A mattress topper for back pain can help by conforming closely to the body, correctly aligning the spine, and providing relief to the pressure points. The right quality mattress topper can provide relief when sleeping and can help keep the spine in proper alignment. Chiropractor Dr. Jimenez shares some top mattress toppers for back pain including:
- What to consider when buying
- Determine if a mattress topper is the best solution
Layla Memory Foam
Best Temperature Neutral
The Layla Memory Foam Topper is 2-inches thick and made from memory foam infused with copper. It’s enclosed in a polyester cover and becomes denser under deep compression points, like the hips and shoulders.
The Layla brand is known for coming with cooling copper-infusion technology improving airflow and blood circulation. The copper helps an individual sleep cooler than most memory foam and is available at a reasonable price. All sizes cost less than $400 and come with free shipping and returns, a 120-night trial, and a 5-year warranty.
Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam
Best Memory Foam
The Snuggle-Pedic is a two-layer structure, with softer memory foam on the outer layer and a firm channeled base layer for spinal support. It is a versatile design that makes it appropriate for back, side, and stomach sleepers. Memory foam mattress toppers can be too soft, providing no support, or too firm. This topper finds the balance. One side is soft-to-the-touch, with the other providing twice the support. This double layer system is soft but supportive. It is available in all sizes for less than $300 and comes with free shipping, returns, and customizations.
Saatva Latex Mattress Topper
The Saatva is 1.5 inches of latex and is covered in organic cotton. The latex has ventilation to aid in breathability and the cotton cover adds to the overall temperature neutrality. For individuals that prefer all-natural materials, this latex topper is recommended. The latex used is Talalay latex and is natural and breathable. It also has ventilation spots and is hypoallergenic. For individuals that sleep hot, want a natural option, or have allergies, this could be an option. It comes with a 120-night trial period, free shipping and costs less than $350 in all sizes.
Zinus Memory Foam
Best For Side Sleepers
The Zinus topper measures four inches thick. It is a simple design with 2 inches of gel memory foam that is highly durable. Under the gel foam is a 2-inch-thick layer of support foam for added durability and support. This is an affordable option. The dual-layer provides cooling comfort, durable support and is designed to fit under any deep-pocket sheets. Side sleepers with hip and shoulder pain can appreciate the top layer’s softness and benefit from the durability of the bottom layer, preventing cradling and sinking.
The Linenspa is made with three inches of memory foam that conforms to the body’s curves while sleeping. This mattress topper is infused with temperature-regulating gel beads that evaporates any heat. It is available in two-inch, three-inch profiles and the foam is made to distribute weight evenly. With every size available for less than $105, this is a comfortable and affordable way to rejuvenate a worn mattress or soften a mattress that is too hard.
What to Look For
Mattress toppers can be beneficial for providing relief for aches and pains, but the best topper for back pain requires knowledge about materials, styles, and features that will provide relief. An overview of what to look for:
- Memory foam and latex are ideal for pressure relief because they conform to the body’s curves without sagging. Look for high-quality materials, like American Talalay latex and open-cell foam.
Body Conformity Amount
- The ideal amount of conformity provides pressure relief for painful areas. An ideal level depends on weight and sleeping positions. Look for details about the mattress weight, type, and sleeping style.
- Sleeping on the back is a way to naturally align the spine, but a firm topper that does not sag is needed to provide the proper support.
- Stomach sleepers need a topper that does not sag in the midsection, which can lead to neck pain.
- Side sleepers need a topper that conforms to the contoured areas, like the shoulders and hips.
- Prices for mattress toppers vary. There are high-quality mattress toppers available for $150. For luxury, prices will be in the $300s and above.
- Sagging is the main issue to avoid. Optimal spinal support is the objective. Do the research, read reviews, consult a chiropractor, and take plenty of time before investing.
- Toppers differ in thickness and can measure from one to seven inches thick. Thicker does not mean more comfortable and thicker toppers tend to be softer. Thinner toppers are usually firmer, which is better for back and stomach sleepers. What feels right depends on an individual’s sleeping position, weight, and size, however, most toppers fall in the two to three-inch thickness range.
Back Pain Causes
Back pain can range from a dull ache to sharp sensations and can be the result of an auto accident, work injury, or personal injury that has developed over time. A sedentary lifestyle also contributes to low back pain. The following conditions are common sources of back pain:
- Disc degeneration
- Herniated discs
- Traumatic injury
Lifestyle-related risk factors:
- Fitness level
- Weight gain
- Mental health
Regardless of the cause or source, a mattress topper, which is more supportive than a mattress pad, can help alleviate back pain when sleeping, leading to a minimization of symptoms and improved quality of life.
Aching muscles, shooting/stabbing pain, reduced range of motion, and flexibility are detrimental to work, and home life. Whatever the case, there’s an option out there. An overview of mattress topper benefits:
- The current mattress is old or not supportive enough, but don’t want to invest in a new mattress.
- The current mattress is too firm, but a partner is comfortable on it. Mattress toppers are available in split sizes to soften/firm up one side.
- A sedentary lifestyle has increased the frequency of dull low-back pain. A topper can help with back pain prevention.
- Improve the comfort of a guest bed without spending too much. Similar to the first scenario, a mattress topper can be an upgrade for just several hundred dollars.
One of the most affordable sleep innovations today, but remember that durability, materials, and sleep factors, like weight, position, and height, should all be considered.
Composition of The Body
Sleep researchers are divided into two types of sleep: REM sleep is when dreams occur and NREM sleep which is non-REM sleep. NREM sleep is divided into stages:
- Stage 1 makes up just 5-10% of a sleep cycle and is known as light sleeping. In this stage, the brain remains semi-conscious and is in between wakefulness and sleep. The brain waves start to elongate from alpha to theta waves.
- Stage 2 is the bulk of the sleep cycle and makes up around 55%. In this stage, the body/brain is fully asleep and brain waves slow down even more.
- Stage 3 is the deepest sleep state and is marked by elongated brain waves and slowed brain activity. It is also called short wave sleep. Slow-wave sleep makes up 15-25% of sleep but is the most important sleep state for body composition because most of the body’s restoration happens during this cycle.
REM/Rapid Eye Movement
- This is the stage where dreams occur. It’s very distinct from the other three in that brain activity becomes more active. An individual passes through these sleep stages every 90 minutes. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night means going through 4-5 cycles. Going through a complete sleep cycle ensures an individual will go through Stage 3, which has a significant effect on body composition.
Dr. Alex Jimenez’s Blog Post Disclaimer
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, and sensitive health issues and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate and support directly or indirectly our clinical scope of practice.*
Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation as to how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900. The provider(s) Licensed in Texas& New Mexico*
Bolash R, Drerup M. How to Beat Insomnia When You Have Chronic Pain. Cleveland Clinic Web site. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/12/managing-insomnia-for-those-with-chronic-pain/. Published December 18, 2015. Accessed April 18, 2017.
Improving Sleep: Special Health Report. Boston, MA: Harvard Medical School; 2015.
What is Sleep? American Sleep Association Web site. https://www.sleepassociation.org/patients-general-public/what-is-sleep/. Accessed April 18, 2017.