The Best Mattress for Back Pain 2021

Updated on August 19, 2019 While all product recommendations are chosen independently, we may receive compensation for purchases made through our site. Learn more about our affiliate program here.
 

The vast majority of people experience back pain over the course of their lives. While there are many potential causes, often the source of this pain can be traced back to issues relating to how someone sleeps.

A mattress that helps to keep the spine aligned and that relieves the body’s biggest pressure points is much more likely to prevent or alleviate back pain. If you have back pain or worry about back pain, choosing the right mattress is not something to take lightly.

You can keep scrolling through this guide for background about back pain, details about how a mattress can help, and insight into the types of mattresses on the market today. You can also see our top picks below and read a review of each at the bottom of the page.

Please remember that while our guide is thorough and well-researched, it is not a replacement for medical advice. Always consult your doctor or qualified physician with any questions or concerns you have regarding medical conditions, treatments, and advice.

What Are the Best Mattresses For Back Pain?

ManufacturerModelMattress TypeFirmnessPrice (Queen)
PremierHybridMedium Firm (6)$1,399
Level Sleep MattressFoamHead: Soft (3); Torso: Firm (7); Legs: Medium (5)$1,199
Alexander SignatureHybrid3 choices: Plush (3), Medium (5), Firm (7)$1,499
Natural EscapeHybridMedium Firm (6)$1,399
Natures Novel Latex MattressLatex2 choices: Medium Soft (4.5), Firm (7)$1,399
Twilight HybridHybridMedium (5)$428
Latex for Less MattressLatexMedium Firm (6) on one side; Firm (7.5) on the other$1,549

*Price varies by mattress size from twin up to California King (those listed are Queen). Optional pillowtop accessories may increase price in some models.

 

DreamCloud Premier 

Why we like it:

  • Luxurious Euro-top hybrid design
  • Medium firm feel with light contouring and good responsiveness
  • Zoned coils deliver sturdy edge support
  • 365-night sleep trial and lifetime warranty

DreamCloud logo

DreamCloud Mattress

The DreamCloud Premier is ideal for people who enjoy sleeping on thick, high-profile mattresses. Measuring 14 inches tall, the Premier begins with a hand-tufted Euro-top cover made from a luxe cashmere blend. Two memory foam comfort layers contour to the body to evenly distribute your weight and alleviate pain in the lower back and other sensitive areas, but the mattress has a medium firm (6) feel and won’t hug you too tightly.

The Premier also contains a support core of pocketed coils with added reinforcement along the perimeter, which minimizes sinkage and makes getting in and out of bed easier – especially if you weigh more than 230 pounds. The coils also promote airflow to cool off the interior and help the mattress maintain a comfortable temperature.

Couples should also find the mattress appealing. The memory foam layers absorb movement rather well and prevent most transfer across the surface, reducing the potential for nighttime sleep disruptions, but the coils also create a somewhat responsive feel on the surface that many couples prefer for sex.

Compared to other luxury hybrids, the Premier is very reasonably priced and shipping is free for all orders in the contiguous U.S. DreamCloud allows you to test out the mattress for up to 365 nights before deciding to return it – one of the longest trial periods in the industry. If you choose to keep the Premier, you’ll also receive a lifetime warranty against structural defects for as long as you own the bed.

 

Level Sleep Mattress

Why we like it:

  • Zoned transitional layer provides enhanced support to different areas of the body
  • Adaptive foam contours to the body without excessive hugging
  • Good motion isolation for couples
  • 365-night sleep trial and lifetime warranty

Level Sleep logo

The Level Sleep Mattress is well suited to people with back pain thanks to its innovative design, which includes a zoned transitional layer composed of Energex polyfoam. This layer feels soft for the head and shoulders, firm beneath the torso and hips, and medium around the legs. This mixed-feel construction ensures you’ll receive enhanced support where people tend to carry a disproportionate amount of weight, and gentler cradling around lighter areas of the body.

The comfort layer is made of adaptive polyfoam, which contours evenly without the deep “body-hug” associated with memory foam, while a high-density polyfoam base layer stabilizes the entire mattress for added reinforcement. Due to its unconventional design, the mattress should provide adequate support for side and back sleepers who weigh up to 230 pounds. Stomach sleepers weighing less than 130 pounds may also find it comfortable. 

As an all-foam model, the Level Sleep Mattress also absorbs movement quite well and reduces motion transfer across the surface – a common source of sleep disruptions for couples. The mattress is also completely silent, so you and your partner won’t be disturbed by any loud creaks when the other person gets up in the middle of the night.

