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5 Best Mattresses for Back Pain in 2020: Back to Basics

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Amerisleep.

I used to work as a coffee roaster. It was a heavy-lifting job.

Between the 50-pound buckets and the 150-pound sacks (70 kilos for the metric folk), I would leave sore from head to toe. As a younger guy, I thought it was cool—like I was getting paid to get stronger.

That is until one day, there was an accident.

I was doing the same lifting motions I’d done every day. But I heard a loud pop and a shooting pain so intense it felt like my brain did a complete reset. My legs went numb and all I could do was get over to a coworker and let them know something went wrong.

I’d ruptured a vertebra, so lifting for the next several months was out of the question.

Fortunately, most of the pain went away after a few weeks, but only now am I starting to get closer to 100%.

Honestly, I’m grateful.

It was a life-changing injury—in the sense that I learned to listen to what my body was telling me.

I learned just how serious a back injury could be. And how to take better care of my back.

One of the first things I did was switch out my mattress.

After a ton of research (some hands-on, and some collected from trusted sources) I’ve gone ahead and put together a list of the five mattresses that are game-changers when it comes to back pain.

So what do you say? Ready to get back to basics?

Quick Summary

  • Amerisleep bed

    Amerisleep

    • Overall best mattress for back pain
    • 100-night trial period, free shipping, free returns
    • Awesome 20-year warranty
  • Zoma sports mattress

    Zoma

    • Best mattress for athletes and active people
    • 100-night trial period, free shipping, free returns
    • 10-year warranty
  • VAYA Foam-Mattress-Twin-Size | Hypoallergenic-Pure-Comfort-Mattress | Soft & Gentle Cover for Increased Airflow | CertiPUR-US Certified | Sleeps Cooler Than Memory Foam | USA | 10-Yr Warranty

    VAYA Sleep

    • Best budget mattress
    • 10-year warranty
    • Hypoallergenic
  • winkbed mattress pillow top

    WinkBed

    • Best innerspring mattress
    • Euro pillow-top and gel-infused foam
    • Most expensive option
  • Bear mattress pro hybrid foam and spring

    Bear Mattress

    • Best mattress for folks on the heavy side
    • A mix of memory foam and innerspring coils
    • 100-night trial period and unlimited warranty

3 Things to Consider When Buying A Mattress for Back Pain


1. Is it your mattress, or could it be the platform?

Your mattress is incredibly important if you’re suffering from back pain.

But you know what’s just as important but often gets overlooked?

The platform your mattress rests on.

If you’ve never been able to find a mattress that works for you, ask yourself a different question: when was the last time you switched out your platform?

I learned this the hard way in college when I paired a terrible mattress with a terrible platform. I would wake up half-crippled. Limping, sore back—it was silly.

Upgrading your mattress is an amazing investment, but make the most out of it by picking up a platform that fully supports your mattress.

A few brands on our list also provide platforms. Check out Amerisleep and Zomafor some bed bases that look great and add an extra boost of support for your back.

2. Which is better: foam or spring?

It’s an age-old battle. So if you’re suffering from back pain, which should you choose?

Spring mattresses have been traditionally held as the standard for relieving back pain, but I can personally attest to foam mattresses like the AS3 from Amerisleep.

Amerisleep uses a special Bio-Pur foam that cradles the body (relieving pressure from joints like your knees, too) but doesn’t overheat.

The myth that spring is better comes from the early days of memory foam mattresses with pillow-tops. They were so soft that there was no back support, no matter how you slept.

But foam has come a long way and now offers a great balance between pressure-point relief, comfort, and support.

That said, if you prefer a bouncy mattress, you can now buy mattresses that combine both foam layers and springs—these are called hybrids.

Some memory foam mattress brands, like Amerisleep, offer hybrid models of their foam beds to appeal to sleepers with different preferences. Hybrids have at least 2 inches of foam (some have more) and innerspring coils. The thickness of the foam layers in hybrids is sufficient to alleviate pressure in the spine and prevent future backaches.

To give shoppers some variety, Amerisleep offers three different hybrids, each of which ranges in firmness. The AS2 hybrid is medium-firm, the AS3 is medium, and the AS5 is a bit softer. For back pain sufferers, though, we suggest sticking with their AS2 or AS3 hybrid models.

3. Does it make a difference if you have low-back or high-back pain?

If your pain comes from a previous injury, we recommend consulting with your doctor first and foremost; but the mattresses we’ve recommended will give you relief regardless of whether you’re feeling pain in your upper or lower back.

The foam mattresses like Amerisleep and Zoma adapt to your body’s natural shape, so you’ll get the same support for your lower spine as you would throughout your whole back.

We mention both the Amerisleep and the Zoma because they contain zoned support technologies to offer full-body support, meaning they’re exceptional at relieving both upper and lower back pain.

Amerisleep’s memory foam mattresses feature HIVE technology while their hybrids contain zoned pocketed coils. Both of these technologies are fashioned to relieve extra pressure under the shoulders and hips while keeping the spine lifted in neutral alignment.

Zoma’s Triangulex design is firm in the center to keep your torso lifted but softer under your shoulders and hips to prevent pressure points.


Best Mattresses for Back Pain in 2020


What We Like

  • The AS3 hits the perfect balance of firmness for spinal relief and softness for pressure-point comfort.
  • Made from plant-based materials, the Bio-Pur memory foam disperses heat so you don’t overheat like you would with a traditional memory foam mattress.
  • Contains HIVE technology to offer dynamic support. HIVE helps maintain a healthy spine by relieving pressure and facilitating neutral alignment even if you toss and turn.
  • There is almost zero motion transfer. So if you sleep with someone and your back pain causes you to toss and turn, you don’t have to worry as much about waking your partner.
  • The Celliant cover captures your body heat and transforms it into infrared energy, helping to increase local circulation so you recover faster
  • Hybrid options (in case you prefer the combination of foam and springs) are available in their AS2, AS3, and AS5 models.

What We Don't Like

  • As with all online shopping for mattresses, it’s hard to know what level of firmness you should choose. After trying it for myself (keep in mind my back injury I mentioned in the intro) I thought the AS3 was a perfect level of firmness. AS2 is slightly firmer and also popular, though we haven’t tried it. Business Insider and Men’s Health rate the AS2 the best mattress for back pain and the best mattress for lower back pain, respectively.

What Other Reviewers Say

Amerisleep boasts a 4.7-star average across 15,000+ reviews. It’s hard to beat that kind of tried-and-true testing.

They’ve been around for over 10 years (longer than most direct-to-consumer mattress companies) and their insane 20-year warranty makes them a top choice.

The Verdict

If your back has been sore for years, it’s time to step in and make a change.

For me, Amerisleep’s mattress has made a noticeable difference since I ruptured my vertebra. Not only have I had more mobility, but I’ve also gained some strength in my lower back.

Part of that is just the healing process, and I’m sure I would’ve experienced progress regardless of which mattress I tried.

But knowing that the materials in the bed are designed to relieve painful pressure points and provide restorative sleep, combined with the comfort my wife feels, the AS3 is a lock for my number one choice.


Get the Amerisleep AS3


Amerisleep bed

2. Zoma

Zoma is a mattress designed for athletes and folks who otherwise lead an active lifestyle. If you’re physically pushing yourself day-in, day-out and feel back soreness afterward, Zoma is our choice for you.

What We Like

  • Designed specifically for athletes and people with active lifestyles.
  • The top layer is very breathable, so it’s a great choice if you run hot.
  • Gel-infused memory foam offers a nice cooling feel
  • Triangulex technology offers support for your upper and lower back to prevent pain

What We Don't Like

  • There are no varying levels of firmness.

What Other Reviewers Say

Zoma is a fairly new company, so they don’t have as many reviews as other brands out on the market.

That being said, they’ve had 130 reviews through their site and have averaged 4.6-stars.

So while they haven’t shipped out a ton of mattresses, those who’ve gotten a night’s rest on a Zoma seem happy, including various pro athletes.

The Verdict

If you’re an on-the-go person who doesn’t want to get slowed down by back pain, you may want to give Zoma a try.

