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December 15, 2023

Is a Firm Mattress Good for Back Pain?

Senior man with lower back pain siting on bed

What type of mattress is best for back pain? There is no standard answer that applies to everyone. The right mattress for you depends on your sleeping style, weight and comfort preference.

A good mattress needs to distribute your weight evenly across its surface and have the right balance of comfort and support. If you are a side sleeper like 85% of sleepers around the world, then a medium to plush mattress may work best for you, while back sleepers and stomach sleepers may need a mattress in a medium to firm comfort level.

What Causes Lower Back Pain?

Approximately four out of five people experience lower back pain at some point in their lives, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Risk factors like being over 30 years of age, obesity, overall deteriorating health, diseases like scoliosis and osteoarthritis, certain types of cancer, depression and anxiety all can be the root cause of your recurring back pain.

Lower back pain can be caused by several factors, including an unsupportive mattress. Your mattress may not be supporting you accurately due to overuse or the age of your mattress, cheap material construction, or because you are sleeping on the wrong mattress type for your sleeping position.

If a mattress does not contour to your curves and support the natural alignment of your spine, unnecessary pressure will be placed on your pressure points, causing nightly pain.

Other sources of back pain include muscle or ligament strain, bulging or ruptured discs, arthritis, osteoporosis, and ankylosing spondylitis (also known as axial spondyloarthritis). A supportive mattress may not cure your back pain but it can definitely stop exacerbating it.

Are Hard Beds Good For Your Back?

As we talked about earlier, your sleeping position preference, weight and lifestyle choices help determine whether a firm, medium or soft mattress is best for you.

A supportive mattress promotes proper spinal alignment and helps keep your spinal curves in a neutral position, while a firm mattress without the right balance of comfort and support may not contour to your spine, causing it to be forced out of alignment and adding stress and pain to your lower back and other pressure points.

As you sleep, your body needs to use that time to rest and recover from the day. If your mattress does not provide adequate support, it will negatively impact your sleep quality, leading to even more aches and pains. If you have not had a recent injury or strain to your back muscles and your back is bothering you nightly, there is a good chance that your mattress is the reason you are suffering.

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Firm or Soft Mattress For Lower Back Pain

There are two major components of your mattress: the comfort layer and the support layer. A softer mattress may have a little thicker comfort layer, while a firm mattress may have a thicker support layer. A medium comfort level will have an equal balance of comfort and support.

The right mattress for you may vary from your sleeping partner.

If you are a side sleeper who prefers a soft feel, a plush or soft level may be perfect for you. If you are a stomach or back sleeper, you will need a medium to firm comfort level to adequately support your spine.

Good posture is essential to achieving good quality sleep. Your muscles and ligaments in your back need to relax and recover while you sleep to ensure your proper spinal health. If a mattress is too firm or too soft for your preferred sleeping position, it will throw your spine out of alignment causing discomfort and disrupted sleep.

Your comfort level preference is different for everyone, so the right mattress for you will vary from the next customer. Just make sure you choose a comfort level that is right for your weight and preferred sleeping position.

Best Mattresses For Back Pain

Puffy Diamond You will spend roughly a third of your life lying in bed, so choosing the right mattress is essential for sleeping pain-free and allowing you to function efficiently throughout the day.

If you are looking for a traditional style mattress, check out our Stearns & Foster Estate line, Sealy Posturepedic Plus Satisfied collection, Purple Rejuvenate series or our new Therapedic Continental mattress.

If you prefer a hybrid-style mattress, check out our Purple Hybrid Restore collection, Sealy Posturepedic Plus Brenham mattress, or our new Puffy Diamond mattress.

If you prefer a memory foam-style mattress, check out our TEMPUR-Pedic ProAdapt collection or our new Therapedic Ginetta series.

No matter the style you choose, you will need to find the right balance of comfort and support that best fits your body’s wants and needs.

Seek Advice From A Sleep Specialist

Stop into any of our Mattress Express locations or speak to a sleep specialist at and we will help you uncover the best mattress for you.