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If you’re living with chronic pain, you may have read that an orthopedic mattress can help you manage it better.

While certain mattresses do suit certain types of chronic pain, the term “orthopedic mattress” is primarily a marketing one that lacks any true medical relevance. It was first introduced during the 1970s after a survey of orthopedic surgeons without any clear definition.

An “orthopedic” mattress may still offer positive medical outcomes. But, instead of focusing on this vague term, it’s important to look for mattresses that offer the right size, cushioning, and firmness for your needs.

We considered these details — and more — when creating our list of the best orthopedic mattresses on the market.

What about ergonomic mattresses?

“Ergonomic mattress” is a term that’s often used synonymously with orthopedic mattresses.

In layman’s terms, an ergonomic mattress is one that offers support for chronic pain. A mattress may be considered “ergonomic” or “orthopedic” if it has medium firmness, high quality materials, multiple layers, and a design for support.

Still, the right firmness ultimately depends on how you sleep with different variations. For example, 2016 research suggests that medium-firm mattresses may aid chronic low-back pain. But there haven’t been enough conclusive studies to determine that this level of firmness definitively improves this condition.

On the flip side, soft mattresses have been shown to do more harm than good for joint pain. While you might feel comfortable at first, your body sinks into the soft materials at night, causing your joints to twist.

Adjustable beds could, in theory, solve the issue of ideal mattress firmness. However, they tend to be more expensive, and they aren’t proven to treat any particular condition.

Again, the term “orthopedic mattress” is primarily a marketing term. That means the ideal consumer is pretty much anyone.

Anyone who feels they need extra support for their joints might want to get an orthopedic mattress. People who are over 65 years old, have arthritis, or are recovering from joint injuries are the typical market for this type of mattress.

Our selections are based on the following criteria:

  • Company policies. Warranty, extended home trials, return policies, and shipping are important criteria to consider, especially when purchasing a mattress online. We did our best to select companies with good policies, but it’s still important to research these criteria on any prospective company’s website before finalizing your mattress purchase.
  • Company reputation and transparency. The brands we selected have good reputations and produce high quality mattresses without making unsubstantiated medical claims. Furthermore, our selected companies commit to transparent business practices, such as clear sleep trial policies that are honored if you’re not satisfied with the mattress.
  • Customer reviews. We pored through customer reviews of each mattress, sometimes looking at several websites when applicable. Based on these reviews, we summarized common pros and cons raised by customers.
  • Quality materials. The mattresses here use materials from a range of quality sources, including those that are non-flammable and non-toxic.
  • Medium firmness. From a support perspective, medium-firm mattresses are ideal for joint and back pain.

Pricing guide

Although brands offer a variety of mattress sizes, we created a pricing guide based on queen-size mattresses for easy comparison:

  • $ = under $1,300
  • $$ = $1,300–$2,000
  • $$$ = over $2,000

In addition to the list price, you may have to pay for shipping, bases, sheets, and more.

Some companies offer discounts and financing plans, which could help offset the cost.

Best overall

Saatva Classic Mattress

  • Price: $$
  • Type: hybrid
  • Height: 11.5 or 14.5 inches

With numerous 5-star ratings, the Saatva Classic Mattress is praised for helping customers get a better night’s sleep. Many say the mattress has helped increase comfort while decreasing their back pain.

Like other hybrid mattresses, the Saatva Classic includes layers of foam and innerspring coils. What set this mattress apart are the two height options (11.5 or 14.5 inches), as well as three firmness levels (plush soft, luxury firm, and firm).

If you sleep on your side or have chronic pain, you may benefit from the luxury-firm level the most.

Saatva offers a 180-night home trial, free shipping, a 15-year warranty, and free white-glove delivery to help you set up your new mattress.

Pros

  • You can customize this mattress by height and firmness.
  • Saatva’s rating and reviews on their Better Business Bureau page indicate that if you do need some customer service, they will be available and willing to help out.

Cons

  • Some online reviews say that the coil system in this mattress didn’t support their back the way that they hoped.
  • It’s more like a pocketed coil system layered on top of a more traditional innerspring, so the bed won’t cradle or conform to you like memory foam.

Buy the Saatva Classic Mattress online.

Best hybrid

DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress

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

Highly rated by customers on their website, the DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress is known for its combination of foam layers and individually wrapped coils.

Together, the coils and foam are said to help offer support and help you stay cool while you sleep. In reviews, many customers who tried this mattress also state they experience less pain at night.

In total, the DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid has five mattress layers. The foam layers claim to be free of any toxic chemicals.

As a bonus, you don’t necessarily have to purchase a new base or bed frame with this mattress — the product is said to work with any base you might already have.

