Tips for Picking a Mattress for Back Pain

Are you someone suffering from recurring back pain after waking up? Consider investing in a new mattress that will give you a restful night’s sleep and revitalize your entire day!

At the end of the day, sleep is critical for the body to recover from a stressful and exhausting day. Also, sleeping well is one of the simplest ways to stay healthy and productive because 7-8 hours of sleep allows our mind and body to rejuvenate and replenish lost energy. 

According to a report from the 2019 National Center for Health Statistics survey, back pain is the most prevalent type of pain, impacting nearly 2 out of 5 people in the U.S. in the past three months.

A mattress that inhibits spine alignment and does not support good hips and back posture can aggravate pre-existing upper or lower back pain. Careful consideration is essential in picking up the best mattress to get the most value out of your money and, at the same time, save you on your countless sleepless nights.

Here are some important tips for picking a mattress for back pain:

1. Check your budget

The first thing to consider before buying a new mattress is to check on your preferred budget. However, remember that your health is much more important than getting a cheap bed. If you have a tight budget, go online and check product reviews from every reputable company or those endorsed by any credible orthopedic organization. Online buying means you are directly purchasing from the company rather than a third-party retailer, which cuts down on costs. Consider also waiting for good-value products to be on sale or a holiday deal for extra savings. Finally, you may buy a firm mattress separately with a topper to reach your desired comfort level. The topper wears off over the years, so replacing only the topper saves you serious money instead of buying the whole bed next time.

2. Identify the type of sleeper and level of firmness

One way to consider what mattress to buy is to know which type of sleeper you are. You may be a back sleeper, side sleeper, stomach sleeper, or someone with multiple positions when sleeping, called a poly-positional sleeper. Identifying this will help you decide on the mattress’s firmness to support in straightening spine and neck alignment. 

If you are a back sleeper, consider the mattress’s firmness level. Levels of softness may include extra soft (1 to 2 range), soft (3 to 4 range), medium (5 to 6 range), firm (7 to 8 range), and extra firm (9 to 10 range). Hips cover more weight than the rest of the body, and laying on a soft mattress would lower your hips more than the rib cage. This position would make your lower back uncomfortable and will not promote good quality sleep time. On the contrary, a firm mattress would be beneficial for this type of sleeper as it holds your hips neutral to the spine. 

For a side sleeper, laying on a firm surface would lead to blood supply loss in that area, eventually leading to numbness on the upper back and arms as your shoulders jammed against the hard surface. The medium or soft level would be more helpful for this type of sleeper.

Stomach sleepers should consider a medium to soft bed that allows the hips to align with the spine and best support other parts, including knees, belly, and chest, compared to a firm mattress that tilts the hips higher than the spine. 

For a poly-positional sleeper, the medium level serves the purpose. A firm bed while lying on the side would put pressure on the shoulders and upper back, while a soft mattress is not helpful when lying facing up and would tend to hurt your lower back.  

3. Choose the right component of the mattress


An orthopedic mattress is a specialized type designed to support those suffering from joint and back conditions with a scientific basis. 

Nowadays, tons of mattresses you’ve most likely come across are available and claim to be orthopedic. Since any mattress is considered orthopedic as long as it fulfills the same function as an orthopedic mattress, it is essential to recognize various components.

Listed here are the different components of the mattress:

Memory foam – this type of mattress made from polyurethane might be helpful as this provides cushion for pressure spot, including knees, shoulders, and hips, and distribute the weight of your body evenly. This type is vital if you are a side sleeper and remain in this position without switching for hours.

Hybrid type – this type usually has medium to firm levels made from hundreds of individually wrapped spring coils and memory foam arranged based on the distribution of each pressure point. The innerspring helps to support the body’s weight, while the memory foam provides comfort to release tension and painful pressure points. This type can be an excellent choice for those side and back sleepers suffering from back pain as it supports spine alignment and hinders hips from sinking too low.

Innerspring type – this is the oldest and most widely used type of mattress. Instead of individually wrapped coils in hybrid, innerspring have interconnected coil units such as continuous, Bonnell, or offset. Bonnel and continuous move as one and cause more motion transfer, while offset is designed to move independently. 

Latex type – this type is made from natural latex, which combines latex foam with springs or reflex foam. In terms of comfort and pressure alleviation, this type is similar to memory foam but cooler and more sensitive to motion.

4. Take into account your weight

Body weight frequently goes hand-in-hand with sleep posture, and both need to be taken into account. As a general rule, “the more weight you gain, the firmer your mattress should be.” 

Less than 130lbs – lighter individuals need a soft to medium level of mattresses. For balanced comfort and support, a soft bed is conducive for side sleepers, while a medium level will likely enjoy stomach and back sleepers.

Between 135lbs and 180lbs – for this type of individual, a medium mattress would best support spine alignment, especially for a side sleeper.

Between 180lbs and 235 lbs – individuals weighing this and are a poly-positional sleeper should consider medium and firm mattresses. A side sleeper would best buy a medium, while a back sleeper should prefer a firm one.


Orthopedic mattresses are popular among those suffering from back and neck pain, seniors, and those recovering from injuries. Choosing the right one on the market can take time and effort. Still, it can benefit almost anyone who values deep and good quality sleep. It is critical to remember that an excellent mattress is the one you feel the most comfortable. Additionally, do not hesitate to consult a healthcare professional to know the right one for you!