Best Mattress for Back Pain

Contrary to popular belief, the best bed for back pain is not hard as a rock! Sagging mattress back pain from a too-soft mattress is equally responsible. Quality sleep is vital to your health and mental wellbeing, but, what is quality sleep? 

Falling asleep as soon as you get into bed, sleeping through the night, and waking refreshed every morning is quality sleep. With a mattress causing back pain, there are some things you can do to help find greater sleep comfort. Let’s talk about the causes of back pain, how to find relief, and how to choose the best mattress for bad back.   

Table of Contents 

  • Different Types of Back Pain 
  • Common Classifications for Back Pain 
  • Is Your mattress Causing Back Pain>
  • How do I Know if my Mattress is Causing my Back Pain
  • Sagging Mattress Back Pain 
  • Things to Consider Before you buy a Mattress for bad Back 
  • Your Sleeping Position 
  • Your Weight 
  • KeyFactors to Look out for in a Mattress for bad Back
  • The Right Firmness 
  • Durability 
  • Pressure Relief 
  • Free In Home Trial 
  • The Right Warranty 
  • Free Delivery & Returns
  • Plush vs Firm Mattress for Back Pain 
  • What is the Best Mattress Firmness for Back pain? 
  • Best Type of Mattress for Back Pain 
  • The Best Mattress for Back Pain 
  • What is the Best Mattress for Side Sleepers with Back Pain
  • What is the Best Mattress for Herniated Disk 
  • What Type of mattress is Best for Degenerative Disc Disease?
  • FAQs
  • New Mattress back Pain: Can a new Mattress Cause Back pain? 
  • Conclusion 

Different Types of Back Pain 

Back pain can be a complex issue to resolve. Have you ever tried to explain your back pain to your doctor? It can even be difficult to pinpoint its exact location. It can feel as if the pain is radiating all over, thankfully, the good news is there are many treatment options available so there is hope in enjoying pain-free sleep.

Back pain is unique to every individual, some with a herniated disk could suffer great pain while another person with the same ailment may show no symptoms at all. It can sneak up on you out of nowhere for days on end, disappear for weeks and return out of the blue.

While the best mattress for lower back pain will not cure a herniated disc or chronic back pain, a pressure relieving mattress will allow you to sleep comfortably, and during sleep, your body has a chance to heal and replenish. Thus, making you feel physically better. 

Your back is delicate yet strong and full of large muscles, spinal nerves, facet joints, and intervertebral discs. All these act as shock-absorbers, spine support, connectors, and signal senders respectively. Injury to these muscles and nerves is not the only trouble makers, bone, tendons, and various other structures in your back can be causing discomfort. 

Common Classifications for Back Pain 

Axial pain - Confined to one region can be described as dull or sharp, be ongoing or intermittent. A typical cause of Axial pain is muscle strain and disc tears.

Referred pain - A dull ache that moves around and can be intense pain. Degenerative disc disease can cause referred pain. 

Radicular pain -  Intense pain that almost feels like an electric shock. It follows the spinal nerve path and can be caused by inflamed or compressed nerve roots. Pain can radiate to the lower back and legs. It can be called Sciatica and often caused by herniated discs, spinal stenosis.

Is Your mattress Causing Back Pain?

A worn out, sagging mattress can have a negative impact on your physical health, especially your back. If your hips and shoulders are sinking into the mattress, your spine will curve to cause muscle strains, insomnia, and back pain. Even worse, a bad mattress can trigger old aches and pains to resurface.  

How do I Know if my Mattress is Causing my Back Pain?

  • Difficulty finding a comfortable sleep position and falling asleep
  • Night tumbles (tossing and turning) 
  • Waking up with numbness, stiffness, or pain 
  • Joint pain
  • Back and neck pain
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating on daily tasks   

Sagging Mattress Back Pain 

A sagging mattress puts your spine out of alignment. As you lay in bed, watch how your shoulders and hips either sink into the mattress or are pushed back. A sagging mattress creates sinkholes, typically found in memory foam but innerspring, foam, and hybrids are not immune from developing potholes. When deciding on a firm or soft mattress for back pain?, the main criteria in your new bed is pressure relief. 

