The Savvy Sleeper’s Guide to The Best Bed For Lower Back Pain
On the hunt for the best mattress for lower back pain? We are here to help.
Best Mattresses for Lower Back Pain: At a Glance
|Mattress||Firmness||Warranty||Sleep Trial||Our Rating|
|Amerisleep AS2||Medium-Firm||20 Years||100 Nights||4.8|
|Saatva||Luxury Firm||15 Years||120 Nights||4.7|
|Layla||Medium-Soft & Medium-Firm||Lifetime||120 Nights||4.6|
|Bear||Medium||10 Years||100 Nights||4.5|
Choosing the Best Mattress For Back Pain Relief
A quality mattress can alleviate back pain, while a cheap mattress can cause it. That’s because supportive mattresses contour to your body, providing you with the comfort and support you need.
However, quality is not the only thing to consider. If you sleep on a well-made mattress that isn’t right for your body, then you may still experience discomfort. Mattresses are not “one size fits all.” For the most comfortable and healthy night’s sleep possible, you want to find a mattress to fit your needs. According to Jeffrey N. Katz, M.D., a professor of medicine and orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School and a leading professional in the back pain field, “one study conducted on 313 patients suffering from lower back pain, [shows] those using medium-firm mattresses reported less pain when lying in bed as well as less pain-related disability compared with those using firm mattresses.”
This scientific finding goes against the traditional adage to sleep on a firm mattress for healthy back support. It supports a new understanding of back health and its relation to your mattress. Your mattress is unique to you, and there isn’t a single mattress that is best for all people. Therefore, a firm mattress is not always going to be the right choice for your back.
This is why Dr. Katz recommends trying a variety of mattresses with different firmness levels to find out which firmness you prefer.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go to your local mattress store to find the right bed for you. Online mattress companies now provide quality mattresses at a competitive price, and they generally ship for free and come with a trial period. If the bed you choose isn’t the right fit, you can return it at no cost to you.
This aspect of today’s industry is a fantastic improvement upon the old model. But, it also means you have options. We know it can get confusing. So, we created this comprehensive comparison of the best mattresses for lower back pain. Read on for a better understanding of what mattresses are available and which ones are your best bet.
Mattresses to Combat Back Pain: A Comparison
First, a necessary disclosure: this analysis is not professional medical advice. If you are making a decision for medical reasons, consult with your doctor.
In this comparison, we consider four of the most popular, quality mattresses available today. All four mattresses are part of the new generation of online memory foam mattresses. Moreover, all four beds are designed to provide relief from chronic back pain.
The four mattresses are:
- The Amerisleep AS2 – a plant-based memory foam mattress with a Celliant® cover and HIVE® technology
- The Saatva Mattress – an innerspring and memory foam hybrid mattress, with a cotton cover and euro pillow-top
- The Layla Mattress – a dual-sided memory foam mattress with copper gel infusion and a mainly polyester cover woven with THERMOgel® technology
- The Bear Mattress – a graphite gel-infused memory foam with a Celliant® cover
These beds are considered premium mattresses. They do cost more than budget foam or coil mattresses, but for a reason. Each is designed to provide quality and durability. When buying a mattress, consider the investment. A good quality mattress should last at least ten years, and you will spend a significant amount of your life sleeping on it.
What to Look for In a Mattress for Back Pain Relief
If you suffer from chronic back pain, you know how uncomfortable the wrong mattress can feel. That’s why it is important to make the right decision. To ensure you get your best night’s sleep possible, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Back Sleepers – If you sleep on your back, you want a mattress firm enough to offer substantial support but soft enough to contour to your body. Mattresses that are too firm often push against your spine. While, mattresses that are too soft can cause your hips to sink below your thighs, putting pressure on your lower back. If you are a back sleeper, a medium-firm mattress is most likely your best option.
- Side Sleepers – If you are looking for the best mattress for side sleepers, you are most likely going to want a mattress with more cushion and contouring. When you sleep on your side, your shoulders and hips quickly become key pressure points. If the mattress is too hard, it can cause discomfort and stiffness. But, you still want support for your hips to keep your spine aligned. A soft mattress with zoned support is likely to be your best bet.
- Stomach Sleepers – Sleeping on your stomach is the least-recommended sleeping position. If you are most comfortable on your stomach, it is possible your current mattress isn’t supporting you on your side or back. But if you are looking for a mattress for stomach sleeping, you will most likely need a firmer mattress. A softer mattress will cause your hips to sink, putting pressure on your spine.
