Best Bed for Back Pain

Man sleeping on his side on a mattress

When speaking with my patients regarding their back pain I often ask them if they have back pain when they first wake up in the morning. If they do then most often their bed could be the cause of their issue. Let’s explore some of the qualities of a great mattress you should be looking for when buying your next mattress.


So when do you know it’s time to replace your mattress. The average age of a mattress is between 7-10 years. Check if this is the case for your mattress by carefully inspecting it. Look for sagging, deep grooves, and indentations. This could be true if you favour sleeping on a particular side of the bed. Your mattress should be flat and firm without any obvious dips and craters. Personally, I noticed these signs of wear and tear with my mattress. After a few weeks of waking up with back pain I noticed that my mattress was sagging in the centre where I tended to sleep. The mattress was about 8 years old and in spite of rotating it regularly it has reached the end of its lifespan. After replacing the mattress I woke up feeling much better.


Overall if you suffer from back pain you should lean toward the firmer end of the spectrum for mattresses. Medium firmness tends to be the most popular. Keep in mind that firmness is also determined by bodyweight. Medium firmness is good for people weighing between 130-230 pounds who are side and back sleepers. The more you weigh the firmer your mattress should be.


When picking the right mattress consider which position you sleep in. Your sleeping position determines which areas of your body you put pressure on the mattress. Back sleepers would prefer medium firmness since they offer good lumbar support. Extra firm mattress is less flexible and fail to support the lumbar curve for back sleepers. Stomach sleepers will prefer a firmer mattress since they need support in the neck and lumbar spine. A mattress that is too soft will allow the lower body to sink in and put the neck in a more intense angle. Side sleepers will prefer a medium firm mattress since their hip and shoulder pressure points needs to be absorbed by the mattress.

If you are suffering from back pain here is a couple of positions you can try to sleep in. For side sleepers, hug a pillow and place a pillow between your knees. This will help you maintain a neutral spine position and preventing you from rolling and twisting your spine. If you are a back sleeper position a pillow under your knees. This will flatten your back providing a light stretch to your back muscles.


When shopping for a memory foam mattress look for one with a firm or medium firm core since memory foam on its own tend to deform. A hybrid mattress is a multi layer bed that combines memory foam, latex, or gel with an inner spring core. You can enjoy the pressure relief of the foam layers and the stability of a spring mattress. A traditional coil mattress provide sturdy support and when paired with a foam layer on top can be quite comfortable. Finding a new mattress can be a process of trial and error. Personally when I started shopping for a new mattress I had initially bought a foam mattress with a firm core. It was a popular brand of mattress that came in a box and inflated to its full firmness over several days. It was a good mattress however not firm enough for my liking. The company was great and honoured their hassle free return policy. I then bough a simple firm coil mattress and it was the best fit for me. Enjoy the shopping experience and find the best fit for you. Enjoy the “Z’s”.

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