Sleeping on the wrong mattress can lead to or worsen back pain. An ergonomic mattress encourages good sleeping posture, relaxes muscles and generally provides healthy, wholesome sleep.
Of course, there is no such thing as a “perfect” mattress for everyone. It’s important to choose a mattress that fits your natural sleeping posture.
According to Jeffrey N. Katz, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Orthopedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School, and one of the most authoritative voices in the back pain field, changing your mattress can make a substantial difference:
According to one study conducted on 313 patients suffering from lower back pain, those using medium-firm mattresses reported less pain when lying in bed as well as less pain-related disability compared with those using firm mattresses.
This finding, which has been confirmed several times by other doctors, is an eye opener as it’s in stark contrast with the old-school recommendation to use a very firm mattress.
Dr. Katz goes on, recommending consumers try different mattresses and see which one feels best.
In the past, this meant going to a mattress store many times, spending hours lying on a range of random mattresses with an annoying salesman putting you under pressure to close the sale.
Today, however, thanks to the new approach of several mattress producers, you can order the mattress online and try it in the comfort of your home for a few weeks, and return it if you aren’t satisfied for little or even no cost at all.
So continue reading for a complete overview of the best beds for back pain – armed with the right information, you can make an informed decision and get rid of that bad pain once and for all!
The Back Pain Mattresses Comparison
Before we start, an important warning: this analysis is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Ensure you speak with your doctor before making any decision which could have an impact on your spinal health.
Our back pain mattress comparison takes a look at four of the most popular, high-quality mattresses of the new generation designed to offer relief to people who suffer from chronic back pain:
- The Amerisleep AS2 – plant-based memory foam and Celliant fabric
- The Saatva Mattress – innerspring and memory foam
- The Helix Mattress – natural latex, microcoils and memory foam
- The Bear Mattress – proprietary technology and gel-infused memory foam
These are premium mattresses that command a higher price compared to budget foam or coil mattresses, but they offer quality, durability and warranties that make them great value in the long run, especially when you are trying to combat back pain.
If you suffer from an acute condition, you can scroll down to this dedicated section.
What to Look For in a Mattress for Back Pain?
When choosing a mattress for back pain, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Whether the mattress is firm enough to support your lower back if you are a back-sleeper, while being soft enough to contour to your body. In fact, too-stiff mattresses tend to push against the spine while too-soft mattresses don’t offer enough support. A medium firm mattress is ideal for this type of sleeper.
- For side sleepers, a mattress with slight softness is necessary to cushion the shoulders and hips.
- Stomach sleepers (who very likely sleep this way because of lower back pain) need a firmer mattress to keep them afloat.
Most sleepers tend to sleep with a combination of all these styles, leading to a lot of movement in the bed. The best memory foam mattresses, which have high motion isolation, while still being firm and variously soft (depending on the type) are ideal for these sleepers.
What is the Best Mattress Type to Relieve Chronic Lumbar Discomfort?
Good quality memory foam has been seen by the experts as ideal for ergonomic mattresses for most sleepers to avoid and provide relief for back pain.
Memory foam can come in a range of density, providing anything from a soft mattress to a medium firm mattress, depending on your needs.
It cradles the body’s curves while being firm enough to support the back’s muscular and bony structures.
Your spinal cord has three gentle curves:
- The C-shaped cervical spine that supports the head,
- The reverse C-shaped thoracic spine that holds up the upper body and,
- The C-shaped curve of the lumbar spine (in your lower back) that is the foundation of your back.
It is important to maintain the alignment of the curves of the spinal cord when you are lying in bed – otherwise, you’re asking for chronic back pain.
Memory foam is the best in keeping the spine in alignment preventing back pain and discomfort in general by providing the necessary lumbar support.
This is why more and more sleep experts and spinal cord specialists recommend memory foam mattresses for good sleeping posture.
However, it gets better as today there are several premium mattresses focused on pain relief which combine this great foam advantage with the well-tested, traditional comfort provided by coil springs.
These conform to the body (i.e. are soft enough) while still offering a firm surface not prone to sagging.
The ideal mattress for back pain is therefore something that is not too soft and not too hard, to minimize stress on your cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine.
When it comes to purchasing the best mattress for lower back pain (or any back pain), the mattresses select below have an excellent reputation.
What if I Suffer from an Acute Condition?
People experiencing back pain from simpler causes, even when the pain level is high, can truly benefit from the mattresses we list below, but those suffering from more acute conditions need to go a step further and find a mattress designed specifically for their condition.
After receiving an enormous number of messages asking for help, we felt compelled to find a professional product we could recommend for those cases, and after a very lengthy research we identified Natural Form as the company with the right products for this audience.
Natural Form is a family owned business out of Vermont that has sold specialty mattresses for over 25 years.
They started in the mattress business by creating patented sleep products specifically designed for the medical industry, which include established institutions like the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, Mount Sinai Hospital and Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, Albert Einstein Hospital in Brazil and many more.
