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Article updated on April 24, 2024 at 7:00 AM PDT

Best Mattress for Back Pain in 2024

Certain mattresses are designed with extra support to relieve back pain while you sleep. Our team tested and selected the best mattresses for back pain.

Our Experts

Written by 
McKenzie Dillon,
Medically Reviewed
Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement
McKenzie Dillon Writer
McKenzie, a Certified Sleep Science Coach and proclaimed mattress expert, has been writing sleep content in the wellness space for over four years. After earning her certification from the Spencer Institute and dedicating hundreds of hours to sleep research, she has extensive knowledge on the topic and how to improve your quality of rest. Having more experience with lying on mattresses than most, McKenzie has reviewed over 150 beds and a variety of different sleep products including pillows, mattress toppers and sheets. McKenzie has also been a guest on multiple radio shows including WGN Chicago as a sleep expert and contributed sleep advice to over 50 different websites.
Expertise Certified Sleep Science Coach, Certified Stress Management Coach, Bachelor of English.
Reviewed by: Troy Mensen, DO Medical Reviewer
Dr. Troy Mensen is a family medicine doctor based in the Chicago area. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Northern Iowa and his doctorate at Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Expertise Family medicine Credentials
  • American Board of Family Medicine, Family Medicine
  • State of Illinois, Medical Examining Board License
Education
  • University of Northern Iowa, BA
  • Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine, DO
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With 5+ years of mattress testing experience, we use our different sleeping position and body type perspectives to offer well-rounded, honest reviews.

What to consider

Firmness

A firm mattress will offer more support while a soft mattress will be more pressure relieving. Medium mattresses fall in the sweet spot right in between. The right firmness level for you depends on your sleeping position.

Sleeping position

Side sleepers should consider a medium to soft mattress that cradles the hips and shoulders. Back and stomach sleepers should consider a medium to firm mattress that keeps the spine in a straight alignment. Switch between positions? A medium firmness level can accommodate all sleeping positions.

Feel

Coils and latex foam give a bed more bounce, while memory foam and poly foam make a bed feel more cushy and pressure relieving. The feel of your mattress will depend on the types of materials it has on the inside.

Construction

There are essentially two mattress types, hybrid and all-foam. Hybrid mattresses are constructed with steel coils and foam, but all-foam mattresses are just as their name implies.

Body type

Hybrid mattresses tend to be best for people who want extra support and durability. Sleepers over 230 pounds in particular should consider a hybrid over an all-foam mattress because it’s more supportive, durable and long-lasting.

Performance

Motion isolation, edge support and temperature are important features for couples or people who sleep hot to consider. Hot sleepers should consider a mattress that boasts special cooling features. Couples want minimal motion transfer and a strong, supportive bed perimeter.

Company policies

All online brands offer a free trial, free shipping and a warranty, but some brands are more generous with their policies than others.

Our Picks

$2,945 at Saatva
Memorial Day Deal
Best overall mattress for back pain
Saatva Rx
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Take $400 off $1000 or more
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$1,795 at Saatva
Memorial Day Deal
Best firm mattress for back pain
Saatva Classic Mattress
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Take $400 off $1000 or more
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$799 at Nectar Sleep
Memorial Day Deal
Best memory foam mattress for back pain
Nectar Hybrid
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Up to 40% off mattresses
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$665 at DreamCloud Sleep
Memorial Day Deal
Best hybrid mattress for back pain
DreamCloud Premier Hybrid
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Up to 50% off mattresses
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$1,819 at Leesa
Memorial Day Deal
Best mattress for side sleepers with back pain
Leesa Legend Hybrid
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30% off select mattresses +free sleep bundle
View details
$317 at Walmart
Best affordable mattress for back pain
Allswell mattress
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$1,099 at Helix
Memorial Day Deal
Best mattress for heavy sleepers with back pain
Helix Plus
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25% off Sitewide with code:
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$1,624 at Nolah
Best mattress for combination positions
Nolah Evolution Mattress
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Chronic back pain may not be classified as life threatening, but it affects the overall quality of life. Many people suffering from back pain also experience other effects such as sleeplessness, bad posture, neck pain and headaches. If you live with chronic back pain, you've likely experienced these debilitating side effects first hand. Having a mattress that alleviates symptoms instead of contributing to them is essential, and Memorial Day is a great time to search for the perfect mattress deal.

