The best mattress for back pain 2024: With expert advice from chiropractors

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Mattresses for back pain are designed to offer the best balance of pressure relief and spinal alignment. It’s a complete myth that the firmer the mattress, the better it is for your back. Our extensive research and testing experience tells us that when a mattress is too firm, it can put too much pressure on your back and hips and make your pain worse. So when choosing the best mattress for you, you may find that a medium-firm feel is actually a better fit.

This year’s best mattress for back pain is the Saatva RX, a speciality memory foam bed designed specifically for chronic back and joint pain issues. Our lead mattress tester, who has longterm lower back pain and mild scoliosis, loved the RX from the first night and awarded it a very high review score overall. But the Saatva RX is expensive, so thankfully there are budget friendly mattresses for back pain in this guide too.

It’s good to get advice from your doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor when choosing the best mattress for back pain your needs. To help, we asked experts in the field of chiropractic medicine to weigh in and, using their guidance alongside our own mattress testing expertise, we’ve created this guide to the top mattresses for lumbar support. Of course, back pain is hugely variable and affected by a range of factors including your weight, sleeping position, and posture, so keep those in mind when shopping.

Here are our top recommendations for this year’s best-rated mattresses for back pain, many of which are now on sale in this year’s President’s Day mattress sales.

The best mattress for back pain is the Saatva RX. This luxury handcrafted mattress is designed specifically to ease chronic back pain and painful joint conditions such as sciatica, arthritis and scoliosis. Our lead tester for the RX has mild scoliosis and longterm lower back pain, so she is perfectly placed to advise on how effective the Saatva RX is at easing back pain in bed and during sleep.

This is a premium memory foam bed made of non-toxic foam, and it stands 15″ tall, making it quite the imposing figure in the bedroom – keep this in mind if you like lower profile beds. The RX features Saatva’s Unique Therapeutic Support Core, which constantly adjusts itself to the shape of your body as you change positions in bed – or remain in the same spot. The Saatva RX also has a patented Lumbar Zone Quilting and gel-infused memory foam to protect your spine and keep it aligned correctly in bed.

During our testing period, we were impressed with the RX’s deep pressure relief, full body support and pain-reducing comfort. It also performed well when testing for temperature regulation. What does that have to do with back pain? You want to eradicate anything that is going to cause you to have to shift positions, or risk incurring further injury.

We found that the Saatva RX also had sturdy edge support, which means that you can comfortably sleep close to the edge without the mattress collapsing. It also means that you can sit safely and securely on the edge of the bed, before gathering yourself up into a standing position (as many people with back pain do).

While your weight and sleeping position will influence what firmness level suits your best, the Saatva RX comes in just one firmness, which our testers found very comfortable. The Saatva RX is a mattress that you sleep on top of as opposed to sinking in too deeply, striking the perfect balance of cushioning for pressure points and support for the spine. It also makes rolling over much less arduous (or painful) than it needs to be.

Saatva has also earned a seal of approval from the Congress of Chiropractic State Associations for its lumbar zone technology. You’ll get a full year to test it out, although you’ll have to pay $99 for return shipping. Free white glove delivery is standard with all orders so you won’t have to worry about setting this over 100lb. mattress on your bed – a huge benefit for anyone with back pain.

Like most brands, Saatva is feeling the effects of inflation, and MSRPs have risen steadily over the past 12 months or so. It’s not quite as good value as it once was, but it’s still a competitively-priced luxury mattress option – especially if you buy when a deal is on. However, if it’s still out of your budget, the DreamCloud (#2) and Brooklyn Bedding Aurora (#3) are cheaper.

If you’re a back pain sufferer on a tight budget, consider the Cocoon Chill. This all-foam mattress is the cheapest on our list, and we rate it amongst the best mattresses under $1,000. During our Cocoon Chill mattress review, we found that the Chill does an excellent job of distributing weight and alleviating pressure points.

It’s also one of the most consistently cool all-foam mattresses we’ve tested. All-foam mattresses are prone to trapping in heat, but, as its name suggests, we found the Cocoon Chill to provide excellent temperature regulation (its hybrid counterpart highly in our best cooling mattress guide). Again, this is an important feature for back pain sufferers, as kicking the covers off in a bid for relief can leave you prone to further lumbar injury.

It has excellent motion isolation, so you shouldn’t feel any uncomfortable bounce if someone else in the bed shifts positions. As a medium-firm mattress (we rated it 6.5 out of 10 for firmness), the Chill is suitable for any sleeping position, although we’d especially recommend it to side sleepers. It’s soft, supportive, cushioning and, to an extent, contouring.

