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HomeExclusiveIs A Firm Or Soft Mattress Better For Back Pain

Is A Firm Or Soft Mattress Better For Back Pain

How To Get Relief On A Budget

Firm vs Soft Mattress – Which One Should You Get?

When youre struggling with back pain, you may feel like youre willing to give anything to get relief, but the realities of your budget can mean that you have to think about the impact of any mattress purchase on your bottom line. The good news is that there are multiple wallet-friendly ways to improve your bed, enhance your sleep, and give your back a rest.

What Is The Best Type Of Mattress For Back Pain

When it comes to back pain, mattress type is less important than mattress firmness. Likewise, the number of foam layers or support coils wont matter as much as how the mattress feels. And if you have back pain, studies show that a mattress that feels medium-firm is the best type of mattress for you. According to one expert we spoke with, thats because a bed labeled medium-firm is likely to support your spines natural curves whether youre a side-sleeper, a back-sleeper, or a stomach-sleeper. Whether youre trying a mattress in a store or testing one you purchased online, ask yourself these questions to get a better idea of how comfortable it really is.

Firm Best For Front And Back Sleepers Over 200 Lbs

Firm mattresses tend to be better for heavier weighted front and back sleepers over 200 lbs with back pain because the tighter surface tension and reduced capacity for material compression can help to stop you from sinking too deeply into the mattress materials and instead help to keep your spine and lower back well supported so that your body is being placed under less strain.

Firm mattresses can be divided up into extra-firm, firm, and medium-firm with subtle differences that are as follows:

Extra-Firm Ideal For Front Sleepers Over 250 lbs

Extra firm mattresses are best suited to the heaviest weighted front sleepers over 250 lbs with back pain because the maximal surface tension can help to keep your hips in the proper position and guard against your lower back from painful hammocking.

However, due to this relatively extreme level of firmness, you should choose an adaptive material like memory foam or latex foam in the upper comfort layer to off-set the pressure points that it may create on your body .

Firm Best For 230 250 lbsFront and Back Sleepers

A firm mattress is best suited to front and back sleepers with back pain in the 230 250 lbs range because the higher than average surface tension can help to push back against your body weight for protection against poor posture whilst youre lying down.

Medium-Firm Suitable For 200 230 lbs Front, Back, and Side Sleepers

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What Is The Best Mattress For Back Pain Many Experts Get This Wrong

Recently a friend of mine asked me, Do you know what is the best mattress for back pain? She was having a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep because of sciatica and some back problems.

I figured the firmest mattress was probably the best but I really didnât know for sure.

To answer her question, I decided to dig into the medical literature to see what was in there about the best mattress for back pain. I went back about 10 years. There arenât a lot of studies on mattresses and back pain. But thereâs enough information there to make a really good decision.

And not only was I wrong about what I thought was the best mattress for back pain, but so are a heck of a lot of doctors who deal with back pain. Firmer does not mean better for back pain.

Using A Soft Mattress

Is a Soft or Firm Mattress Better for Your Back?

Many people wonder if the opposite is true.

If your mattress is too firm, are you better off with a softer one? Perhaps the firmness is providing too much pressure on the body, enhancing the pain? Can soft mattresses be helpful for back pain sufferers?

Lacking Support

The general advice is to stay away from very soft mattresses. If the mattress is too soft, it will not provide adequate support, and may make your condition worse by creating uncomfortable pressure points or putting additional strain on your spine.

Soft mattresses do not provide proper support and stability even when you sleep on your side. If you move around a lot at night, its likely that you wont get comfortable either because theres no cushioning under the hips.

Mattress Sagging

Deeper impressions may cause you more problems as they allow some parts of your body to press against the surface more than others, causing some areas to be deprived of necessary support.


Softer mattresses are generally preferred by those who suffer primarily from upper body pain since they can contour around their shoulders and hips more easily than firm surfaces. Some doctors dont recommend them, however, because of the lack of lower back support mentioned above.

Balance and Movement


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What Is Mattress Firmness

Mattress firmness is an element that defines different mattresses on the market.

The firmness is something you can feel, but also something that the manufacturer of the mattress can calculate during the making of the individual mattress.

Mattress firmness is the amount of softness and sinking in you will feel when you sit or lie down on the mattress top, versus not.

Most mattress companies and retailers categorize their mattresses by the different levels of firmness. People have different preferences for how hard or soft they prefer to sleep, and some injuries might also show preference for one or the other.

If you buy a mattress specifically for back pain, the level of firmness and support will matter almost as much as the budget you can afford to pay for it.

What Type Of Mattress Is Best For Lower Back Pain

If youre dealing with lower back pain, the right mattress can make a big difference.

