If you find yourself tossing and turning in your sleep, unable to get a full night’s rest, odds are you suffer from back pain. Finding the best mattress pads for back pain can go a long way to alleviate your troubles and deliver deep, restful sleep.
Mattress pads are padded onsets for your existing mattress, measuring anywhere from one to four inches thick. Their primary purpose is to add additional padding, comfort, and contouring to your bed – especially for an older mattress that’s lost its firmness.
The benefits of these for back pain are significant.
Mattress Pads for Back Pain
It’s estimated that over 16 million adults living in the US suffer from chronic back pain, with over 65 million reporting a recent episode of back pain.
Obviously, not all back pain can be attributed to your mattress and support while sleeping. But having a well-shaped and supportive mattress pad can certainly help with some of the more acute pain.
Mattress pads are made of layers that help to evenly distribute weight and alleviate strain on the spine, including your shoulders, lumbar region, and hips.
What to Consider in a Mattress Pad
There are various things to look for in a mattress pad when you are buying one specifically to alleviate back pain.
Mattress pads relieve pressure at targeted points through weight redistribution across the pad. This can relieve the buildup of pressure near heavier parts of the body like your hips and shoulders.
Ability to Conform
Mattress pads are built to conform to your body’s shape. This allows for wider, heavier parts of the body to sink in more, relieving the build-up of pressure on those areas. This also supports the spine’s natural alignment.
The material your pad is made of contributes to its durability and performance. Firmer materials like fiber, memory foam, and latex offer more defined contouring for back pain. While softer materials like cotton are plush and allow your back to sink into softer contouring.
Higher-end materials also offer additional benefits such as heat control and breathability and they regulate bounce. While these don’t affect your back directly, they will help you sleep through the night.
Mattress pad prices are based on the materials used in their making, as well as how they are constructed. The lower-priced versions break down more quickly, so the longevity of support is lacking.
Paying a bit more for a higher-quality mattress pad brings you the other benefits along with a product that provides back support for a much longer period of time.
6 Best Mattress Pads for Back Pain (Our Reviews)
We’re quite fond of sleeping, so thoroughly enjoyed the process of reviewing these mattress pads. Here are our favorites.
This topper is available in graphite, latex, and memory foam. The graphite option has two layers of memory foam.
The top layer responds to body heat – contouring the topper to the body’s shape – and allows pressure points like the shoulders and hips to sink in.
The second layer is made of high-density polyurethane foam, which stops the topper from sinking in too far. If this happens, the support is lessened and it will be more difficult to relieve the pain at those pressure points during sleeping.
The only downside of this is that if you’re a stomach sleeper it could be quite uncomfortable, and add to your back pain, as you’ll slide into the first layer and bend your spine.
The ultra-soft 100% organic cotton cover gives the topper a soft and luxurious feel, with zips to remove the cover for washing. And you get a 180-night trial, so you get to enjoy half a year of sleeping on your mattress topper to make sure it’s right for you.
You can pick up a Saatva mattress topper for around $220.
- Second layer helps with cooling
- Medium-soft feel relieves pressure
- 180-night trial period and free returns
- Memory foam dampens motion transfer
The Leesa mattress topper is constructed from two inches of memory foam and is designed to combine cushion and bounce. The lightweight and breathable capabilities of the topper help it to feel more natural – feeling more like your natural mattress than an addition.
The topper is made from a blend of polyester, viscose, and lycra, all combined to give you a firm topper for pressure release.
It’s also unzippable for easy washability. This is a big bonus over other toppers, which can be difficult to handle and a mission to clean.
Unfortunately, being two inches thick means it doesn’t offer the best support for heavier body types. Because foam is pliable, it expels air when you lie down on it, making it compress.
This topper is CertiPUR-US certified, meaning that the product has undergone rigorous testing for performance, durability, and content. When you buy a Leesa, you’re buying quality
This certification also ensures that emissions are low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions – meaning they are safe to be used indoors and not hazardous to your health.
Picking up a Leesa mattress topper is going to set you back about $410.
- Machine washable
- Great for side and stomach sleepers
- Breathability for hot sleepers
- Responsive material with good bounce
- Not suitable for heavier body types
Tempur is all about innovation and technology, with its history going back to create flexible material for aircraft seats for NASA. This approach has been transformed into a mattress topper that provides firm but comfortable support.