Natural Form has helped people suffering from complex conditions such as Degenerative Disc Disease, Spinal Stenosis, Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis and Herniated Discs, while also helping people with more common issues like chronic back, hip and pain and neck problems.
What’s the secret behind this mattress? It’s a combination of Merino wool, memory foam and especially their patented support system, which offers the same support as the best springs without the excessive pressure.
This system, called Self Adjusting Technology, uses a number of independent air pods and doesn’t need pumps, sensors or motors, avoiding any kind of noise and the need for electrical cables.
The result is a perfectly supportive mattress that can change its profile instantly following your body, without leaving any hard spots causing discomfort.
In addition, the mattress can be easily fine tuned on both sides to suit a couple’s different firmness needs.
One of the things we liked the most about this company is that they want to speak with you even if you are already convinced to purchase, as they want to ensure you are picking the right mattress. They have a very long experience in advising customers with pain issues and will do their very best to find a tailored solution for you.
The Natural Form mattress comes with free delivery, 10-year warranty and 100-night sleep trial with 100% refund. The price varies between $2,800 and $3,400 depending on size. You can find out more on their website, and tell them Ted & Stacey sent you!
Our Best Picks for Lower-Back Pain Mattresses
If you don’t suffer from an acute condition, we suggest you consider the following mattresses as they have a very good reputation for improving back pain and similar issues.
The Amerisleep AS2
Amerisleep was one of the first brands to pioneer the online mattress concept, and also maintains affordability by selling directly.
Amerisleep mattresses offer a more eco-friendly approach to memory foam, pairing plant-based foams with luxury finishes.
With the AS2, Amerisleep pairs a thick layer of memory foam with a supportive, high-quality base layer.
This bed readily contours to you, cushioning you while supporting your body evenly over the surface to prevent pressure points.
It also helps ensure optimal spinal alignment to combat lumbar (and other back pain) problems.
Their signature series utilizes a unique memory foam made with a high proportion of plant-derived materials, manufactured in a zero-emissions facility.
This process also keeps the memory foam breathable and makes it highly responsive.
Amerisleep beds feature Celliant, a mineral-based fiber embedded in the fabric of the mattress cover.
This material is scientifically-proven to ease muscle pain and promote circulation, by taking excess body heat and converting it to beneficial infrared energy. You can learn more in our detailed Amerisleep AS3 review (as they share the same technology).
The AS2 holds an excellent reputation for comfort, with hundreds of reviewers who have positive things to say.
Many reviews specifically mention pain relief and reduced back pain, and several have used the As2 for many years.
The Amerisleep AS2 is a medium firm mattress, which is generally recommended as the best option for back pain.
Amerisleep offers other plusher and firmer options, though the balanced support of the AS2 is ideal for people looking for the best mattress for lower back pain.
Amerisleep offers a 100 day trial, completely risk-free, so you can test the bed out in your own home and if it doesn’t help you can return it at no cost.
The Saatva Mattress
Saatva mattresses are designed to be luxury coil mattresses at affordable prices in comparison to their competitors (they deliver much lower prices mostly by selling directly to the public).
You can learn all there is to know in our detailed Saatva review here.
Aside from the pure comfort, confirmed by hundreds of positive reviews on their website and around the web, these mattresses are highly regarded as effective for persistent lumbar pain and recommended by orthopedics, chiropractors, and other serious back specialists.
If you want the best mattress for lower back pain, Saatva should be among your top contenders.
In addition, Saatva has become the official mattress of Healthbridge Sleep, the Northeast’s premier sleep clinic helping people with sleep issues.
There are three firmnesses available with Saatva: Firm (for back or stomach sleepers), Luxury Firm (suitable for most people) and Plush Soft (ideal for side sleepers).
For back pain issues, usually it is recommended that you choose the Luxury Firm, as it delivers the medium firm mattress feel you should look for when looking for the best beds for back pain.
The Helix Mattress
This new product is manufactured by Helix Sleep, an exciting young American company striving to change the industry by offering a fully customizable, high-quality mattress at an accessible price.
It’s through this thorough customization that Helix has been able to offer great results against spinal pain, as you have the opportunity to choose between several different options that will make the mattress feel exactly the way you want it.
Everything on the Helix bed can be tailored around your particular back pain issues and you’ll immediately notice the difference.
Furthermore, if you sleep with a partner, both sides can be customized differently so that you both enjoy exactly what’s right for your individual body type and sleeping style.
The customization process is quick and easy: you answer a few simple questions on the Helix website and you are all set. However, if you prefer you can speak to a specialist who will be able to advise on the right options to suit your needs.
If your Helix mattress doesn’t live up to the expectations and your back doesn’t improve, they have a very generous return policy – you can return it at no cost within the first 100 days.
To learn much more, read our full Helix Mattress review here.
The Bear Mattress
The fourth and last mattress for this comparison is another new concept which is having great success especially among active people who are suffering from back pain.
The Bear mattress has been designed to facilitate physical recovery of professional athletes, who need to remain at their peak performance level for days at a time with limited time to spend sleeping in bed.
