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The Best Mattress Toppers For Back Pain, Medically Reviewed

Hailey Hudson
Author: Medical reviewer:
February 15, 2024
Hailey Hudson
Contributor
By Hailey Hudson
Contributor
Hailey Hudson is a freelance writer and content marketer whose work has appeared in outlets like Healthline and Runner's World.
Scott Nass, M.D., MPA, FAAFP, AAHIVS
Medical review by
Scott Nass, M.D., MPA, FAAFP, AAHIVS
Board-certified Family Physician
Scott Nass, M.D., MPA, FAAFP, AAHIVS is a family physician and HIV specialist in California. He takes a holistic approach to healthcare, incorporating principles of functional medicine and using food as medicine when working with patients.
person on avocado mattress on background with closeup of mattress
Image by mbg creative
February 15, 2024
We carefully vet all products and services featured on mindbodygreen using our commerce guidelines. Our selections are never influenced by the commissions earned from our links.

For those with back pain, quality sleep is easier dreamt than done—and, while there are many things you can do to improve your nightly wind down, the best mattress toppers for back pain are an easy and affordable way to upgrade your sleep.

People who have chronic lower back pain experience higher rates of sleep disturbances than people who don't. And if your mattress is too soft, it likely isn't helping the problem.

Designed to lie on top of your existing mattress, a mattress topper provides greater comfort, pressure relief, and support—all without having to fork over the funds for a whole new mattress.

To learn more about how a mattress topper can help with back pain, we spoke with experts and scoured the selection, even testing some for ourselves.

Below, find our picks for the best mattress toppers for back pain, along with expert advice on how to choose which one is right for you.

TEMPUR-Adapt® Topper

Best cooling
Materials
TEMPUR® Material
Firmness
Firm
Sizes Available
Twin, Twin XL, FullQueen, King, California King
Trial
90 days
See all specs

The TEMPUR-Adapt® Topper is renowned for its ability to provide exceptional support and pressure relief, making it an ideal choice for those suffering from back pain.

Crafted with TEMPUR® material, this topper conforms to the body's shape, evenly distributing weight and alleviating pressure points that can exacerbate back discomfort.

Its adaptive qualities ensure proper spinal alignment, promoting a neutral posture during sleep, which is crucial for reducing strain on the back muscles and relieving tension.

Pros

  • 3 inches thick
  • Pressure-relieving
  • Optional cooling upgrade

Cons

  • Not great for stomach sleepers

More details

Tempur-pedic is well-known for its proprietary TEMPUR® material, which is made from millions of moveable cells and engineered to respond to each individual sleeper’s unique shape, weight, and body temperature.

While these materials are not the most sustainable, sleepers who want personalized comfort will enjoy this topper.

On the higher end of the firmness scale, this mattress topper delivers optimum spinal alignment and pressure relief.

Corner straps help the topper stay tight across your mattress, and the cover (which is dust mite- and allergen-resistant) can be removed and machine-washed in cold water.

For an additional $80, you can add the brand’s cooling technology to the cover, which hot sleepers tend to love.

How it arrives

This topper is shipped to your door in a box. While there may be a slight off-gassing odor, reviews say it won’t last more than one to two weeks.

What reviews say

The mattress topper has a 5-star overall rating on the brand’s website, with one person writing, “My husband and I both suffer from severe back pain. This topper on our mattress has made such a difference in our quality of sleep.”

Brooklyn Bedding Gel Swirl Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Best budget
Materials
Natural latex
Firmness
Firm, Plush
Sizes Available
Twin, Twin XL, FullQueen, King, California King
Trial
365 nights
See all specs

We chose the Brooklyn Bedding Gel Swirl Memory Foam Mattress Topper due to its innovative design tailored to provide optimal support and comfort for those suffering from back issues.

Its combination of gel-infused memory foam helps to evenly distribute body weight, alleviating pressure points and promoting spinal alignment during sleep. 

Pros

  • Cooling
  • Good for side and back sleepers

Cons

  • Some customers find it too firm

More details

If you’re not prepared to spend hundreds of dollars, try the Brooklyn Bedding Gel Swirl Memory Foam Mattress Topper, which rings up at under $100 for a twin size topper—a price point that’s considerably less expensive than most other options on the market.