- Combination Sleepers – Above are the three main sleeping styles. But some people sleep in a combination of these styles. If you’re a combination sleeper looking for a new mattress, ask yourself: Which sleeping position do you want to fall asleep in? What position do you find yourself waking up in? Answering these questions can help point you in the right direction. Also, it’s important to make sure your mattress is designed to reduce motion transfer, as combination sleepers move more throughout the night.
While the above suggestions will be correct more often than not, you may find your preferences are different. Like we’ve said, there isn’t a single mattress that fits everyone because factors such as weight, shape, pre-existing back conditions, and personal preference play an important role in finding the right mattress for you.
The Best Mattress Type for Relieving Chronic Lumbar Discomfort
Since high-quality memory foam is designed to provide the best comfort and support for people, we think a quality memory foam mattress is the best type of mattress for sleepers suffering from back pain.
The benefits of memory foam vary with different characteristics. Typically, the higher the foam density, the greater the support. However, high-density isn’t a direct indicator of quality. The materials used in making memory foam are even more critical. Is the memory foam infused with gel beads to help disperse heat? Is the memory foam plant-based, to promote breathability and reduce risks of off-gassing? What is the memory foam’s ILD (Indentation Load Deflection)? A higher ILD means a firmer layer of foam, while a lower ILD means a softer layer of foam. All of these characteristics and more are used to design a memory foam mattress that is supportive and comfortable.
Here are the three curves found in your spinal cord:
- The Cervical Spine – This is the top-most part of your spine, and it directly supports the head.
- The Thoracic Spine – Unlike the other two parts of the spine, the thoracic spine is reverse C-shaped. It is found in the middle of your spine, and it supports your upper body.
- The Lumbar Spine – This is the bottom curve in your spinal cord. It supports your lower back and is the foundation of your entire back.
Chronic back pain is often the product of spinal misalignment. If you don’t have the right type of bed, you are more likely to become unaligned. A good mattress will contour to each of these curves in your back, keeping your back aligned properly, leading to greater levels of comfort and support.
Since it is the foundation for your entire back, your lumbar is one of the most important parts of your body. As mentioned above, the four mattresses we discuss in this article are made for relieving chronic back pain. To achieve this, they had to be soft enough for comfort and firm enough for support. This ideal balance provides maximum support to the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar curves of your spine.
Editors’ Choice: The Best Mattresses for Lower Back Pain
All of the mattresses below are considered excellent options for those looking to relieve lower back pain. In this section, we give an overview of each of the four mattresses. However, if you are looking for our recommendation for the best overall mattress choice, continue to our conclusion.
The Amerisleep AS2
Amerisleep is known for its eco-friendly approach to memory foam, which has benefits for you, as well as the environment. Amerisleep uses plant-based materials in their memory foam, reducing the amount of petroleum in their mattresses. Also, they are the only mattress company in the United States that uses the VPF (Variable Pressure Foaming) process to make their foam. The VPF process creates virtually zero emissions and also exceeds the standards set by the Federal Clean Air Act. These two features create an eco-friendly product, designed to promote breathability and durability.
While Amerisleep offers five different mattresses (the AS1, AS2, AS3, AS4, AS5), each with different firmness levels, we are focusing on the AS2. This is because the AS2 is Amerisleep’s medium-firm option, and is their model which puts your body closest to their zoned support HIVE® technology. Business Insider also listed it as the best mattress for back pain.
Amerisleep uses Celliant®, a material FDA-determined1 to promote more restful sleep, in all of their covers. Clinical trials have shown Celliant® creates a temporary increase in local blood flow, promoting faster recovery and a cool sleeping experience.
Just beneath the Celliant® cover, Amerisleep has their Bio-Pur® layer. As discussed above, Bio-Pur® is a plant-based memory foam designed to allow for greater airflow, promoting a more breathable mattress. It is reported to form back its original shape ten times faster than traditional memory foam, as well.
The AS2 uses 3-inches of their HIVE® (Harnessing Intelligent Ventilation and Energy) support layer. Designed to provide targeted support and pain relief, this layer is extremely beneficial for people suffering from chronic back pain. This technology targets the main pressure points of your body, using hexagonal cut-outs that are closer together where you need more support and spaced further apart for where you need more comfort.
Also, HIVE® is the only targeted-support system we have seen with a third-party, peer-reviewed study. A clinical study shows HIVE® reduces pressure points by up to 49%2.
The Amerisleep AS2’s bottom layer is made with Bio-Core® foam. Designed to be a sturdy, supportive base for all the other layers, this is a necessary part of the mattress’s ability to relieve back pain. A weak or small core can lead to a mattress sagging.