A mattress that doesnt hold up our body will cause pain in the lower back, explains Dr. Lynelle McSweeney, a chiropractor in Reno, Nevada. We need support to keep our joints from going into a stress point, which puts pressure on nerves and strains the muscles.

In general, hybrid or innerspring mattresses will offer more support than all-foam options, which may be too soft.

The manufacturers firmness rating can also help you zero in on a supportive option. These ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest. Medium-firm mattresses, which have a rating of 7 to 8, are typically recommended for lower back pain.

Keep in mind that the firmness of a mattress will depend on a few different factors, including your preferred sleeping position, your body size and weight, and whether you share your bed with a partner or pet. Personal preference plays a role too.

There is no single right mattress for everyone, but there are certain considerations when youre dealing with lower back pain:

Make a point of checking reviews so you can see what previous purchasers have to say about any mattresses youre considering.

Sleeping on your back is generally considered best for the body, says McSweeney. But supporting your body in your preferred sleep position can also work. Getting sleep is the most important thing for your health and well-being.

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Hard And Soft Mattresses

If you are wondering soft mattresses gives you much comfort & keep you in shape, then its a huge misconception. The level of firmness varies within multiple types of mattresses, especially the hard/firm and soft mattresses.

According to the retailers, the level of firmness is rated from 1 to 10. The minimum score determines the softness whereas the maximum score defines the firmness of the mattress.

Finding Your Comfortable Sleep

Firm vs Soft Mattress for Back Pain – BEST Choice Revealed

Chronic low back pain significantly affects quality of sleep.

If you arent yet sure which type of mattress will be the best to alleviate low back, hip or neck pain, visit a bed store or check a firmness chart like the one suggested above.

The best way to judge if your mattress is right is by listening to your body. If you start waking up with back pain every morning, its time to make adjustments or buy a new mattress.

Mattress toppers, memory foam and base adjustment can make all the difference when youre trying to adjust a firm or soft mattress. The best way to judge if your mattress is right is by listening to your body.

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Disclaimer: Nothing on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The contents of this website are for informational purposes only.

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Are Memory Foam Mattresses Good For Back Pain

Memory foam mattresses are often touted as the best option for back pain, and they certainly can be, thanks to their balance of support and cushioning. However, choosing the right firmness is essential. If you go this route, find a mattress made with high-quality, dense memory foam designed to provide ample support. Keep in mind that many inexpensive memory foam mattresses are too plush to keep the spine properly aligned, which can actually worsen your back and joint pain.

Advantages Of A Firm Mattress

For those not experiencing troublesome back pain, a firm mattress is will generally be more comfortable. When sleeping on a firmer surface, the bones absorb most of the pressure, meaning there is less stress on muscles, veins and arteries. Muscles are less strained, and circulation is improved.

A firm mattress also keeps your lower back from collapsing, which could allow for more oxygen intake while sleeping. Less sagging can mean the weight of the body is distributed evenly, which means no one part of the body is bearing the brunt of the pressure.

Firm mattresses are generally better for those who sleep on their back, because they provide a more stable and even surface. Stomach sleepers tend to fare better on a firmer mattress, too.

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Plush Vs Firm Mattresses: Which One Would Work For You

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While some people love sleeping on a cloud, others compare it to sleeping in a hammock and prefer stiff surfaces.

The eternal debate between soft and firm mattresses makes many shoppers doubt what bed they need exactly. And with the variety the modern market has to offer, the indecisiveness only grows further.

Dont worry though: today, we will take a close look at the plush vs firm mattress comparison and see which option would be most suited for you.

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How Back Pain Affects Sleep

Is a Firm Mattress Better for Back Pain?

Related Reading

Back pain is a widespread problem that affects an estimated 80% of adults at one time or another. It can make all types of daily activities difficult including walking, working, sitting, and lifting even lightweight items. Unfortunately, we know that back pain complicates sleep as well, making it hard to find a comfortable position to fall asleep and keep sleeping soundly through the night.

Research studies have found that over half of people with lower back pain report sleeping problems. These negative impacts on sleep arise in people who have both sudden and short-term back pain and those who have long-term, persistent back pain.

People with pain tend to have fragmented sleep that occurs from waking up during the night. Upon waking up, getting back to sleep can be difficult because of ongoing aches and discomfort. Pain can also contribute to stress, depression, and anxiety, all of which can be detrimental to quality sleep.

Back pain sufferers can take a number of steps to try to feel and sleep better. Getting medical help for serious back problems may help reduce pain. Treatments depend on the cause and nature of a persons symptoms and can range from surgery to physical therapy to pain-relieving medications.

