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mattress for low back pain

The Best Mattress for Low Back Pain

The Best Mattress for Low Back Pain

An estimated 75 to 85 percent of all Americans will experience back pain at some point during their lifetime. Your lower back, from the bottom of your ribs to the top of your legs, is especially likely to be where you experience pain, because it’s involved in so many movements throughout the day. Low back pain can be caused or worsened by many things, including:

  • Lifting something too heavy
  • Obesity
  • Inactivity
  • Sudden increase in activity
  • Pregnancy
  • Genetics
  • Strenuous, physical job

While you should consult a Doctor or a Physical Therapist if your low back pain is especially constant or intense, pain or numbness spreads down one or both legs, or you have other symptoms such as fever or weight loss, for most people lifestyle changes can help eliminate most causes of low back pain.

One area many people have found effective is finding the right mattress to sleep on. After all, a third of your life is spent sleeping. A high quality mattress that’s the right fit for you can help your body use that sleep time to recover, versus an old worn-out, low quality mattress making your low back pain worse. This a list for best mattress for low back pain.

What’s Better for Low Back Pain: a Soft or Firm Mattress?

The most important thing a mattress can do for your low back pain is keep your spine aligned and relaxed throughout the night. But, each individual is going to need different things from their mattress depending on what’s wrong with your back, your weight, your body shape, and personal preferences.

For example, someone with wide shoulders or hips may need a softer mattress to allow their body to sink in, where someone that’s heavier may need a firmer mattress to hold them up and keep their spine aligned.

One study found that participants sleeping on the firmest of mattresses had the poorest quality of sleep. However, a super soft mattress may leave you sleeping through the night, but waking up with worse low back pain than you went to sleep with. For most people, we recommend a mattress for low back pain that is semi firm or as firm as you find comfortable and allows you get a good night’s sleep.

How Often Should You Change Your Mattress?

Chances are if you are asking yourself this question then it is probably time to change it. If you mattress has become uncomfortable, you having trouble sleeping with no change in routine, or the mattress is showing obvious signs of wear and tear then it’s probably time for a change.

Depending on the type of mattress that you have also depends on how long they will last. The national sleep foundation recommends changing your mattress about every 8 years. Some mattresses such as memory foam mattresses may last up to 15 years.

Signs that you need to change your Mattress:

  • Noisy Movements – Squeaking, groaning, or moaning sounds should not be coming from your mattress when you move and are signs that the coils and inner parts of the mattress are worn out.
  • General Wear and Tear – Such as dimples, lumps, or tearing of the corners.
  • Morning Aches and Pains – If you wake up each morning sore and achy and your sleep it losing quality it’s likely time to change. In these cases getting a new mattress has been shown to increase sleep quality.
  • You Can Feel Every Movement – You might notice that every time your dog or wife moves on your mattress it feels like an earthquake. OK, so maybe not quite that bad but you are waking up with each movement on the mattress.

Do you have low back pain and need to get moving? Check out our Best Treadmills for Low Back Pain

Best treadmills for low back pain

Best Overall Mattress for Low Back Pain

Amerisleep AS2 12″ Memory Foam Mattress.

The Amerisleep AS2 is a high-end mattress that hits the sweet spot of semi-firm, which most people find is best for easing or eliminating low back pain. But more than that, the engineers at Amerisleep went all out to create one of the most comfortable mattresses ever.

The mattress is designed in layers, with each layer having a specific purpose, often using exclusive materials you just won’t find anywhere else. Of special importance for low back pain is what Amerisleep calls the Affinity layer with Surface Modification Technology, which was designed with zones that provide extra pressure relief for problem areas, like the lower back.

amerisleep memory foam mattress

Best Budget Mattress for Low Back Pain

Classic Brands Mercer Pillowtop Mattress

For the more budget-minded, the Classic Brands Mercer may be just what you need to ease your low back pain. The Mercer is a hybrid mattress, using eight inches of individually wrapped coil springs along with several layers of varying thickness of traditional and gel infused memory foam.