The most common complaint with this mattress is delayed shipping and delivery, most likely related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

DreamCloud offers a 365-day trial for their mattresses.

Pros

  • This mattress has a special layer of foam that’s meant to support you without giving that sinking-in feeling.
  • Even people with heavier body types may feel supported due to the hybrid coils and several layers of dense foam that make the bed thicker than most.

Cons

  • Since the mattress is so dense, some people may feel it’s difficult to maneuver on and get into and out of.
  • Side sleepers may feel like this bed doesn’t promote a neutral spine alignment, which is the key to relieving pressure and back pain while you sleep.

Buy the DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress online.

Best adjustable mattress

Saatva Solaire Adjustable Mattress Upper Flex

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: adjustable hybrid
  • Height: 13 inches

With a 4.9- out of 5-star average rating, the Saatva Solaire Adjustable Mattress offers up to 50 firmness settings via remote control.

This mattress may be great for couples who prefer different firmness settings. In fact, the Solaire allows two remote control settings, one for each side of the bed.

In addition to its adjustability, the Saatva Solaire contains six layers of support, which the company says help maximize comfort. Saatva says this includes eco-friendly memory foam, latex, and an organic cotton outer layer.

The company offers the same 180-night sleep trial and free white-glove delivery as their other products. Even though it’s expensive, at least there is a 25-year warranty.

Keep in mind that you will need to buy the adjustable base for the Saatva Solaire separately. This costs an additional $1,399 for a queen-size mattress if you buy it from Saatva.

Pros

  • With so many settings, you can play around and figure out what supports your back best while giving you deep restorative sleep.
  • Your partner can also modify their own settings so that you’re both happy with the firmness and angle of your mattress.

Cons

  • This bed is a splurge to begin with, and it only works as an adjustable if you spend additional money on an adjustable base.

Buy the Saatva Solaire Adjustable Mattress Upper Flex online.

Best memory foam

Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

  • Price: $
  • Type: Foam
  • Height: 11 inches

If you prefer the softness of an all-foam mattress (without any springs), you might want to consider the popular Nectar Memory Foam Mattress.

This mattress is said to have a medium-firm feel. It contains five layers, including a gel foam layer, and a Tencel cover designed to help you stay cool at night.

According to a Nectar survey, 90 percent of their customers say that their memory foam mattress helps with overall aches, as well as neck and body pain.

Still, memory foam isn’t suitable for everyone — especially if you sleep with a partner, or if you weigh over 230 pounds.

You can try the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress for 365 nights. The company also offers free shipping and returns.

Nectar offers a “forever warranty” on their mattresses, but be sure to read the full details of your purchase for more information.

Pros

  • You can try this mattress for a full year to decide if you’d like to keep it.
  • The “forever warranty” means that if the mattress does have any quality issues (as memory foam sometimes does), you can get a replacement.

Cons

  • Memory foam support may decline quickly over the years, which is a no-go if you need an orthopedic mattress.
  • If you weigh less than 130 pounds, you may find that this mattress doesn’t feel super soft or cushiony for you.

Buy the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress online.

Best for side sleepers

Casper Original Mattress

  • Price: $
  • Type: hybrid or foam
  • Height: 11 inches

Casper mattresses are known for offering support that also helps you stay cool at night. The Original Mattress is available in hybrid or all-foam models, and both feature perforated foam that is said to be more breathable than traditional memory foam.

The company touts their mattress as excellent for side sleepers because the layers offer pressure relief for your hips, shoulders, and low back.

Many customers report a decrease in back pain and joint stiffness. However, a few say the mattress is too firm for their liking.

Casper offers free shipping and returns, as well as a 100-night sleep trial. You may notice a chemical off-gassing smell for a few days after you unpack the mattress.

Pros

  • Firmness level supports healthy spinal alignment for almost every sleeping position.
  • Reviewers say this mattress is cooling and super breathable.

Cons

  • Stomach sleepers might feel like they need more support than the memory foam option offers.
  • Some reviewers find that this bed feels too soft for their liking, especially if they’re looking for spine support.

Buy the Casper Original Mattress online.

Best value orthopedic mattress

Helix Midnight

  • Price: $
  • Type: hybrid
  • Height: 12 inches

The Helix Midnight is a medium-firm mattress that may be more affordable than other hybrid mattresses on the market.

This mattress is designed to support side sleepers and offer pressure relief at the hips and shoulders. The company says it also helps you stay cool throughout the night.

Customers say the Helix Midnight works well for couples, and many others state that the mattress helps alleviate back pain. Some report the mattress feels a bit firmer than expected.

