Is A Firm Or Soft Mattress Better For Back Pain?

Updated October, 2020
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When it comes to back pain, you want a mattress that's medium-firm. A mattress that's too soft causes your body to sink too far down, causing your spine to go out of alignment. However, a mattress that's too firm doesn't contour properly to your body, which means you miss out on much-needed support.

Understanding the firmness scale

Mattresses come on a firmness scale between 1 and 10. 1 is the softest and usually made out of plush materials. 10 is the firmest that offers little in contouring. Depending on your sleep style and any medical conditions you have, you need to be extra careful about what firmness level you get with your mattress.

  • Extra Soft [1-2]: This is recommended for lightweight sleepers or people who tend to sleep on their sides.
  • Soft [3-4]: This firmness level also works well for lightweight side sleepers. It's a good option for couples who both enjoy a plush feel.
  • Medium [5]: The middle tends to be preferable for back sleepers. It's also a good firmness level for individuals with back pain.
  • Medium-Firm [5.5-6.5]: A medium-firm mattress is good for practically all sleeper types as it has the ideal balance of firmness and softness.
  • Firm [7-8]: Heavier sleepers do well with a firmer mattress. Combination sleepers, namely people who go back and forth between sleeping on their back, stomach, and side, also do well.
  • Extra Firm [9-10]: You get extreme pushback at this level. It's recommended for people who want to sleep entirely on top of the mattress.

How do I know if my mattress is too firm?

An excessively firm mattress can lead to problems down the road. If you're unsure if your mattress falls into that category, then keep an eye out for the following signs:

  • Waking up with back, neck, or shoulder pain
  • Numbness in your hands or arms
  • Waking up feeling tired
  • Sleeping on the couch or a hotel bed feels more comfortable

How do I know if my mattress is too soft?

On the other hand, some people experience problems when they sink too deeply into the mattress. This is a clearcut sign your mattress is too soft, but there are other signs to look fo, including:

  • Waking up with back, neck, or shoulder pain
  • Struggling to get in and out of bed
  • Difficulty getting comfortable in bed

So, which mattress firmness is the best for back pain?

The right firmness level for you depends on several factors, such as weight and sleeping position. But by and large, medium-firm is going to be your best bet. It offers the ideal balance between being too firm and too soft.

A mattress that's too soft or firm doesn't properly align your spine at night. For hours on end, it's out of alignment. This causes you to wake up in discomfort. Medium-firmness adheres to the natural curvature of your spine, allowing it to be in a natural, comfortable position while you sleep.

What mattress do chiropractors recommend?

If you suffer from chronic back pain, then you need the Saatva Classic mattress. This hybrid innerspring mattress is made out of eco-friendly materials that work in tandem with a supportive coil-on-coil system to give you a luxurious sensation.

Leading chiropractors in the United States heavily recommend this mattress. It even comes with the seal of approval from the Congress of Chiropractic State Associations. The reason it's so good is due to how top engineers incorporated 5 key layers to provide you with the ultimate in comfort.

  • Luxury Euro Pillow Top
  • Individually Wrapped Coils
  • Durable Steel Coil Support
  • Perimeter Edge Support
  • Spinal Zone Technology

These all work together to provide superior lumbar support. It actually reduces tension in your lower back, allowing you to sleep like never before.

The #1 Best Mattress For Back Pain

Saatva is our top pick for the #1 best mattress for Back Pain in 2021! They're a luxury hypoallergenic mattress shipped directly to your door (with full-service white-glove delivery). They have over 50,000 reviews and continue to be one of the most reputable, established brands in the industry (founded in 2009). Check their price, here.

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