How do I Choose the Best Mattress for Lower Back Pain?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
A man with lower back pain.
A man with lower back pain.

No single mattress for lower back pain exists that will work for every back pain sufferer. The choice will ultimately come down to personal preference, but a few basic guidelines can help you determine the best mattress for lower back pain that will help alleviate your specific pain. The best practice one can employ when choosing a mattress is lying down on many mattresses to determine what helps and what hurts. This can take a significant amount of time, so quickly eliminating mattress qualities that hurt your back can speed up the process.

The human body, with the area primarily affected by lower back pain shown in red.
The human body, with the area primarily affected by lower back pain shown in red.

Back pain sufferers will need to find a middle ground between comfort and support when choosing a mattress for lower back pain. While a firmer mattress may provide the proper amount of support, it may not be comfortable. A mattress that is much softer may be comfortable, but it may not provide enough support, which can lead to muscles tensing during the night. Choose a mattress for lower back pain that compromises on the two criteria, and remember that other factors will determine whether you get a good night's sleep or not.

Lying down on a mattress prior to purchasing it can help a consumer determine if the mattress offers enough lower back support.
Lying down on a mattress prior to purchasing it can help a consumer determine if the mattress offers enough lower back support.

Memory foam mattresses are growing in popularity as a great mattress for lower back pain. Such mattresses do not contain coils, as most mattresses do. Instead, polyurethane is combined with other chemicals to form a soft foam that conforms to the body's contours. These mattresses tend to be somewhat more expensive than coil spring mattresses, but they can provide the comfort and support a back pain sufferer needs. The thicker the foam, the softer the mattress will be, so be sure to try out both a thick foam mattress and a thinner one.

Coil springs resemble ringlets in shape, and may be found in beds.
Coil springs resemble ringlets in shape, and may be found in beds.

Mattresses are often sold in a few varieties: extra firm, firm, medium, and soft. Mattresses are further delineated by how long they are intended to last. A mattress rated for five years will wear out quickly and begin to lack the support necessary for the back pain sufferer. A mattress rated for ten years may be firm and comfortable for all ten years, though it is likely that the mattress will wear after time and lack adequate support. Choose a mattress that fits your sleeping style and offers adequate support for your back, and remember to try a few different combinations of pillows and sleeping positions to find the combination that works best for you.

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Discussion Comments

fify

@SarahGen-- I totally agree with you. The best mattress for lower back pain is one that is not too firm or too soft. When I was in the hospital for a severe back spasm, the doctor told me to make a soft bed on the floor when I got home. So layered two comforters on top of one another on the floor and slept on it. My back really felt better after that. I realized at that time that my mattress needs to be the same way.

I actually preferred to get a firm mattress and use a softer mattress topper on top of it. I think this works best.

SarahGen

@ysmina-- I have a mattress with a latex top layer and I like it. I suffer from chronic lower back pain because of a herniated disc and my mattress is very important. Latex provides relief from pressure points just like memory foam, but it does not take the shape of the body. So it's a flat but cushioned surface.

I personally like latex mattresses better because I want a mattress that's not too soft or too hard. Although different types of mattresses come in different levels of firmness, some materials are naturally more firm.

You should visit a mattress store and try some of the mattresses or mattress toppers with latex to get an idea about them.

ysmina

Can a mattress made of latex be used for lower back pain? Does anyone here have experience with this type of mattress?

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    • A man with lower back pain.
      By: Robert Kneschke
      A man with lower back pain.
    • The human body, with the area primarily affected by lower back pain shown in red.
      By: julien tromeur
      The human body, with the area primarily affected by lower back pain shown in red.
    • Lying down on a mattress prior to purchasing it can help a consumer determine if the mattress offers enough lower back support.
      By: karam miri
      Lying down on a mattress prior to purchasing it can help a consumer determine if the mattress offers enough lower back support.
    • Coil springs resemble ringlets in shape, and may be found in beds.
      By: Pink Badger
      Coil springs resemble ringlets in shape, and may be found in beds.