The Best Mattresses for People with Chronic Back Pain
If you're battling bouts of back pain, you're in good company. In fact, this is one of the most common medical ailments, according to the American Chiropractic Association; back pain affects an estimated 80 percent of adults in the United States, and it's also the leading cause of disability worldwide. Of course, chronic back pain has many culprits, but the most common, according to Dr. David Friedman, ND, DC, doctor of naturopathy, clinical nutritionist, and chiropractic neurologist, are poor posture, improper lifting, and subpar sleeping habits. That last one is perhaps one of the easiest and most important to fix, since the average person spends one third of his or her life in bed. To do so, there are two key factors to consider, according to Dr. Friedman: how you sleep and the mattress you rest on.
"Research shows that having a bed that's too firm produces a significant increase in lower back pain, leg pain, and poor sleep quality," he says. "A firm bed creates pressure points that can inhibit circulation and put added stress on the spine." While a soft mattress may seem like a better choice, this is not always the case: "A soft mattress actually causes a 'hammock effect' and makes the body sink into the mattress too deeply, into a slouched position," says Dr. Friedman. "A medium-firm mattress is the best choice for promoting sleep comfort, quality, and spinal alignment, as it can help prevent and even alleviate chronic back pain compared to sleeping on a mattress that's too soft or firm."
If you're in the market for a new mattress, it's easy to feel overwhelmed with the unlimited options available to you. However, if you are dealing with chronic back pain, it's vital that you shop the right options. Here are the mattresses that experts say are worth purchasing if you suffer from this issue.
- High-Tech Memory Foam Mattress for Back Pain: Amerisleep A2 Mattress
- Medium-Firm Memory Foam Mattress for Back Pain: Nectar Memory Foam Mattress
- Sleeping Position Neutral Mattress for Back Pain: Purple ″The Purple″ Mattress
- Hybrid Mattress for Back Pain: BeautyRest Black Hybrid Mattress
- Eco-Friendly Mattress for Back Pain: Avocado Green Mattress
This medium-firm mattress was specifically designed for people with back pain. "It is made of a proprietary type of memory foam called Bio-Pur, which is more breathable than traditional memory foam," explains Dr. Jordan Duncan, a chiropractor at Silverdale Sport & Spine in Silverdale, Washington. "In addition to providing excellent spinal support, which is great for those with chronic back pain, this mattress contours to the body, providing relief for painful pressure points."
Shop Now: Amerisleep A2 Mattress, from $734, amerisleep.com.
Memory foam is the key to making this mattress back-friendly. It consists of three layers of cushioning that adapt to the spine, explains Dr. Duncan. "The Nectar is a medium-firm mattress, which provides the necessary support and reinforcement," he says. "This combination allows the Nectar to deliver the contouring of memory foam without the sagging, making it a great choice for those with chronic back pain."
Shop Now: Nectar Memory Foam Mattress, from $499, nectarsleep.com.
If you're someone who sleeps in a variety of positions, this might be the option for you. "In its comfort layer, this mattress contains a unique proprietary gel grid that is both firm and pressure-relieving, depending on the amount of pressure applied to it," says Dr. Duncan. "The hips and shoulders are allowed to sink while the lumbar region is supported, regardless of whether you sleep on your back, front, or side."
Shop Now: Purple "The Purple" Mattress, from $599, purple.com.
There are many people who do not enjoy sleeping on a 100-percent memory foam mattress, as they can be hot and uncomfortable for sleepers who toss and turn, notes Dr. Abby Kramer, D.C., a chiropractor and holistic physician in Glenview, Illinois. "The BeautyRest Black Hybrid Mattress is a combination of a traditional coil mattress and memory foam (on top), which can create a firmer feel without all the heat," she adds.
Shop Now: BeautyRest Black Hybrid Mattress, from $1,749, beautyrest.com.
For those wanting to live a more eco-friendly and non-toxic lifestyle, Dr. Kramer recommends the Avocado Green Mattress. It's made out of a latex, wool, and cotton blend that is organic and biodegradable. "It has a nice firm support and raving online reviews," adds Dr. Kramer.
Shop Now: Avocado Green Mattress, from $999, avocadogreenmattress.com.