Sleep Trial and Warranty
When shopping online, research the return policy and warranty. Amerisleep mattresses, for instance, come with a guaranteed 100-Night Sleep Trial. They promote it as risk-free, saying they will pick up the mattress from you anytime within those 100 nights and offer a full refund.
Overwhelmingly positive customer reviews support this mattress’s place on this list, especially since many reviews positively address the bed’s ability to help relieve back pain. With almost 14,000 verified reviews for Amerisleep mattresses, the overall average is 4.7 out of 5. And, 98% of Amerisleep customers would recommend their mattress to a friend.
When it comes to eliminating lower back pain, the AS2 checks off all the boxes. It is a medium-firm mattress, with technology designed to provide lower back support.
In addition to their 100-night, risk-free home trial, Amerisleep provides you with a 20-year warranty. If the mattress develops a sag ¾” or greater in those 20 years, it is considered defective.
The Saatva Mattress
Like Amerisleep, Saatva sells directly to the public, allowing them to be competitively priced against other mattresses in their class. Saatva mattresses use innerspring coils to provide support and help reduce back pain.
This is the only coil mattress on our list, and it comes with three firmness levels. For customers with lower back pain, we are going to recommend their Luxury Firm (which is how some companies label their medium firm mattress).
Some customers may prefer the traditional bounce provided by innerspring mattresses, though innerspring mattresses, as a whole, have a lower customer satisfaction rating.
The Saatva cover is made of breathable cotton, and the top layer is a euro pillow top, providing the cushion and comfort most likely needed for those experiencing lower back pain.
Beneath that layer is a layer of Lumbar Support Enhancement memory foam. These two layers make it a good candidate for customers looking to reduce lower back pain.
The Saatva mattress uses two sets of coils. The first set, closest to the top, is a pocketed coil system, designed to reduce the risk of motion transfer. The second set of coils, at the bottom of the mattress, is a system of steel coils intended to provide the support.
The Saatva mattress comes with a fifteen-year warranty and a 120-day home trial. However, because Saatva is an innerspring mattress, some of the finer details of the sleep trial and warranty are different.
For example, out of the 15 years of the warranty, only the first two result in you getting a new mattress. The other 12 years only cover repairs, and the customer must pay $99 each way. This means, if your mattress sags during year 3, you will be spending $198 in shipping to get your defective mattress repaired.
Also, what makes a Saatva defective is different due to its innerspring design. Whereas foam mattresses only require ¾” or greater to be considered defective, Saatva requires a sag of 1” or greater.
For more detailed information on Saatva, read our post comparing Saatva Mattress reviews and Amerisleep mattress reviews.
The Layla Mattress
Unlike the Amerisleep or even the Saatva, the Layla mattress only has two firmness levels. However, they are both on the same mattress. Each Layla mattress is dual-sided: one side is soft, and the other side is firm. This type of mattress is suitable for anyone who is looking for options because the mattress can be flipped depending on how your back is feeling at any given point.
The Layla mattress is unique for two main reasons. First, it is a dual-sided mattress whereas most companies do not make dual-sided mattresses anymore, to give the customer a choice in their firmness. Second, it uses copper-infused memory foam, aimed to improve blood circulation and relieve joint pain.
Copper is antimicrobial, so the Layla mattress uses it to help keep their mattress bacteria free. Copper also is used by Layla to promote a cooler sleeping experience.
The cover of the Layla mattress is mostly polyester, with some gel infusion to help wick away heat at the surface.
Beneath the cover is, on the soft side, 3 inches of copper-infused memory foam. This amount of memory foam is going to make this one of the more plush or soft mattresses on our list.
Beneath the copper-infused memory foam is 2 inches of poly-foam, designed to help transition between the soft memory foam and the firmer core layer. The very bottom of the mattress–which becomes the top when you flip it over–is 1 inch of copper-infused memory foam. 1 inch of copper-infused memory foam on top of a high-density core layer, makes Layla’s firm side very firm.
The Layla mattress is a good option for sleepers with back pain who want a softer and firmer option than most medium-firm mattresses provide.
The Layla mattress has a 120-Night Trial, which offers free returns with a full refund. They do ask that you sleep on their mattress for at least two weeks before you decide to return it; this is pretty typical, with many companies requiring you sleep on their mattress for 30 days before you exchange or return your mattress.
