Household brands like Tempur-Pedic, Saatva, and Casper are standouts among our favorite mattress toppers that alleviate back pain. See which others provide an extra layer of comfort and how you can choose the right one.
If chronic back pain is making it tough for you to rest comfortably — and a new mattress just isn’t in your budget, one affordable way to upgrade your sleep setup is by using a mattress topper. This removable layer usually consists of a few inches of memory foam or latex.
But not just any mattress topper will do. The key to improving your rest lies in finding a topper with the right balance of support and comfort to alleviate pain.
Read on for our recommendations for the best 10 mattress toppers for back pain.
Prices are based on a queen mattress topper and are list prices, not sale prices. Keep in mind that prices vary for other sizes. And of course, you might save a little if you shop during a sale.
To choose the best mattress toppers for back pain, we considered:
Materials: We prioritized specific materials, like latex and memory foam, recognized for their pressure-relieving properties and support.
Brand reputation: We searched for brands that demonstrate a commitment to quality, safety, transparent business practices, and customer service. We also confirmed there were no current or recent lawsuits that might indicate potential quality or safety issues.
Customer reviews: We combed through customer reviews to find out what real people think of their mattress toppers and the brands that produced them.
Key certifications: Finally, we checked for certifications and standards that indicate a superior level of safety.
The mattress toppers on our list have been vetted to ensure that they align with Healthline’s brand integrity standards and approach to well-being. You can read more about our vetting process.
Chronic pain due to an injury or conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia can cause pain at night, but a mattress that doesn’t offer the right support can also lead to back pain.
Your pain could relate to the firmness of the mattress, as well as your preferred sleeping position. For example, sleeping on your back on a too-soft mattress can lead to poor spinal alignment, which can cause pain.
Like mattresses, mattress toppers come in a variety of materials. Some materials, like latex and memory foam, are notable for their ability to alleviate pressure and offer superior support without sacrificing comfort. These materials also help you maintain proper spinal alignment as you sleep, which can mean fewer aches and pains when you wake up.
“Mattress toppers are not a magic fix for back pain,” says Rebecca Schumer, a physical therapist with MedStar Health.
But it may be helpful for some.
“If a mattress topper helps you maintain this ideal alignment, then I fully support it,” says Schumer.
A 2021 review also suggests that medium-firm mattresses may help improve sleep quality and reduce your risk of lower back pain.
It might go without saying, but improving your comfort level in bed can also improve the quality of your sleep.
If you have an older mattress or one that’s too soft or too firm, a good mattress topper can provide temporary support and comfort that might reduce the strain you notice in the lumbar region or lower back. Maintaining spinal alignment during sleep is key.
Dr. Chester Wu, who is double board certified in sleep medicine and psychiatry, points to a 2018 study that suggests a mattress topper may also help lower your core body temperature during the initial phase of sleep and facilitate restorative sleep.
When searching for the best mattress topper for your back pain and other sleep needs, you’ll want to consider:
Materials: Latex or performance memory foam may offer more contouring, which can help relieve pressure on your hips and shoulders and better align your spine.
Firmness: Medium-firm toppers may work best for alleviating back pain. A small 2018 study also found that mattress toppers with high rebound can help improve sleep quality.
Price: Since the goal is to alleviate back pain, you may need to spend more money on toppers made with more durable, supportive materials.
Temperature: A hot bed can disrupt your sleep, so choosing a cooling mattress topper could also help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Warranty: Since mattress toppers are an investment, it’s a good idea to see how long of a warranty they come with. Some only cover you for a year, while others may cover you for up to 10 years.
Trial period: Ultimately, the best way to see if a mattress helps with your back pain is to try it out, which is why we recommend getting a mattress topper that allows you to try it at home and return it — no questions asked — if you don’t like it or it doesn’t help with your pain.
Is a mattress topper good for lower back pain? Can a mattress topper really alleviate back pain?
Yes. A good mattress topper can add a layer of comfort and support to an older or unsupportive mattress to help alleviate back pain. However, it should help maintain spinal alignment to be effective.
What should I look for in a mattress topper for back pain?
Search for materials with pressure-relieving properties, like latex and memory foam. You may also want to opt for a topper with a medium-firm feel — a topper with this firmness should provide the support necessary for proper spinal alignment.
Is latex or memory foam topper better for back pain? Which material is better?
Latex and memory foam are both good options since they contour to your shape, minimize pressure, and help keep your spine aligned. However, the best material for you might depend on how you sleep.
Foam mattresses are great for back and side sleepers because of how the foam contours your body, but may not be great for stomach sleepers. Latex mattresses, meanwhile, tend to reduce pressure points on your body, distributing your weight a bit better than foam mattresses, according to a 2017 study.
What thickness of mattress topper is best for back pain?
Most mattress toppers range from 2–4 inches in thickness. Which thickness is better will depend on your pain. Thicker ones will likely provide better cushioning, while firmer ones might provide more support for your spine.
If you’re dealing with back pain and have pinpointed your mattress as a likely culprit, a good mattress topper can offer a workaround.
Mattress toppers made of materials like latex and memory foam may offer a good balance of comfort and support that helps your body stay comfortably aligned for a better night’s sleep.
Jessica Timmons has been working as a freelance writer since 2007, covering everything from pregnancy and parenting to cannabis, chiropractic, stand-up paddling, fitness, martial arts, home decor, and much more. Her work has appeared in mindbodygreen, Pregnancy & Newborn, Modern Parents Messy Kids, and Coffee + Crumbs. See what she’s up to now at jessicatimmons.com.
Last medically reviewed on May 16, 2023
How we reviewed this article:
Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.