The Level Sleep Mattress is reasonably priced and the company provides free ground shipping throughout the contiguous U.S. Your purchase includes a sleep trial that allows you to test out the mattress for up to 365 nights – one of the longest trial periods in the industry. Those who decide to keep the mattress will also receive a lifetime warranty against structural defects.

 

Nest Bedding Alexander Signature Hybrid

Why we like it:

  • Contouring foam layers alleviate pain and pressure points
  • Supportive coil system
  • Cooling PCM-infused cover
  • 3 firmness options and free exchanges

Nest Bedding Logo

Nest Alexander Signature Hybrid Mattress

The Alexander Signature Hybrid from Nest Bedding is a good option for people who are unsure about their ideal firmness level. The mattress is available in three firmness levels: plush (3), medium (5), and firm (7). If you aren’t satisfied with your initial choice, Nest Bedding offers a “comfort exchange” as part of the 100-night sleep trial. Simply return the mattress free of charge and receive a replacement bed with a softer or firmer feel.

The hybrid is constructed with a top layer of medium-density memory foam that offers precise, even contouring from head to toe. This foam is infused with copper, which helps keep the surface cool and also has antimicrobial properties. Two additional foam layers bolster the sleep surface and prevent you from sinking too much, while a support core of pocketed coils provides excellent overall stability for the mattress. 

The coils generate air currents throughout the interior to help the Alexander Signature Hybrid maintain a comfortable temperature. Another helpful feature is a cover infused with phase-change material, which draws heat away from your body and keeps the surface cool regardless of how hot you feel. 

The Alexander Signature Hybrid is competitively priced, and ground shipping is free for all customers in the lower 48 states. In addition to the 100-night trial and comfort exchange option, Nest Bedding provides a lifetime warranty that covers structural defects for as long as you own the mattress.

 

My Green Mattress Natural Escape

Why we like it:

  • Durable and breathable latex hybrid construction
  • Excellent edge support
  • Sustainably sourced organic materials
  • 20-year warranty

Some people experience back pain because they don’t receive enough support from their mattress, including many back and stomach sleepers and those who weigh more than 230 pounds. The My Green Mattress Natural Escape is a medium firm (6) hybrid mattress built with sturdy materials that keep your body on an even plane and prevent uncomfortable sinkage. 

The comfort layer consists of Dunlop latex measuring 3 inches thick. Dunlop latex is naturally dense and durable. It’s also quite responsive, creating a bouncy feel for the surface with some gentle conforming to reduce pressure points along the spine. The latex has earned an organic certification from the Global Organic Latex Standard, one of the world’s leading authorities for this type of latex. The cotton and wool used to produce the cover have received similar organic certifications. 

The support core contains pocketed coils with zoned support for the sides and lower back, resulting in added reinforcement for areas where most people carry a disproportionate amount of weight. The coils circulate air currents to help the mattress stay cool. The breathable cover and comfort layer materials also assist with temperature regulation, so the Natural Escape is very well-suited to hot sleepers.

The Natural Escape’s price-point is slightly lower than that of the average latex hybrid, though My Green Mattress allows you to bundle your purchase with a topper, protector, and other accessories. Shipping is free for all orders within the contiguous U.S., and each purchase includes a 120-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty.

 

Sweet Zzz Natures Novel Latex Mattress

Why we like it:

  • Exceptional durability and responsiveness
  • Ventilated latex promotes airflow to keep the mattress cool
  • 2 firmness options
  • Handmade with natural materials

If you are looking for a balance of body-contouring and springiness from your mattress, then an all-latex bed might be right up your alley. The Natures Novel Latex Mattress from Sweet Zzz is built on an 11-inch profile with two individual layers. Latex is sought after as a mattress material thanks in part to its exceptional longevity. The material contours to the body much like foam, but is not as susceptible to bodily impressions or loss of shape. 

The 4-inch comfort layer is composed of natural Talalay latex, a light and bouncy material, while the support layer has a much denser and more robust feel. Both layers are ventilated with holes to push air currents throughout the mattress, allowing for a comfortable interior temperature and excellent cooling near the surface. The Natures Novel cover is made from a blend of natural wool and cotton for added breathability.

Two firmness levels are available for this mattress. The medium-soft (4.5) feel will conform somewhat closely to the body, making it best suited to side sleepers and people who weigh less than 130 pounds. The firm (7) feel delivers more support for individuals who weigh 130 pounds or more, including back and stomach sleepers.

All-latex mattresses can be fairly expensive, making the Natures Novel very reasonably priced by comparison. Sweet Zzz also provides free ground shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. Your purchase includes a 100-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty.