A pressure relieving mattress is the best of both worlds, soft and firm. When your body is cradled in a supportive hug, all the curves in your body are gently supported, sinking slightly but not enough to put the spine out of alignment. A modern mattress such as AirFoam™ that is the product of years of research and development, has the unique ability to give a feeling of gentle comfort while providing superior pressure relief. A sagging mattress provides zero pressure relief, the lack of which can be a major cause of back pain. 

Things to Consider Before you buy a Mattress for Bad Back 

Your Sleeping Position 

One of the best sleep positions for treating back pain is side sleeping with your head on a pillow and another pillow between your knees for added comfort. The pillow between your knees aids hip, pelvis, and spine alignment. Side sleeping has innumerable health benefits such as, better airway circulation, spine alignment, aids digestion, reduces heartburn, snoring and sleep apnea.

For those dealing with herniated discs, a curled up fetal position could offer sleep comfort. Ensure you get into bed gently, listen to your body to find the best sleep position for you. The best type of mattress for back pain provides pressure relieving, cooling comfort. 

Your Weight 

A plus size sleeper may be tempted to choose the thickest mattress available, thinking it will be more comfortable. But, this could prove more damaging, especially if you’re dealing with back pain. Some mattresses can be 15+ inches and coupled with a high bed base, could be difficult to climb into and out of. Making back pain worse. 

Key Factors to Look out for in a Mattress for Bad Back

The Right Firmness 

Mattress back pain can be exacerbated by a too-soft or too-firm mattress. It may seem impossible to find a middle ground but there is a pressure relieving alternative that can make you sleep and feel better. A pressure relieving mattress of medium firmness is ideal mattress for bad back.    


Durability and price point are two big factors to consider when choosing the best bed for back pain. A well-made, quality mattress could last up to ten years, and costs much less than replacing a poor-quality mattress every 2-3 years. Ask your chosen retailer for their ASTM Constant Force Pounding Dynamic Test results. Similar to this

Pressure Relief 

The best bed for lower back pain provides a comforting pressure relief that allows your body to sink just enough into the mattress without disturbing the delicate curve of your spine. Memory foam can be too soft, latex can be too firm, innerspring can be too bouncy. Pressure relief can be difficult for some mattress materials to attain, except for AirFoam™that is proven to offer 4 times greater pressure relief than even the most expensive memory foam mattress.    

Free In Home Trial 

When deciding what is the best mattress for back pain? A free trial is the best way to help you find the most comfortable mattress for your needs. A no obligation free trial allows you to test the mattress in your own bedroom for at least 100-nights. With free delivery, free return, and free pillows, it’s time-saving, money-saving, and ultra-convenient. Learn about the best mattress free trial, here.  

The Right Warranty 

When shopping with a reputable online retailer, expect at least a minimum ten-year warranty on your mattress. Check the warranty carefully before purchase, a reputable company will be completely transparent about the terms and conditions. 

Free Delivery & Returns

It’s doubtful you’ll find free delivery and free return with a brick-and-mortar store. Infact, physical stores often make it incredibly difficult to return a mattress and charge for delivery. Online retailers offer more favorable mattress prices because they’ve cut out the middlemen. A highlight of a reputable online retailer is their unwavering desire to make mattress shopping as easy as possible for their customers, with mattress free delivery and return as standard.  

Plush vs Firm Mattress for Back Pain 

Plush and firm mattresses offer different sleep experiences but there is a common thread that runs between them, they’re both guilty of causing back pain. A too-soft (plush) mattress sinks the body into the mattress, while this can feel cozy at first, but you may soon notice lower back pain or neck pain (or both!) This is because a too-soft mattress does not have the ability to align the spine in the same way as a pressure relieving mattress. Making a plush vs firm mattress for back pain a no win race. 

