Back pain can be completely debilitating. And it’s more common than you might think – over 80% of North Americans experience lower back pain at some point in their lives, with 8% suffering from it chronically. And if you’re going to bed on a mattress that wasn’t designed for proper spinal support or alignment, there’s a good¬† chance it’s only making your back problems worse.

If you often find yourself waking up groggy or having more aches and pains than you went to sleep with, it’s probably time to kick your old, unsupportive mattress to the curb. When shopping for the next one, there are a few key features you should look for to help with back pain. Find our best tips for choosing a mattress if you suffer from back pain below!

Memory Foam

One of the most important factors you should look out for when picking your next mattress is material. And when it comes to back pain, there’s no better relief than memory foam. Just think of it like a cushion that pushes back on high-pressure areas, like your shoulders and hips, to help support your joints. Designed to relieve pressure, cradle your body, and keep your spine properly aligned, memory foam (along with other foam blends) excels at distributing your body weight evenly. That means you won’t get as much of the uneven pressure that worsens your back pain overnight.

Unlike traditional coil or spring mattress construction, memory foam does a good job at holding its shape over time. As such, it will last longer and offer more long-term support than other types of mattresses that sag with age. While there are hybrid and latex alternatives, innerspring mattresses simply don’t offer the same pressure relief that foam does.


While many people believe that sleeping on a rock-solid mattress is the best solution for back pain, this idea simply isn’t true. though everyone’s particular preferences will differ form each other slightly, those that suffer from back pain tend to prefer medium-firm to firm mattresses. This usually works out to a 5.5 – 7.5 out of 10 on the firmness scale.

Mattresses that are too soft or too firm won’t distribute your weight evenly or support your pressure points properly, causing your spine to fall out of alignment and increasing your pain. a 2003 study showed that sleeping on a medium -firm mattress brought patients significant reductions in back pain, back stiffness and shoulder pain. All is all, this type of mattress helped improve the sleep quality of participants by 60%.

Airflow & Cooling

Another important factor to consider when picking out a mattress for back pain is airflow and cooling properties. No one wants to sweat through the night, but decent airflow helps improve your body’s natural intake of oxygen. If your body temperature is well regulated, it’ll get the oxygen it needs to best recharge and refresh any problem joints or muscles. For those with particularly active lifestyles who want ot optimize their recovery while they sleep, mattresses with built-in airflow and cooling features will help your body heal.

If you’re suffering from back pain, a few simple things like visiting a chiropractor, and upgrading your sleeping arrangements could do wonders to improve chronic pain.

Contributed by Christine Huegel at Mattress Advisor