 

Sweet Night Twilight Hybrid

Why we like it:

  • Balanced medium feel
  • Thick foam layers for consistent pain and pressure relief
  • 2 profile options
  • Budget-friendly sticker price

Hybrid mattresses can be ideal for people with back pain because they combine the contouring and pressure relief of a foam bed with the sturdy support of a traditional innerspring. Trouble is, hybrids can be fairly expensive. The Sweet Zzz Twilight Hybrid is a notable exception. This model offers the same quality and performance of a top-tier hybrid at a fraction of the average price.

The Twilight Hybrid begins with comfort layers of adaptive polyfoam and gel memory foam that contour closely to the body and cushion areas along the spine. The mattress has a medium (5) feel, so side and back sleepers who weigh up to 230 pounds should be able to rest comfortably without sinking too deeply. 

A support core of pocketed coils provides strong reinforcement, especially along the edges to prevent deep sinkage when you sleep near or sit along the perimeter. The coils also help the mattress sleep cool by promoting air currents throughout the interior.

You can choose between a 10-inch or 12-inch profile for your Twilight Hybrid. While the latter is slightly more expensive, the sticker price for this mattress in any size and thickness is much lower than that of the average hybrid model. Other perks include free delivery throughout the contiguous U.S., a 100-night sleep trial, and a 10-year warranty.

 

Latex for Less Mattress

Why we like it:

  • Reversible design with two firmness levels
  • Supportive and durable
  • Excellent temperature regulation
  • 2 profile options

Latex for Less Logo

Latex for Less mattress

If you are a sleeper with back pain whose firmness preferences fluctuate from night to night, then a flippable mattress might be the best option. These models feature a sleep surface on the top and bottom sides, and each one typically has a different firmness level. 

The Latex for Less Mattress is a standout reversible model because it is composed entirely of durable, responsive latex that keeps the body on an even plane. One side of the mattress is medium firm (6), while the other is firm (7-8). These feels are best suited to people who need less contouring and more support from their mattress. You can also choose between profiles of 7 or 9 inches, so the mattress is a great fit for anyone who prefers a lower-profile bed.

The firmer feels of this mattress combined with the natural durability of latex means the surfaces should resist sagging and deep impressions quite well. The Latex for Less Mattress is also suitable for hot sleepers thanks to its ventilated comfort and support layers, as well as a breathable cover made from organic cotton.

Prices for this mattress are in line with the average all-latex model. All customers receive free ground shipping, as well as 100-night sleep trials and 20-year warranties.   

 

Best Mattress for Back Pain Buying Guide

What Causes Back Pain?

Back pain, specifically lower back pain, is extremely common. Studies have found that it the cause of more doctor visits than any other ailment in the United States except for colds and the flu.

Not all back pain is the same, and it is usually described as either acute or chronic. Acute back pain doesn’t last as long and usually happens suddenly and in response to a particular event like a twisting of the back. Chronic back pain is a long-term issue that isn’t tied directly to one recent incident.

Structural issues with the spine, such as spinal stenosis or herniated or degenerative discs, can be a cause of back pain. These issues may also make certain people predisposed to flare-ups of back pain. Back pain can be caused by more serious underlying medical issues. For this reason, you should talk to a health professional if you experience lasting, worsening, or debilitating back pain.

Having the right mattress can help, but going to your doctor is a necessary step to rule out more serious issues and putting you on the right track for pain relief. A doctor may also be able to refer you to physical therapy that can work in concert with your mattress to keep your back as pain-free as possible.

How Can a Mattress Affect Back Pain?

Just given the sheer amount of time that you spend in bed, the design and feel of your mattress plays a direct role in the condition of your back. If your spine is poorly aligned in bed, it can easily lead to aches and pains. In this section, we’ll analyze some of the specific ways your mattress affects back pain and some of the important considerations for mattress shopping as it relates to mitigating this pain.

Support

Our bodies are not perfectly proportional, and when we lie down, some parts of the body may need more cushioning than others. These parts of the body are called pressure points. Every person’s pressure points can be slightly different, but for most people, the biggest ones are in the hips and shoulders. Between the hips and shoulders, of course, is the spine, and a mattress that offers robust support for these pressure points can help keep the spine in alignment. By supporting the natural curvature of the spine, a supportive mattress helps reduce stiffness and pain.

Firmness

This is all about how the mattress feels, and firmness is usually described on a 1-10 scale with 10 being the most firm. Mattresses that are extremely firm or plush usually pose problems when it comes to back pain. On a very firm mattress, there is a lack of support for pressure points (as it would be if you were lying down on concrete). On a very soft mattress, there is too much give, and parts of the body can sink down, quickly causing the spine to become misaligned. Medium-firm mattresses (5-7 on the firmness scale) are the best for most people and for most sleeping positions.

