The Best Mattresses for Back Pain Offer Customizable Firmness, Lifetime Warranties, and More
We consulted a product designer, a chiropractor, and more pros to weigh in.
Published May 11, 2022 1:00 PM
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Reading up on Domino’s shopping guides is like having your own personal product concierge. We do the tedious part—deep-dive research, hands-on testing, and tapping experts for advice—so all you have to do is hit “add to cart.” That’s why we call them Simply the Best.
No matter how gorgeous that new velvet headboard may be, its design is practically irrelevant if the mattress it supports has you waking up with knots and aches. Instead of starting the morning thinking about phoning the chiropractor, consider switching out that concrete-esque slab with one of the best mattresses for back pain instead.
“Sleeping on a mattress that doesn’t provide adequate back support can force your back muscles to work overtime in an attempt to keep your spine in a neutral position or alignment,” warns David Cartilidge, senior director of product innovation for Mattress Firm. “Providing spinal support is the primary job of your mattress while you sleep.”
Looking to make a bedroom upgrade that’ll also improve the quality of your z’s? Check out our full list of the best mattresses for back pain, so you can start your day off as fresh as your space looks.
- Best overall: Saatva Classic Mattress
- Best value: OSleep Gel Memory Foam Mattress
- Best eco-friendly: Avocado Green Mattress
- Best memory foam: Casper Original Mattress
- Best hybrid: The WinkBed Mattress
- Best luxury: Tempur-Pedic Adapt Mattress
Best Overall: Saatva Classic Mattress
Sleep trial: 365 nights | Type: Innerspring | Firmness: Varies (plush soft, luxury firm, or firm) | Warranty: Lifetime
What we like:
- Biggest range of options, from size to comfort levels
- Add foundation (more support than a box spring) or adjustable base
- Extreme attention to detail
- Some customers have noted that it may need to be replaced in 10 years
Why we chose it: Boasting eight sizes, two heights, and three comfort levels, Saatva is not only the most comfortable on this list, but the most customizable.
Don’t snooze on Saatva—there is no other mattress on the market that rivals this brand’s commitment to personalization and quality. Aside from its lifetime warranty, the company offers a whopping one-year sleep trial to truly allow you to determine if its best-selling innerspring mattress is a perfect fit for relieving your particular pressure points. The Classic model is best for back pain—manufactured with patented Lumbar Zone technology (including steel pocketed coils to provide extra support) that ensures healthy spinal alignment, as well as a plush, 3-inch Euro pillow top to soothe achy joints (no sagging allowed!) above a high-density memory foam core to encourage heavy snoozing.
Best Value: OSleep Gel Memory Foam Mattress
Sleep trial: None | Type: Memory foam | Firmness: Medium | Warranty: 10 years
What we like:
- Comparatively affordable
- Provides gel foam for cooling
- Easy mattress-in-a-box assembly
- Cover is not removable
Why we chose it: Affordable, comfortable, and easy to assemble, Overstock’s OSleep Gel Memory Foam Mattress is ideal for anyone on a budget.
Compared to the other mattresses on our list, which carry a relatively steep price tag, this mattress-in-a-box is sold for just over $1,000 for a queen (and is often on sale for less than $500), but feels as if you spent thousands more. Not only does the 14-inch memory foam provide support for your spine, its gel top layer keeps your bed cool so you don’t overheat. If you’re one of two, the mattress also specializes in even weight dispersion, as well the elimination of motion transfer so that you don’t disturb your mate in the middle of the night.
Best Eco-Friendly: Avocado Green Mattress
Sleep trial: 365 nights | Type: Innerspring | Firmness: Medium | Warranty: 25 years
What we like:
- Greenguard Gold certified
- Made in the U.S.
- Superb 1-year sleep trial
- Fantastic edge support, thanks to a reinforced steel perimeter
- Some complaints about customer service
Why we chose it: One hundred percent certified organic mattress with materials sourced from farms co-owned by the company.