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Who Should Sleep On A Firm Mattress

The best mattresses for back pain are often medium-firm to firm. Larger framed or sized individuals will also find a firmer mattress to be more comfortable. If you weigh 230 pounds or more, going with a firm mattress over a plush one is best.

Mattresses for back sleepers are typically firmer because they promote a safe, neutral spine. The right beds for stomach sleeping should also be firmer to limit sinking and to prevent the spine from curving unnaturally. Both stomach and back sleepers receive adequate joint support from a firm mattress.

  • Hot sleepers
  • Heavyset sleepers

The Amerisleep AS2 features a medium-firm surface, offering more gentle support than a firmer mattress would. This feel is most suitable for back sleepers, though some stomach and combination sleepers may also enjoy it.

The AS2 possesses many of the same materials as the AS5, they are simply arranged differently to achieve a medium-firm feel. The top layer is Bio-Pur® memory foam, which we mentioned is Amerisleeps unique variation on the traditional formula. The AS2s memory foam top is thinner than the AS5s, meant to feel firmer while still conforming to the body for pressure relief.

Next in the AS2s construction is the Affinity foam with HIVE® technology. The five zones established by HIVE® ensure the bed cushions sensitive areas like the shoulders and hips, while focusing more on firm support under the head, back, and feet.


How To Stop A Soft Mattress From Causing Back Pain

The most effective way to stop a mattress thats too soft from causing you back pain is to apply a firm/zoned mattress topper place the mattress on a compatible frame that has good support avoid sleeping on your front and instead sleep on your back or replace the mattress completely for a more suitable one.

More details below:

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Main Concerns About Mattress

When thinking about how to arrange the material for this resource, I decided to divide it into 5 areas, each one focusing on responding to among the primary questions you require to inquire about mattresses. Here are the 5 concerns you need to address:

  • How old is your mattress?
  • What Sleep Position Do You Prefer?
  • What firmness do you require?
  • How much do you weigh?
  • What kind of mattress do you require?

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Some Parting Words Regarding Back Pain

Firm Vs Soft Mattress – Which Is Best?

You dont have to let the stress of shopping for a mattress keep you up at nightand you shouldnt have to deal with pain when you wake up in the morning. This list of The Sleep Doctors mattress picks will help you find the one that will keep your back pain in check, so you can take back control of your sleep.

Breus, Michael. 2019. Low Back Pain and Sleep. The Sleep Doctor , December 14, 2019.

Cleveland Clinic. 2019. Is Your Sleep Position Causing You Back Pain? Health Essentials , August 29, 2019.

Mayo Clinic, 2020. Slide show: Sleeping positions that reduce back pain

Casper Editorial Team, 2020. How To Sleep With Back Pain: 5 Tips for Relief. Casper , March 4, 2020.

The Lancet, 2003. Effect of firmness of mattress on chronic non-specific low-back pain. The Lancet , November 15, 2003

is an Associate Editor at Pillar4 Media and contributing editor to who prefers to keep the room as cold as possible, no matter what time of year it is.

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What Is A Hybrid Mattress

A hybrid mattress can contain multiple layers of different materials, including memory foam, polyfoam, cooling gel, and/or latexsome hybrid mattresses even have a pillow top layer for extra cushioning on top. In addition to these layers, hybrid mattresses also contain springs for added support, durability, and breathability. The superior breathability makes a hybrid mattress great for people who tend to get hot at night. Rather than the sinkage you get with a memory foam mattress, youll feel like youre resting firmly on top of it. Hybrid mattresses also tend to offer more edge support.

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How To Tell If Your Mattress Is Giving You Back Pain

There are so many causes of back pain, so it can be hard to pinpoint where your aches are coming from. However, there are some clues to look out for to see if your mattress is to blame. The first clue is when your back pain occurs. If your back pain is there when you first wake up, but you can stretch to get rid of it within 15-30 minutes, then that is a major sign that your mattress is doing more harm than good. Also, if you find yourself waking up more frequently or are tossing and turning trying to get to sleep, then that should also be a sign. Even if you are not prone to back pain, you should ideally replace your mattress every eight years.

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Suitable For Side Sleepers

When side sleeping, the hips and shoulders bear the brunt of the body weight. Resting on a firmer mattress can cause pressure to build up near these sensitive areas. This tension could force you to toss and turn to find comfortresulting in lost hours of sleep. We usually recommend soft mattresses for side sleepers because they will keep the body cradled and supported to alleviate tension.

Since some soft mattresses tend to promote sinking, be sure to select one that has enough responsiveness to keep the torso lifted, so the spine remains neutral.


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