The company offers free shipping and a 100-night sleep trial for their mattresses.

Pros

  • It’s a great bang for your buck if you’re a side sleeper who needs firm support.
  • This bed offers a cushiony feel with the support of a pocketed spring coil system.

Cons

  • People with higher body weight and people who sleep on their stomach should probably opt for a thicker mattress with more support.
  • Reviewers don’t score this bed highly on motion transfer, which means that if you sleep next to a partner who moves around during the night, you might want to steer clear.

Buy the Helix Midnight online.

Best luxury

Purple Hybrid Premier

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: hybrid
  • Height: 11.5 to 12.5 inches

The Purple Hybrid Premier mattress is touted for supporting all your pressure points as you sleep. The brand’s cooling, flexible gel grid is said to be more comfortable in the long term compared to a foam mattress.

Additionally, this mattress allows you to select between 3 or 4 inches of its signature grid as part of the design. The company recommends the larger grid size if you are a side sleeper or if you have more weight.

While many reviewers say the mattress helps them sleep better, some mention that the Purple Hybrid Premier caused back discomfort as they tried to get used to the grid.

You can try the mattress with a 100-night sleep trial. The company also offers free shipping and returns.

Pros

  • Actively cools you down while you sleep with a unique, breathable gel grid.
  • This mattress will not be like anything you’ve slept on before, so if you feel like you’ve tried everything, it might be worth a shot.

Cons

  • Most people who try the Purple mattress say that sleeping on the grid takes some time to get used to, and some people never fully grow to like it.
  • Some reviewers who don’t like the grid say that it actually makes their back pain worse.

Buy the Purple Hybrid Premier online.

Best for spinal alignment

Avocado Green Mattress

  • Price: $$
  • Type: Hybrid
  • Height: 11 inches

The Avocado Green Mattress sets the industry standard for clean, eco-friendly materials. It is made of certified organic wool, latex, and cotton, which means that you won’t be sleeping on a bed that lets off toxic fumes and VCOs. That becomes even more important if you have allergies or sleep on your stomach with your nose pressed to the mattress.

This mattress hits the medium-firm sweet spot that keeps your spine aligned no matter what sleep position you tend to favor. People who want something softer (especially those who weigh less than 130 pounds) might want to consider the optional pillow topper to add a more plush feel.

The Avocado Green is a hybrid-style mattress reinforced with extra coils around the edges so that you can max out the surface area for sleep. If you like to spread out while you snooze and need support while you’re at it, this is a great pick.

Avocado’s customer service policies are also quite generous, offering a 1-year trial and a 25-year warranty.

Pros

  • Clean materials will please the sustainability-conscious.
  • Reviewers say that the latex in the mattress helped keep them cool at night.

Cons

  • It might be too firm if you weigh less than 130 pounds.
  • There are conflicting opinions on whether or not this mattress is good at motion isolation.

Buy the Avocado Green Mattress online.

Best for back pain

The WinkBed

  • Price: $$
  • Type: hybrid
  • Height: 13.5 inches

If you’re used to an innerspring mattress but need firm back support, the WinkBed in luxury firm might be your ticket. It’s a thick, plush mattress with pocketed coils surrounded by several layers of memory foam.

The WinkBed scores high marks with people who have back pain. It could be because of the reinforced memory foam in the middle of the mattress. The type of foam used in this layer is unique to WinkBed, and it claims to add additional lumbar support while you sleep.

Even though it isn’t the cheapest, you can rest easy (literally) on your investment because WinkBed also offers a limited lifetime warranty on the mattress. You can also take advantage of a 120-night sleep trial.

Pros

  • People over 350 pounds and people who sleep on their stomach find that this mattress offers enough support.
  • The cover of this mattress does provide a cooling, breathable sensation, so hot sleepers give it high marks.
  • Customers rave about the WinkBed customer service on trusted websites like TrustPilot.

Cons

  • If you sleep on your side, you might find this mattress to be too firm, especially if you weigh 130 pounds or less.
  • People on the lighter side may also find that the mattress doesn’t conform to their body or feel soft enough for a good night’s sleep.

Buy the WinkBed online.

Given the wide range of mattresses available on the market, it’s important to look for key features that indicate a supportive product.

For chronic pain and proper spinal alignment, it may be best to choose a medium-firm mattress.

It’s also important to consider other factors to help prevent or manage pain related to your mattress. You may need a firmer mattress, depending on your personal preference, body weight, and tendency to sleep on your side.

In general, there’s no one-size-fits-all supportive mattress. Research and personal preference are important considerations, as well as the realization that the first one you try may not be your forever mattress.

