Best Firm Mattress for Back PainUpdated on February 27, 2021 While all product recommendations are chosen independently, we may receive compensation for purchases made through our site. Learn more about how we make money here.
Best Firm Mattress for Back Pain
Many find themselves waking up with a sore or aching back at some point in their lives. Though back pain is common, it can lead to poor sleep quality. Long-term disruptions in proper sleep can make it difficult for the body to recover throughout the night, which in turn may increase pain.
Back pain can have many causes, including injuries, underlying conditions, poor posture, or an improper sleeping surface. Regardless of the cause, the right mattress can help promote spinal alignment while relieving pressure and allowing the muscles to relax more fully, which can help reduce back pain. Many back pain sufferers prefer a firm mattress for its even support, though this may vary based on the sleeper’s body type and position preference.
However, with countless mattresses on the market and several personal factors to consider, choosing the best mattress for you can be a daunting task. We will discuss our favorite firm mattresses that can help alleviate back pain and explore how different sleeping surfaces can impact back pain while giving tips on how to find the right mattress for you.
Our Top Picks
|Mattress||Model||Mattress Type||Firmness||Price (CA King)|
Extra Firm (9)
|New airweave Mattress||Foam||Firm (8)||$1,810|
|Aurora||Hybrid||Medium Soft (4), Medium Firm (6), Firm (7)||$1,699|
Why We Like It:
- High-density polyfoam increases support
- Flippable design allows for two firmness options
- Optional cooling panel designed to decrease heat buildup
The Plank Mattress by Brooklyn Bedding is an all-foam model that provides sleepers with a stable, supportive surface to promote proper spinal alignment. While many all-foam mattresses are too plush for those who suffer from back pain, the Plank is constructed of sturdy polyfoam that increases support and prevents sinkage around the midsection that could jeopardize a sleeper’s posture.
This mattress features a flippable design to allow sleepers to choose their level of support as needed. The top side is firm, rating at a 7 out of 10 on the firmness scale, and the bottom side is extra firm, coming in at a 9. Those who suffer from back pain will likely enjoy the extra firmness of this mattress, as the added structure can help keep the spine in a neutral position throughout the night.
Each side is topped with a quilted layer to increase comfort. The firm side uses a 1.5-inch quilted layer for extra cushioning, while the extra firm side has .75 inches. The firm side of the bed also contains a 2-inch layer of transitional polyfoam for deep compression support. A 7-inch layer of high-density polyfoam acts as the stable core for both sides. Sleepers may also choose to add a cooling panel with phase change material, which is designed to regulate surface temperatures without interfering with the firmness.
The Plank is backed by a 10-year limited warranty and comes with a 120-night sleep trial, though buyers must try the mattress for a minimum of 30 days from the delivery date to allow the body time to properly adjust to the new surface.
Why we like it:
- Specifically designed for heavier bodies
- Extra lift and support from a heavy-duty coil system
- High-density polyfoam reinforcement adds durability
Brooklyn Bedding’s Titan Hybrid Mattress was created specifically for heavier sleepers who need extra support to keep their spines in a neutral position throughout the night. This hybrid design pairs the extra support of heavy-duty coils with gel memory foam that conforms to the body and relieves pressure. The Titan Hybrid Mattress is a firm (8) model, making it especially appropriate for back pain sufferers who weigh over 230 pounds.
Each of the premium springs is individually encased to isolate motion and reduce noise, and this 6-inch core rests upon a 2-inch layer of high-density polyfoam to reinforce the coils as they compress.
A 1-inch layer of memory foam is quilted into the top of the mattress for gentle cradling, and gel within the foam is intended to transfer heat away from the body. Next, a 2-inch layer of patented TitanFlex polyfoam is designed to contour to the body without sacrificing responsiveness. Buyers can also add-on a cooling panel made of phase change material engineered to deliver cooling on contact.
The Titan is covered by a 10-year limited warranty. Brooklyn Bedding also offers a 120-night sleep trial with a 30-day required break-in period.