Its three layer design includes a top layer of memory foam, but doesn’t feature the body-hugging level of contouring that you would expect from memory foam. If that’s something you’re looking for, consider the similarly priced Nectar Memory Foam mattress. You won’t get the same cooling properties, but you will get that ‘sink-in’ feel that attracts some memory foam fans.

You are making some concessions for that lower price, however. While it provides good support for the price, we’d generally recommend a hybrid model (like all the others on our list) if you can afford it. Take note especially if you weigh more than 230 lbs, you will sink through the memory foam layers and onto the supportive layer. This means that if you weigh more than average, the Chill likely won’t provide enough support for you.

Don’t worry about how you’ll get this mattress into your bedroom — the free white glove delivery service from Cocoon by Sealy includes the delivery and set up of your new mattress, plus the removal of your old mattress and box spring, which is excellent customer service for a mattress of this price. You’ll also get a 100 night free trial and a ten year warranty.

Whether you or your sleeping partner (or both) suffer from back pain, the DreamCloud mattress will offer loads of relief. During our DreamCloud mattress review, our testers were impressed by the layers of adaptive foam and innersprings that immediately contoured their hips and lower lumbar, resulting in much less pain in those areas. The coils provide the support and correct spinal alignment, while the gel-infused memory foam gives the contouring hug that will appeal to memory foam fans.

Another area where the DreamCloud mattress shines is its excellent motion isolation. There’s little chance your partner’s movements will disrupt your sleep (or vice versa). If either of you tosses and turns due to back pain, the relief that comes from the subtle hug of the DreamCloud will help solve that problem anyway.

Unlike the pricier Saatva and Brooklyn models, there’s only one firmness option here: an 8 out of 10 on the firmness scale. That firmer feel is generally what’s recommended for back pain sufferers, but be aware it still might feel a bit too firm – particularly if you’re petite.

As an average-sez side sleeper, it took our lead mattress tester a little time to settle in, but once she did, was exceptionally comfortable sleeping on her front and back. However, other heavier testers in our group found immediate relief. Our mattress testers who suffered from back pain found that sleeping on the DreamCloud Hybrid made a marked improvement to their back pain, while they also appreciated the additional support in the lower lumbar, which alleviated pain that they normally have in that area.

This is a mid-range hybrid that has the feel of a much pricier model, thanks to luxe finishes like the quilted, cashmere blend cover. There is only one firmness option that, we think, will appeal to back pain sufferers. However, Sleepers who want a plusher bed may find what they’re looking for by upgrading to the DreamCloud Premier.

If you aren’t sure which model would be best for you, DreamCloud fortunately offers a 1-year trial, which matches the best you’ll find anywhere – and unlike Saatva, returns are free if you decide it’s not quite right. Although free white glove service isn’t included, you can arrange it for a $149 fee. This includes set-up of your new DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid, and for an additional $20 fee the brand will remove your old mattress too — you back will thank you for it.

The Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Luxe mattress combines a luxurious look and feel with excellent spinal support. During our Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Luxe mattress review, our self-confessed picky reviewer found this hybrid mattress amongst the most comfortable they’d ever slept on. The coils provide plenty of support to the spine, while the memory foam layers deliver comfortable cushioning without being overwhelming or making the sleep surface feel unstable.

Like a few other models on our list, you can choose your firmness level here. The middle option (rated 4-6/10 by Brooklyn) delivered the perfect balance of plushness and firmness for our petite tester, but there’s also the option of going softer (2-4), or – perhaps more likely for back pain sufferers – firmer (7-8). Whatever sleep feel you go for, you can upgrade to a touch more luxurious by adding the Cloud Pillow Top (on the version pictured here).

There’s more good news if you’re a hot sleeper, because this mattress has a special GlacioTex cooling cover that we found worked very effectively to prevent overheating during our testing period (even if it did make the sleep surface slightly too slippery for our liking).

We also love the wide range of sizes that the Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Luxe is available in — including RV sizes, which means that you can sleep on a cooling, luxurious sleep surface and alleviate your back pain even while on the road. With a mattress like that, who needs a hotel?

One area in which this mattress fell down slightly was on motion transfer – it’s perhaps not the best option for very light sleepers or anyone sharing a bed with someone on a different sleep schedule, as movements can reverberate across the sleep surface rather. If that’s you, consider the DreamCloud instead.

Price-wise, the Aurora sits between the Saatva and DreamCloud. An evergreen sale means you can expect to pay 30% less than MSRP, putting it in the upper mid-range price bracket (or premium, if you want to splash out on the Cloud Pillow Top). Of course, even when discounted the Aurora is still a lot of money, but we think it’s a worthy investment for a mattress this well crafted and thoughtfully constructed.