It’s no surprise that eco-friendly Avocado impresses with its Green Mattress. Aside from offering a product that is the perfect blend of gentle but firm, the company prides itself on the use of sustainably harvested materials like latex, wool, and cotton to produce a slice of sleep heaven with 1,414 (!) coils. It’s also needle-tufted by hand to ensure that the mattress maintains its shape and quality—tempered steel coils and layers of foam keep your back in check and your weight evenly distributed—so that the 25-year warranty is essentially unnecessary. The pillow-top style, adding 5 inches of latex foam to the mattress’s overall height, offers a greater amount of pressure-point relief.
Best Memory Foam: Casper Original Mattress
Sleep trial: 100 nights | Type: Memory foam | Firmness: Medium | Warranty: 10 years
What we like:
- Ships fast and arrives in a box
- Perforated foam for heat reduction and breathability
- Compatible with adjustable bed base
- Can sink a bit, especially if sitting on the edge
Why we chose it: Casper has made a mark on the mattress industry with its line of memory foam varieties, and this highly breathable original model is what set the tone.
Featuring three ergonomic zones to help keep your spine aligned, Casper’s Original Mattress is an ideal memory foam option, especially for those who suffer from chronic back pain. Soft foam around the shoulders provides more relief to the upper body, while firmer foam under the hips, waist, and lower back helps to align your spine. Its material also includes tiny air channels (which the company has trademarked as AirScape) to keep things light and airy so that you’re not kicking off the comforter and turning on the fan.
Best Hybrid: The WinkBed Mattress
Sleep trial: 120 nights | Type: Hybrid | Firmness: Four options (softer, luxury firm, firmer, plus) | Warranty: Lifetime
What we like:
- 4 firmness levels
- Science-focused manufacturing to promote better sleep
- Made in the U.S.
- A bit firm, so aim for softer models
Why we chose it: Pocketed coils and luxuriously plush foam offer all the support and comfort you crave in a premium hybrid.
If you’re a sleeper who wants to completely customize your mattress and experience the best of many worlds, WinkBed gives you those options. This mattress is engineered for better sleep with a hybrid design that touts a Euro pillow top with gel-infused foam and hundreds of individually wrapped pocketed coils. It can also be purchased with a bevy of accessories like a platform, protector, and frame, so it’s a one-stop shop for all your bedroom needs. Every layer serves a purpose, from a lumbar-focused support in the center to an anti-sag edge, but the best innovation is likely the pocketed coils that not only help with pressure-point relief but keep your body in alignment while you snooze.
Best Luxury: Tempur-Pedic Adapt Mattress
Sleep trial: 90 nights | Type: Proprietary memory foam | Firmness: Medium | Warranty: 10 years
What we like:
- Power-base compatible
- Revered brand
- Option to buy matching accessories like pillows
- An expensive splurge
- Tends to run hot
Why we chose it: Tempur-Pedic has become synonymous with timeless luxury, and its patented memory foam technology offers unparalleled pressure relief worth splurging on.
We’d be remiss to not include the gold standard of luxury mattress brands. Tempur-Pedic’s proprietary memory foam has been heralded as one of the most comfortable in the industry, earning rave reviews from customers, sleep experts, and doctors around the globe. The Adapt model, available in medium and medium hybrid, is particularly beneficial for those with back issues, offering NASA-developed technology that forces the mattress to “adapt” to your unique weight, shape, and body temperature. You can even invest in a power base to accommodate your individual sleeping needs without disturbing your partner. It’s a pricey investment, but a long-term one, because you can’t put a price on a good night’s sleep.
How We Chose These Products
A short list of back-supporting mattresses was provided by sleep experts in the industry, including a massage and physical therapist as well as a chiropractor. We requested a range of options that represent diversity in material, price, and sustainability. From there, we narrowed this list down to a handful of companies and products, digging into brand stats and high-quality manufacturing processes, and then based our decisions on average customer reviews and industry reputation (since we obviously couldn’t try them all ourselves). Because that’s the thing: There’s really no shortcut to finding your ideal mattress—especially if you suffer from back pain—you just have to try them (and that’s why we call out sleep trials!).
