust us; this is one investment you’ll never regret. After all, you spend about one-third of your life in bed. It pays to take your time and choose a mattress that makes you feel comfortable each night and energized every morning. These tips can help you make a great decision:

1. Choose Something With Maximum Support, Not Extreme Firmness

Firmness is important in a mattress, but it’s only part of the answer to back pain. The real key to sleeping great is getting proper support for your spine. This often means choosing a mattress that’s somewhere in-between in terms of firm and soft.

2. Know Your Preferred Sleep Position

The best amount of firmness for your mattress type depends on your sleep posture. People who sleep on their side may need a slightly softer mattress compared to back sleepers. If you sleep on your stomach, your mattress will probably need to be firmer than normal to avoid neck pain.

3. Listen to Your Body

Don’t listen to family members who tell you that an ultra-firm mattress is best or a softer mattress is the right choice. Those options may be perfect for them, but your body is unique. The best mattress for your back pain and the right level of firmness are things you have to decide for yourself.

Custom Beds and Mattresses for Your Back

At Mattress360, we make it easier than ever to find the perfect mattress for your back. Choosing one of our customized mattresses gives you complete control over back support, sleep style, and comfort. We have a variety of luxury and hybrid mattresses from the most trusted names in chiropractic sleep science, including TEMPER-PEDIC and Sealy Posturepedic. Test these heavenly mattresses for your back by visiting our showroom in Glendale, Arizona, right away. Reach out with any questions by calling (623) 376-8360


Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ivelin

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