The Best Mattress for Bad Backs and Back Pain

Suffering from a bad back can cause a whole host of issues. What you don’t want, however, is for your mattress to be facilitating the problem. Your bed should be a place for you to relax. Not a place to toss and turn in pain. Unfortunately, if you haven’t got the right mattress, your back pain can start to impact your sleep.

The following guide will break down the best mattresses for a bad back. We’ll dive into the specifics on how to choose a mattress and, by the end, you’ll have the information to finally improve your slumber.

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How to Choose the Best Mattress for a Bad Back

Choosing the right mattress is the most important step in this whole process. You don't want to get the wrong one and make your back pain worse. There are two key variables that determine whether a mattress is good for a bad back:

  • The type of mattress material
  • The firmness of the mattress

The Best Type of Mattresses for Bad Backs

The best mattresses for back pain include memory foam, latex and hybrid mattresses. The reason these mattresses are so good at combating back pain is because they mould to the shape of your body. They contour your back and make sure your pressure points are cushioned. In this sense, your back doesn’t dip downward and cause your spine to misalign. They’re all relatively good for back support but each has their own pros and cons.

Memory foam is a material developed by NASA that combines a memory foam surface with either springs or a support layer underneath. Memory foam reacts to your heat by softening and moulding to the shape of your body. Once you get up from the mattress, it will naturally spring back and return to its original shape. Memory foam contours the body and helps to maintain back support. Thus, alleviating bad back symptoms. They also support pressure points, such as your lower back and hips.

Memory foam mattresses can create a personal sleep zone which can stop you from moving around during sleep. This also means you won’t feel the movements of your partner if you share a bed. Both of these benefits help to provide you with a well‐rested slumber. Of course, memory foam mattresses have their cons. The most prevailing one is in relation to heat transfer. Memory foam mattresses tend to get hot as they absorb and contain your body heat in order to maintain shape. Thus, using memory foam mattresses as a way to aid back pain may result in overheating. Saying this, memory foam has come a long way since the 80s. Technology now exists which can reduce the amount of heat released by this material. Nonetheless, this should still be a consideration when deciding on a mattress for back pain.

Latex mattresses are similar memory foam. They contour the body and offer more bodily support than your standard pocket spring. However, there are notable differences. Latex mattresses are usually made up of 2‐4 layers of latex foam. This foam is a rubbermimicking plastic and can be found in turfs, tires, and other rubber‐based material. Three different latex layers used in these mattresses include: synthetic, blended, and natural.

Latex provides much of the same benefits as memory foam. Latex provides pain relief for bad backs by supporting pressure points and contouring the body. They also create indents in the mattress preventing excesses movement and travel during sleep. Where they differ however, is in their composition. Latex mattresses are eco‐friendly, low maintenance, and are sometimes more breathable than memory foam mattresses. Of course, the latter point is heavily influenced by brand and price range.

These mattresses are also hypoallergenic. If you have allergies and are unable to use standard mattresses, including memory foam, latex might be your next best alternative. Especially if you have a bad back.

Hybrid mattresses are unique. They have the best of both worlds and are an excellent choice if you're looking for a mattress to reduce back pain. Hybrid mattresses combine the moulding, melting feeling of a memory or latex foam mattress and the bounce and sturdiness of a pocket spring. You'll be able to experience the bodily contouring and pressure point support whilst still maintaining a strong edge structure and breathability.

Hybrid mattresses are the type people turn to when other foam mattresses have failed. They can offer great back support and allow those with more posture to experience a wellrested evening. Cons, however, include pricing. Hybrid mattresses for bad backs tend to be priced higher than your standard memory or latex foam. This is a result of the added material, namely the pocket springs. But if you have the money, hybrids make for an excellent investment.

Choosing the Right Firmness

Firmness if the next variable you’re going to tackle on your search for the best mattress for a bad back. Mattress firmness if a rating of how “tough” the mattress is when you sleep on it. If the mattress sinks when you lay on it, it would be considered soft. If the mattress doesn’t bend or flex, it can be considered firm. Traditionally, firmer mattresses have been advised for individuals with back backs. The rational behind this is a result of pressure points. If you use a softer, less firm mattress, you lower back and hips might sink, misaligning your spine and causing further back problems.

If we were to suggest a catch‐all firmness for individuals with bad backs, opting for a firmer option would be our suggestion. However, as with many things in life, this varies from person to person. We are unique. And there is one variable that influences whether or not firm mattresses are the best for a bad back – sleeping position.


Your Sleeping Position Matters

Your sleeping position will be an influencing factor as to what firmness you'll opt for in your bad pain‐relieving mattress. There are three main sleeping styles: side, back, and front.

Front sleepers and back sleepers should focus their attention on firmer mattresses. They'll want their hips and lower backs supported during sleep. If they invest in a soft mattress, their hips may dip and cause the spine to skew out of alignment.

Side sleepers, on the other hand, should look at soft to medium mattresses. As your shoulder is experiencing more pressure, you'll want it sunk into the mattress to prevent pain upon waking. If you choose a firm mattress, you shoulder won't sink properly, and you may be arched during sleep. The side sleeping position is one of the best to prevent back pain in general. However, to make this position more effective, placing a pillow between the thighs during sleep can help align the spine effectively and decrease pain in the back.

What's the Best Mattress for a Bad Back?

Choosing the best mattress for back pain depends on personal preference, particularly when it comes to mattress type. Memory foam, latex and hybrid all can provide support for your back during sleep. However, each have their pros and cons. It's best to speak to an expert if you're too unsure to decide now. For firmness, however, determine your sleeping style and make an educated decision. If you sleep on your back or front, choose a firmer mattress. If you sleep on your side, choose a soft to medium mattress.

If you have any questions or want to see which mattress is best for your particular back pain, get in touch with us today.