Best Mattress Topper for Back Pain

Whether your mattress is getting older or it’s just not cutting it for you anymore, your bed might be causing back pain. Rather than replace your mattress, you can refresh it with a mattress topper.

I tested six products to look into the best mattress topper for back pain and found the Saatva Mattress Topper to be the best. 

While personal preferences and sleeping positions matter, this list features options for all sleepers. I’ll share a few tips for choosing a topper that’s just right. 

6 Best Mattress Toppers for Back Pain

Much like Cinderella, sometimes the best topper only fits the one. So instead of trying all the toppers in the kingdom one by one, I’ve reviewed the top choices with the most notable benefits. Here are my picks for the best mattress topper for back pain.

Best Overall: Saatva Mattress Topper

The Saatva mattress topper is available in graphite, latex, and high-density foam. Each version includes a breathable, moisture-wicking cotton cover. The toppers are spot clean

for easier maintenance. 

The 3-inch graphite memory foam draws heat away from the body, cooling whoever sleeps on it. The topper also limits motion transfer, which is best for sleepers who toss and turn.

The 1.5-inch latex version is hypoallergenic and breathable, reducing your chance of drenching in sweat. In addition, it’s highly durable and responsive. 

The 1.5-inch high-density foam provides medium-firmness and even weight distribution. It’s best for adding to a firm mattress that needs a little softening.

Another perk of the Saatva mattress topper is the extended sleep trial. You’ll have plenty of time to put your back pain to the test with 180-nights. If you don’t like it during your trial period, you can send it back for a full refund. As a bonus, shipping is free.

Pros

  • 180-night sleep trial
  • Three varieties
  • Material promotes airflow
  • Suitable for all sleeping positions

Cons

  • 1-year limited warranty

Best Size Variety: SleepInnovations Dual Layer Mattress Topper

SleepInnovations combines gel and memory foam for a 4-inch mattress topper, prioritizing coolness and comfort. The toppers come in five sizes, from Twin to California King. 

The two layers are a 2-inches of quilted pillow top cover and 2-inches of cooling gel memory foam. The top layer creates cloud-like softness while the memory gel gently relieves pressure points. The medium plush is ideal for side, back, or stomach sleepers that want to rest deeply but not struggle to get out of bed.

Pros

  • 10-year warranty
  • The removable cover is machine washable and dryable
  • Cooling gel
  • Thick layering

Cons

  • One firmness option (Medium)

Best for Severe Pain: PlushBeds Latex Mattress Topper

With PlushBeds, the firmness variety is vast, from soft to extra firm. In addition, the manufacturer optimized the design to support pressure points (shoulders, hips, back, and knees).

PlushBeds’ open-cell airflow distributes heat for cooler nights. It also absorbs movement, handy for shared beds or sleepers who flip positions.

There are six sizes with two thickness options. The 2-inch is best if you still want to benefit from the mattress feel underneath. The 3-inch is best if you want more significant support and plushier cushioning.

Pros

  • Two density options
  • 100% latex from sustainable sources
  • Open-cell airflow for cooling
  • Multiple firmness options
  • 5-year warranty

Cons

  • One firmness option
  • Not returnable

Best for Long-Lasting Support: ViscoSoft Select High-Density Mattress Topper

The ViscoSoft Select mattress topper uses gel-infused memory foam. The 3.5 lb high-density foam weighs 40 pounds, improving body support and lasting longer than other toppers. Additionally, it’s available in six sizes.

ViscoSoft’s topper promotes spinal alignment, eliminates motion transfer, and supports pressure points (especially neck, back, and hips). On top of that, the temperature smart ventilated core combined with a mesh cover keeps it cool.

A unique feature is the infusions. Charcoal refreshes your sleeping environment by removing odors and reducing humidity. Lavender is a favorite of aromatherapy for its calming properties. For some, it even relieves headaches and results in a deeper sleep.

Pros

  • 90-day sleep trial
  • 5-year warranty
  • High-density support
  • Temperature cooling features
  • Infusion options

Cons

  • Heavy
  • One firmness option (Medium)

Best Budget Option: GhostBed Memory Foam Mattress Topper

The GhostBed is a value option with features comparable to its pricier competitors. The topper uses 3-inch memory foam, offering deep contouring with a twist. The unique 5-zone firmness optimizes support for the head, shoulders, torso, legs, and feet.

A few features combine to keep sleepers cool. The gel foam regulates temperature, proprietary cool-to-the-touch Ghost Ice fabric, and integrated channels improve airflow.

Additionally, the GhostBed waterproof cover protects the topper from accidents or spills.

Pros

  • 5-zone firmness
  • Two-stage cooling
  • 5-year warranty
  • Waterproof cover

Cons

  • Not returnable
  • One density option

Best Organic Option: Birch Plush Organic Mattress Topper

The Birch Organic Mattress Topper uses organic materials, including GOTS Certified cotton, wool, and eco-INSTITUT Certified natural latex. 

For sleepers preferring all-natural, the cotton cover improves airflow and wicks moisture while the wool regulates temperature. The topper is also naturally fire retardant.

The latex provides deep contouring that supports pressure points. Altogether, the topper is 3-inches of luxurious plushness and deep contouring. It’s available in six sizes.

Pros

  • 100% organic materials
  • 100-night sleep trial
  • 10-year warranty

Cons

  • One firmness option (Medium)

Buying Guide for Mattress Toppers

Whether you’re a Princess trying every mattress topper in the kingdom or you like to do your research from home, there’s a lot to consider. The best mattress topper for back pain can be a dream come true. However, before you buy, here are a few features you should know.