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Sleep soundly year-round with our mattress deals coverage. And be sure to check out all of our Memorial Day sales coverage for this season’s top sales.

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A good mattress should provide support for the natural curves in our body without putting pressure on the spine. Overall sleep health affects your daily life as well, as lack thereof leads to fatigue, lack of concentration, weight gain and sadly, insomnia.

We spoke with Dr. Andrew Casden, chief of orthopedics and spine surgery at White Plains Hospital in New York, about the best mattresses for back pain. Casden said, "What we know for sure is that too soft or too hard a mattress is not good for your back and can lead to back pain. You don't want a super firm mattress or too soft a mattress. Where does that leave you? According to Casden, "Medical research does suggest that a 'medium-firm' mattress can help reduce the risk of developing back pain and decrease the pain for those already suffering from back pain."

Read more: Best Mattress of 2024

I've tested over 100 different mattresses from just about any brand you can think of, and I have hundreds of hours of experience reviewing mattresses. This allowed me to select the best mattress for back pain that checks all the boxes you need to ease your pack pain.

Video: Best mattresses for back pain

Watch CNET Video Producer Owen Poole review the best mattress for back pain. 

What is the best mattress for back pain?

After testing many beds, we selected the Saatva Rx as the best overall mattress for back pain. Its seven-layered construction includes gel memory foam, support foam, micro-coils, 8-inch pocketed coils and a targeted Therapeutic SupportCore system to give this mattress a supportive and comfortable design, all intended to alleviate chronic pain. The medium firmness level (or 4 to 5 out of 10 on our scale) of this bed means that it's suitable for all body and sleeper types.

Best mattresses for back pain of 2024

Memorial Day Deal

Saatva Rx

Best overall mattress for back pain

Our take - Saatva is a reputable brand that often makes our best lists due to its premium, luxury mattresses -- and the Saatva Rx is no exception. This bed is especially great for back pain because it was designed to relieve pain and discomfort from conditions such as sciatica, scoliosis and arthritis. We found the bed to be around a medium on our firmness scale or about a 4 or 5 out of 10, leaning towards a slightly softer feel. This means that it should be comfortable for all sleeper types: back, stomach, side and combination. The slightly softer firmness might be more appropriate for side sleepers. 
We are especially impressed by the Saatva Rx’s design and construction. It has seven distinct layers, including the pillowy organic cotton cover. In addition to layers of gel memory foam, high-density foam and a stable base, there are also layers of micro-coils, a thicker layer of pocketed coils and what Saatva calls its Therapeutic SupportCore. This is zoned support that provides more spinal alignment and extra comfort in the center of the bed.
Read full review
Type
hybrid mattress
Firmness
medium
Trial
365 nights
Warranty
lifetime warranty
Price
$$$
Take $400 off $1000 or more
$2,945 at Saatva
Compare
Memorial Day Deal

Saatva Classic Mattress

Best firm mattress for back pain

Our take - For the shopper who likes luxury, the Saatva Classic is a premium hybrid mattress with extra bells and whistles. It features two coil layers, a zoned 3-inch pillow top, Lumbar Zone Spinal Wire and pressure-relieving memory foam that make it a great mattress for people with back pain. I also appreciate its customizable features: there are three firmness options and two height profiles to choose from. 
Read full review
Type
hybrid mattress
Firmness
Medium: (5)
Trial
365 nights
Warranty
lifetime warranty
Take $400 off $1000 or more
$1,795 at Saatva
Compare
Memorial Day Deal

Nectar Hybrid

Best memory foam mattress for back pain

Our take - With a medium-firm profile and 12-inch hybrid construction, the Nectar Hybrid offers comfortable stability and pressure relief. Made with dense gel memory foam and individually wrapped innerspring coils, it provides targeted support and minimal motion transfer so you and your partner can get better rest. It's an excellent option for those with back pain who prefer that traditional memory foam feel.
Read full review
Type
memory foam hybrid mattress
Firmness
medium-firm or 6 to 7
Trial
365 nights
Warranty
forever warranty
Price
$$
Up to 40% off mattresses
$799 at Nectar Sleep
Compare
Memorial Day Deal

