If you’re waking up with aches and pains in your back and neck each morning, it may mean that it is time to look for a new mattress. Finding a mattress that is supportive, that will keep your spine in alignment, and that will offer pressure point relief may help to alleviate the amount of pain you experience.
However, with all the mattress options on the market, it can be overwhelming trying to choose the one that will offer the pressure and pain relief you’re looking for. First, we’ll share some tips below to help you shop for the right mattress to match your sleep position, body weight, and pain type. Then, we’ll provide an overview of our picks for the best mattresses for back and neck pain. So, whether you’re shopping for the best mattress for lower back pain, upper back pain, neck pain, or sciatic nerve pain, keep reading.
Is My Mattress Responsible for My Back and Neck Pain?
Possibly! Sleeping on a mattress that doesn’t offer the proper support and contouring for your body and sleep position can definitely contribute to back and neck pain. One main cause of back and neck pain is the misalignment of the spine. Many mattresses that aren’t supportive enough based on your sleep position (or that have started to sag over the years), don’t keep the spine in alignment. When this occurs, it places undue stress on the body, which can lead to back or neck pain.
Of course, there are many causes for back and neck pain. Mattresses are just one possible cause. If you notice that the level of pain you’re experiencing is greatest in the morning, then your mattress is more likely to be the culprit. However, even if your old mattress isn’t necessarily the cause, switching to a new mattress could still help minimize the pain you’re experiencing. You can always schedule an appointment with your physician to assess the cause of your pain.
Types of Back and Neck Pain
There are different types of back and neck pain. The type of pain you’re experiencing and its location can play a big role in deciding which mattress is best for you.
Back pain is classified as either acute or chronic. Acute back pain typically occurs as the result of an injury to the ligaments or muscles in the back. It often feels like a very sharp pain and may be caused from lifting something that is too heavy, falling, or twisting the body. Acute back pain often subsides with time or proper treatment.
Chronic back pain, on the other hand, lasts for a longer period of time and often does not resolve itself even with treatments. Chronic pain often feels like more of a dull pain, though individuals may also experience sharp pain. The cause for chronic back pain is not always clear, though in some cases individuals may be able to trace their pain back to an older injury.
The area of the back that is affected by the pain is used to categorize types of back pain. These categories include:
- Lower back pain
- Mid back pain
- Upper back pain
- Neck pain
Sleep Position and Body Weight
Before choosing a new mattress to help alleviate your back and neck pain, it is essential to consider your sleeping position. The best mattress for a side sleeper may feel quite different from the best mattress for a back sleeper. This disparity is because each sleep position creates different pressure points. The location of the pressure points can help determine how supportive or cushioning a mattress should be.
- Side sleepers: Generally speaking, side sleepers prefer a softer mattress than those who sleep in other positions. This is because the mattress needs to contour to their shoulders and hips and let them sink in a bit to keep the spin aligned. However, if the mattress is too soft, the hips and shoulders will sink in beneath the spine, which can result in misalignment and more pain. Many side sleepers tend to prefer a medium or medium-firm mattress.
- Back Sleepers: The pressure points for a back sleeper are found in the lumbar areas along the lower back. Mattresses that are too soft will cause a back sleeper’s lower back and hips to sink into the mattress, resulting in a misaligned spine and increased pain. Because of this fact, most back sleepers are most comfortable on a medium-firm to firm mattress that will give their hips the support they need to keep the spine aligned.
- Stomach sleepers: A stomach sleeper’s pressure points are found around their neck and lumbar region. To keep their spine aligned, stomach sleepers tend to need a firm mattress. If the mattress is too soft, then the lower body will sink in more deeply than the upper body, resulting in a misaligned spine and stress on the lower back’s muscles and ligaments.
- Combination sleepers: Individuals that rotate between two or three of the different sleep positions over night need to look for a mattress with a balanced firmness that can support the lower back region while they are sleeping on their back or stomach while also being contouring enough to cradle the body when they are sleeping on their side.
In addition to your preferred sleep position, your body weight can also impact the ideal firmness level of a mattress. Because of their increased body weight, heavier individuals will sink down into a mattress more than lighter individuals sleeping in the same position. If you weigh over 230 pounds, you may find that a firmer mattress will be more supportive for you to ensure your spine stays in alignment. On the flip side, if your body weight is less than 130 pounds, you may find that a softer mattress is best for you.
The Best Mattresses for Back and Neck Pain
Ready to choose a new mattress that will provide the relief you’re seeking for your back or neck pain? Keep the information we shared about sleep position above in mind as you read through our recommendations.