Users of this mattress include marathon runners, triathletes and other hardcore athletes who treat their body pretty roughly every time they compete.
The engineers at Bear developed a new kind of fabric which can reflect back the natural body heat as infrared energy, helping muscles and joints substantially in the recovery process, without overheating the bed.
This mattress uses the same Celliant technology as the Amerisleep AS2; it’s embedded in the mattress cover and doesn’t require any particular attention. It feels exactly like a regular cover and can be easily cleaned.
If your back pain is of muscular origin, this mattress can make a big difference as the resting effect is strongly boosted.
Furthermore, the deeper layers have been built to provide the right level of firmness for a healthy back posture throughout the night, thanks to a mix of memory foam and gel-infused foam.
The innovative Celliant technology and medium firm support of Bear earn it a spot among the best beds for back pain.
The Bear Mattress can be tried risk-free for 100 days, so don’t hesitate to try it out if you feel it’s the right solution for you.
You can read our extensive Bear Mattress review here.
Comparison of Comfort Guarantee and Warranty
Of all the mattresses covered here, Saatva has the shortest home trial at 75 nights, and it isn’t 100% risk free as the original delivery fee won’t be refunded.
Amerisleep, Bear and Helix on the other hand offer the same trial of 100 nights with a full refund, although Bear requires you to sleep on it for a minimum of 30 days to ensure you can feel the benefit.
Bear offers a 10-year all-inclusive warranty, while Helix has limited warranty of the same length. On the other hand, Saatva comes with a longer warranty of 15 years with replacement during the first 2 years and free repair afterwards.
Amerisleep offers the longest warranty, 20 years with 10 years of full replacement coverage in case of defects.
Be careful to follow manufacture guidelines for placing your mattress on a suitable foundation to avoid voiding the warranties (more in our reviews).
Also, Helix seems to be picky about seeing the original purchase receipt, so make sure you keep it in a safe place.
How Much Do They Cost?
All four products are part of the new generation of mattresses sold directly to the public online, which means that a much lower price can be achieved by cutting out the middleman (and the usual pushy salesperson).
This saving is transferred directly to the buyer and that’s why the ticket price is a fraction of their competitor’s mattresses, like those made by Serta and Simmons.
Amerisleep and Saatva command a slight premium because they are a more established brand, but the price difference isn’t that great and shouldn’t be the main criteria for your decision.
Although all four mattresses are a great solution for people suffering from back pain, and they all enjoy many positive reviews of actual users who got rid of their lumbar pain problems, the differences are pretty strong.
This is a summary of our assessment:
- Our rating: 4.8
- Established reputation
- Medium-firm firmness
- Plant-based memory foam + Celliant fabric
- 100 days return, 20 years warranty
- Price: $1,099 only with this link (apply TS200 code)
- Our rating: 4.7
- Endorsed by chiropractors
- Medium firmness
- Innerspring + memory foam
- 120 days return, 15 years warranty
- Price: $999
- Our rating: 4.6
- Fully customizable
- Medium firmness
- Helix Dynamic foam + microcoils
- 100 days return, 10 years warranty
- Price: $955 (use TED50 code)
- Our rating: 4.5
- Endorsed by athletes
- Medium firmness
- Gel memory foam + Celliant fabric
- 100 days return, 10 years warranty
- Price: $740 (use TED100 code)
|Technology||Plant-Based Memory Foam, Celliant Fabric||Innerspring, Memory Foam||Helix Dynamic Foam||Celliant fabric, Gel Memory Foam|
|Warranty||20 Years||15 Years||10 Years||10 Years|
|Home Trial*||100 Days||120 Days||100 Days||100 Days|
|Notes||Established reputation||Endorsed by chiropractors||Fully customizable||Endorsed by athletes|
(use TS200 coupon)
(use TED50 coupon)
(use TED100 coupon)
As you can see the Amerisleep AS2 and Saatva have our highest rating of the four.
The Amerisleep AS3, closely related to the AS2, is our current memory foam top pick in our popular Best Mattress guide, while Saatva has been in the top spot of the innerspring category for 2 years in a row.
In this comparison however, all four mattresses have their merits and they can all help you get rid of chronic back pain.
To help you choose, we can summarize the findings as follows:
- The Amerisleep AS2 has a reputation for comfort with hundreds of reviewers, and an established track record. It’s designed with back support in mind, and should be suitable for most sleepers.
- The Saatva mattress is well established and has the backing of the Congress of Chiropractic State Associations and the Healthbridge Sleep Clinic. It’s a great all around mattress that should help most people.
- The Helix mattress gives you the opportunity to tweak it to find that perfect match for your back. If you have a general idea of how a mattress should be for your back, they can make it for you.
- The Bear mattress can work wonders if your back pain is the consequence of heavy physical work, tough sports or muscular and joint stress in general.
If you are reading this, it’s because you have been seriously suffering from back pain, probably for a long time.
We strongly suggest you pick one of these four mattresses today and try it out, since it doesn’t cost you a thing if it doesn’t work. Changing your current mattress can change your life!