DreamCloud Premier Hybrid

Best hybrid mattress for back pain

Our take - The DreamCloud Hybrid mattress is a premium mattress that offers relief to people with back pain without being overly firm or soft. It boasts a light and airy pillow top, and its primary comfort layers are made with memory foam, but it doesn't provide as much resistance or give as the traditional material does. It's more bouncy and responsive. With an optimal firmness level for people with back pain, it's worth the money it costs. It's very affordable for its quality -- comparable beds cost around $300 to $400 more or up. 
Read full review
Type
responsive memory foam mattress
Firmness
medium to medium-firm or 5 to 6
Trial
365 nights
Warranty
lifetime warranty
Up to 50% off mattresses
$665 at DreamCloud Sleep
Compare
Memorial Day Deal

Leesa Legend Hybrid

Best mattress for side sleepers with back pain

Our take - If you’re a side sleeper with back pain, this bed’s medium to medium-soft firmness and three-zone support design could provide some relief. Its hybrid construction has an additional layer of thousands of micro-coils that offer impressive stabilization -- you can actually feel the extra support as soon as you lay down on this bed. 
Type
soft hybrid mattress
Firmness
medium to medium-soft or 4 to 5
Trial
100 nights
Warranty
10-year warranty
Price
$$$
30% off select mattresses +free sleep bundle
$1,819 at Leesa
Compare

Allswell mattress

Best affordable mattress for back pain

Our take - Owned by Walmart and in line with its parent company's brand, Allswell is an incredibly affordable hybrid mattress. It offers support and proper spinal alignment for back and stomach sleepers at a low price. It's proof you don't need to spend thousands of dollars to buy a good mattress for back pain.
Read full review
Type
hybrid mattress
Firmness
Medium to medium firm: (6)
Trial
100 nights
Warranty
10-year limited warranty
$317 at Walmart
Compare
Memorial Day Deal

Helix Plus

Best mattress for heavy sleepers with back pain

Our take - Heavier sleepers with back pain should look for an extra supportive and durable mattress, and Helix Plus checks that box. With a thick hybrid construction, medium-firm profile and XL pocketed coils that can support up to 1,000 pounds, it's a solid pick that won't break the bank. 
Read full review
Type
hybrid mattress
Firmness
Medium firm: (7)
Trial
100 nights
Warranty
15-year limited warranty
25% off Sitewide with code:
$1,099 at Helix
Compare

What to consider when buying the best mattress for back pain

Shopping for the best mattress for back pain that fits your needs isn't always easy. People with back pain especially have to be considerate of their new bed purchase because they don't want it to contribute to even more aches. Here are the key things to look out for when searching for a bed to help with back pain relief. 

Firmness level

As our medical experts have said, the best beds for back pain seem to be in the medium-firm range; you want a mattress that's neither too firm or too soft. A medium-firm mattress mostly offers great support, but it's not so firm that it loses its pressure-relieving abilities. At the same time, it's important to consider your sleeping position to properly accommodate your needs. 

Sleeping position

Medium-firm mattresses will be perfectly suitable for many people with back pain including back, stomach and combination sleepers. The key is to have a mattress that keeps your spine in a straight alignment with your neck and head. As such, side sleepers with back pain may want a slightly softer mattress that gives underneath the curves of your shoulders and hips. A medium mattress is best for petite and side sleepers because you get more pressure relief without compromising support. 

Hybrid construction

Between foam beds and hybrid beds that incorporate both foam and coils, hybrid beds are typically best at helping alleviate back pain. Foam beds are more prone to sagging and indentations, and this wear and tear can help contribute to your back pain. Hybrid beds with coils in the foundation layer provide more support for all body types, and do a better job of keeping your spine in proper alignment. 

Special ergonomic designs

Some beds have average designs while others are made with back pain sufferers in mind. Keep an eye out for these ergonomic mattresses. Beds like the Saatva Rx with special lumbar support will likely prove to be more beneficial for back pain than a standard hybrid or foam mattress. 

Best mattress for back pain graphic showing pressure points for different sleepers.

When you're shopping for the best mattress for back pain, it's important to find a firmness level that accommodates your sleeping position. 

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How we test the best mattresses for back pain

CNET editors pick the products and services we write about based on editorial merit. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission. 

We considered several key factors when testing the best mattress for back pain: price, firmness, feel and pressure relief. We also made sure to note what special features each mattress offered.