Their 100-night trial period is plenty of time to decide for yourself whether their Triangulex technology really helps you rest and recover.

Don’t let back pain slow you down or limit your mobility, especially if you consider yourself an athlete.


Get the Zoma Mattress


Zoma sports mattress

3. VAYA Sleep

VAYA Foam-Mattress-Twin-Size | Hypoallergenic-Pure-Comfort-Mattress | Soft & Gentle Cover for Increased Airflow | CertiPUR-US Certified | Sleeps Cooler Than Memory Foam | USA | 10-Yr Warranty

VAYA Sleep is a good bet for anyone on a tight budget. Their mattresses still aren’t cheap, but they’re a decent value pick.

What We Like

  • The least expensive option on our list
  • 10-year warranty.
  • Hypoallergenic.

What We Don't Like

  • The memory foam isn’t quite as firm as other options like the AS3 from Amerisleep.
  • Because it’s memory foam, it will be softer when the weather is warmer.

The Verdict

If you’ve got back pain, it’s even more important to get a quality mattress, so don’t cheap out. But if you’re on a budget and you can live without the frills, VAYA Sleep is a good choice.

4. WinkBed

WinkBed is our top choice for an innerspring mattress. Crafted in Wisconsin, they offer four different options that get gradually firmer.

What We Like

  • With most new companies going with foam, high-quality spring mattresses are harder to come by.
  • Specially designed to offer lumbar support.
  • Foam topper relieves pressure from your joints while the springs offer support.

What We Don't Like

  • Some spring mattresses can get really expensive. WinkBed is no exception.

What Other Reviewers Say

Over 3,000 reviews give WinkBed a 4.8-star average. Many reviewers specifically mentioned the bed relieving their back pain. Some described the firmness as perfect for their back but a little much for their hips and shoulders.

The Verdict

If you had a bad experience with a foam mattress in the past and refuse to consider anything but a spring, then WinkBed is our top choice.

While you’re paying more than you would with a foam mattress, you’ll find good support for your spine. It may come at the cost of some hip and shoulder comfort, but for many of us, switching our sleeping side in the middle of the night is a welcome trade if we can eliminate our back pain.


Get the WinkBed


winkbed mattress pillow top

5. Bear Mattress

A lot of bed-in-a-box mattresses simply don’t work for heavier (weight) sleepers. Springs can be too firm. Foam can crumple and offer little support. But Bear Mattress has figured a way to pack the best of both worlds and ship it to you.

What We Like

  • Hybrid bed—uses springs and memory foam for support and comfort.
  • A great choice for folks over 230 pounds.

What We Don't Like

  • Not a fantastic choice for side-sleepers. It’s a little too firm. It’s best for stomach and back sleepers, or if you only spend a little time on your side at night.

What Other Reviewers Say

Over 13,000 reviewers give Bear Mattress a 4.7-star average rating.

Comfort came up a lot in the reviews and a ton of customers mentioned their back pain went away.

The Verdict

If you’re a bit on the heavy side and you struggle with back pain, check out Bear Mattress. Their unique blend of spring and foam materials offer some of the best support you can find in a bed-in-box brand.

While side sleepers may have to go with a different choice due to the firmness, Bear Mattress is our go-to if you’re over 230 pounds and sleep on your back or stomach.


Get the Bear Mattress


Bear mattress pro hybrid foam and spring


Before We Say Goodnight


If you wake up stiff, have been injured, or if you’ve suffered from back pain for years, it’s time to invest in yourself.

For some folks, a good mattress relieves their back pain within a few weeks.

No matter what the case is for you, the longer you wait, the longer you’ll have to grind through the discomfort.

So if you’re feeling like you’re ready to call it quits with daily pain, check out Amerisleep. If you consider yourself an athletic person and need something to help you recover, give Zoma a shot.

If you’re not quite sure a foam mattress will help, stick with WinkBed (if you have the budget). And for the heavier folks, Bear is your best bet. But if you’re balancing your bad back with a budget, you’re in good hands with VAYA.

In any case, it’s time to give back to yourself (pun intended).

Pick up one of our top five favorite mattresses and say goodnight to back pain.

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