Why we like it:
- Zoned coil core for enhanced spinal support
- Added edge reinforcement to prevent sagging
- Designed for heavier individuals
The WinkBed Plus is a hybrid mattress that incorporates polyfoam and latex with an individually wrapped coil system to provide sleepers with ample support and contouring pressure relief. To individuals who weigh less than 200 pounds, this mattress will likely feel firm (8). However, it is designed to feel medium firm (6.5) to those who weigh over 300 pounds.
Five distinct zones in the coil support system provide extra structure in higher pressure areas that tend to sink, such as the hips and abdomen. This zoned system can help relieve and prevent back pain by keeping the spine evenly supported. Each coil is also separately encased to reduce noise and motion transfer, making this a great option for couples or for those who are sensitive to disturbances throughout the night. The coils are also banded together and reinforced for extra support and durability.
The WinkBed Plus features reinforced edge support, which allows sleepers to use the entire surface of the bed without sagging. Edge support may also be an important consideration for those who sometimes struggle to get in or out of bed.
Each mattress is topped with high-density polyfoam that provides cushioning while preventing sagging. A 2.5-inch zoned transition layer of Talalay latex adds to the bed’s responsiveness, breathability, and spinal support. The mattress is wrapped in a soft Tencel cover that is designed to stay cool.
WinkBeds ships free to the contiguous United States, and each mattress comes with a 120-night sleep trial with a 30-night break-in period. The WinkBed Plus is also backed by a lifetime limited warranty.
Why we like it:
- Compact and easy to maneuver
- Excellent ease of motion and edge support
- Unique polyethylene core is extra supportive
The New airweave Mattress is a compact and firm (8) all-foam model that is constructed using a 6-inch support core of proprietary airfiber to provide sleepers with generous support.
This sleek and minimal design is lightweight and easy to maneuver for those who regularly move their mattress. Additionally, the responsive material offers above-average ease of motion, which may make this bed a great choice for sleepers who struggle with mobility.
The bed’s support core is constructed of proprietary airfiber, which is an interwoven polyethylene fiber. This core is sturdier than most all-foam mattresses, and the added support can help relieve back pain by preventing midsection sagging for back sleepers and stomach sleepers who weigh over 130 pounds.
Additionally, the New airweave Mattress includes a polyester layer and cover to provide additional comfort and cushioning. The breathability of the polyethylene and polyester makes this a cool and comfortable choice for sleepers who tend to overheat.
The company offers free shipping in the contiguous United States. The mattress will arrive in two easily maneuverable boxes, and buyers have the option to have their old mattress removed for an additional fee. The mattress comes with a 100-night trial, which includes a 30-night break-in requirement. The New airweave Mattress is covered by a 10-year limited warranty.
Why we like it:
- Three firmness options to choose from
- Special cooling features designed to regulate the surface temperature
- Coil core and multiple layers of foam combine support and contouring
Brooklyn Bedding’s Aurora Mattress is a hybrid model that uses layers of foam and a pocketed coil system to provide sleepers with above-average pressure relief and ample support. Three firmness options are available: medium soft (4), medium firm (6), and firm (7). However, any of these could feel firm depending on the sleeper’s body type.
An 8-inch pocketed coil system features a reinforced perimeter, which will provide sleepers with substantial support to the edge of the bed. The coil core also adds to the bounce of the mattress and supports proper spinal alignment, which can help prevent and/or alleviate back pain. Because of the springiness and sturdiness of these coils and the added reinforcement of a 1-inch polyfoam base, the Aurora Mattress should hold up well and resist sagging that could hamper healthy sleep posture.
The Aurora Mattress uses a three-layer comfort system that can relieve pressure for back pain sufferers. The first layer is 1.5 inches of copper-infused polyfoam with a phase change surface infusion. This material is engineered to cradle the body while staying cool. Next, a 2-inch layer of responsive polyfoam responds quickly to changes in movement to make it easier to change positions. A 1-inch transition layer of gel-infused memory foam further enhances the contouring and adds deep compression support.
Brooklyn Bedding offers free shipping to addresses in the contiguous United States. Each mattress comes with a 120-night sleep trial, though Brooklyn Bedding requests that buyers try it for a minimum of 30 nights to adjust. Additionally, the Aurora Mattress is covered by a 10-year limited warranty.