The three-inch support allows the topper to sink down more, making it suitable for all body types. It’s also very versatile, so can be used with most mattress types too.
What’s great for back pain relief is how firm it is, which helps with optimal spinal alignment and relief from pressure. On the downside, this does mean that the mattress isn’t great for stomach sleepers.
It’s also not very breathable. This means that if you’re someone who tends to get hot while you sleep, this isn’t the topper for you.
The Tempur-Topper Supreme costs around $300, making it one of the more expensive toppers on our list.
- Three-inch design
- Ten-year limited warranty
- Works with any type of mattress
- Extra firm
- Not suitable for stomach sleepers
- Poor breathability
A gentle surface on the top layer of this mattress topper provides relief for shoulder and hip pain. It is made from hypoallergenic fiber and 100% cotton fabric, with the two-inch top comfort layer packed with ball fiber polyester to softly adapt to the contours of the body.
The high-quality build of this mattress makes it comfortable and cool for back and side sleepers. However, it is thinner so may not provide the support needed for back pain – especially for heavier body types.
At below $170, this is one of the best value-for-money mattress toppers on the market. You’re not likely to get decent support for your lumbar or spine for around this price.
- Two-inch comfort layer
- Comfortable for all sleeping positions
- Breathable for cooler sleeping
- Thinner layering
- Preferable for lighter support
The interesting part of this mattress topper is that it has both a softer plush side and a firmer side. The copper-infused memory foam on the plush side is 2 inches thick and ideal for those who need more gentle support.
Flip the topper and the mattress firmness goes to 3.5 inches thick for those who need firmer support and more defined contouring. This makes it great if you don’t know which type of topper you need. If you try it out and find it’s not working for you, simply flip it around.
The copper-infused gel runs throughout, so sleepers will still benefit from the cooling capabilities of the mattress topper.
Copper also naturally reduces inflammation, which can assist in cooling and relaxing inflamed muscles and tendons. Not the best choice if you are a stomach sleeper, as the soft side may be too soft, and the firm side too hard which can add to back pain.
This topper is also CertiPur-US certified, so has gone through rigorous testing to meet the certification standards.
This is one of the best mid-ranged mattress toppers going for as little as $200. It might sound like a lot to fork out at once, but investing in a good night’s sleep is definitely worth the money.
- Natural barrier against bacteria
- Reduces inflammation
- Extra support from gel microbes
- Too soft for stomach sleepers
The GhostBed mattress toppers are specifically designed to relieve back pain while you sleep. The mattress has five different zones that “hug” your body differently in each area. This targeted design is great at quickly alleviating back pain.
If you struggle with chronic back pain or you suffer from spinal alignment issues, like scoliosis, this is definitely the right option for you. Not only does it remedy the symptoms of back pain, but it also helps to solve the underlying problems which could lead to more severe problems down the line.
The three-inch mattress is infused with gel so it doesn’t get hot like traditional memory foam.
The gel also helps dampen movement as you sleep. So if you tend to toss around a lot, your partner will appreciate this topper.
It’s pricey, going for just under $360. While this is a lot, it’s worth every penny if you struggle to sleep.
- Five zones to support your body
- Includes a waterproof mattress protector
- Gel foam helps to keep you cool
- Five-year warranty
- Only one thickness option
Best mattress pad for back pain – FAQs
How Thick Should a Mattress Pad Be For Back Pain?
We recommend a four-inch-thick mattress pad, which has greater density for more back support. Remember that the thicker the pad, the more support it will be able to give your back while sleeping.
Can Memory Foam Cause Upper Back Pain?
If your memory foam mattress is too soft or too firm, it can cause upper back pain. It’s important to find the mattress pad with the correct firmness for you, whatever material it is made from.
Do Back Sleepers Need Soft or Firm Mattress Pad Support?
A firmer mattress pad is better for back sleepers. This is because firmer layering provides more defined support to the pressure points in the back. They also support more natural spine alignment.
Mattress pads are incredibly helpful if you are suffering from back pain. The choice of materials and density enables buyers to find the ideal combination of elements, support their backs while sleeping, and be comfortable too.
You should, however, be mindful of the causes of your back pain. While a mattress pad can help relieve some of the pressure and resulting pain, treating the source of your back pain is vital.