As a customizable luxury mattress that provides outstanding pressure relief for back pain sufferers, the WinkBed Plus is a close rival to the Saatva Classic. Like a few models on our list, you can choose your firmness preference, but what sets this mattress apart is that it’s the only model that includes a Plus option for individuals over 250 pounds (it’s one of the best mattresses for heavy people).

During our WinkBed mattress review, we were impressed with its excellent edge support, which bodes well for heavier people with mobility issues who must sit on the edge of their bed in order to get up or lie down, since it won’t compress too much. At 13.5 inches thick, it’s one of the tallest options on our list, and unlike the Saatva (#1) there’s only one height option – consider a different option if you prefer to be lower to the ground.

Although nobody on our testing panel on this mattress grapples with regular back pain, we still felt well-aligned thanks to its Back Relief System. Hundreds of WinkBed 5-star customer reviews noted reduced back pain and improved sleep quality. This is likely thanks to WinkBed’s individually wrapped, zoned coils and gel-infused foam, which is designed to offer the right balance of targeted support and cushioning to anyone suffering with back, hip or shoulder pain.

It manages motion isolation well, which is great news for couples or restless sleepers with different sleep schedules (not to mention back pain sufferers who may grit their teeth through every bounce of the bed). However, one potential drawback of the WinkBed is its temperature regulation. Although it provides enough cooling properties to keep most sleepers cool, very hot sleepers may need to think about adding a cooling mattress topper to avoid overheating. Not only is overheating a major sleep disruptor, shifting and twisting around to find relief from the heat can leave you prone to further back injury.

Price-wise, regular WinkBed mattress sales feature hundreds of dollars in savings for this award-winning mattress. You get 120 nights to test it at home, but you’ll have to pay $49 to send it back. It’s also quite heavy, weighing as much as 145 pounds, so you’ll want to ask someone to help set up your new WinkBed mattress. (In-home delivery is not provided as a service.)

Saatva makes our list once again – this time for its Loom & Leaf mattress. This handcrafted memory foam mattress comes in two firmness levels and features specialized lumbar support and body-contouring foam that work together to relieve pressure in your lower back and keep everything aligned. The upper and lower thirds of the mattress are slightly firmer but still soft enough to contour to your shoulders and knees. This is one of two all-foam mattresses on our list – if you’re on a tighter budget, check out the Cocoon Chill (#4).

We tested out the relaxed firm model (you can read our Saatva Loom & Leaf review here) and our lead reviewer noticed a marked improvement in her lower back pain after three weeks of sleeping on it and eradicated her early morning stiffness across her back. The rest of our testing panel was also comfortable regardless of their position or stature, and noticed how quickly the Loom & Leaf contoured their bodies while keeping them properly aligned — which is hugely important for countering back pain. There’s benefits to be found for side sleepers, too, with just the right amount of sinkage to provide pressure relief across the shoulders, hips, and knees.

Unfortunately, despite the presence of cooling tech, we found the Loom & Leaf is still prone to trapping heat so chronically hot sleepers may want to check out a hybrid model. Or if you’re a Saatva fan, a good alternative would be the Saatva Memory Foam Hybrid, which offers better temperature regulation. Otherwise, we recommend the Loom & Leaf for sleepers with back pain who like the hug of memory foam and want something durable that they won’t have to replace too often.

The pillow top was hit-or-miss among our panel. Opinions ranged from ‘luxurious’ to ‘too cushiony,’ so this will likely come down to your own sleep preferences.

It will come as no surprise that a premium mattress of this quality also comes with a premium price (prices start at $1,295), putting it more in line with Tempur-Pedic, which is the Loom & Leaf’s direct competitor. However, the perks from Saatva are better than Tempur-Pedic’s, with 1-year free trial, lifetime warranty, plus complementary while-glove delivery. This includes the set up of your new mattress in any room of your choice, plus the removal of your old mattress, too.

Purple’s mattresses have a slightly unusual sleep feel, thanks to a unique GelFlex grid – a springy, elastic gel grid that melds to your shape and cradles you comfortably in place, then springs back instantly when pressure is removed. This makes the Purple Plus a great choice for those with aching joints who need cushioning without sacrificing support.

When we tested the Purple Plus out (you can read our Purple Plus mattress review here), we ended up giving it two separate firmness ratings out of 10. We found it’s softer underneath the arms and legs (6/10) yet firmer along the spine and lumbar (7.5/10). It’s softer around the periphery of the body and firmer under pressure points like the lumbar spine and hips, aiding in even weight distribution. What this means for back pain sufferers is that you’ll have support in all of the right places and not wake up feeling misaligned.

