How to choose a mattress when you have back pain.

You spend a third of your life sleeping, so it’s important to find a mattress that's the best fit for your body. If you’re currently experiencing back pain and shopping for a new mattress, start by trying to understand what qualities you need to support your back and your body’s overall health.

It’s ideal that your body remain flat on the mattress (no matter what position you sleep in) and that the mattress contours around you, providing the best support.



Spinal Zone Technology

Those who sleep on mattresses with Spinal Zone technology see a 34% reduction in back pain. So what is it? It’s an active wire support in the center third of a mattress, or the “spinal zone” that helps provide correct spinal alignment.

Lumbar Support

Lumbar support helps provide extra cushion where your back needs it most (typically in the middle third of a mattress). This helps alleviate any pain you may feel in common pressure points throughout the night. With enhanced lumbar support, you’re supported no matter what position you sleep in.


Mattress design can affect your sleeping temperature, which can dramatically alter the quality of your rest. Sleeping too hot, for example, can lead to a night full of tossing and turning. Choose a mattress that has taken airflow and circulation into consideration and that provides a breathable, more sanitary night’s sleep.


It can. Your specific type of back pain and back condition(s) can impact your choice of sleep positions, and in turn can impact which mattress firmness is better for your sleep. A few general guidelines:

  • In general, the most comfortable position for low back pain is lying on the back, usually with the knees slightly elevated by a small pillow. Patients that are experiencing a severe bout of back pain or have recently undergone spine surgery also usually find this position most comfortable.
  • For side sleepers: reduce stress from the lower spine and hips by placing a pillow between the knees.
  • For stomach sleepers: reduce stress on the spine by placing a flat pillow under the stomach and hips.
  • Medium-firm mattresses usually ease back pain better than firmer mattresses, which can cause pain in pressure points such as the hips.

Helpful tips for people with specific types of back pain:

  • Arthritis – people with pain from osteoarthritis of the spine may do better by side sleeping with knees curled up in the fetal position.
  • Degenerative disc disease – people with pain from degenerative disc disease may do better sleeping on their stomachs, since this reduces pressure on the disc space
  • Fibromyalgia – people with widespread pain and tender points from fibromyalgia may be aggravated by a mattress that is too firm.
  • Herniated disc – the position of the herniated disc can impact the most comfortable sleep position. Stomach sleeping is preferred for the most common type of disc herniation.
  • Hip pain – people with hip pain can be especially troubled by too firm of a mattress. Hip pain sufferers who are also side sleepers can reduce stress across the hip by placing a pillow between the knees.
  • Neck pain – people with neck pain may do better as back sleepers without a pillow, as side sleepers, or in a recliner, to support normal neck posture as when standing. Good pillow choice of the right height and firmness is also important.
  • Sciatic pain – people with sciatica pain (leg pain that starts in the back and travels down the back of the leg) can use the specific cause of their sciatic pain (e.g., herniated disc, spinal stenosis) to guide their sleep position and mattress choice
  • Spinal stenosis – people with pain from spinal stenosis may do better by side sleeping with knees curled up, since this reduces pressure on the nerve root

Mattress reviews specifically about back pain.

Independent consumer reviews mean a lot. Look at sites around the web that have independent reviews from consumers who are specifically talking about back pain. Saatva Mattress has a very large number of reviews that address back pain and health issues.

"I woke up pain-free for the first time in 8 years."