The Nolah Evolution 15” is a great mattress option to help relieve back and neck pain. It features a seven-layer hybrid design that combines Nolah’s proprietary foam with a coil support system. AirFoamICE™ offers gentle contouring and exceptional pressure relief. The HDMax™ Tri-Zone™ coils have targeted back support and respond to movement and weight distribution to provide even spinal alignment which reduces back pain.
The Nolah Evolution 15” mattress comes in three different firmness levels so you can choose the perfect firmness for your sleep position and body composition. It also features cooling properties like a breathable organic cotton cover and graphite infused AirFoamICE™ to draw out heat.
You will be able to try your Nolah mattress in the comfort of your own home during the 120-night trial period. Also, all Nolah mattresses are made in the USA, ship free, and have a lifetime warranty.
Puffy Lux Hybrid Mattress
The Puffy Lux Hybrid Mattress is also an excellent selection for those dealing with back pain. This mattress offers 6-layers designed to help it contour to each body and alleviate back pain and discomfort. The Contour-Adapt coils work alongside the layers of foam, specifically the 1.5-inch Plush Dual Cloud foam layer, to provide support and pressure relief while minimizing the strain placed on the spine.
In addition to its pain-relieving properties, there are a number of other benefits offered by the Puffy Lux Mattress. These features include the hypoallergenic cover, the Cooling Cloud foam layer for breathable and comfortable sleep, and the mattress’s compatibility with any type of base.
If you purchase a mattress from Puffy, you’ll enjoy a 101-night sleep trial to test out the mattress and make sure it is right for you. Puffy also includes free shipping and an impressive lifetime warranty with all of their mattresses.
PlushBeds Botanical Bliss Organic Latex Mattress
We think you’ll also like the PlushBeds Botanical Bliss Organic Latex Mattress if you’re looking to find relief from back and neck pain. Unlike the mattresses above, this option is not a hybrid mattress. Rather, it is constructed from certified organic latex foam.
One of the reasons that the Botanical Bliss is a top contender for the best mattress for lower back pain is because latex is known for its abilities to cradle the body. This flexibility can help alleviate pressure points and back pain and allow you to enjoy a more restful sleep. In fact, many chiropractors and orthopedic specialists recommend this mattress to patients suffering from back or neck pain.
The mattress is available in 9-, 10-, and 12-inch thicknesses with either a medium or medium-firm feel. Each thickness features layers of OEKO-TEX certified natural talalay latex and GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard) certified Arpico organic latex. The 9-inch mattress has a 2-inch layer of talalay latex and a 6-inch Arpico organic latex core, the 10-inch mattress has a 3-inch layer of talalay latex and a 6-inch Arpico organic latex core, and the 12-inch mattress has a 2-inch layer of talalay latex, a 3-inch layer of Arpico organic latex, and a 6-inch Arpico organic latex core.
In addition to the latex layers, this mattress also features a GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified organic cotton cover. It also has a GOTS certified organic wool that acts as a natural flame retardant.
The Botanical Bliss Mattress includes free shipping, a 100-night trial, and a 25-year warranty.
DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress
If you wake up with back and neck pain, the DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress may be able to help. This mattress uses a combination of individually-wrapped coils and memory foam to offer relief from pain and to allow individuals to rest more comfortably.
The DreamCloud Mattress features a 5-layer design starting with a soft and cozy quilted foam and cashmere cover. Beneath the cover is the Pressure-Relief Comfort layer. This gel memory foam layer contours to the body to lessen pressure points and keep the spine in alignment for reduced back and neck pain.
The next layer, known as the Sink-In-Just Right layer, is designed to provide the right amount of contouring to an individual’s body to keep them comfortable without sinking in so much that it puts stress on their spine. The pocketed coils follow next to allow the mattress to be supportive and adaptive to position changes. Finally, the base layer gives the mattress stability and helps to ensure all the layers above it work well with one another.
The DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress has a firmness rating of 6.5 out of 10, a good balance for most individuals looking to alleviate back or neck pain. Individuals who tend to get warm when they sleep will also appreciate how the gel memory foam and coils work together to disperse heat and allow air flow for a cool and comfortable night’s sleep.
Each DreamCloud Mattress includes free shipping and a 365-night sleep trial. DreamCloud also offers a lifetime warranty to protect your purchase. The company also includes pillows, a sheet set, and a mattress protector with each mattress.
