Ask yourself honestly, how old is your mattress? Warranty periods are fantastic, but your regular old mattress won’t really be of much use for longer than a decade of regular wear and tear. When it comes to finding the top-quality mattress for your particular needs, you need to consider several factors.
Decide on the Mattress Type
You’ll come across many mattress types while looking for the perfect one. Before you go deep into the research, you should decide which type would suit you best.
Innerspring mattresses, also known as coil mattresses, are the most common type. They’re made from steel coils that compress when you put some weight on them. More coils mean higher quality and better support. They’re cheap and simple to make, so naturally, they’re very affordable. However, they don’t last long since the springs tend to get worn down. Furthermore, the squeaking you hear from these beds gets old fast. Still, they tend to be the top beds for back pain since they’re on the firmer side and provide excellent back support.
Memory Foam Mattresses
While memory foam tends to be soft, it can still be good for back pain if reinforced or combined with coils. These mattresses are so popular because they give you a kind of pleasant sinking sensation, a feeling of being cradled. They provide both cushioning and support. They’re especially useful for people who need extra softness due to various painful conditions.
Gel-based mattresses are a subtype of foam mattresses. They’re essentially foam mattresses that are infused with a special gel-like material. Their core advantage is that they provide you with a cool sleeping surface, which is especially helpful for people who sweat a lot or have high body temperatures. They can be great mattresses for bad backs, provided they have a firm base.
Similar to memory foam, latex offers pressure relief and contouring. However, the level of contouring is lower than that of memory foam, which is actually a good thing. Side sleepers suffering from back pain may benefit the most from latex mattresses because they provide some extra resistance and bounce, meaning you can’t really sink into the mattress. However, these mattresses do let you sink a bit, which is excellent for people with broader hips and shoulders who sleep on their sides.
Hybrids offer the best of both worlds, with the softness of a latex or memory foam mattress combined with the support and bounce of an innerspring mattress. These are made by placing springs in the bottom layer, with a few layers of latex or memory foam on top of the mattresses—giving you support and softness at the same time, which is the main reason they’re top-rated beds for back pain.
Firmness, Responsiveness, and Structure
We use these three together because they’re closely tied. Namely, the materials used in the construction of these mattresses, and the actual type of mattress (which we’ll cover down below), significantly influence how they’ll feel. A strong factor that influences a mattress’s comfort is also how the layers in a mattress are combined. A mattress made specifically for back pain should give you a certain level of support, comfort, and responsiveness. The extent to which they provide you with certain elements shows how they differ.
Response means that there’s a sense of springiness to the touch, that it even gives you some bounce. It’s great for people who move a lot in their sleep and heavier individuals since they might warp the bed a bit more. Furthermore, softness includes how deeply you sink into the mattress and how much it conforms around your body. Firmness, then, represents how little it actually conforms and sinks.
Certain mattresses handle heat better than others. Namely, heat transfers from the environment and the sleeper to the mattress in varying degrees. Certain materials, like memory foam, tend to soak up heat more than others. Many of the mattresses on our list have features that mitigate body heat.
Even the top-rated mattress for back and neck pain won’t be comfortable if it makes you feel like you’re in a sauna half the time you rest. Open-cell structures, ventilated grid systems, and other improvements make the mattress airier and help minimize heat transfer.
A mattress’s softness also influences how much heat is transferred. Namely, as the mattress contours, bending and enveloping your body, more of its surface area is exposed to your body heat, which is then redirected to your body.
Think About Your Sleep Position
One of the more important subjective factors when searching for a mattress for a bad back is how well it responds to your sleep position. Most back issues are caused by improper posture, and a mattress that doesn’t correspond to your sleep position will worsen this issue.
- People who like to sleep on their side will require something a bit firmer (but still not too firm) since it keeps their neck, thoracic, and lumbar spine parallel to the ground. Too soft, and their torso will sink, but their neck will stay where it is, causing further issues.
- A person who moves a lot in their sleep needs a firm mattress for the back since getting “stuck” in a very soft mattress will make things uncomfortable.
- Side sleepers with wide hips, on the other hand, might want a hybrid—a soft-top layer that lets their hips sink while also getting a base innerspring layer that keeps them from bending their back too much.
- Finally, back sleepers will also want something a bit firmer to keep their lower back in line.
Consider Your Weight
Your weight must be factored into your choice as you’re conducting your search for the perfect mattress. How much you weigh will influence how far you’ll sink into a mattress and how much pressure you’ll feel. However, note that this isn’t a matter of softness but rather support. So, if you can’t stand a lot of pressure on your joints and muscles but are also on the heavier side, you should go for a hybrid mattress with a foam top layer and coils that act as supports. Meanwhile, even the best mattress for back pain won’t help you if you’re very thin and have something too firm. An exceptionally thin individual might prefer something softer since firm mattresses tend to be uncomfortable. Still, they might have back issues that require extra support, leading them to the same mattress.
Things You Should Do Before You Buy a Mattress
Nothing beats the feeling of finally finding the perfect mattress, but that joy isn’t your final step. Before you type in your credit card info and click that “buy” button, you should do a few more things:
Test It Out
First things first—you want to test the mattress out. Come to the store in comfortable clothes and footwear that’s easy to take off. Make yourself comfortable, take your time, and don’t fret about the salesperson. They should let you test everything out properly. Try all sleeping positions, see how you feel.
If you really don’t have the option to test the mattress, get one with a good return policy or a guaranteed trial period.
See What Options You Have to Actually Get It into Your Home
Getting a top-rated mattress for back pain won’t matter much if you pull a muscle getting it into your bedroom. A good company will likely offer employees, a delivery service, or some kind of wheeled box to allow you to get it into your home as easily as possible.
Always Inspect the Mattress
Be sure to inspect the mattress when it’s delivered. See if it has any stains or damage, and check that it has the right materials. If you accept the mattress and get it set up in your home, call customer service if there are any issues. Take photos or a video for proof.