Material

The most common mattress toppers materials are:

  • Pillow top
  • Cotton-filled
  • Wool
  • Memory foam
  • Latex

There are variations among these, as well as a few alternatives. For the best mattress topper for back pain, memory foam and latex are the top contenders. Wool, cotton, and pillow tops offer better cushioning but rarely contribute adequate support.

Memory Foam 

Memory foam conforms to your body shape and position. Some sleepers like the feeling of a secure hold, while others find it smothering. 

Most are familiar with the image of a hand pressing on memory foam and pulling away with the shape remaining. In general, thicker memory foam results in longer-lasting shape retention. Thinner memory foam still offers that cradled feeling but is less restrictive. 

In other words, if you’ve only tried one thickness of memory foam, try another thickness before you rule it out.

Latex 

If you’ve given memory foam a fair chance, latex is often the better choice for sleepers who move frequently. It contours but releases immediately, allowing support with smoother mobility.

Latex is available in natural, synthetic, or combination. Unfortunately, it has more bounce, which can be annoying for shared beds. Notably, some toppers add features to limit the elasticity.

Both are available in a variety of firmness. Although, memory foam tends to have more options. Sinkage can be a problem for both, but it’s more often a feature of memory foam. Of course, with either, you can find mattress toppers that have problem-solved for sinkage.

Firmness

Firmness can be tricky for back pain. Much of the perfect balance comes down to personal preference, but some general rules can help get you started.

The more pillowy the topper, the more you sink in, like resting on a marshmallow. Some sleepers love melting into their mattress, but it can agitate back pain. However, if it’s too firm, you might feel like you’re trying to relax on a woodblock.

It can be best to start firmer. Sometimes this can feel like a terrible decision, as you want something soft on your aching back. Unfortunately, being too soft is often linked with being too sore. Also, while sleeping, when you’re most vulnerable, your body sinks into the soft mattress, risking twisting or contorting.

The best range for back soreness is medium-firm to very firm. Be careful of testing mattresses or toppers in a store for 5-10 minutes. In the store, softer might seem more comfortable, but that might change after a few nights.

While starting firmer might be better, you should also trust your gut. Or, in this case, your back. For example, if you know your mattress is getting older, sagging might be leading to your bed being too soft. In that case, you’d want a mattress topper to support your back.

On the other hand, maybe your brand-new mattress is too firm. You might use a mattress topper to add some softness but still allow back support.

If possible, test out mattress toppers. You might take advantage of sleep trials or borrow from family and friends. 

Heat Retention

More layers typically mean more heat retention. As a result, Mattress toppers can be guilty of warming up the bed. For some, that added heat can be a boon to backaches, but it can be a nuisance during hotter seasons.

Memory foam is generally the worst of the lot, while cotton breathes easier, remaining cooler longer. Latex is also preferable for sleepers who want cooler conditions.

However, mattress pads usually pair memory foam with gel for a cooling effect. As it distributes heat evenly, you don’t get overwhelmed by body heat hot spots. There’s also heat-dissipating open-cell structure foam. 

If you like a specific manufacturer or company, see if they have an alternative version better suited for your heat preferences, skin conditions, allergies, or other needs. Technologies and material combinations are evolving, making sleep more comfortable with creative solutions.

Density

Like firmness, individuals respond to density differently. While greater density can lead to more cushioning, how much density is required depends on weight. 

For example, the cushioning available for the weight of a lone sleeper isn’t the same available for a couple. It can also depend on the body weight of the individual sleepers.

Manufacturers measure a mattress topper’s density with PCF (pounds per cubic foot). Here are general guidelines for density recommendations:

  • 130 lbs or less: 2.5 PCF or less
  • 130-230 lbs: 2.5 PCF to 4 PCF
  • 230 lbs or more: Higher than 4 PCF

Typically, 4 PCF or high-density foam is too soft for sleepers under 130 lbs. On the opposite end, less than 2.5 PCF or low-density is too firm for sleepers over 230 lbs. However, if you’re unsure where you’re most comfortable, try medium-density first.

Sleep Trial

Today, many companies offer a sleep trial. The amount of time you can try the product and the conditions for returning vary, but it’s helpful to test out a mattress topper. 

Even if the topper description sounds like a dream, it might not match up when it’s time to catch zzz’s. What might be the perfect snooze for one sleeper might be another’s nightmare. When possible, take advantage of sleep trials.

However, before you lie down, read over the details. Most trial periods make it worthwhile by allowing a month minimum. After all, not every night’s sleep is the same. Your topper might relieve pain for a few nights, only for your aches to return in a week.

Check for return conditions, such as free shipping and full refunds. Also, if you’re a bedtime tea drinker or snacker, avoid the risks of spills lest you wreck your refund chances.

Warranty

Warranties vary on what they cover and how long they last, but a warranty is a must. Of course, the warranty that will help you sleep easier will depend on you, but there are a few assurances you won’t want to miss.

The periods covered by warranties vary, ranging from 1-year to 10-years. Although 5-years is typical, you should read over the details for coverage specifics. Some will offer free shipping or repair, while others require a fee for replacement.

Mainly, you want a warranty to cover manufacturers’ defects, as few warranties will cover natural wear, such as sagging in your usual sleep spot.

Final Thoughts

Everyone deserves a pain-free sleep and finding the right mattress topper can help. Although it might take a few sleep trials to find the perfect fit, you shouldn’t need to test every topper out there. 

Start with understanding your sleep needs, like firmness and heat retention. Take advantage of sleep trials or stays at hotels or friends. Then, look at the best-reviewed, like the mattress toppers featured here. Remember that personal preference is a significant factor when finding the best mattress topper for back pain. 

I hope this guide narrowed your buying list, and soon you’ll have a good night’s sleep. Start today by taking advantage of the Saatva Mattress Topper’s 180-day trial.  

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