Mattresses and Back Pain Relief

Back Pain Introduction

Waking up with back pain in the morning can be very disturbing which might ruin your whole day. A predominant number of people nowadays suffers from upper, middle or lower backaches at least once during their life.

Though factors leading to back pain are complex including strained muscles, sleep disorders, poor posture during everyday activities, sleeping on the wrong mattress plays a significant role in preventing the pain or making it worse.

Some mattresses perform much better than others in relieving back pain due to their capability of providing both comfort (conformity) and adequate support.

Conformity means the material allows the body parts like the hips and shoulders, to sink in while the other areas of the body, such as the waist and neck just lay atop.

The most complained problem by mattress owners is sagging problem and excessive firmness. To find out which kind of mattress is the best for back pain relief, we will compare them from two important aspects, namely Firmness, and Types of Mattress.

What's The Best Mattress For Back Pain? - Soft, Medium, Or Firm?

Medium: Medium-firm mattresses are the most recommended for the majority, especially for back sleepers. Mattresses neither too soft nor too firm will offer adequate support and the good conforming ability for average and small-sized people.

Firm: It has long been believed that a firm mattress was the best choice for people who suffer from back pain. However, recent studies show that firm mattresses may excel at providing support, but their conforming ability is weak for average-sized, small-sized people and also side sleepers. Therefore, a firm mattress is often best suited for large-sized people as they tend to need extra support.

Soft: Soft mattresses are good choices for smaller-sized people and side sleepers.

Best-Suited Firmness For Different Sleep Positions:

Ave-sized People(130 - 230 Lbs) Large-sized People(230 + Lbs) Small-sized People(Under 130 Lbs)
Back sleeper Medium-firm Firm Medium-firm/Soft
Side sleeper Medium-firm Firm Soft
Stomach sleeper Firm Firm Medium-firm

Which Type Of Mattress Is The Best For Back Pain?

On a 1 to 10 scale with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best on back pain relief, here we can view the varying effects of all the types clearly.

Memory Foam

Back pain relief:

People with backaches often tend to be highly satisfied with memory foam mattresses. Memory foam contours the person's entire body without any gaps. More importantly, medium-firm mattresses allow the spine to rest in a natural position. Memory foam with high density (5 lbs+) provides maximum support and optimal spinal alignment.

Latex/Latex Hybrid

Back pain relief:

A latex mattress is often considered a good choice mattress for back pain because its premium, spongy material maximizes natural body contouring and ensures full body contact which in turn provide excellent pressure point relief and spinal alignment. According to some research, all-latex mattress provides more effective pain relief than latex hybrid ones.


Back pain relief:

Airbed is a popular choice for back pain relief because of its capability of providing adjustable support to suit personal preference. The possible downside is that with barely any comfort layer, small-sized people with side-sleep position may find it too firm on some body parts.


Back pain relief :

Innerspring mattresses are often good at giving support, but they are not ideal choices due to sagging problems. When it comes to conforming ability, modes with minimal comfort layer will let you down especially for small-sized people.

Memory Foam Hybrid

Back pain relief:

Similar to innerspring mattresses, the support of memory foam hybrid mattresses are often affected significantly by their sagging problems. The conforming ability also depends on its content of memory foam, models with at least two inches of memory foam perform better.


Back pain relief:

Despite the high conforming ability, the waterbed is not recommended for people with back pain problems for the poor support it provides.


Back pain relief:

Futon mattresses are often suggested for occasional use for a reason. The supportability and conformity they provide are both just about average.

Choose The Right Pillow

Although mattress plays a crucial role in relieving back pain, a pillow with suitable loft is also important. A right pillow should be compatible with your mattress's firmness level to avoid neck, shoulder or spine pain.


Based on the factors we’ve discussed, medium-firm memory foam or latex mattresses are perfect for those suffering back pain. They allow the wider parts of the body, like the hips and shoulders which need to sink in to do so, while still providing support for the lighter body parts like the neck and waist that require it. It's of utmost importance to maintain the alignment of the curves of the spinal cord when lying in bed.

When searching for a good mattress, please remember that mattresses are a matter of personal preference to a great extent. There's no a single type of mattress works great for all people, and there is no best mattress for backache problems.

For Those Who Can’t Afford To Purchase A New Mattress, Follow These Tips Can Help To Ease Back Pain:

  • Put a plywood board between the mattress and frame for added support.
  • If you are a back sleeper, place a pillow under your knees
  • If you are a side sleeper, place a pillow between your knees to take some pressure off of your spine
  • Wrap around your waist a rolled-up towel to help your spine maintain a proper curve.