It does not have a cover, but there are multiple heights to choose from (2- or 3-inch).

This is not the most sustainable option, as it’s made from memory foam—but for those who prefer the foam feel, it is a good choice at an affordable price.

Memory foam contours well to your body, offering pressure relief that can help with back pain. The foam is infused with a cooling gel, which hot sleepers will enjoy.

How it arrives

The topper arrives in a box, and any off-gassing odor should dissipate within 24 hours.

What reviews say

With a 4.3 star rating overall, this mattress has many positive reviews. Most comment on how comfortable it is, the good night’s sleep they get with it, and of course, how affordable the topper is.

Avocado Organic Latex Mattress

Best latex
Materials
GOLS organic-certified latex, GOTS organic-certified cotton
Certifications
GREENGUARD Gold, eco-INSTITUT®, GOTS Organic, Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX, GOLS Organic, Forest Stewardship Council
Firmness
Firm
Trial period
365 nights
See all specs

Handcrafted in Los Angeles, the Avocado Organic Latex Mattress stands out as one of the best mattresses for back pain due to its exceptional design and materials.

Made with high-quality organic latex, it provides optimal support and contouring for the spine, alleviating pressure points that often contribute to back discomfort.

Even more, the natural buoyancy of latex ensures proper spinal alignment, promoting a healthy posture during sleep. Additionally, the mattress features targeted zoning to offer extra support where it's needed most, such as the lumbar region.

Pros

  • GOLS organic certified
  • Made in the U.S.
  • Natural organic latex

Cons

  • Sizing is slightly smaller than standard mattresses

More details

Avocado makes natural and sustainably-focused products—many of which have been selected on previous mindbodygreen roundups. The brand harvests latex and wool from its own farms, so you know exactly where your mattress is coming from.

The natural latex material of this topper offers both support and cushioning to relieve joint and back pain. To top it off, the organic wool cover is lightweight, breathable, and cooling.

This mattress topper will contour to your body’s natural curves to add extra cushioning and create a luxurious feel. The latex not only helps with pain relief, but it’s also resilient, durable, and temperature-regulating.

How it arrives

The Avocado topper ships via FedEx and because of the natural materials, there won’t be any off-gassing odor. You may smell the latex scent, but it is not noticeable through sheets and bedding.

What reviews say

Currently, the topper has an overall rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars on the brand’s website. “After sending back three other toppers, this Avocado Green is a keeper,” one buyer commented. “I’ve been sleeping well—finally no back pain. Definitely recommend."

PlushBeds 100% Natural Latex Topper

Best for lower back and hip pain
Sizes available
Twin, Twin XL, Full Queen, King, California King
Trial period
Not returnable
Warranty
5-year

We picked this Plushbeds mattress topper simply because of its exceptional support and pressure-relieving properties.

It's crafted from GOLS-certified organic latex and offers a balanced combination of firmness and cushioning, making it perfect for those with targeted pain.

Latex is known for its durability and resilience, ensuring long-term support for the spine's natural alignment during sleep without sagging or losing its shape.

Pros

  • 100% natural latex
  • Cooling

Cons

  • Not returnable
  • Delivery can be a hassle

More details

Made from high-quality 100% natural latex, this topper also has an optional organic cotton cover (which you can add for an additional $93). While most latex is buoyant and responsive—so you sit above it rather than sinking into it—Plushbed's repurposes the material into a more flexible, perforated layer that's optimized for pressure point relief. Of course, the topper still gives your body the support it needs to help alleviate lower back and joint pain.

This topper is also great for people who have allergies. The latex is odor-free, anti-microbial, and resists dust mites and mildew. The only downside? Plushbeds does not offer any trial period and you cannot return the topper.

How it arrives

The natural latex topper will arrive in a box, and does not have any off-gassing smells.

What reviews say

There are a ton of rave reviews on the brand’s website, granting this topper a 4.9 out of 5-star rating overall. One shopper who says they have struggled with back pain for years writes that “this topper was the perfect solution.” The same person writes, “In one night—literally, in one night!—it changed my life.”

