best mattress topper for back pain - image of saatva latex mattress topper

Back pain is something almost everyone experiences from time to time, but some people struggle with it chronically. While there are mattresses that are better for back pain than others, buying a new mattress is not always a viable option. Fortunately, there are mattress toppers. A mattress topper is a great solution for those who want to relieve their back pain without spending $1,000 or more on a new mattress.

The benefits of mattress toppers for back pain

Mattress toppers are 1-4 inch thick pads that are placed on top of the mattress. The main purpose of a mattress topper is to offer additional comfort to the sleeper (unlike, say, a mattress pad which is also placed on top of a mattress but is typically quilted and is much thinner, its purpose being mainly to protect the mattress from wear and tear).

There are many good reasons to get a mattress topper. It can extend the life of your mattress or add a layer of comfort if your mattress is too firm. It can even help regulate temperature for people who tend to get too hot or too cold at night.

But for people suffering from back pain, mattress toppers have so many more benefits. A good mattress topper will help relieve pressure points and generally provide a more comfortable sleeping surface.

Related: Is your mattress causing your back pain?

Saatva's Best Mattress Toppers for Back Pain

Graphite Memory Foam Topper

Graphite Memory Foam Topper

The latest in high-tech cooling. The contouring support of memory foam, plus the advanced heat-dissipating properties of graphite.


The best mattress topper for back pain

“In looking for a mattress topper you have to consider the thickness, firmness, and material of choice," says Thomas Tozer, chiropractor with Imperium Chiropractic in Wisconsin.

While mattress toppers can be made from a variety of materials—latex, memory foam, down, wool—the best mattress topper for back pain is one made from latex or memory foam.

That's because both these materials have the ability to conform to your body shape, helping to promote correct spinal alignment and relieve pressure points.

The choice between memory foam and latex will largely depend on your personal preference. For example, latex is known to provide a bit more bounce than memory foam, which may appeal to some people. Memory foam tends to trap heat which can make you feel hot—but this can be avoided if you get a memory foam topper infused with a cooling gel or graphite.

“Thickness and firmness do matter, especially with individuals suffering from underlying health conditions such as arthritis, bursitis, or scoliosis," says Tozer. (Learn about the average lifespan of mattress toppers.)

A soft mattress topper will make you feel cozy but it won't help with your back pain issues, as it will promote an improper alignment of your spine, possibly making your back issues worse.

Tozer recommends choosing a thicker topper on the firmer side as it will provide better support, which is necessary for people with back pain. A medium firm mattress topper is the best option for most people with back pain as it combines comfort with pressure-relieving abilities, he says.

For more advice on dealing with back pain while you sleep, we've rounded up our best expert tips:

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