How To Choose The Right Mattress for Back Pain

How To Choose The Right Mattress for Back Pain

Nothing is worse at disrupting your sleep than back pain. Unfortunately, many people experiencing back pain will also find that they are sleeping on a mattress which does not provide the upmost in support. Thankfully, this is an issue which can be fixed with professional help, asking questions and finding the best fit mattress for yourself!

Back pain can be the result of many things including injury, incorrect exercise, work stress, being overweight, incorrect mattress and more. Just by purchasing a new, better mattress, you are probably not going to completely eliminate your back pain, but you could absolutely alleviate the pressure and wake up in a much better shape.

Depending on the level of your back pain, you probably experience sleep disturbances. If you are sleeping on the wrong mattress, your back pain may even be worse in the morning. The right bed depends on the individual and what is comfortable for them. Since there is a variety of mattresses available, how do we choose the one that will be good for our backs?

To find the right mattress for back pain to accommodate your back problems, you need to consider how the mattress supports you. Does the mattress offer spinal support? Is a natural spinal alignment possible? Is it comfortable for you? What effect if any does it have on your body temperature?

Here are some key factors to take into consideration before deciding on a particular mattress:

Sleeping Positions

Everyone has a go-to sleeping position. It is that position where you can normally achieve your deepest sleep. Your favorite sleeping position dictates what parts of your back are best supported by your mattress.

If you are a back or stomach sleeper, you should consider a mattress which is at least a medium or medium firm. This will help you achieve optimal spinal alignment. However, if you sleep on your side, your hips and shoulders may feel a little too much pressure from a firmer mattress and in this case, a medium mattress will be perfect! If you notice, we tend to stay away from the extra plush mattresses.

Body Weight

This is another major factor which should influence your final decision when purchasing a mattress. Quite obviously, the heavier you are the more pressure the mattress has to undergo and generally speaking, the higher quality the mattress will need to be in order to provide the optimal support.

Furthermore, the comfort level of the same mattress will actually feel different to people with different weights. For example, if you were to take a medium firm mattress and have 2 people test it out, one person being on the heavier side whilst the other on the lighter side. You will find that the the lighter person experiences anything from medium firm to firm whilst the heavier person experiences a medium to soft comfort level on the same mattress.

Also, it is worth noting that heavier folks usually sleep hotter and therefore, will need to look into a mattress with cooling or temperature regulating properties. Ultimately, the heavier you are, the firmer and more supportive mattress you will need. For the lighter folks, there is really no need to go any firmer than a medium firm mattress.

Bases and Foundations

Part of the consideration for the mattress you choose will be the base or foundation of the bed. There are many different styles available these days, including those providing storage underneath the mattress itself. The base should be able to easily support the bed so as not to compromise its construction or function.

  • Traditional box springs are rigid and work well with innerspring mattresses. They are not appropriate for other types.
  • An adjustable frame will not work well with innerspring mattresses but are a good match for memory foam and latest models.
  • Most memory foam, latex, and hybrid mattresses do not require much of a foundation beyond a base. You have a lot of options with this style.
  • Waterbeds are in their own classification. Due to the weight of them when they are full, specific waterbed frames are needed.


Mattress Types

There are several different options for your mattress for back pain choices. Some are traditional pocket-coil types. There are also still water-filled mattresses available. Others incorporate memory foams and gels. The type you choose should provide the support and function that will allow you to get the best sleep and alleviate your pain.

Pocket Coil Mattresses

Pocket Coil mattresses are the most common due to their long life and lower prices. These coils often will be constructed to be in their own individual pockets at the base of the mattress. This not only provides excellent support, but it also minimizes the motion transfer across the sleep surface.

Pocket coil mattresses will also tend to be hybrid mattresses. They will almost always have layers of various types of foams above the coils. Such foams could include gel memory foam, natural latex or high density foam. The thickness of the layers of foams will ultimately decide the total thickness of the mattress.

Most of the top quality pocket coil mattresses will also equip a zone pocket coil system meaning there is a higher concentration of pocket coils placed through the center of the mattress for additional reinforcement. This is required since we all, as humans, are heavier in our mid sections.

Pocket coil mattresses are by far the most popular type when it comes to mattresses and we would say, for most people, it is also the best choice!


Waterbeds have been around for many years. They came to become popular in the 1970s and by the 1980s, they were everywhere. The relaxing feeling of floating made them extremely popular.

Initially, waterbeds came in one style only. The waterbed was initially invented for long term care patients to reduce the risk of bedsores. Initially, there was only one model available. It was the traditional single chamber filled with water whose only real adjustment was how full you fill it to reduce the amount of motion.

The waterbed evolved into beds with multiple chambers that could be set to an almost motionless state. Soon there were numerous options, both waveless and semi-waveless. While these beds proved to be very relaxing, they can weigh up to 910 kg. Each bed holds from 300 to 890 litres of water and can be heated to an average of 30 to 33 degrees centigrade.

