The best mattress for back pain
A mattress will either hurt or help your back pain. It's tough to know for sure when you're choosing a new mattress based on a 10-minute test in a store. It's even harder if you're choosing one online. Which is why it's important to look for customer service that offers trial nights and no-hassle returns.
If you suffer from back problems, keep reading our shopping guide on the best mattresses for back pain, which includes reviews of a few of our favorites at the end. Our top pick is the luxurious Leesa Hybrid Mattress, which features just the right combination of memory foam and coils for a good night's sleep.
Considerations when choosing mattresses for back pain
Hybrid vs. multi-zoned
There are two types of mattress-in-a-box made for back, hip, neck, and shoulder pain: hybrid and multi-zoned.
Hybrid mattresses combine foam and pocket-spring coils. Because of the coils, there will be more layers of foam. Hybrids offer the best of both worlds, which means you'll have support from coils and softness from foam.
Multi-zoned mattresses are highly engineered in their designs to help sleepers with body pain. Simply put, the mattress has varying zones of support throughout the mattress. Some mattresses have two zones, others have up to five zones. Many, but not all, multi-zone mattresses are made entirely of memory foam. You'll also find hybrid multi-zoned mattresses. The softer foam of the upper zone hugs your head, neck, and shoulders to relieve pressure. The zone that supports your spine may be firmer. Another zone under your hips may be softer.
Years ago, nearly all beds consisted of a mattress atop a box spring in a frame. Today, you'll hear the words mattress foundation or bed base. The difference between a box spring and a foundation has to do with the inner coils. A box spring has coils, while a foundation is a firmer, coil-free base for your mattress. A lot of bed-in-a-box mattresses suggest their own brand of foundations, bases, and frames to maximize the life of the mattress. A traditional box spring may not give a foam or hybrid mattress enough support over the lifetime of the mattress, which is why it's suggested that newer boxed mattresses sit on a foundation or base.
Trial periods and other perks
Online mattress companies created the free 100-day home trial and other generous return policies. Look for free delivery, small fees for same-day delivery, white-glove delivery, and set up, which includes disposal of your old mattress and box spring. By the way, if you return your mattress, most online companies donate them to good causes rather than tossing them into a landfill.
Based on a queen-size mattress purchased online, you can pay between $500 to $700 for a basic memory foam mattress. To help your back, you might want to opt for a mattress that ranges from $800 to $1,700, many with sales, discounts, trial periods, and easy returns to sweeten the deal. For $1,700 and up, you'll find mattresses with organic materials and cooling technology.
Q. How long will a bed-in-a-box mattress last?
A. When they are sitting on the correct foundation, they last just as long as traditional mattresses, regardless of whether they are all foam, hybrid, or pillow top-style. Many boxed mattresses come with 10-year warranties. Most mattresses will need to be replaced after around seven to 10 years, according to the Better Sleep Council.
Q. Are firmness and support the same thing?
A. Absolutely not. Firmness is how your bed feels to the touch (harder or softer). Support is the effect the mattress has on your body (whether it eliminates or creates pressure points, keeps your spine aligned or misaligned). You may find a soft or firm mattress with lots of support or no support. While it's a very personal choice, most people prefer a medium-firm mattress.
Mattresses for back pain we recommend
Best of the best: Leesa's Hybrid Mattress
Our take: A luxurious hybrid mattress with coils for firmness and memory foam that offers just enough give. Together, the hybrid construction helps many sleepers eliminate backaches.
What we like: Its proprietary memory foam mattress doesn't sleep hot, but it also fills in the gaps around your body when you lie down. It lets you sink in a bit, but the mattress is still firm enough to allow you to easily get up and out of the bed. Customer service generally well-liked, and delivery times can be fast.
What we dislike: Some people say it's too firm for their backs.
Best bang for your buck: DreamCloud's Luxury Hybrid Mattress
Our take: This medium-firm hybrid mattress, which reaches 15 inches tall, has zoned pocketed coils and a super soft cooling gel-infused memory foam top.
What we like: The memory foam is thick with multiple layers and registers barely a bounce. It sleeps exceptionally cool. The pocketed coils offer lots of airflow. Those in chronic pain say it helps because it's soft, but not overly so.
What we dislike: Many users are sensitive to the deeply quilted, tufted top. Some find the mattress a little too soft, especially in the hip area.
Our take: A popular three-zone, all-foam mattress that's similar to the Casper, but Level Sleep's design took years in the making to specifically target back pain.
What we like: The center of the mattress is firm, shoulder zone is soft, and the bottom zone under knees and legs falls in between. The lumbar zone is firm and supportive for back sleepers and keeps the spine aligned for side sleepers.
What we dislike: Edge support collapses a bit too much.
Marilyn Zelinsky-Syarto is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.