Puffy Mattress Topper

Best for side sleepers
Materials
40% bamboo, 60% polyester
Firmness
Soft
Sizes available
Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Trial period
101 nights
See all specs

If you sleep on your side, this bamboo and polyester mattress topper is ideal. Side sleepers need extra contouring and cushioning—and that’s exactly what this pick provides.

It’s more affordable than luxury options but very well-made with quality materials.

It's cloud-like comfort is also what makes this mattress topper stand out from others on our list.

Engineered with custom-selected materials, this topper offers a unique blend of support and plushness, precisely catering to the needs of individuals with back issues.

Pros

  • Cooling
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Fits on mattresses up to 15” thick

Cons

  • Not recommended for heavier stomach sleepers

More details

The mattress topper is hypoallergenic, highly breathable, and cool to the touch. The grip layer helps your mattress and topper stay aligned, so you don’t have to worry about the topper sliding around on top of your bed.

How it arrives

The Puffy topper arrives in a box, and off-gassing takes about 12 hours.

What reviews say

It has a five-star rating overall (which does make us raise an eyebrow), and comes highly recommended by both side sleepers and back pain.

One person writes, “I laid down my Puffy Topper over my new mattress and I am so pleased. It’s like sleeping on a luxury hotel bed now! I have back, hip, and knee pain and this is a wonderful topper. The Puffy topper is better than the others I have tried because it brings that added three inches of softness to cushion this side sleeper.”

The Nolah Mattress Topper stands out as one of the best choices for alleviating back pain due to its innovative Nolah AirFoam™ technology, Nolah’s original material that the brand says relieves pressure four times better than memory foam.

Unlike traditional memory foam, Nolah claims that it's AirFoam™ offers superior comfort, enhanced durability, and improved temperature regulation, making it an ideal option for those seeking relief from back discomfort.

This unique composition provides excellent support and pressure relief, promoting proper spinal alignment during sleep.

Pros

  • Two firmness options
  • Cooling
  • Pressure-relieving

Cons

  • Short sleep trial

More details

You can choose from two firmness options (plush and luxury foam) based on your preferences. This topper is a great choice for those who sleep hot, thanks to its cooling cover.

Offering dual comfort and support, this topper takes stress off your joints and pressure points. It also promotes proper spinal alignment, which can improve back pain.

How it arrives

The mattress topper ships for free and does not emit any smells upon arrival.

What reviews say

Its current rating on the Nolah website is 4.9 stars. One reviewer says, “I love my mattress topper! It’s the perfect combination of cushiony comfort and support. It gives me the pressure point relief I need…and I don’t wake up in pain anymore.”

Silk & Snow Organic Mattress Topper

Best organic
Materials
100% GOTS certified organic cotton, 100% GOLS certified Dunlop organic latex
Firmness
Firm, Medium
Sizes available
Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Trial period
100 nights
See all specs

Last but certainly not least, Silk & Snow’s Organic Mattress Topper stands out as one of the premier choices for alleviating back pain due to its superior construction.

Crafted from latex, renowned for its durability and resilience, this topper ensures long-lasting support and comfort.

Unlike other materials that may deteriorate over time, latex maintains its optimal level of firmness and support for decades, making it a wise investment for those seeking relief from back pain.

Pros

  • Firm enough for stomach sleepers
  • Great for couples

Cons

  • Not cooling

More details

Silk & Snow’s Organic Mattress Topper is GOTS- and GOLS-certified, and made from 95% organic latex and organic cotton. Choose from two firmness levels (medium or firm), depending on your sleep style and preferences.

Latex is naturally cooling and highly durable. The cover on the topper is easy to remove and can be machine-washed. What’s more, the brand offers a 15-year warranty to protect your purchase.

Both the medium and firm options are great for back or stomach sleepers, and the material is pressure-relieving—great news for those who suffer from back pain.

How it arrives

This topper arrives in a box and, thanks to its natural materials, has no off-gassing odor.