This approach gives you the best of both worlds: the traditional firm support of metal coil springs along with cradling comfort effect of memory foam, which allows your spine to stay in a healthy, neutral position. The Mercer may not have the exclusive materials of the Amerisleep AS2, but it’s available online at a fantastic price and it’s a great value.

Classic Brands Mercer Pillow top mattress

Best Memory Foam Mattress for Low Back Pain

LUCID 14 Inch Plush Memory Foam Mattress

If you’re looking for all foam construction, you should consider the LUCID 14 Plush Memory Foam Mattress. It’s a multi-layer, all foam mattress that’s breathable to keep you cool during sleep. This has some of the best reviews on amazon and is one of our favorite mattresses.

The LUCID has a medium plush feel, meaning it feels a bit more towards the soft side of the spectrum, but it still has the underlying support you need to help low back pain.

lucid plush memory foam mattress

Best Firm Mattress for Low Back Pain

Classic Brands Cool Gel 1.0 Ultimate Gel Memory Foam

For those that need a firmer mattress for their severe low back pain or just prefer a firmer feel, we like the Classic Brands Cool Gel 1.0 Ultimate Gel Memory Foam. It is marketed as a medium plush mattress, but most customers agree that’s it’s surprisingly firm and supportive.

So, if firm and supportive is what you’re looking for, this is a great choice.  Be aware that most people find that although the mattress expands to it’s full size in a few hours, it can take up to several weeks before the mattress gets to it’s full firm feel. If you’re aware that you need to give it a test period, this a great firm mattress to help stop low back pain.

Classic Brands Cool gel Mattress

Best Soft Mattress for Low Back Pain

Olee Sleep 13 Inch Box Top Hybrid

The Olee Sleep 13 Inch Box Top Hybrid is, as its name suggests, another hybrid mattress that uses a bottom support layer of coil springs. The individually encased, heat treated springs provide the underlying support so important for low back pain, but they only take up about half the height of the mattress.

Next comes three layers of varying layers of firmness of memory foam, and then built into the washable jacquard cover is a thick layer of fiber padding, which provides that pillow-top feel some people crave.

olee sleep 13 inch mattress

Best Mattress for Stomach Sleepers

Sweetnight 10 Inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress in a Box

The Sweetnight 10 inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress has a really unique feature that you rarely see in foam mattresses. That’s right, it’s flippable! One side has a softer 2” gel memory foam top layer, or flip and the other side has a firmer 3” supportive high density foam top layer.

Many stomach sleepers tend to find a firmer mattress better for helping with low back pain, and several customers remarked that the Sweetnight was perfect for stomach sleeping. And, we love that if you have a flare up of low back pain, you can switch the Sweetnight’s firmness just by flipping it.

Sweetnight Mattress

What to look for in a Mattress if you have Low Back Pain

How firm is the mattress – First always look at how the manufacturer rates their mattress on the scale of firm to plush. Then, look at customer reviews and make sure to average out opinions, because one person’s “cushy” can be another person’s “too firm”.

Material – High quality memory foam is becoming the favorite for low back pain sufferers, but some people also prefer coil springs, high density foam, or a combination.

Return Policy– Many companies now offer 30 day, 90 day, or even longer return periods. This is fantastic because learning how you feel after several weeks is much more important than the old way of laying on a mattress for thirty seconds at a mattress store.

Warranty – Check to see how long the mattress is warrantied after that initial trial period. Some less expensive brands may have more restrictive warranties, but it can sometimes be worth it for the initial savings.

What If I Don’t Like the Mattress I Ordered Online?

If you’re feeling unsatisfied within your manufacturer’s return policy days, we 100% recommend contacting them for a refund and trying a different mattress. If you tried a firm mattress, then go for a softer mattress, or if you tried a soft mattress, go for something firmer. The time spent finding the perfect mattress for you can pay off in years of less back pain.

Most online retailers will have a 30-day or up to a 120-day trial period that lets you try out online mattress but it is always wise to check the return policy before ordering.

Photo by Dakota Corbin on Unsplash

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is for educational purposes only. This is not a substitute for a medical appointment. Please refer to your physician before starting any exercise program.

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