Which mattress topper for back pain is best?

Back pain can be one of the most brutally debilitating chronic ailments. It impacts your personal and professional life and it will easily rob you of precious hours of sleep. The cause of your back pain could be right underneath you: your mattress. 

With the right mattress topper, back pain can be alleviated. Sleep Innovations 4-inch Dual Layer Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper is one of the best options out there for back pain. The cooling gel memory foam will cradle your body into the proper alignment while relieving any pressure points so you can finally reclaim the night. 

What to know before you buy a mattress topper for back pain

Back pain is one of the most common reasons people visit the doctor and miss work. It’s one of the leading causes of disability worldwide, according to the Mayo Clinic. It can present in a number of ways, from aching pain that won’t quit to shooting, burning, stabbing pain that persists throughout the day. 

Causes of back pain vary, but there are a few common reasons you might be experiencing it.

Muscle and ligament strain is a frequent cause of back pain. It can happen from repeated heavy lifting or sudden awkward movements. Either way, you could be experiencing a great deal of pain that worsens with use and movement. 

Bulging and ruptured disks are another common cause of back pain. Your disks are essentially cushions between the vertebrae in your spine. That soft material can sometimes bulge and rupture, leading to pressure on the nearby nerves. This can result in shooting pains and nerve damage after some time. 

Chronic back pain can also result from arthritis and osteoporosis. With arthritis, the space around the spinal cord can narrow, leading to constant, deep pain. Back pain from osteoporosis comes from painful fractures resulting from the bones in your spine becoming increasingly porous and brittle. 

Another source of back pain could be something less permanent: your mattress. The quality and age of your mattress can lead to poor support and misalignment. On the other hand, a high-quality mattress topper will offer support to your spine and promote better alignment. 

With better support and proper alignment, your mattress topper will alleviate back pain, rather than cause it. It will also lead to more restorative, deep sleep. Finding the right mattress topper doesn’t have to feel like a chore. Keep the following things in mind to make sure you end up with the right mattress topper for you. 

Types of mattress toppers

There are several types of mattress toppers to be aware of that can help with back pain. Latex is a material made from the liquid found in the rubber tree. There are also some latex mattress toppers made with synthetics. 

Latex mattress toppers provide tons of support, but they aren’t a good option if you prefer a softer sleeping surface. You should also take allergies into consideration as some people are allergic to latex. Other than that, it’s an antimicrobial mattress topper that’s great for painful joints. 

The long-standing favorite for those with back pain is memory foam. Made of polyurethane, it is a  comfortable mattress topper that effectively reduces the pressure on your joints. It also adds a layer of comfort that can extend the life of an older mattress. 

Beyond that, there are some mattress toppers you should avoid if you’re trying to relieve your back pain. Polyester-blend mattress toppers are the least expensive and supportive and tend to compress easily. Feather mattress toppers, also called feather beds, won’t provide you a great deal of support. And wool mattress pads, along with being tough to find, add cushion, but not the support needed to alleviate back pain. 


Pay attention to how firm a mattress topper is when you’re shopping around. If it��s too soft, it could make your back pain worse. But if it’s too firm, it will only add pressure on your joints. To find the right firmness for your mattress topper, base it on the firmness of your mattress. If your mattress is especially firm, get a softer mattress topper. If it’s too soft, get a firm mattress topper. 


Most mattress toppers will range from 2 to 4 inches thick. Generally speaking, the worse your back pain, the thicker your mattress topper should be. A good option is a 4-inch mattress topper. This will give you the support you need to put your spine into proper alignment and will still relieve the pressure points. 

What to look for in a quality mattress topper for back pain


Many memory foam mattress toppers now have gel. If you’re a warm sleeper, this is an especially desirable feature. The layer of gel memory foam will offer excellent support, and also keep you cool and comfortable. 