Take your time and, if you can, try mattresses out in person for at least 15 minutes to help narrow things down — even if you ultimately buy a mattress online.

You can order an orthopedic mattress the same way you would order any other mattress. However, people with joint pain and people who need back support might want to try out a mattress for several weeks before making a decision on keeping it.

The industry standard for a sleep trial is 100 days or more, and all of the mattresses on this list fit that criteria. Some mattress companies will actually require you to keep a bed for 30 to 60 days to make sure you really gave it a shot to see if your body adapted to it.

Orthopedic mattresses are just traditional mattresses marketed as “orthopedic.” A mattress does not need to pass vetting by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to call itself an orthopedic mattress.

If you have joint pain, doctors tend to recommend mattresses with the following features:

  • medium-firm or firm support for healthy spinal alignment
  • reinforced padding, foam, or coils in the middle third of the mattress for lumbar back support
  • options for customization, like extra foam layers, remote-control adjustment capability, or an optional pillow topper
  • breathability so that you can get deep, prolonged, healthy sleep

In some cases, making adjustments to your sleeping position may be enough to help increase comfort.

Most people sleep on their sides, which may also alleviate chronic health issues, such as low back pain and sleep apnea.

However, if you sleep on your side, it’s important to keep your spine aligned to prevent shoulder and neck pain. A firm pillow can help you if you’re a side sleeper. You may also consider using a body pillow or placing a pillow between your knees to help alleviate pain in your lower back and hip joints.

Creating an ideal sleeping environment may also help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep. Having a night-time routine could also help impact your sleep schedule. You can start with the following tips:

  • Go to bed at the same time each night, and wake up at the same time each morning.
  • Keep your room dark and free of lighting — this includes blue lights from electronic devices.
  • Keep your bedroom at a cool temperature.
  • Consider adding white noise, like a fan, if you need to drown out other sounds that keep you awake at night.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine 3 to 4 hours before going to sleep.

Which mattresses do orthopedic surgeons recommend?

Medical research evaluating different mattresses for back pain is limited.

A 2005 review cited an older survey of orthopedic surgeons. In the survey, 95 percent of surgeons felt that mattresses play a part in low back pain and 76 percent recommended a firmer mattress. Beyond that, individual recommendations may vary.

If you have an orthopedic surgeon, you may want to ask them which specific product they recommend for you and what types of mattresses you should be avoiding. It’s safe to say that they probably won’t recommend sleeping on a low quality mattress or using your mattress past its recommended lifespan.

Which mattresses do back doctors recommend?

Orthopedists recommend buying a bed that’s as firm as you’re able to comfortably sleep on. That’s because over time, your mattress will begin to sink and get softer with consistent use. You don’t want to end up with a bed that’s too soft to sleep on after just 1 or 2 years. Beyond that, most doctors recognize that the bed you choose is a highly variable and personal decision.

Are orthopedic mattresses worth it?

Orthopedic mattresses aren’t always more expensive than what you might think of as a traditional mattress. If they cost more, it might be because the materials are more eco-friendly or durable. But spending more on a mattress just because it’s marketed as “orthopedic” doesn’t mean it will be worth it.

It’s important to read reviews like this one and shop around. Both can help when it comes to making big consumer decisions, like which mattress to buy.

How do I choose an orthopedic mattress?

You can start shopping for an orthopedic mattress by taking a look at our top picks above — we think they are all pretty great. You can also factor in your individual factors, including:

  • your sleeping position
  • whether or not you sleep with a partner
  • whether you tend to heat up when you sleep

Many mattresses out there will claim to provide back support. But remember to take other things into consideration as well.

And if you’re able to get out to a showroom and test-drive a mattress or two, you might get a clear idea of how much support you actually need.

What is the best orthopedic mattress to buy?

We think any mattress on this list would be a great place to start your orthopedic mattress search. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all “best” mattress. Your budget, your body type, and your sleeping position are just a few of the things that can play into which mattress will be best for you.

It’s possible that a more supportive mattress may help ease symptoms of chronic pain to help you get a better night’s sleep.

The right mattress is one that is supportive and firm enough, while also being the right size.

Sometimes it’s necessary to try out a few brands before finding the right mattress for you. If you’re considering multiple mattresses, be sure you understand the trial periods, shipping, and return policies to avoid extra costs.


Kristeen Cherney is a freelance writer and PhD candidate who specializes in covering topics related to mental disabilities, women’s health, skin health, diabetes, thyroid disease, asthma, and allergies. She’s also currently working on her dissertation, which explores intersections of disability studies and literacy studies. When she’s not researching or writing, Cherney enjoys getting outdoors as much as possible. She also practices yoga and kick-boxing.