What reviews say

According to customers, the firmness level is just right. “After a few days, we started to see a difference in sleeping. Less and less back pain. We are very satisfied with the topper,” reads one review.

How we picked the best mattress toppers for back pain

  • Quality: Quality is always top of mind when testing, researching, and selecting products. We looked for the highest quality items (with sustainability in mind whenever possible) while still providing options for a range of budgets.
  • Trial period: As our expert advises, sometimes you don't know what firmness level of mattress or topper is right for you until you give it a try. That's why we tried to choose mattress toppers that offer a healthy trial period.
  • Ease of use: Sometimes, putting on a mattress topper can feel like putting on a fitted sheet—in other words, it's a workout. We looked for toppers that fit any mattress and have features to help them stay snug.
  • Customer reviews: We read through reviews to see what a wide range of customers really thought about our top mattress topper picks. We used this feedback to inform our final selections, keeping in mind both the good and the bad reviews for each.

Who should invest in a mattress topper?

Investing in a mattress topper is a savvy decision for anyone looking to enhance their sleep quality without breaking the bank on a new mattress.

While it's true that mattress toppers can sometimes come with a price tag, they are a fraction of the cost of purchasing a brand-new mattress.

And with a quality mattress topper, you can revitalize your existing mattress, adding an extra layer of comfort, support, and pressure relief.

How can a mattress topper help with back pain?

"A mattress topper can help to improve low back pain in three ways," explains licensed physical therapist Anthony Maritato, PT. First, he says that a good mattress topper can provide pressure relief or increased support to the areas where you need it.

"Next it can help influence the body's temperature. Some people with back pain respond positively to a cooler environment, while others respond positively to warmer environments. A mattress topper with temperature regulation can help these individuals sleep better and wake with less pain."

Finally, a mattress topper lets you test different firmness options before purchasing a different mattress.

"Mattresses are expensive. As a physical therapist who is always asked for an opinion on which is the best mattress to purchase, I can only say you don't know until you try it. A mattress topper can change the firmness of a mattress to be more firm or more soft without forcing you to buy a new mattress."

How to choose a mattress topper for back pain

According to Maritato, causes of back pain can range from lumbar spinal stenosis to disc bulges and more. Gaining an understanding of your back pain can serve as a helpful guide as you look for the best mattress topper for you.

For example, is your pain localized in a specific area? How severe is it? Does it come and go, or is it steady all night every night? The answers to these questions should all inform your decision.

We also recommend carefully considering which material meets your needs and preferences. Mattress toppers are made from materials such as:

  • Cotton
  • Latex
  • Memory foam
  • Bamboo
  • Polyester

Natural latex is, of course, the more eco-friendly option and helps promote proper spinal alignment and relieve back pain. Memory foam is good for contouring and cushioning, offering plenty of pressure relief.

Maritato says the position in which you sleep also makes a difference in the best mattress topper for back pain.

"For a person with spinal stenosis who is also a side or back sleeper, a memory foam mattress top might be the perfect solution for a more comfortable sleep experience. Belly sleepers with back pain would benefit from a latex mattress topper [to] provide support to the pelvis and trunk. If the pain is localized to the neck, goose and duck feathers are the best choice."

FAQ

What thickness of mattress topper is best for back pain?

For back pain, look for a mattress topper that's on the thicker side, about 3 to 4 inches rather than 1 to 2 inches.

What kind of mattress topper do I need for back pain?

Mattress toppers that are medium-firm, a few inches thick, or made of a material like natural latex can help alleviate back pain.

Can a mattress topper improve back pain?

Yes. A good mattress topper can alter the firmness level of your mattress. In turn, a medium-firm topper can help improve the quality of your sleep while reducing the risk of lower back pain.

What mattress toppers do chiropractors recommend?

Many chiropractors recommend mattress toppers made from natural latex or memory foam.

The takeaway

Back pain can make your nights a struggle—and when you don't sleep well, the daytime won't be any easier.

If you don't want to purchase an entirely new mattress, a great firm mattress topper can help improve your lower back pain for a lower cost (and can be a great way to test different firmness levels).

If it is combined with a good mattress for neck and back pain, even better!

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