The weight of the bed itself and the damage that can be caused should the mattress fail makes them a very high-risk investment. It is also one that limits housing options. Most landlords will not allow a waterbed. The waterbed is still around, but the negatives outweigh the positives and they can be hard to find.

The waterbed will only work with a traditional waterbed frame. There are not many other foundational options that will hold the weight of a water bed.

Memory Foam Mattress

Memory foam was initially invented by engineers from NASA. While it’s initial purpose was to create cushions for aircraft seats that would have a long lifespan. It didn’t take long for them to figure out that it would also make an exceptionally comfortable bed.

Since it was introduced in 1991, memory foam has become extremely popular. When you lay on memory foam, it forms to the curves of your body. Once you get up, it goes back to its original shape. When it cradles your body as it conforms, it takes a lot of stress off of the spine.

There are numerous benefits to memory foam. There is very little motion with memory foam which allows movement on one side of the bed to not disturb the other. The memory foam beds are pretty much hypoallergenic as they can repel dust and mites. When it comes to back problems, the memory foam allows your spine to stay in alignment as you sleep. It also provides relief to your traditional pressure points.

The one drawback is that it also retains heat. However, if you go with a gel memory foam mattress, you will not experience any temperature issues! Thankfully, at Sleep Masters Canada, all of our memory foam mattresses are gel infused memory foam.

Memory foam mattresses do not require a box spring to support them. A simple base or foundation of any type will work effectively with a memory foam mattress. They also work well with adjustable bed frames.



Latex is an alternative to memory foam. Since latex is derived from the rubber tree, natural latex is a more organic option. Latex does have several of the qualities of memory foam.

It too will conform to your body and relieve pressure points, but it has also proven to outlast memory foam. Natural latex is definitely superior when it comes to durability. One thing to keep in mind, being a rubber material, naturally the latex has a slightly more bouncier feel in comparison to other foams but not enough to cause any distress.


Hybrid beds are a combination of  a pocket coil mattress and memory foam or latex. These mattresses are constructed with a base that is traditional pocket coils topped by several layers of memory foam or latex. These beds can offer several different customizable comfort options depending on your preferences.

The hybrid mattress can come in various heights depending on the layers of foam and also different firmness levels. The firmness is adjusted by not only using stiffer/softer pocket coils but also firmer/softer layers of foam. Today, most hybrid mattresses will be 12 inches or more in height.

Hybrid mattresses give you the best of both worlds. Due to their many available options, they are often the first choice of many clients. Always make sure to compare more than one type of hybrid mattress before coming to your final decision.


A pillow top mattress is another type of mattress which is more often than not a hybrid mattress. It is usually a pocket coil mattress with a layer of high density foam and then a cushioned pillowtop layer of either memory foam or natural latex. Generally speaking, a pillowtop is designed to simply make a mattress slightly softer.

Pillowtop mattresses are often referred to as the most comfortable mattress. Whilst this may be true for most people, this does not necessarily mean it is the best mattress for you! Whether a mattress is a pillowtop or not, the main things you should look into are whether it has a sufficient amount of pocket coils, what the firmness level is and what types of foams are within the pillowtop?


Best Mattress For Back Pain

So what is the best mattress for back pain? Well, this answer is going to be different for everyone but what we will do now, is we will list a few mattresses for specific body types which we believe will work best.

Heavier Folks

Firstly, we would like to begin with the heavier folks. If this is you, then without a doubt you should look into a firmer pocket coil mattress and preferable without a pillowtop. One of the most popular mattresses for us and one that we have had most success with is the Chiro Firm mattress. This is a foam encased pocket coil mattress with layers of dense high density foam. It also has the zone pocket coil system we mentioned earlier for additional reinforcement in the mid section of the mattress. This is an extremely popular choice also because it suits back, side or stomach sleepers altogether. It is also a very durable mattress with 10 years of warranty.

Next, for the average sized person, we will recommend a couple of options. Firstly, a hybrid mattress made by Simmons, the Simmons Beautyrest Black Madison. This is a hybrid, foam encased pocket coil mattress with high density foam and a cool gel memory foam pillowtop. However, the pocket coils in this mattress are not your ordinary pocket coils. This mattress has its very own T3 pocket coil system where each individual coil is triple stranded rather than a single strand. This adds to the durability and support of the mattress. This mattress is firm mattress which works great for back and side sleepers. The other mattress we could recommend is the Dreamstar Natural Escape Firm mattress. This is a unique type of mattress since it is actually completely foam based. This is a high density foam and natural latex mattress with a medium firm comfort level. This is one of the most popular Natural Latex mattresses at Sleep Masters Canada and for good reason!

Finally, for the lighter folks, we recommend nothing more than a medium mattress. Hands down the most popular medium mattress for us is the Dreamstar Hilton mattress. This mattress has it all! Pocket coils, hybrid, memory foam and a pillowtop. This is a very popular choice not only for it’s quality and comfort but also for its price! You will not regret selecting the Hilton mattress.


There you have it! We strongly believe either of the mattresses mentioned above will at least alleviate if not eliminate your back pain problems. Please make sure to check them out and if you have any further questions, make sure to contact us!