Why we like it:
- Designed for heavier sleepers
- Multiple foam layers for bounce, pressure relief, and support
- Taller springs and reinforced edges to make getting into and out of bed easier
The Helix Plus is a firm (7) hybrid mattress that pairs the extra support of pocketed coils with the contouring properties of foam. Three layers of memory foam make up the comfort system: a layer of memory foam, a layer of polyfoam, and another layer of memory foam. These layers help the bed distribute body weight more evenly, which makes this mattress a great option for individuals with sharp pressure points.
While the foam comfort system shapes to the sleeper’s body, the pocketed coils provide generous support to prevent excessive sinkage that could pull the spine out of alignment. Side sleepers over 230 pounds and back and stomach sleepers over 130 pounds tend to find that this mattress offers the right mixture of pressure relief and stable support to prevent sagging and back pain.
The coil support core features a reinforced perimeter, which prevents sinking toward the edge of the mattress and allows sleepers to use the entire surface of the bed. These taller coils are designed to provide more support and cradling for heavier individuals while making it easier to get into and out of bed. Each coil is also individually wrapped, which reduces motion transfer and creaking noises. A Tencel cover encases the mattress and lets air circulate in to keep the sleep surface cooler.
Helix provides free shipping to addresses in the United States, and the Plus Mattress is backed by a 15-year limited warranty. Helix also offers a 100-night sleep trial, but buyers must keep the mattress for at least 30 nights to adjust.
Best Firm Mattress for Back Pain: Buyer’s Guide.
When shopping for a mattress, you will likely encounter all sorts of industry lingo and sales jargon that can make it difficult to compare the options. To help you cut through the confusion and find the best mattress for you, we’ll break down the most important factors to consider when buying a bed.
- Price: Price is often the first concern of shoppers, and knowing your price range can give you a place to start. On average, buyers can expect to pay between $1,000 and $2,000 for a quality queen size mattress. Individual brands or models may vary based on quality, materials, and policies.
- Contouring: A mattress that closely contours to the body can increase comfort and relieve pressure points. Materials such as memory foam, polyfoam, and latex are known for conforming to the body to spread the sleeper’s weight more evenly across the surface of the mattress. While highly contouring mattresses can help relieve back pain by allowing the body to relax more fully, shoppers will also need to look for models that provide enough support to prevent the spine from slipping out of proper alignment.
- Quality Materials: High quality, natural, and organic materials tend to come with a higher price tag. That said, they are also often more durable and comfortable than less expensive counterparts, which may make higher quality materials worth the investment.
- Pressure Relief: Lying in a specific position for hours on end can place stress on certain areas of the body, which can result in pain or soreness. Mattresses that contour to the body can help distribute your body weight evenly across the surface of the bed and relieve pressure from common hot spots, like the shoulders or the hips. Beds that incorporate layers of memory foam, polyfoam, or latex typically conform well to relieve pressure, though the extent of relief will also depend on the mattress’ firmness and your body type.
- Edge Support:Edge support refers to the stability of the mattress’ perimeter. Models with extra edge support will not sink as much toward the sides of the bed, which can make the usable surface area seem larger. Edge support may be an important consideration for individuals who like to sleep near the perimeter of the mattress and/or for those who rely on a stable edge to get in and out of bed.
- Temperature Regulation: Increased temperature regulation can prevent overheating throughout the night. Some materials, such as memory foam, tend to trap heat close to the body and may become uncomfortable for some sleepers. However, many mattresses use gel-infused foam or other materials engineered for cooling to maintain a more comfortable temperature. Firmer models and those that contain latex and/or coils also tend to let heat escape, thereby regulating temperatures.
- Noise: Some mattresses squeak or creak as they age. Innerspring and hybrid mattresses tend to produce more noise than foam or latex options because of the metal coils, though many models use individually wrapped springs to reduce this potential.
Are Firm Mattresses Best for Back Pain?
