Getting up every morning with an aching back is something that all too many of us experience – it’s the one most common form of musculoskeletal pain, affecting more than 80 percent of all people on at least one occasion in their lifetime. According to experts, at any given time there are 31 million people in America suffering from back pain, while 83 percent of British people report back pain or stiffness when they first get up. The ACA, or American Chiropractic Association estimates that sleeping problems affect between 40 and 60 percent of the population.
A lot of this suffering is unnecessary, and could be avoided easily just by eliminating uncomfortable, low-quality pillows and mattresses, which stop people from sleeping well at night and cause them to wake up with body pains. We have researched this topic in depth and come up with a detailed buyer’s guide, as well as some objective reviews of mattresses to help you with the process of deciding what mattress will relieve your back pain.
Which mattress is best for back aches?
Lower back pain is the most common form of back pain, although it may affect any part of your spine from your hips all the way up to your neck. When you are lying down, it’s important for your body to lie flat and be supported uniformly and continuously through full contact with the surface. You want your weight to be distributed evenly to avoid stressing any part of your spine. You need to be able to maintain good posture and keep your spine straight to maintain the health of your upper, middle and lower back as well as your shoulders and neck. Gaps between the mattress surface and your body mean that you aren’t getting the necessary complete support and you will be likely to wake up with joint pain.
Soft or Firm?
Whether your pain is occasional or chronic, you need to think about the firmness of your mattress. If you’re currently sleeping on a fairly soft mattress, it’s worthwhile to try out a firmer one. An overly soft, sagging mattress is too uneven to be a good platform for lying down. On the other hand, an overly firm mattress may not be doing you any favors either – it can end up putting excessive pressure on your body, making the pain worse (fibromyalgia sufferers may experience this.) There’s no one answer that works for everyone when it comes to how soft or firm your mattress should be. Back problems vary in type and severity, and each of us has different needs.
Rotating and Flipping
Rotating or flipping your mattress may be an effective short term solution to back problems and pain. It’s a good idea now and then to flip your mattress over, or to give it a clockwise turn so that the foot becomes the head. This allows it to wear evenly, avoiding a sag in one specific place. Sagging mattresses make your body sink unevenly into the surface, irritating your spine and exacerbating sciatica. Be aware that some mattresses cannot be flipped, so look at your specifications to see if this is appropriate for your mattress.
It’s impossible to give a single answer to how long a mattress will last; it varies according to the type of usage it receives. But when you start waking up in pain every morning, you should consider replacing your mattress. For optimal health, comfort and sleeping posture, we recommend based on our research that you get a new mattress every 7 to 10 years or so.
Many people recommend latex mattresses to help back pain because the springy action can be effective at relieving pain all through the night and early morning. Back pain sufferers rate latex mattresses highly; in the comparison we did the number one choice was a latex model. At least a third of owners say that an all-latex mattress relieved various types of body pain (such as hips, shoulders and neck) to some degree. The spongy material in a latex mattress pushes back gently into your body, supporting the natural contouring of your body, making maximum body contact, thereby aligning your spine and relieving pressure points. Latex overall is highly recommended if you have back pain symptoms when you wake up, or if you need an orthopedic bed for any reason.
According to our findings, people suffering from back pain are often very happy with memory foam, too. Studies indicate that 1/5 of memory foam mattress owners have experienced some relief of joint pain. Memory foam has some unique properties and behaviors that lead to this outcome. If you’re thinking about buying memory foam, the most important consideration is deciding on what foam density you need. In general, higher density (5 pounds or more) is best for spinal alignment and support; medium density (4 pounds) doesn’t provide as much body contouring; while low density (2 or 3 pounds) is not as effective as the other two at relieving pain.
Among others, pocket spring (a.k.a. pocketed coil) orthopedic mattresses can also provide complete body support. These models contain thousands of individual coils, each inside its own fabric pocket. The springs act independently of each other, contouring to your body and supporting it gently. Generally speaking, 1 to 2 thousand springs is sufficient, but if your weight is above 420 pounds look for a mattress with at least 2 thousand coils. Based on our research, pocketed coil mattresses can offer good pain relief and orthopedic support, but they are still inferior to latex and memory foam in this regard.
Top 6 Comparison Table
|Brand & Model||Thickness||Type||Rating|
|DreamFoam – Ultimate Dreams Eurotop||12″||Latex||5 / 5|
|Amerisleep – Colonial 14||14″||Plant Memory Foam||5 / 5|
|DynastyMattress – Grand AtlantisBreeze||15.5″||Gel Memory Foam||5 / 5|
|SilverRest – Sleep Shop Therapeutic||12″||Visco Elastic Memory Foam||4.5 / 5|
|Serta – Perfect Sleeper Edinburgh Super||12″||Hybrid (Gel & Innerspring)||4.5 / 5|
|Tuft & Needle 10||10″||Polyurethane Foam||4.5 / 5|
Top Five Mattress Review
DreamFoam: Ultimate Dreams EuroTop
This model is among the highest rated, both by our team and by verified owners. This is a 12-inch thick Talalay latex mattress that resists dust mites and microbes, is naturally hypoallergenic, and can be customized to the exact firmness you desire. Once you make an online purchase, the customer support team at DreamFoam will contact you to help you choose the right firmness level of your new mattress. All purchases are custom-made, allowing you to choose a soft, medium or firm finish according to your needs. Even after you receive your customized mattress, DreamFoam will let you return it for further customization if you aren’t happy with its comfort level. Given the importance of choosing the right level of firmness for pain relief, this is the best service that we are aware of for consumers with mild or chronic back and joint pain.
