Back pain sleep issues can stem from your posture or an injury but are also associated with various medical conditions. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons estimates that 75 to 85 percent of Americans will experience back pain in their lifetimes.
If you’re one of them, we’ve gathered our picks for the best pillows and best mattresses for back pain – verified by our integrity team – to support spinal alignment as you sleep.
Pillows for Back PainView All
While it may not be a cure, finding the right pillow for back pain may help support sleep posture, which research shows can affect cervical and lumbar pain.
You may want to look for a medium-firm pillow with a height that supports a neutral spine. Consider additional support underneath your knees (if you sleep on your back) or between your knees (if you sleep on your side).
Explore pillows for back pain to find one that might help you achieve proper alignment while you sleep.
Coop Home Goods Four Position Support Pillow
Starting at $28.99
You might help alleviate pressure in your back and hips with the Coop Home Goods Four Position Support Pillow. A single piece of breathable memory foam is cut into a half-moon shape, which molds to offer firm support whenever you need it. A removable insert also lets you adjust its height.
Coop Ventilated Orthopedic Lumbar Cushion Pillow
Starting at $29.99
Professionally designed to relieve pressure in the low back, the Coop Home Goods Ventilated Orthopedic Lumbar Cushion pairs firm memory foam with a bamboo charcoal infusion that promotes airflow and reduced odor. Try this oversized option at the office, in your car, or on the plane.
Purple Back Cushion
Starting at $39.00
The Purple Back Cushion is a lumbar pillow specifically molded from the brand’s proprietary Grid material to fit the contours of your lower back for posture support. The strong, flexible material delivers long-term durability and keeps you cool. The cushion is equipped with straps for easy portability and to keep it in place on your chair
Mattresses for Back PainView All
There’s no one solution to back pain, but research shows a mattress may help. A 2002 study found that the right bedding helped participants reduce back pain and stiffness.
The right firmness and design may depend on your height, age, weight, and sleeping position. Consider a medium-firm mattress with zoned lumbar support, as anything too firm can add pressure, while anything too soft may not support a neutral spine.
Explore mattresses that may help support posture and a comfortable sleeping position.
Amerisleep AS2 Mattress
Starting at $1249.00
The Amerisleep AS2 is a 12-inch mattress with a medium-firm feel specifically designed for dynamic support and spinal alignment. It’s a great choice for back and stomach sleepers, made with a breathable eco-friendly foam alternative that aims to be cooling and offer targeted support where you need it.
Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress
Starting at $1195.00
The Casper Nova Hybrid mattress is designed for soft, supportive sleep. It’s the plushest mattress in the Casper line-up, but it still delivers support right where you need it most. And with the option of upgrading to Snow Technology, Casper’s additional cooling features, you can sleep cooler, too.
Casper Original Mattress
Starting at $695.00
The Casper Original mattress is the brand’s most popular mattress, engineered for balanced support and cooling. It’s available in a choice of CertiPUR-US certified foam or a hybrid made with foam and springs, which adds support, extra lift and bounce, improved airflow, and extra durability.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you experience chronic back pain, there are things that you can do that may help you sleep better. This might look like changing up your sleeping position from your stomach to your side, which may provide better neutral spinal alignment, having enough pillows to support your head and neck, or some gentle deep breathing and stretching before bed.
Sleeping on your side or on your back with a pillow between your knees is recommended to potentially alleviate back pain and provide better spine alignment. However, if sleeping on your stomach is your preferred position, placing a pillow under your pelvis or lower abdomen may provide spinal support and relieve pressure.
Choosing the right mattress often comes down to personal comfort and preference. But if you experience back pain, we recommend a medium-firm mattress that promotes neutral spine alignment no matter your sleep position. You’ll also want to find a mattress that has enough give to keep your shoulders, hips, and lower back comfortable.
Zoned support mattresses that cradle your lower back may also be a good option for you. Furthermore, adjustable beds could help you customize the mattress position or firmness until you find the right fit.
Yes, any mattress that doesn’t support the natural curvature of your spine can cause back pain, even if you’ve never had chronic back pain issues before. Also, a mattress that’s not comfortable might cause you to sleep differently or toss and turn, potentially putting strain on your back.
When looking for a pillow to address your back pain, keep in mind your sleeping position:
For back sleepers, look for a thinner pillow and those that have extra padding in the bottom to potentially support the neck. Memory foam pillows are designed to mold specifically to your own neck and may help promote proper neck and spine alignment.
For stomach sleepers, look for a thin pillow that helps prevent strain on your neck or back. But sleeping on your stomach could contribute to back pain. As a solution, you could try sleeping on your side while holding a body pillow. This may give you the feeling of something against your stomach while helping to align the rest of your body.
For side sleepers, look for a firm pillow that has an extra-wide gusset to help support the space between your ear and shoulder. You can also try to relieve back pain by placing a firm pillow or rolled towel between your knees.
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Medically reviewed by Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD - Written by Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD on July 29, 2019
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