Mattress toppers can be quite an investment. You don’t want to be replacing your mattress topper sooner than is necessary. Some mattress toppers quickly compress or start sagging. At that point, you lose the beneficial support and wind up with another contribution to your back pain. When selecting a mattress topper, pay attention to its longevity. 

Motion isolation

When you or your partner adjusts position in the middle of the night, you run the risk of causing shock waves through your mattress that wake the other person up. A mattress topper can help with that, especially memory foam. Many of these toppers have motion isolation. It dampens the movement and keeps it from causing disturbances in other areas of the bed. This keeps you from disturbing your partner in the middle of the night. 


Certain mattress toppers are naturally hypoallergenic, while others are manufactured to be. If you choose a mattress topper that’s hypoallergenic, you’ll experience fewer allergy symptoms, something any allergy sufferer will love. 


If the mattress topper you’re interested in is labelled as ventilated, you’re getting a more breathable mattress topper. This is another way to regulate your sleeping temperature to keep you comfortable. Once again, warm sleepers should take note — this could seriously improve your comfort levels. 

Targeted support

There are some mattress toppers that are advertised as having targeted support. The benefit of target support is it’s a design feature meant to reduce your pressure points. With the singular goal in mind, you know you’re buying a mattress topper specifically made to minimize back pain. 

How much you can expect to spend on a mattress topper for back pain

Most mattress toppers will range in price from $50-$500. If you look for a mattress topper at the lower end of this price range, you’ll find thinner toppers that are less supportive, both in construction and in the materials. On the higher end of the price range, the mattress toppers will have better materials and construction. They’ll also be thicker and offer more support. 

Mattress topper for back pain FAQ

What is the best mattress topper for back pain?

A. If you’re buying a mattress topper specifically to treat your back pain, look for something that offers enough support to align your spine properly, regardless of your sleeping position and one that relieves pressure points. Two reliable options are memory foam and latex. These provide the best support and are designed to conform to your body. 

Does a mattress topper really help?

A. A quality mattress topper can relieve at least some of your back pain. They definitely improve the comfort of older mattresses and provide more support to your alignment. Additionally, they reduce the number of pressure points. 

What’s the best mattress topper for back pain to buy?

Top mattress topper for back pain

Sleep Innovations 4-inch Dual Layer Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Sleep Innovations 4-inch Dual Layer Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper

What you need to know: This gel memory foam mattress topper offers exceptional support, cooling gel and all at a great price. 

What you’ll love: This mattress topper is constructed with two layers: 2 inches of gel memory foam and 2 inches of pillow-top material. This gives you the supportive benefits of memory foam and the luxurious comfort of a pillow top. 

What you should consider: This is a thicker mattress topper, so you will need deep-pocket fitted sheets. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Wayfair

Top mattress topper for back pain for the money

Linenspa 3-inch Convoluted Gel Swirl Mattress Topper

Linenspa 3-inch Convoluted Gel Swirl Mattress Topper

What you need to know: With great airflow and 3 inches of support, this mattress topper is perfect for warm sleepers suffering from back pain.

What you’ll love: Featuring open-cell memory foam, this mattress topper will easily conform to the contours of your body. The convoluted, egg-shaped design will maximize airflow so you’ll stay comfortable all night. 

What you should consider: While the convoluted structure increases airflow, the foam does hold on to body heat. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Home Depot and Wayfair

Worth checking out

Pure Green 100-percent Natural Latex Mattress Topper

Pure Green 100-percent Natural Latex Mattress Topper

What you need to know: Made from latex harvested from organically-grown rubber trees, this mattress topper offers tons of support, while staying eco-friendly.

What you’ll love: The pinpointed support from this mattress topper is strong. As you lay down, it adjusts completely to your body. The ventilation will keep you sleeping comfortably. Best of all, it’s Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) Certified Organic. 

What you should consider: This latex mattress topper doesn’t come with a cover, something that’s recommended to prevent deterioration. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Kasey Van Dyke writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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