Durability

A mattress that is giving out and sagging is not going to be able to offer the kind of support or comfort that you need. Because of this, it’s important to prioritize finding a mattress that will perform well over the entire course of the time that you’re hoping to use it. Mattresses built with high-end materials and high-density foams typically have a longer useful life.

Your Pillow 

Though not actually part of the mattress, your pillow nonetheless is an important thing to consider when thinking about preventing back pain in bed. In supporting your neck, the pillow plays a role in spinal alignment, and you want to make sure to use a pillow that complements your mattress. Other strategically-placed pillows may also be useful to help with providing support and cushioning depending on your sleeping position.

What Mattress Features Should You Look For?

In addition to looking closely at the mattress characteristics that directly influence the risk of back pain, you also want to keep an eye out for these other features when mattress shopping.

High-End Components

When you look at a mattress, you don’t actually see the most important part of it. No matter how nice a mattress looks or how nice it sounds when described by the manufacturer, what really matters is how well it is built. If you want durability and performance, you need materials that are solid enough to deliver.

When shopping, look for mattresses that have their full specifications posted for all to see online: it shouldn’t take extensive hunting to find these details. Then you’ll want to look closely at the mattress composition. If you notice any poorly-designed layers, be wary. All of the layers of a mattress work together, so one shoddy layer can be costly to the mattress as a whole.

Solid Comfort Layer

The comfort layer provides the most immediate source of support to the body’s pressure points. If this layer is too thin or made with cheap foam, there will be a much higher probability that you won’t get the support or durability that you need to combat back pain. Our advice is to look for combined comfort layers of 3” or more and when foam is used, a minimum foam density of 3.5 pounds per cubic foot (PCF) for those layers.

Bang for Your Buck

Regardless of how much you’re ready to spend on a mattress, you don’t want to be the person who overpays. Look for well-designed mattresses that are competitively priced relative to similar models on the market. Also make sure to be on the lookout for promotions and coupons that can bring down your out-of-pocket cost.

Free Shipping

If you’re buying online, the industry norm is for shipping to be included in your purchase price. We recommend looking for a mattress that clearly offers free shipping so that you don’t get saddled with an unexpected extra cost.

No-Risk Sleep Trial

You may be worried about buying a mattress if you can’t first test it out in a store. Thankfully, most online mattress sellers provide a convenient alternative: the in-home sleep trial. During this trial, which is often around 3 months in length, you can return the mattress and get your full purchase price refunded if you find that the mattress doesn’t meet your needs.

Whenever possible, look for a sleep trial that gives you plenty of time to try the mattress, does not include any restocking or return shipping fees, and does not have any other notable restrictions.

Some trials require that you try the mattress for 30 nights before initiating a return. While this isn’t ideal, it is often a good idea to give yourself some time to adjust to a mattress before making a determination about whether it’s going to work for you over the long term.

Strong Review History

You can learn a great deal about a mattress from its customer reviews. However, you want to make sure that you look only at verified reviews, which are far more reliable and give a better sense of the true performance of the mattress.

Adjustable Frame Compatible

An adjustable frame is controlled by a remote and allows you to move the head or legs of the bed up or down. For some people who suffer from back problems, adjustable frames let them maintain more comfortable sleeping positions. Many types of mattresses can be used with these frames, but you may want to check this in advance if you plan to use this type of bed base.

What Types of Mattresses Are Available?

Foam
Latex
Innerspring
Hybrid
Airbed
Foam

In these mattresses, several layers of foams are stacked on top of one another. The mattress maker can select foams of different thicknesses and with varying characteristics of firmness and responsiveness in order to create a particular feel for the mattress as a whole.

Latex

When the entire mattress is composed of latex, a type of rubber, we call it a latex mattress. This may also be called an “all-latex” or “true latex” mattress. Latex is a responsive material but also has more resilience or bounce than most foams.

Innerspring

A tried-and-true mattress design, these models use coils to form a base of support that usually provides a considerable amount of bounce. Innerspring mattresses also usually include a thin pillowtop or foam comfort layer to give extra cushioning.

Hybrid

A hybrid mattress has the same support core as an innerspring model (metal coils), but the comfort layer(s) are thicker. As a result, the hybrid involves a more balanced combination of materials including coils, foam, and/or latex.

Airbed

Utilizing an inflatable air chamber to determine firmness, these mattresses provide a high-level of customization for each user. The amount of air can be adjusted using a remote or using a smartphone. In addition, there may be a thin comfort layer of foam or latex materials on top of the air chamber.