A proper mattress is essential to supporting the spine throughout the night. A model that is too soft can permit sinkage in areas like the hips and abdomen, which can disrupt proper spinal alignment and cause pain over time. Meanwhile, a mattress that is too firm may put excessive pressure on areas like the hips or shoulders, which could force the spine into an unnatural position and/or cause pressure-related aches and pains.
Overall, the ideal bed will provide you with enough cushion to remain comfortable and enough structure to keep the spine aligned. Medium firm and firm mattresses tend to provide the best support to reduce back pain, but perceived firmness is subjective and based largely on body type, so there is no optimal firmness that suits every sleeper.
A simple way to determine if your mattress could be contributing to your back pain is to pay attention to when the pain is most severe. If your back hurts more in the morning, then your mattress might be to blame. You may want to look into other options, including purchasing a new mattress or a mattress topper.
With the wide variety of mattresses available on the market, choosing the right bed for you can be overwhelming. However, almost all mattresses fall into one of the four categories below. While each model may vary, understanding the typical characteristics of the mattress type can help you evaluate your options more easily
A hybrid mattress typically features the same metal coil support core found in an innerspring model. However, hybrids also incorporate other materials, like memory foam, polyfoam, and/or latex, to create a thicker comfort system. The coils usually add bounce, breathability, and edge support, and the comfort system generally provides contouring and pressure relief.
Those who suffer from back pain may find that a hybrid mattress can reduce discomfort, as these models often promote proper spinal alignment while providing enough pressure relief to allow muscles to fully relax.
Innerspring mattresses are usually the most affordable of the four mattress types, and they are constructed using metal coils as their primary source of support. The springs are typically arranged in one of four common patterns, and the coil count and gauge can vary greatly between models.
These beds are generally firmer and less conforming than foam or hybrid options, which may make them less comfortable for those who sleep on their sides. However, back and stomach sleepers may find that the added support of an innerspring mattress can help relieve back pain by preventing the abdomen from sinking in excessively and disrupting proper spinal alignment.
Latex mattresses are made using natural, synthetic, or blended latex. Natural latex comes from the sap of rubber trees and is processed using either the Talalay or the Dunlop process. Meanwhile, synthetic latex is made chemically, and blended latex is a combination of natural and synthetic latex. Latex is known for its durability and unique contouring, which many compare to a floating sensation. Sleepers may find that a latex mattress can relieve back pain by offering a good combination of support and pressure relief.
Foam mattresses typically mold closely to the sleeper’s body, which makes them especially good for pressure relief. Most foam mattresses feature at least some polyfoam, though many also include memory foam comfort or transition layers for a close-conforming hug. Because memory foam tends to trap heat, many all-foam models use gel infusions or other materials designed for cooling.
Most back pain sufferers will rest comfortably on an all-foam model if it is the optimal firmness for them, providing the right balance of cradling and support. However, some foam mattresses may not be ideal for those with mobility issues since the hug of foam could restrict movement and the edges may compress more under a sleeper’s weight.
Sleep positions can help prevent or relieve back pain, but they can also aggravate it.
Back and stomach sleepers are most likely to experience back pain when sleeping on softer mattresses. Without adequate support, their midsections tend to sink into the mattress and pull their spines out of alignment, which can lead to lumbar pain. A more supportive mattress can help, but strategic pillow placement can also be advantageous. Stomach sleepers might place a pillow under the pelvis, and back sleepers may use a pillow under the knees to improve spinal alignment.
For those who sleep on their sides, pain may be caused by a nonoptimal mattress or an improper pillow. The ideal mattress firmness should provide enough contouring and support to promote healthy sleep posture, but back pain could occur if the mattress is too soft or too firm for the sleeper’s body type. A pillow with too much or too little loft can also strain the neck and cause pain to travel down the spine, so finding the right pillow for you may help relieve pain.
While changing your sleep position may be a temporary solution, it can be difficult to maintain. Many people struggle to fall asleep in a new position or find themselves switching back to their old position overnight. For those who have trouble switching their preferred position or who experience back pain in all positions, it may be best to alter your mattress to better suit your needs.
If replacing your mattress is not in your budget or you feel a full replacement isn’t necessary, you could also look into more affordable solutions, like a mattress topper or pillow to help relieve your back pain.