The Layla offers a nearly unheard of Lifetime Warranty. It protects the Layla mattress from developing a sag greater than 1 inch. If your Layla does develop a defect, Layla will repair the mattress, and there may be a $50 shipping fee for repairs.
The Bear Mattress
The Bear mattress is relatively new but has made a name for itself quickly in the online mattress industry. Like the Amerisleep AS2, it has a Celliant® cover. It is an all foam mattress with a 1.5” layer of graphite-gel memory foam, right at the top beneath the Celliant® cover. This is less memory foam than some of the other mattresses on our list, such as the Amerisleep AS2 which has 2” of memory foam. While it may not seem like much, half an inch makes a big difference in comfort, so you can expect the Bear mattress to be on the firmer side of medium-firm. Beneath the 1.5” of graphite-gel memory foam, there are two 1 inch layers of bouncy, transition foam, designed to give you some bounce and cushion before the high-density core foam.
This Bear mattress has made a name for itself with athletes, due in large part to the Celliant® cover which helps promote physical recovery.
This mattress comes with a 100-day home trial, but they do ask you sleep on the mattress for 30 nights before deciding to return or exchange it. As we discussed, this is not unheard of within the industry, as it takes time to adjust to a mattress.
The Bear mattress comes with a 10-year warranty, which mainly covers sags of 1 inch or greater which develop within your mattress. Bear’s website does not reveal whether or not they replace or attempt to repair defective mattresses.
Cost: A Comparison
Since each of the above mattresses sells mainly through their website, they are part of the new generation of mattress companies offering high-quality beds at affordable prices. Still, there will be some pricing variances between each company, often due to the quality and amount of materials used. Generally, the less memory foam a mattress contains, the less expensive it costs to make.
Below is a list of prices for each mattress (without any discounts or deals):
The Amerisleep AS2:
- Twin – $999
- Twin XL – $1,049
- Full – $1,149
- Queen – $1,299
- King / Cal King – $1,399
Amerisleep also offers a Split King size for $1,895.
The Saatva Luxury Firm:
- Twin – $599
- Twin XL – $749
- Full – $999
- Queen – $1,099
- King / Cal King – $1,499
The Layla Mattress:
- Twin – $499
- Twin XL – $599
- Full – $799
- Queen – $899
- King / Cal King – $999
The Bear Mattress:
- Twin – $540
- Twin XL – $640
- Full – $740
- Queen – $840
- King / Cal King – $940
At base price, Bear is the cheapest with a Queen that costs $840. Layla is close behind with a Queen that costs $899. From here, there is a small jump to Saatva, which provides a Queen mattress for $1,099. Amerisleep offers a Queen size AS2 mattress for $1,299, making it the most expensive out of all four mattresses.
When factoring into the price and the value of the mattress, we looked at more than just the dollar amount. We considered the materials used and how the design was made to complement sleepers with lower back pain. The plant-based Bio-Pur® foam and the zoned HIVE® support layer provide you with the comfort and support you need to reduce lower back pain. Also, the FDA-determined Celliant® cover is a nice touch to promote breathability and recovery as you sleep.
Best Mattress for Lower Back Pain: An Overview
As first stated in this article, all four of these mattresses are quality products. Each of these beds was designed to promote a better night’s sleep, and each mattress company has its own unique design to offer.
We hope this comparison has been helpful. It is important to find the mattress that is right for you. Do your research and pick a mattress that will fit your sleep style. If you do that, your back pain may significantly improve, and you may sleep better than you have in a long time. Want a more involved list of our recommended mattresses? Check out our post on finding the best mattress of 2019.
Leave a comment below if you are suffering from chronic back pain and have any questions or insight about the best mattresses for relief.
Up Next: Finding the Best Memory Foam Mattress
 The FDA has determined that Celliant® products are medical devices as defined in section 201(h) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and are general wellness products. Celliant® is determined by the FDA to temporarily promote increased local blood flow at the site of application in healthy individuals. Hologenix, LLC, the maker of Celliant®, states that Celliant® safely converts body heat to infrared energy. This energy penetrates into the muscle and tissue to promote a temporary increase in local blood flow and helps increase comfort and promotes restful sleep.
 Milne, C. T. APRN, MSN, BC, CWOCN; Saucier, D. APRN, MSN, FNP-BC, CWCN; and Motta, G., BSN, MPH, ET. Evaluation of a Variable Pressure Foaming (VPF) Mattress with Surface Modification Technology (SMT) for Prevention and Treatment of Pressure Ulcers in General Medical-Surgical Patients. 43rd Annual Conference of the Wound, Ostomy and Continence, June 2011