The Purple Plus also feels a little like you float on top of the mattress while sinking in slightly. It’s also deceptively firmer than it first appears, which makes for a comfy and cushioned sleep surface.

There’s another big benefit of the GelFlex Grid – the open structure means it sleeps nice and cool, thanks to an additional two inches of breathable foam in the Plus compared to its Purple Original counterpart — but costs $500 more. This will be money well spent for hot sleepers with back pain, as tossing and turning to get comfortable can wind up contorting their spine in painful and unpleasant ways.

Edge support could be better, which may be a deal breaker for those who need a stable edge to sit on before standing (one reviewer described a ‘downward’ feeling as they sat on the edge of the bed). However, the low motion transfer makes the Purple Plus a fine choice for couples — not only can being disturbed by every toss and turn disrupt your sleep, the familiar ‘bounce’ feeling of someone moving in bed can be painful for back sufferers. So strong motion isolation is a big drawcard here.

The Purple Plus mattress weighs up to 140lb, so ask someone to help move it if you’re dealing with back pain. in-home delivery and setup is available from Purple, but it costs an extra $200. Shipping is free otherwise, and you’ll have 100 nights to trial the mattress.

The Awara Natural Hybrid is the only mattress in our ranking to use latex rather than synthetic foam (we rate this amongst the best organic mattresses you can buy). As well as being a natural option, latex foam delivers a weightless sleep feel and is known for being one of the most durable mattress materials. Here, it’s combined with individually wrapped innersprings. The 2-inch layer of Dunlop latex foam quickly adapts to the shape of your body so you feel immediate support, delivering excellent pressure relief, as well as keeping your spine properly aligned.

During our Awara Natural Hybrid mattress review, our testing panel featured reviewers of varying sleep styles – and all of them felt well-supported in their shoulders (side sleepers), lumbar (back sleepers), and hips (stomach sleepers). We gave it an 8 out 10 rating for firmness, which places it in the firm category. Some of our testers thought it was too firm, before the Dunlop latex layer quickly contoured to their body, resulting in a unique floating yet grounded sleep-feel.

Edge support here is very good (among the best we’ve seen) so sitting on the perimeter of the bed is perfectly safe, and you’ll be able to sleep right up to the edge without fear of falling. The Awara is also a good choice for hot sleepers, partly thanks to the New Zealand wool cover on top, which helps regulate temperature. However, one potential down-side is that motion isolation is a little lackluster. Thi means that the mattress is rather bouncy, which may be off-putting (not to mention painful) for couples seeking something with low motion transfer.

In terms of cost, the Awara is one of the most affordable organic mattresses on the market, with a starting price of $1,099 for a twin. However, regular sales drives the price down further, making it an excellent value buy for sleepers with back pain.

If you feel apprehensive about buying a mattress online, Awara’s incredibly generous 365 night free sleep trial should go some way to reassure you. This trial period will allow you to sleep on the mattress throughout the seasons and take your time in making the right decision. If you decide that it isn’t for you, Awara will issue a full refund and assist in either disposing the mattress or donating it to charity. If you decide to keep it, it’ll be covered by a forever warranty.

The premium Casper Wave Hybrid Snow mattress is imbued with specialized ‘Snow’ technology that offers a 24% cooler-to-the-touch feeling than the original Casper Wave Hybrid. It also has HeatDelete Bands designed to remove 34% more body heat while sustaining temperature regulation for up to 12 hours. This bodes well for hot sleepers with back pain as they’ll be less inclined to toss and turn in order to feel comfortable, thereby reducing the risk of torquing their spine.

Among the testers who slept on this bed for our Casper Wave Hybrid Snow mattress review, it was our back sleepers who found the most relief. It has continuous ergonomic zones so it’s firmer along the hips, waist, and lower back yet softer around the shoulders. Meanwhile, up to 78 gel pods placed in the center of the mattress help alleviate lumbar pressure and promote proper alignment.

What does this mean for your sleep? It’s extremely supportive, so both back and neck pain sufferers should find that their discomfort is eased. We gave it a firmness rating of 7 out of 10, which places it in the medium-firm category. However, if you’re looking for a mattress with that classic memory foam feel — this isn’t it. This is a mattress that you sleep on top of, as opposed to sinking in. Whether or not this suits your sleeping style will come down to preference, but it will make shifting positions a little smoother. Being on the firmer side of the scale, side sleepers and lightweight individuals may need time to break it in (unlike a few models on this list, you’ve only got one firmness option).

