How to choose the best mattress for back pain?

If you are suffering from a bad back, it might be time to consider buying a new mattress. The wrong mattress can cause or aggravate a pre-existing back condition by not giving you the support you need. To alleviate back pain, a mattress shouldencourage spinal alignment and a good sleep posture while avoiding strain on your muscles.

Try sleeping on the mattress yourself. 

Comfort is subjective and you are in the best position to determine if a mattress is right for you. Since factors like weight, body type, pre-existing health conditions and preferred sleeping position vary from person to person, not any one mattress is suitable for everyone. To this end, Mattress in a Box brands all offer a 100-120 night trial to help you decide if their product suits your individual comfort preferences (or your money back). Compare their respective trials in our Mattress Comparison Overview.

When testing the mattress, ask someone to check that your back forms a nice straight horizontal line when you are lying on your side. If that is the case and you notice after 3 to 4 weeks (time needed to adjust to a new mattress) that your back complaints decrease, then you’ve found the best mattress for your back!

Consider a medium firmness mattress.

How soft or hard a mattress is determines the quality of support and comfort it can give you. A firm mattress is commonly assumed to be best for back pain. However a mattress that is too firm puts too much pressure on your shoulders and cervical vertebraesince it does not allow you to sink enough into the mattress. On the other hand, a mattress that is too soft makes you sink too much preventing adequate spinal alignment. If you sleep on your side, this is a big problem for your lower back!

A medium firm mattress strikes the best balance between support and comfort.

medium firmness mattress sits at the sweet spot between adequate support and a comfortable sleeping experience. A study published in the American College of Physicians Journal Club found that a medium firm mattress reduced pain in the lower back more effectively than a firm mattress.

However keep in mind that most mattress companies each rate their mattress using their own subjective scale. The best way to find the most suitable mattress is to try them yourself.

Choose a mattress with multi-zone support.

To fulfil the varied levels of support and comfort needed for each part of the body some mattresses, such as the Emma Original, offer multi-zone support (as pictured below). This provides firmer support where it is needed (ex. lumbar zone) and a lower firmness to allow contouring to higher pressure areas in the shoulder/upper back and hip region. This feature provides a tailored approach to relieving pressure and strain where it is most needed for ideal support throughout your body.