 It’s a damaging myth that a hard as rock sleep space is the best mattress for lower back pain. You’ll notice a too-firm mattress when your hips and shoulders are pushed into your body. You’ll feel your shoulder blades being pushed into your back and it will be almost impossible to find a comfortable sleep position. 

What is the Best Mattress Firmness for Back pain? 

The best mattress for bad back will be of medium firmness. As we’ve learned, a too-soft mattress can sink the body putting the spine out of alignment. While a too-firm mattress pushes the hips, shoulders, and shoulder blades into the body. A modern pressure relieving mattress like Airfoam™, takes the comfort of a plush mattress and the pressure of a firm mattress, and combines them to offer a unique pressure relief sleep experience.      

Best Type of Mattress for Back Pain 

Mattress Type

Pressure Relief 



None - minimal

Up to 3 years or more depending on quality of build 


None - minimal

Up to 3 years or more depending on quality of build

Memory Foam

None - minimal

Up to 5 years or more depending on quality of build


Minimal in most 

Up to 7 years or more depending on quality of build


Designed to be pressure relieving

Up to 10 years or more depending on quality of care kept

The Best Mattress for Back Pain 

The pressure relief of an AirFoam™ mattress provides optimal sleep comfort to those dealing with back pain. The spine is aligned and the body is gently supported all night, allowing restorative and healing sleep. 

What is the Best Mattress for Side Sleepers With Back Pain

The best mattress for side sleepers with lower back pain will be designed with side sleepers in mind, such as AirFoam™. Side sleepers need a mattress that allows the hips and shoulders to sink just enough into the mattress without feeling like quicksand. AirFoam™ is designed to gently cradle the body while feeling supportive and cooling.  

What is the Best Mattress for Herniated Disk 

The best mattress for herniated disk conforms to your body and provides excellent pressure relief. Sleeping on your side in the fetal position is recommended when healing a herniated disc. Which is why a side sleeper mattress could provide the most comfort. Good quality sleep is vital when healing the body, a pressure relieving mattress is ideal when healing. 

What Type of mattress is Best for Degenerative Disc Disease?

A mattress that is compatible with an adjustable base is beneficial for those managing degenerative disc disease. Sleeping with the upper body raised around 6 inches can reduce the symptoms and help you sleep better.   


New Mattress back Pain: Can a New Mattress Cause Back Pain? 

A new mattress should not cause back pain. However, it can take up to one month for your body to adjust to a new mattress. The adjustment period may feel a little strange as your body gets used to the feel of a new bed. If you’ve been sleeping on memory foam for a decade and switch to AirFoam™, your body will quickly appreciate the pressure relief after years of sinking into a memory foam mattress.  

Which mattress topper is best for back pain?

If you’re wondering about the best mattress topper for back pain, it’s inadvisable to rely on a mattress topper to ease back pain. Some toppers can provide a feeling of softness but when recovering from illness, pressure relief is more beneficial to sleep health. 


While sleeping on a quality mattress is a valuable step in dealing with back pain. It’s best to combat the underlying causes. During your waking hours, whether you sit at a desk or do manual labor, watch your posture, keep your back straight and lift with your knees. Consider a strength training program, yoga, aqua fitness, or any exercise you enjoy. Although it may be uncomfortable to begin with, gentle exercise can greatly benefit your health. Consult your doctor first and a qualified fitness trainer to develop the right fitness plan for your needs.

Sleeping on an inadequate mattress can aggravate back pain while some studies have shown that introducing new bedding systems increased sleep quality and reduced back discomfort. The same study cites 75% of Americans report sleep disturbances at least three nights a week or more. This is a staggering amount of people suffering needlessly with a little over six hours of sleep per night.

Poor sleep quality affects the mind and body causing stress that in turn causes insomnia. A vicious cycle affecting almost 100 million people. A quality mattress can offer pressure relief, cooler sleep, and be a comfortable tool as you battle back pain. 

Check out this comparison of Nolah AirFoam™ 10" and 12" luxury mattresses.

The flippable 12" offers 2 levels of firmness (like 2 mattresses in 1) 


Enjoy your 120-night risk-free Nolah sleep trial