One potential drawback is its edge support. We found that it was a little weak, so be warned — you might experience a little roll if you sit or sleep too close to the edge. Another drawback could be the price. As you might expect for one of the most innovative cooling mattresses on the market, the Casper Wave Hybrid Snow is pricey, starting at $3,095 for a twin XL at full MSRP.

However, if the Casper falls within your budget (it costs much less than the Tempur-Pedic Pro Breeze), you’ll be buying a mattress with outstanding cooling properties and ergonomic zones that promote lumbar support and correct spinal alignment – so it’s a solid option for your back, too. Purchase includes 100 nights to trial it at home with free returns and a full refund if you’re not satisfied. The Casper Wave Hybrid Snow is also the priciest option on our list – keep an eye out for a Casper mattress sale if you want to save.

Testing mattresses for back pain involves many of the same steps outlined in our our mattress methodology, however we always strive to find reviewers who are experiencing back pain. This is because we want to get a realistic picture of the performance of these speciality mattresses. After all, if a manufacturer claims to have created a mattress capable of easing back pain during sleep, we definitely want to put that to the test.

Our testing process begins by selecting the mattress for back pain we want to review. Compared to standard mattresses, back pain beds aren’t that common so we don’t get as many of them through for testing. However we when we do choose a mattress, we contact the brand directly and ask for a review sample under the strict agreement that we retain complete editorial control over the review and testing data.

Once the review has been agreed, we appoint a mattress tester who is experiencing back pain – or at the very least has had back pain and knows how that impacts sleep when lying on the wrong mattress.

We then go through our full testing process, documenting each step of the way from unboxing the mattress for back pain, through to our performance tests including motion isolation and edge support. We test back pain mattresses across all key areas including temperature regulation, firmness, comfort, support and pressure relief.

We score each area out of 5, then use those combined scores to devise the overall score for the mattress we have reviewed. Not every mattress for back pain we review makes it into this guide – only the best as recommended by our expert reviewers.

Frequently asked questions

There’s no catchall solution as everyone is different. Dr. Lev Kalika, clinic director and founder of NYDN Rehab in New York City, says the type of back issue someone has will influence whether they should opt for a soft or firm mattress. “For patients with hypermobility or spondylosis [spine degeneration], I recommend hard mattresses. For people who are super stiff with fixed spine deformities, I recommend soft mattresses,” says Dr. Kalika, who adds that people with less severe back ailments will benefit from something in between.

You’ll also want to consider your dominant sleep position. If you often drop onto your side, take a look at the best mattresses for side sleepers, most of which are smack in the middle of the firmness scale.

Remember that firmness is subjective. You won’t get a true feel for a mattress until you sleep on it yourself. Fortunately, the best mattress-in-a-box brands come with trial periods of at least 100 nights, which is more than enough time to determine whether or not a mattress is improving (or worsening) your back pain.

“Memory foam evenly distributes weight across its surface as it compresses. It can automatically adjust to your body’s shape, contouring itself around your shoulders, back, and hips for a more pain-free sleeping experience,” explains Dr. Radermacher.

The majority of our best mattresses for back pain picks are hybrids – a blend of foam and springs. When choosing between memory foam vs hybrid mattresses, you’ll need to take into consideration what else you’ll need in order to sleep comfortably.

Full memory foam mattresses have a ‘hugging’ feeling that’ll help alleviate any pressure, but they tend to sleep warm if they’re designed without any additional cooling tech (like gel or charcoal). Hybrids sleep cooler and tend to be firmer and more supportive; however, they don’t isolate motion as well as foam beds, which can be tricky if you’re a light sleeper or share a bed with a fidgety partner.

Remember that it takes more than the right mattress to unlock quality sleep. The best pillows will work in harmony with your mattress to ensure you’re properly aligned each night so you wake up pain-free and refreshed. For more advice on what to look for in the best mattress for back pain, you’ll find expert tips here.

Can a mattress cause back pain?

A mattress can create back pain or amplify an existing injury. But how can you tell? If your back pain is much worse right after waking up, chances are your mattress is to blame.

More obvious signs include visible sagging and sleeping on a mattress that’s too hard or soft to properly support you. If firmness (or lack thereof) is the issue, adding a mattress topper can provide an instant upgrade if your current mattress is in otherwise fine shape.

We go into more detail in our feature explaining why some mattresses can cause aches and pains, which also provides additional tips for finding a new bed with proper spinal support so you can avoid nights of uncomfortable sleep.

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