What to Look for When Shopping for the Best Mattress for Back and Neck Pain
Keep the considerations outlined below in mind as you shop for the best mattresses for lower back pain, upper back pain, or neck pain. Using these to guide your search can help ensure that you’ll be happy with the mattress you select and that it will actually deliver the pain relief you’re seeking.
There are many different types of mattresses on the market. These options include memory foam, latex, hybrid, innerspring, and air mattresses. Hybrid mattresses are often seen as an optimal pick for individuals with back pain. They deliver the contouring properties of memory foam and latex mattresses to provide pressure point relief, along with the support of an innerspring mattress to help keep the spine in alignment.
Individuals with back pain who sleep on their side may find that a memory foam mattress is a good pick for them. These mattresses can provide excellent contouring and pressure relief to keep the shoulders and hips comfortable and the spine in alignment for side sleepers.
Sleeping Position and Firmness Level
As we shared above, your sleep position plays an important role when determining your ideal firmness level. Generally speaking, side sleepers will be most comfortable on a medium to medium firm mattress; back sleepers will find optimal support from a medium-firm to firm mattress; and stomach sleepers will be most comfortable on a firmer mattress.
Keep your budget in mind as well. There can be quite a range of prices between different mattress companies and even models from the same manufacturer. You should be able to find a mattress that will provide the contouring and support needed to alleviate back and neck pain that matches your budget. Of course, if you’re looking to splurge, you’ll be able to find a mattress that comes with more bells and whistles too, such as adjustable air chambers, sleep tracking capabilities, or certified organic materials.
Sleep Trials and Warranties
Finally, compare the warranty and sleep trial offered by each mattress manufacturer. Choosing a mattress that includes a long warranty (the industry standard is about 10 years) and that comes with an extended sleep trial can help you feel more confident about your decision. Fortunately, most online mattress companies offer a multi-night sleep trial, typically ranging from a few months up to a year. This trial period will let you see how comfortable the mattress actually feels when you sleep in it and if it helps alleviate your pain.
Frequently Asked Questions
What mattress type is best for back and neck pain?
In most cases, a hybrid mattress will be best for those dealing with back or neck pain. Hybrid mattresses have coils that offer excellent support, while also featuring foam or latex layers for contouring and pressure point relief.
How firm of a mattress do I need for back pain?
There is no “correct” answer for this question as individual preferences, sleep positions, and body weight can impact the ideal firmness level. In general, side sleepers will require a softer mattress, while back or stomach sleepers will need a firmer mattress.
Can an old mattress cause back and neck pain?
Yes, if your mattress does not offer proper support and pressure point relief, it can cause the spine to become misaligned. This situation can result in neck or back pain.
What is the best position to sleep if you have back pain?
There are a few different positions you can try sleeping in to alleviate back pain. One is to sleep on your side with a pillow between your legs and your legs pulled up slightly towards your upper body. Another idea is to try sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees. You can also try sleeping on your stomach with a pillow beneath your lower abdomen and pelvis. Sleep with a low pillow or no pillow at all to avoid placing too much strain on your back in this position.
What is the best way to sleep for neck pain?
If you’ve been searching for “sleep wrong neck pain,” you know how your sleeping position can impact your neck. Tips for how to sleep with neck pain include sleeping on your side or on your back. Use a flat pillow under your head and a rounded pillow under your neck to support its curve if you sleep on your back.
Feather pillows can also be a good choice for alleviating neck pain. They will conform to the neck to reduce pain. You can also consider choosing a cervical memory foam pillow that is designed to conform to the neck. When shopping for a pillow for neck pain, do not buy any that are too stiff or too high, since they will keep the neck at an awkward position and may result in pain the following morning.
What is the best way to sleep with shoulder pain?
Looking for how to sleep with shoulder pain? Try one of these tips:
- Hug a pillow while you sleep.
- Sleep on your side with a pillow between your legs.
- Sleep on your back with a pillow between your thighs.
- Place one pillow on top of another pillow, slightly staggered, to provide more support for your neck and shoulders.
How can you sleep comfortably with sciatic nerve pain?
Sciatic nerve pain can make it difficult to sleep comfortably. If you’ve been looking for a solution for how to sleep with sciatic nerve pain or how to sleep with lower back pain and sciatica, here are a few things you can try:
- Sleep on your side with a pillow between your legs.
- If you prefer sleeping on your back, elevate your legs by placing pillows under your legs until your knees and back are comfortable.