Rest Easy: 8 Tips for Choosing a Mattress for Back Pain


Contrary to what many people think, choosing the right mattress is actually a very personal decision. There really is no right or wrong choice, it all boils down to what suits you and the health of your spine. 

But the most important thing to remember is this: if your mattress is keeping you up at night and exacerbating your back pain, it’s not doing its job. After all, your bed is meant to be a place of rest of relief, not the source of your pain. 

With this in mind, here’s what to consider when choosing the best mattress for back pain.

Top Considerations When Choosing a Mattress for Back Pain 

According to research carried out by The Lancet, a medium-firm mattress came up as the best choice for people who suffer from chronic back pain. 

However, the jury is still out as to whether a medium-firm mattress suits everyone. Not all back and spine conditions are created equal… 

When it comes to picking a mattress to suit the way you sleep, keep these considerations in mind: 

1. Consider Your Sleeping Position

What type of sleeper are you? Because the answer to this plays a major role in the type of support you need from your mattress. 

Ideally, you should be sleeping on your back or side if you suffer from chronic back and neck pain. Here’s what to consider when choosing a mattress according to how you sleep: 

Back Sleepers 

If you sleep on your back, this is generally the best position for spinal alignment and keeping pressure off your joints. A medium to firm mattress is a good option for back sleepers. 

However, sleeping on your back can be uncomfortable for some people with chronic lower back pain. If this is the case, use a rolled-up towel or pillow under your knees to take the pressure off your lower back.  

Side Sleepers 

This is one of the most common sleeping positions and is another neutral position that is good for back pain. But, it can also put pressure on the hips, shoulders, and neck. 

To ease up this pressure, a softer mattress that conforms to the body, namely the thoracic and lumbar regions would be ideal. 

Tummy Sleepers 

If you suffer from back and neck pain, sleeping on your stomach is not a good idea and can only exacerbate your pain. But if you’re in the habit of sleeping on your tummy, it’s best to avoid soft mattresses. 

A soft mattress only encourages your abdomen to sink into the mattress, causing an unnatural arch in the lower back. This can cause major back issues down the line. A medium-firm mattress is recommended for stomach sleepers. 

2. Make Spinal Alignment a Priority 

Yes, good posture is important even in your sleep. Think about it- you’re spending 7 hours or more on your mattress each night, so spinal alignment should be a top priority. 

Basically, the muscles and ligaments around your spine need to relax and recover as you sleep. If your mattress is too firm or too soft, this can throw out your alignment and cause major tension along your spine. 

When you do a mattress test, make sure your spine is equally aligned with your neck to ensure your spine is not under tension as you sleep. 

3. When in Doubt, Go For Memory Foam 

No doubt you’ve probably heard of memory foam and its benefits when it comes to comfort, stability, and support while you sleep. 

The trend these days is to move away from innerspring mattresses and embrace the conforming technology of memory foam. They offer a medium-firm quality and are a great option that offers both comfort and support. 

However, keep in mind that memory foam does have a few drawbacks. Some include the fact that the material tends to trap in heat and has more chemicals than regular springform mattresses.

4. Test Drive Your New Mattress 

A number of companies today allow you to buy a mattress and use it for a period of 30-100 days to test-drive its comfort. 

If you come across a business that’s willing to offer you this service, then take advantage of it! You’ll be able to send the mattress back if you’re not happy with it and test drive another until you find the right fit. 

Otherwise, opt for a mattress with a money-back guarantee so you can return it within the timeframe and choose another if you’re not happy.

5. Higher Price Doesn’t Mean Better Quality

Understandably, most people assume that a higher price for something guarantees better quality. This may be the case with cars, homes, and jewelry. But it’s not always the case with mattresses.

Be wary of being swindled into buying a spring mattress- sometimes they’re not the best option if you have a bad back. Natural latex or memory foam mattresses are generally cheaper and far more suitable for back issues. 

Don’t be afraid to shop around and make your decision based on what’s comfortable and supportive for both your back and your bank account!  

6. Your Body Type Matters

Another important factor to consider when choosing the right mattress is your current body type. Are you tall, short, petite or heavyset? 

Generally, a firmer mattress is better-suited to those who are carrying extra weight as your frame will need a little more support. If you’re naturally slim or short, a medium-firm mattress could suit you better. 

Ultimately, it’s trial and error, but worth keeping your body type in mind when making a final decision. 

7. Get to the Bottom of Your Back Pain 

One thing is for sure- your mattress choice is not going to solve your back pain. It’s merely a way for you to manage your pain and avoid exacerbating any pre-existing conditions. 

Before you invest in a new mattress, get to the bottom of why you have back pain and what tends to flare up this pain. It’s important to learn your weaknesses and make a decision about a mattress from there. 

8. Be Wary When Buying Second-Hand 

Did you know you shouldn’t really be sleeping on a mattress that’s older than 10 years old, despite a manufacturer’s ”25-year guarantee”? 

It’s important to assess the age of a mattress if you intend on buying one second-hand. Don’t go for a mattress that’s more than 5-years old as you don’t want the quality to be compromised before you even sleep on it. 

Learn to Look After Your Health 

Shopping for a mattress for back pain doesn’t have to be complicated. Ultimately, it’s about comfort, support, and quality. 

If you’re looking for a little more advice on how to manage your health and lifestyle, don’t miss out on the rest of this website…