Firmness and feel

At the start of any mattress testing, we immediately note the bed's firmness and feel. To get the most well-rounded picture of how a bed performs in these categories, we have several team members test and rate each bed.

Think of firmness as how hard or soft your mattress is. Part of this is your preference, but firmness is also dictated by how you sleep. For example, back and stomach sleepers need a firmer mattress to keep their spine and neck aligned. In contrast, side sleepers need a softer mattress with pressure relief to prevent painful pressure points at the shoulders, hips and knees. People with back pain generally need at least a medium-firm level of support. 

Feel is a preference thing. It all comes down to what you want your bed to feel like. Do you like sinking memory foam? Or thick pillow tops? What about the unique feel of the Purple mattress? The firmness and feel of each mattress are noted in the reviews. 

Support and pressure relief

Regarding mattresses for back pain, great support with ample pressure relief is essential. Once we had a roundup of the beds that stood out the most, we carefully considered the beds with designs that were meant to help promote a neutral spinal alignment. We also looked at mattresses that have been endorsed by the people who know best at the American Chiropractic Association. For even more expertise, we consulted specialized doctors who have the necessary knowledge on the best and worst mattresses for back pain. 

Read more on how we test mattresses.

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Other mattresses we've tested

It's difficult for the average person to test every mattress they might be interested in, especially when it comes to online mattresses that are exclusively sold through the brands' websites. That's why we have our CNET Sleep editors test the mattresses we review, and create round-ups that include some of the best beds they snuggled up to. While the beds above are top choices, here are a few that could have easily made the list as an ideal mattress for back pain. 

Avocado mattress: For individuals who live green or are particularly sensitive to household allergens, an organic mattress like Avocado might be appealing. With the optional pillow top, the Avocado mattress has a medium-firm profile that keeps the back in neutral alignment and prevents it from sagging into the mattress. It's also endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association, although, it might be a little too firm for side sleepers. Another plus about this bed is that thanks to its latex foam construction, it's hypoallergenic and antimicrobial. 

WinkBed mattress: There are several perks to a WinkBed mattress that make it an ultra-comfortable option for people who suffer from back pain. It's offered in three firmness levels, but the firm model (rated around a medium-firm) is what I recommend, thanks to its golden ratio of support to pressure relief. Not only is it made with supportive pocketed coils, but it also has a "LumbarLayer" specifically designed to offer targeted support to your lumbar region.

Loom & Leaf mattress: Offered in two firmness levels, medium-firm and firm, the Loom & Leaf mattress is a memory foam mattress that can help prevent back pain and offer cooling relief at the same time. It's a thick, foam mattress with a firm profile that keeps your spine from sagging into the bed. If you happen to sleep hot, it also has a cooling gel layer that's very effective at keeping you and the bed at a comfortable temperature. 

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Signs your mattress is causing back pain

Dr. Jacob Hascalovici, chief medical officer of the telehealth chronic pain platform Clearing, gave us insight into the consequences of a bad mattress, and the signs to look out for. 

"If you're frequently waking up with a crick in the neck, back pain, stiff joints, experiencing mental fogginess, and having trouble falling asleep can all be signs of a mattress that is hurting your back," Hascalovici said. "A bad mattress can mean a bad night's sleep. It can also add up to more pain, both in your back and in other muscles and joints that are forced out of alignment or have to compensate for a lack of support." 

That's why it's so important to sleep on an accommodating mattress. "Over time, pain and lost sleep can lead to memory problems, lack of concentration, mood swings, lowered immunity, and even weight gain and a higher risk of heart trouble," Hascalovici said. "Getting a good night's sleep is vital for multiple areas of your mind and body, so it's worth prioritizing." 

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Different types of back pain

"The back is such a large and important part of the body, it's not unusual for it to develop aches and pains," Hascalovici explained. "While back pain can be characterized in many different ways, it can be convenient to classify it by where it shows up."

Neck pain: "Unfortunately common, neck pain can happen for quite a few different reasons. The neck can get sore from supporting an out-of-alignment head -- if you carry your head thrust forward, for example, hunch, or have 'text neck', you may notice soreness and difficulty turning your neck. Arthritis can happen, or the neck can get injured. It's also not uncommon to wake up with neck pain from unsupportive pillows, from sleeping on your stomach, or from tooth-grinding during the night, among other things."