Our Shopping Checklist
Design and Materials
The design and material of your back-supporting mattress is entirely dependent upon personal preference. “Foam mattresses can provide the ultimate in conforming comfort and support, as they’re meant to mold and conform to your body,” explains Cartilidge. “Spring mattresses can provide precision support through zoned spring units that offer added support where you need it most and conforming support everywhere else.”
Additionally, he says power bases are a helpful tool in addressing back pain: “These allow you to elevate your legs and find a series of positions to take pressure off of your back. High-density, pressure-relieving comfort foams play a role as well. These foams are the first line of defense and ensure the sleeper isn’t tossing and turning as a result of a lack of pressure relief. The longer the sleeper is able to remain comfortable in one position, the better chance there is for the muscles to recover.”
Of course, features like these are quite expensive and typically only found with models like our luxury pick, the Tempur-Pedic.
Delivery times will vary by retailer, but the industry has improved significantly in ensuring that brand-new mattresses are delivered to your home in just a few days. Of course, memory foam varieties are easier to send since they are typically folded and shrink-wrapped, but traditional coil mattresses, hybrids, or ones that can’t be boxed will likely be in stock and can be shipped and set up without hassle.
Sleep Trials and Returns
Many companies offer 30- to 90-day sleep trials so that you can test your new mattress and return it (free of charge) if it doesn’t meet or surpass your expectations. Taking your mattress for a risk-free run is crucial since, according to Casper, it can take up to a whole month for your body to even adjust to a new sleep foundation.
Be sure to also take a look at warranties. Longer warranties can help you determine if a company will stand behind its product. Since mattresses last about 10 years or so, a 10-year warranty is a great base, but some brands now offer lifetime coverage. If a mattress is coming apart or caving in, it may be covered and can be replaced or refunded at zero cost to the customer.
Sore spines and achy necks are a real…pain, so we tapped expert David Cartilidge, senior director of product innovation for Mattress Firm, to highlight what you need to know to find one of the best mattresses for back pain.
Q: How do you get back pain while you sleep?
When your muscles have to constantly flex to try and support your spine, the result is frequent back pain. While no one can guarantee a new mattress will remedy existing back pain (considering some back pain is caused by spinal disc and nerve issues), we can guide you to avoid compounding chronic back issues with new ones and, in many cases, alleviate back pain altogether. We do this by helping you find the mattress that will give your back muscles the night off.
Q: Is a firm or soft mattress better for back pain?
Soft or firm oftentimes is in reference to the comfort of the mattress and has little to do with the support of the mattress. The support system is the key driver of spinal alignment and alleviating back pain in any mattress, so it’s not a question of which is better, like soft or firm. It’s a question of which support system is best for your specific body type and needs. If you’re experiencing back pain, you don’t have to compromise your preferred comfort (soft or firm) in order to achieve proper spinal alignment. We have the best technology from the best brands ensuring we have the right mattress for all sleepers.
Q: What sleeping position is best for lower back pain? Upper back pain?
The back position is the best sleeping position, regardless of sleeping issues. It provides the largest surface area on which your body weight can be dispersed, while keeping the spine in a neutral position. This position also provides the best opportunity to utilize a power base, which can be a huge help in alleviating back pain.
Q: Can a simple mattress topper be a quick remedy?
A regular mattress topper will generally not remedy back problems, specifically if the mattress is the source of the back issues. A topper can provide an element of comfort that can help the sleeper fall asleep and reduce tossing and turning, but in most cases will do very little to alleviate the back problems being caused by a lack of support and spinal alignment.
Q: Is there anything a back pain sufferer can do first thing in the morning to alleviate it?
Morning stretching is a great practice to increase blood flow and loosen the back muscles.
The Last Word
It’s no secret that getting a good night’s rest is critical in accomplishing the most basic of daily tasks. If you’re suffering through the night with aches and spasms, it’s time to consider investing in a mattress that alleviates back pain and allows you to be the best version of yourself.