Best Beds For Chronic Back Pain
I’m Marc Anderson, and I’ve been in the mattress industry for 25 years, both in the brick and mortar retail side as well as online with my own e-commerce web sites. I’ve been the CEO of several companies that designed and manufactured some of the most popular beds on the web. One of the most commonly asked questions by customers, of all ages, is what is the best mattress for chronic back pain?
As an expert in the manufacture and design of all different kinds of mattresses, I am extremely familiar with components, including polyurethane and urethane foams, natural latex and soy based foams, coils large and small, air chambers for sleep number style beds, and exterior fabrics and quilting for the finished top, or body contact piece. But is there a magic recipe for the perfect bed that helps ease back pain all across the board? Well…yes and no.
I can give you advice on beds to steer clear of, and suggest materials that really should be incorporated into a mattress designed for therapeutic application for back issues. One thing to remember is that humans are unique and very individualized creatures.
We are all shaped differently, our musculature and connective tissues are not aligned exactly the same, our vertebral columns responds to stimuli differently, we perceive pain very differently, and there is no one perfect solution, but there ARE key ingredients that should be considered in the “cake recipe” of your ideal bed.
If you have chronic back pain as the result of trauma or surgery, you’re likely going to need a different formulation or combination of layers than say, someone born with scoliosis, someone suffering with arthritis or connective or muscle diseases.
the ingredients to a mattress designed to relieve back pain are readily available
The most significant and effective relief from back pain in a mattress, in my experience, can be obtained from a combination of memory foam, latex, and a firmer and supportive base or foundation layer at the bottom, if you choose to buy a bed in a box type mattress online, as an example.
A coil or innerspring mattress is a good choice too, but you get better results with a layer of latex and memory immediately in combination with one another, sandwiched together, on top of the coil layers. I’m going to unravel all of this in a moment, with some bullet points, to make it easier.
I once had a customer call me who had been bitten by a tick and contracted Lyme’s Disease. The woman was only 30 years old, was essentially bed ridden, and had horrible back pain. She truly suffered, could not work, and her pain was so awful that she cried herself to sleep.
At the time, we did not custom make mattresses and we sold a standard lineup. I stepped out of my comfort zone and designed her a mattress, from scratch. She had it for a week before she called to tell me that she finally, FINALLY, slept through the night. I was thrilled, and she was able to enjoy resting her head on a mattress that relieved her pressure.
Almost immediately, we cloned her mattress and created a new stock model for on one of my web sites. The mattress was surprisingly simplistic: it contained a fairly dense bottom layer of polyurethane foam, and immediately above it I used a 2”layer of natural latex, and above that a 2” layer of specialized memory foam (4 lb. visco-elastic urethane foam). The outer cover was kept fairly thin, not overly quilted (the woman slept hot), and was made using a bamboo fabric that felt smooth and cloud-like.
If you want to check out this mattress, it is currently sold as the FCO Hybrid Mattress on a web site called FCO Homegoods. It’s a reasonably priced mattress fabricated by a third generation mattress making company in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
For severe back pain, associated with herniated discs, neurological issue such as sciatica, and shoulder and hip injuries, I recommend a mattress that has a fairly supportive base, really as firm as you can tolerate, but with memory foam and gel foam on top. Memory foam and gel foam are specialized materials, first invented by NASA, to distribute weight laterally, spreading the impact and the weight, rather than in pinpoint fashion in a downward direction.
This characteristic alone, taking advantage of materials that spread weight sideways, as if you are spreading pizza dough to the edge of a pan, is crucial in creating as close to a “zero gravity” effect as possible to distribute load. Also, these materials generally do not sleep hot, because body heat is not focused on a laser like small area. Memory foam actually has a “false reputation” for sleeping hot, but after 20 years working very closely with the material, I have to totally disagree, and as far as I am concerned, it is miracle substance.
Natural latex is highly beneficial for back pain too, though I like it better in lower back and hip pain applications. Being natural too, is a good thing, especially when there are allergies and sensitivity to chemicals involved. My Lyme Disease customer had an aversion to anything fragrant, and the latex we used for her really helped with that.
Natural latex is highly responsive, whereas memory foam is doughy and wraps around your body, cradling it. Latex is spongy and very “fast”, and you tend to float above it a bit more than memory foam. Each material has wonderful qualities, and it is when you combine them that you really squeeze the benefits out of each and exponentially increase their benefits. The FCO Hybrid is included in the Best Of The Best list I have shown below, each with their link to a special deal you can get through our site. Take a look at all of the models. Truly, I feel that all of them are good choices for back pain sufferers, but let’s give specifics for choosing each one based on your back pain type and situation.
I’ve put together a selection of beds that I believe are helpful. Here’s the list below with links. I’ve matched up each selection with a specific recommendation. As a disclaimer, I am not a physician, so we’re not writing prescriptions here..but, each of these models have unique qualities that can help.
The Puffy Mattress- Buoyantly supportive, cushier but no sink factor. Excellent for overall back pain, restless sleepers, hot sleepers.
Nolah Mattress- Extreme pressure relief at hip area, good for lower back pain, users call it “soothing”. Great for side sleepers and maintaining straight and level spine alignment.
The Nectar Mattress- Emphasis on memory foam with this model, enveloping feel, embraces your body. Good for lower back pain, sciatica and nerve issues. Reviewers like it’s cozy feeling.
Dreamcloud Luxury Hybrid- Pocketed coils and gel infused memory foam. If you like a smooth silky feeling mattress, the cashmere top is hard to beat. Shoulders, hips, mid back. The coils contour your body very precisely, maintaining spine alignment.
The Frankly Luxury Memory Foam Mattress- Livelier and bouncier, gel memory foam, body contouring. A removable and washable outer covering. Ideal for lower back, sciatica, hip pain.
Awara Latex Hybrid Mattress- Outfitted with 4” of Dunlop latex (all natural) and a pocketed coil system. This latex mattress is buoyant and is great for all kinds of back pain. Lateral weight distribution and a spongy, buoyant feel.
Sweetnight Hybrid- Pocketed coils and gel foam, designed by a mattress maker for his daughter, all types of back pain.
The FCO Hybrid Latex/Memory Foam- My #1 choice, includes both latex and memory foam and slightly firmer base layer. Lower back pain, and midline back pain. Also great for restless leg syndrome, as it tends to gather your legs together.
Habitat Furnishings Airbed System- Three models, including the Ascend, which contains latex and memory with situated on top of an adjustable air chamber. Gives you the ability to control your own side. Excellent for all body types and all kinds of back pain, since you can control the firmness and softness.
All nine models are shown below, with links to our special deals: