At the end of a long day, our beds can be a cozy sanctuary that we melt into for total relaxation. Unfortunately, that’s not a reality for many people. If you have an older mattress or one that’s not the right level of firmness, it can cause some serious back pain. Although we’d love to pin all our aches on a mattress, the reality is that many different factors can contribute to chronic back or neck pain, like posture, how long you sit and poor form while working out.
The best mattress toppers for back pain can’t cure those lumbar woes, but they can potentially relieve them and may decrease that day-to-day pain based on studies. Mattress toppers are an extra layer that sit on top of a worn-in mattress to make them softer or firmer and reduce pressure buildup. They’re an affordable alternative to replacing an entire mattress.
Board-certified spine and neck surgeon Dr. Rahul Shah tells SPY, “A firm mattress enhances support of your body’s posture, thus easing pain. While there is no perfect mattress firmness for all, experimenting with different types of mattresses may work to improve overall comfort for different individuals.”
Choosing the best mattress toppers for back pain can be difficult. Many toppers are made from 100% memory foam, creating that dreaded sinking feeling that can actually worsen back pain. Look for brands that offer sleep trials, just in case it’s not right for you.
What to Consider When Buying a Mattress Topper For Back Pain
- Material: Foam is a common material, and memory foam is preferred over polyfoam due to its density. The denser the foam, the better, as it’ll provide more support and cradle pressure points. Latex is also a supportive and contouring material, and wool toppers can add a cushioned cooling effect, helping sleepers stay aligned. Avoid feather and down toppers, which are overly plush and can worsen pain.
- Thickness: Most mattress toppers range from 1-4 inches — if you go too thick, it may create sinking and less support, but back sleepers may find that a thick topper is still suitable. If going with a 4-inch model make sure to check out the material beforehand to ensure it can support your body as needed.
- Firmness: Many of the best mattress toppers for back pain are available in multiple firmness levels. Choose your desired comfort level, but be aware that firmer options often provide better relief for those with back pain — especially for stomach sleepers. A softer option may be suitable if there are different pressure relief zones.
Upgrade your slumber session with the best mattress toppers for back pain.
1. Saatva Mattress Topper
Famous mattress brand Saatva also carries a line of foam toppers that are a step up in quality from your average mattress topper. The brand has three options: cooling graphite, latex and high-density foam. They’re all equally strong contenders, and feature straps on each corner to keep the topper from shifting around on your bed. Plus, Saatva’s foam is off-gassed before the mattress is built, making it perfect for those sensitive to chemical odors.
2. Lift by Amerisleep™ Mattress Topper
Many people complain that although a mattress topper for back pain has the desired effects, it can create overheating. Amerisleep solves that problem with their ultra-breathable, open-cell topper, which wicks away warm air and comes in two varieties. The support variety is the best mattress topper for back pain, relieving pressure from the upper and lower back. With its removable cover and unique Affinity material, which cradles you where you need it most, the Amerisleep is a firm yet gentle pick for sleepers.
3. Plush Beds 100% Latex Topper
BEST LATEX PICK
Made from 100% natural latex, Plush Beds offers a long-lasting topper that won’t sag or degrade over the years like foam can. With a GOTS certified organic cotton cover, this latex topper is perforated to circulate air better. We love how many choices there are on this topper, including a whopping five firmness levels. We suggest only going as soft as a medium if you have back pain and the extra-fIrm sounds like a game-changer based on reviews.
4. Birch Plush Pillow Organic Mattress Topper
BEST PLUSH PICK
If your back is bugging you, but you still crave that soft, plush feel, check out Birch by Helix, which is cushioned enough to potentially relieve back pain. This mattress topper for back pain is ideal for those who find too-firm mattresses or toppers to cause hip and pressure point pain. Made from a blend of wool, organic cotton and natural latex, this non-synthetic pad works best for side and back sleepers. Latex is also a more cooling alternative to memory foam.
5. Visco Soft High Density Mattress Topper
Visco Soft’s mattress topper for back pain is made from high-density foam, so even though it’s available in 3 and 4-inch sizes, you won’t feel like you’re stuck in quicksand. Still, we recommend opting for the 3-inch model. Complete with straps, this gel-infused memory foam bed-enhancer comes with a washable cover, so you don’t have to fear stains or worry about painstaking spot cleaning. Over 2,000 glowing reviews claim to get a better night of sleep and happier backs thanks to Visco Soft.
6. GhostBed Memory Foam Topper
BEST TARGETED ZONES
The GhostBed topper has different zones that support every area of your body differently. This may reduce the chances of waking up with a sore back. Anyone skeptical of memory foam will be happy to know that this gel topper is perfectly cooling and comes complete with a removable cover that’s waterproof and made of their signature Ghost Ice fabric. With raised zones and comfort zones for the head, shoulder, torso, legs and feet, you’ll feel like you’re floating on a cloud.
7. Sleep EZ Natural Latex Mattress Topper
MOST CUSTOMIZABLE PICK
If choosing from various features is your favorite thing, look no further than Sleep EZ’s natural latex topper, which is completely customizable. Shoppers can choose the type of latex, the thickness, the firmness (including the coveted extra firm) and the option of an add-on mattress cover. The 2-inch choice will simply enhance the feel of your existing mattress, while the thicker topper will create a new sensation. A great choice for anyone seeking a specific kind of latex or feeling.
8. Airweave Top Mattress
Although some of you may balk at the price tag on this mattress topper, it’s their airfiber technology that makes Airweave’s offering so worth the splurge. The supportive feel helps to maintain natural posture better than both latex and memory foam, putting this Japanese-made topper in a class of its own. They even offer a 100-night sleep trial, making it an ideal choice for those who are on the hunt for something firmer than foam or latex.
9. Avocado Organic Latex Mattress
BEST ECO-FRIENDLY PICK
Touted as one of the best mattress toppers for back pain that also prioritizes sustainability, this blended topper is a foolproof mix of wool, cotton, and latex. It’s available in plush and firm (firm being the more supportive choice for achy bodies) and has reinforced seams that won’t budge over time. Beyond a generous trial period and warranty, they also use latex and wool harvested from their own farms. Avocado even offers a year-long trial and a 10-year warranty to back up these handmade products.
10. Plush Beds Wool Topper
BEST WOOL PICK
Wool doesn’t offer the same pressure relief that memory foam does, but it’s a way more cooling option that wicks away sweat while keeping spines aligned. This material has better longevity than synthetic materials, and it doesn’t off-gas chemicals. It’s also a natural temperature regulator, keeping you cool in the summer and cozy in the winter.
11. Saatva Classic Innerspring Mattress
Ultimately, a mattress topper can only get you so far, and if what your bed needs is more than a minor boost, you may want to consider replacing your mattress entirely. Consumers love the Saatva luxury innerspring mattress due to its perfectly balanced blend of foam and innerspring coils. You can choose your preferred firmness level, and those with back pain generally choose Luxury Firm or Firm variety. If you find the model you chose to be too soft or too firm, Saatva will assign someone to pick it up and replace it with your desired firmness.
Here’s Why More and More People Are Switching to Linen Sheets