Upper back pain: "The upper back, or thoracic spine, can suffer from musculoskeletal pain," Hascalovici said. "Discs can slip, strains can occur, and nerves can get pinched. Often, the causes of upper back pain can be traced back to being sedentary, having relatively poor posture or weakened muscles that let the spine tilt out of alignment. Upper back pain can affect the shoulders; shoulders may also hurt if you've been putting pressure on them unevenly while sleeping."

Lower back pain: "Only five vertebrae comprise the lower back, but those bones bear a lot of weight and pressure," Hascalovici said. "Herniated discs, muscle strains, nerve damage, and arthritis can all cause lower back pain. Doing heavy, repetitive labor, lifting heavy weights, toting a hefty bag around, or slumping don't help, either. For people with lower back pain, a medium-firm or firm mattress can sometimes yield some pain relief."

"Wherever pain shows up in the back, it can be frustrating," he continued. "The back is vulnerable to damage and to soreness caused by inflammation and arthritis; stress also contributes to back pain, since it often makes people clench their muscles." As a remedy, Hascalovici suggested "supplements, regular exercise, good posture, an anti-inflammatory diet, managing stress, and getting enough sleep all help to prevent and manage back pain."

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Other ways to reduce back pain

Hascalovici said some sleeping positions are better than others for back pain, and offered a few tips to help you sleep more comfortably.

  • If you can, try to sleep on your side while bending your knees a little. It may help to put a firm pillow behind your back to help hold you in place. 
  • A soft body pillow or feather pillow between your knees may make you feel more comfortable. 
  • If you naturally prefer sleeping on your back, tuck a small pillow under your knees to keep your lower back from arching and possibly hurting more. 
  • Try to avoid sleeping on your stomach, but if you can't, you can at least stick a pillow under your hips at night to keep your back from arching too much.
  • Consider a mattress topper to make your bed feel more supportive or more pressure-relieving, depending on what you need out of your current mattress. If your bed is too soft, consider a latex topper to add firmness. If your bed is too firm, a plush memory foam topper can help soften things up. 
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Best mattress for back pain FAQ

Can a mattress cause back pain?

Yes. A poor mattress or ill-suited bed for your needs can be a contributing factor to your back pain. If your bed is fairly new, less than a few years old, your bed may be too firm or too soft for your needs.

A soft mattress can cause back pain for back and stomach sleepers because it allows the lower back to sag into the foam. On the other hand, a firm mattress can press into the shoulders and hips of side sleepers, causing the spine to be misaligned. 

If your mattress has sags, indents or visible wear and tear, it's a sign your bed is too old. Old mattresses with lumps and bumps aren't efficient and promoting proper spinal alignment, and can lead you to wake up with back pain. 

What type of mattress is best for back pain?

Memory foam and latex are the most commonly recommended mattress materials for back pain. These materials conform to your body and provide pressure relief where you need it most. 100% memory foam mattresses and hybrid mattresses -- which combine springs with memory foam and/or latex -- are both good choices.

Are memory foam mattresses good for back pain?

Memory foam mattresses are among the best for back pain. They contour your body, alleviating pressure on your joints and reducing aches and pains. The memory foam also aligns with the natural curvature of your spine, providing lumbar support.

Is it better to have a firm mattress for back pain?

Very firm mattresses were often recommended for back pain in the past, but based on feedback from sleepers, a mattress that's too firm can disrupt sleep and contribute to back pain. On the other hand, mattresses that are too soft also contribute to poor sleep quality and back pain, by throwing your spine out of alignment and putting too much pressure on your joints. 

In general, the best mattress for back pain is one that's rated medium to medium-firm, but it also depends on how you sleep. For example, side sleepers need a mattress that's softer than back sleepers who generally need a firmer mattress, so the right mattress depends on your existing sleep habits.

What is the best mattress for back pain?

Some of the best mattresses to help alleviate back pain include:

  • AS5 Hybrid
  • Saatva
  • DreamCloud
  • Purple Hybrid
  • Nectar Premier
  • Saatva Rx
  • Allswell
  • GhostBed Flex
  • Helix Plus

What sleeping position is best for back pain?

The best sleeping positions for back pain are on your back with a pillow underneath the knees to alleviate pressure or on your side with a pillow between the knees. If you sleep on your stomach and can't make the switch, sleep with a pillow underneath the lumbar region (your lower back area).