Amerisleep: Colonial 14
This natural plant-based memory foam mattress deserves a lot of credit for continuing to perform exceptionally well in reviews (according to our analysis of hundreds of reviews and years of research) even when newer models enter the market year after year. The breathable cover is made from a natural blend of cotton and bamboo; it regulates heat and humidity and provides a silky cool surface for sleeping. Unbeatable deep contouring and relief of pressure points is accomplished by two separate comfort layers, and an 8-inch core ensures durability and full support of your body. Although it’s undoubtedly firm and supportive, it also feels soft and plush as it molds expertly to your contours. Pressure points are eliminated, and you won’t have a sensation of sinking into this mattress, making it a good option for fibromyalgia, sciatica, and most joint-related issues. This top quality all-American product compares favorably to similar models from the expensive big companies, but it only costs half as much. In looking at reviews from verified owners, we found a high satisfaction level that remains strong years after purchase, as this mattress stays sag-free and firm for a very long time.
DynastyMattress: Grand AtlantisBreeze
This model is a new design that contains no less than six layers of gel-infused memory foam, and it comes at a low price to boot. The purpose of this complex design is to get around the problem that some memory foams have of trapping body heat, reducing retention of firmness and reaction time. The top three gel foam layers are separated so that if one layer overheats, the others can diffuse this extra heat. This innovative design lets the AtlantisBreeze contour effectively to your body shape, relieving symptoms of joint, hip and back problems, while maintaining its medium-firm supportiveness.
SilverRest: Sleep Shop Therapeutic
Here is another top-rate mattress that offers great value at the price. This 12-inch thick mattress features a 5-inch layer of high density (5.3 pounds) memory foam over a 7-inch base layer of very resilient supporting foam. The price of the Therapeutic is in the mid range, but its quality is comparable to some of the big expensive players like Tempur-Pedic. This model excels when it comes to evenly distributing your entire body weight, relieving pressure points and the pain and stiffness that they can cause when you wake up. The viscoelastic foam is naturally hypoallergenic and antimicrobial, helping to promote good circulation and distribution of nutrients, which is one of the key factors in relieving lower, middle or upper back pain issues. The manufacturer offers a 20 year warranty, including an in-home 120 day guarantee with this model.
Serta: Perfect Sleeper Edinburgh Super
This cutting-edge design uses a combination of gel-infused memory foam and a spring layer to provide the best of support, durability and comfort. The density and firmness are perfectly balanced, making this an excellent choice for anyone with back problems. The Perfect Sleeper is the NSF or National Sleep Foundation’s sole official mattress. The design used the NSF’s input to address five of the most common problems with sleep: sleeping undisturbed, pressure point relief, good back support, optimal temperature, and preventing sagging and roll-off. This American-made model has a ten-year warranty from the manufacturer.
Tuft & Needle 10
This 10 inch mattress is a new product on the market from Tuft & Needle, a #1 top-rated company which, in recent times, has been causing quite some hype. Their memory foam mattress are extremely sought after and highly rated but at a small fraction of the cost compared to the popularity and satisfaction. In this case, the Tuft & Needle 10 has been crowned the best mattress for lower back pain continually due to its not too soft and not too firm trademark comfort level. Although this provides support enough to stop saggy pressure points building, it’s leading on to worsen a bad back without being too firm. In 2022, this certainly is one to watch out for if you are on a tight budget and after a no frills experience.
There is no such thing as a single mattress that is best for everybody suffering from back, hip or joint problems, but some are definitely better than others. No matter how much time we spend researching every available option, every requirement of every patient, and every key mattress feature, our conclusions would not likely differ much. Each patient is unique – some can use exercise to combat some of their symptoms while others are chronic sufferers. But if you have symptoms primarily when you get up in the mornings, changing your mattress will definitely make a big difference.
We reviewed about 12 mattresses and made a shortlist of five; but it was still impossible to choose a single best mattress out of the five so we chose two instead.
First up, we gave the DreamFoam Ultimate Dreams EuroTop a full 5 out of 5 rating. We like the fact that you can swap the upper latex layer by simply unzipping it and replacing it with a new layer if you aren’t happy with the firmness. The option to customize right from the start, as well as the ability to change your mind if your original choice doesn’t work for you makes you feel supremely confident about your purchase. Getting the firmness and density right is crucial to relieving pain and maintaining joint health. But the removable EuroTop feature is not the only thing this model has going for it: it uses the best quality materials, it’s tested rigorously for harmful ingredients, and the customer service is unbeatable. This is an all-round great product, and we’re happy to recommend it.
Our other top pick, with another 5 out of 5, is the Amerisleep Colonial 14. It’s not easy to find an organic mattress available in this price range that can compete with the DreamFoam model mentioned above. Amerisleep’s trademarked Bio-Pur material quickly dissipates heat and allows greater airflow, so the mattress is able to provide the proper support, posture and relief of pressure points. The temperature neutrality allows for consistent firmness no matter what the room temperature is, making the surface quick to respond to movement. Sleepers sometimes feel stuck or trapped on memory foam beds, but this is not an issue with this model. This mattress is highly recommended for anyone who wants to sleep well at night and wake up free of pain.