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A new mattress isn’t a cure-all for back pain. But if your current mattress is sagging and exacerbating your aches and pains, an upgrade may provide some relief.

In this article, we look at the best mattress options for people with back pain who primarily sleep on their side. These include mattresses with a medium-firm feel that may help provide pressure relief and help properly align the spine.

When making our mattress selections, here are the main things we take into consideration:

  • Company policies. We look for companies with extended in-home trial periods — because who wants to bet on a mattress being comfortable without trying it first? — and dependable shipping and return policies.
  • Company reputation and transparency. Brands included below have a positive reputation and no shady business practices. This also means they haven’t been involved in recent lawsuits regarding their products or customer service.
  • Customer reviews. Obviously, this is a biggie. Each mattress has rave reviews from customers. We also focused on mattresses with positive reviews, specifically from side sleepers with back pain.
  • Safety. All mattresses meet federal flammability requirements.

Pricing guide

Mattress pricing varies a lot, so we’ve included this pricing key for you to quickly scan and identify general pricing for each product listed below.

Prices are based on a queen-size mattress:

  • $ = under $1,200
  • $$ = $1,200–$2,500
  • $$$ = over $2,500

Remember that you might have to spend more if you need to replace your bedding or purchase a new bed frame.

Best adjustable mattress for side sleepers with back pain

Saatva Solaire Mattress

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: Air bed
  • Height: 13 inches

Adjusting a mattress exactly the way you like it will no doubt help you sleep better. With the Saatva Solaire, you can choose between 50 firmness options and pick the one that provides the ideal support for your back.

An added bonus is the dual air chambers. You can control each side of the bed independently, making it a great mattress pick for couples with different needs and sleep preferences.

Buy the Saatva Solaire Mattress online.

Best cooling mattress for side sleepers with back pain

Saatva Loom & Leaf

  • Price: $$
  • Type: Memory foam
  • Height: 12 inches

You can choose between two firmness levels with this mattress, though side sleepers will probably prefer the relaxed firm option.

Materials in the mattress are organic, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified, and CertiPUR-US certified. The gel-infused top layer is designed to help hot sleepers better regulate their body temperature overnight.

Reviews for this mattress are overwhelmingly positive. One reviewer says they can sleep on their side now without pain. Another notes that they immediately noticed a difference in pain after sleeping on the Loom & Leaf.

Buy the Saatva Loom & Leaf Mattress online.

Best hybrid mattress for side sleepers with back pain

Casper Wave Hybrid Mattress

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: Foam
  • Height: 13 inches

Reviewers with back pain report experiencing reduced episodes of pain when sleeping on the Casper Wave Hybrid.

One side sleeper with back pain credits the mattress for completely eliminating the aches and pains they felt with their old mattress. Another reviewer who describes themselves as a mature athlete says that the mattress helps relieve pressure points on sore joints.

However, a few people complain that the mattress is a bit too hard for their liking.

Buy the Casper Wave Hybrid Mattress online.

Best memory foam mattress for side sleepers with back pain

Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

  • Price: $
  • Type: Memory foam
  • Height: 11 inches

This foam mattress has a medium-firm feel that reviewers love. It’s also CertiPUR-US certified, which means it’s made with materials that are safe for the environment.

People with shoulder discomfort and back pain say the mattress helped eliminate morning body aches and pains. Reviewers also mention that the mattress provides excellent pressure relief that helps reduce joint pain.

Reviewers say the memory foam is supportive yet soft. Its outer layer is also made with moisture-wicking material that’s designed to help regulate body temperature.

Buy the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress online.

Best budget mattress for side sleepers with back pain

DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid

  • Price: $
  • Type: Hybrid
  • Height: 14 inches

This hybrid mattress features a blend of memory foam and individually wrapped coils.

Reviewers dock it points for poor edge support, but people with back pain say it helped eliminate morning aches and stiffness.

A few side sleepers remark that it’s still a tad too firm for their liking, but combination sleepers who also tend to end up on their side give it top marks for comfort.

Buy the DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress online.

Best mattress for side sleepers with higher body weight and back pain

The Big Fig Mattress

  • Price: $$
  • Type: Hybrid
  • Height: 13 inches

This hybrid mattress is designed to be supportive especially for people with higher body weight. According to the company, it’s capable of supporting up to 1,100 pounds for two people, or 550 pounds for one. Dense foam and individually wrapped coils are intended to help combat premature sagging.

Because it’s designed for people who weigh more than 250 pounds, it will feel harder for lower body weights. But despite some customer comments that the mattress is too hard, reviewers say adding a topper helps immensely.

Combination sleepers with back pain say switching positions is way more comfortable with this mattress. Others also share that body and back pain were drastically reduced when sleeping on The Big Fig.

Buy The Big Fig Mattress online.

Back pain is a common complaint among U.S. adults. And trying to sleep with back pain is no joke. It can keep you up and night and reduce the overall quality of your shut-eye.

While you should avoid companies that make wild claims about their products — including promises to end your back pain altogether — there are some things to look out for if you’re wanting to alleviate pain while you sleep.

Consider firmness level

You may assume that a harder mattress is more supportive and therefore a better choice for back pain. But that’s not necessarily true.

Studies show that sleep quality and back discomfort are affected by factors like height, weight, age, and movement during the night.

Your preferences also comes into play. Some people may like the feel of a softer mattress, while others may prefer something firmer.

If you’re not sure where you fit, opt for something that’s rated medium firm. It’s a good middle ground. And according to a 2015 research review, medium-firm, self-adjusted mattresses are ideal for helping with spinal alignment.

A medium-firm mattress is also a solid choice if you’re primarily a side sleeper. A too-firm mattress can create unwanted pressure points when sleeping on your side. Some softness allows your body to sink into the mattress a bit, helping correctly align your spine.

Keep type in mind

While some evidence points to foam as the superior material for back pain relief, some people just can’t stand memory foam’s feel.

Thankfully, many mattresses nowadays combine the pressure-relieving properties of foam with the supportive feel of coils. Opt for a hybrid mattress if you’re looking for extra support.

Try before you buy

How can you tell whether a mattress will feel comfortable for your unique body? The only way to know for sure is to try it out.

Always pick a company that offers a trial period. The company should offer easy, no-hassle returns, so you can exchange or return it without a fuss if you dislike it.

If your back is aching because of your mattress, it won’t just ruin your morning. It can interrupt your sleep and seriously take a toll on your overall health.

Replacing your old, sagging mattress can help relieve back discomfort. If you sleep on your side, look for a quality mattress that offers medium-firm support and comes with a generous in-home trial period.


Steph Coelho is a freelance writer with chronic migraine who has a particular interest in health and wellness. When she’s not click-clacking away on her keyboard, she’s probably nose-deep in a good book.