- Benefits of a Mattress Pad for Back Pain
- Top Rated Bed Topper for Back Pain Reviews
- Mattress Topper Buyer’s Guide
- Firmness & Density
- Mattress Topper vs Pad
- Frequently Asked Questions
Buying the right best mattress topper for back pain can mean the difference between a good night’s sleep and aching back muscles with pain in the lumbar region. If you’re here, you know exactly what we’re talking about. For no apparent reason, you wake up with lower (or upper) back pain which gradually subsides during the day only to return the very next morning!
We know why! You’re placing undue strain on an already sensitive area of your back by allowing your spine to curve and misalign while sleeping.
It’s the result of a mattress that’s either too soft (making you “sink” in and bend your spine) or too firm (causing you to twist your hips to avoid pressure).
Your spine needs to be perfectly aligned while you sleep to reduce strain on your lower back.
Thankfully, there is a solution! You can completely transform your old mattress by buying a mattress topper that’s perfectly suited to your body type.
Benefits of a Mattress Pad for Back Pain
Back Pain Relief: By choosing the very best mattress topper for your personal body type and sleep position, you can drastically reduce the strain on your spine and relieve tension on your back muscles while sleeping.
Hip Pain & Shoulder Pain Relief: Pain caused by high pressure areas like hips and shoulders is perfectly absorbed by a high quality mattress pad. You’ll be in heaven.
It’s Cheaper Than Replacing Your Current Mattress: By getting a new mattress pad, you can breathe new life into your bed for a fraction of the price of an entirely new mattress.
Top Rated Bed Topper for Back Pain Reviews
|Lucid||Gel Memory Foam||Medium||9.8||Check Price|
|Pure Green||100% Latex||Firm||9||Check Price|
|Sleep Innovations||Gel Memory Foam + Cover||Medium||8||Check Price|
|Red Nomad||Memory Foam||Soft||7||Check Price|
|Lucid Bamboo||Bamboo Charcoal Foam||Medium||7||Check Price|
1. Lucid Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper with Cooling
The Lucid Gel is constructed from a single layer of gel memory foam which is highly effective in its simplicity. Your overall bodyweight is cradled by the medium-firm 3 lbs/foot3 density while the plush 3 inch thickness alleviates pressure on sensitive areas like hips and shoulders.
Whether you’re a side, back or stomach sleeper, the simple design will accommodate all your pressure points and ease your spine into natural alignment.
Memory foam’s very subtle elasticity really has an enormous advantage over normal foam… It “gives” in exactly the right places while making it feel like your mattress topper was designed for your exact body!
The gel memory foam captures and re-distributes heat away from your body while you sleep. It has a cooling effect that helps avoid overheating and will leave you well rested and refreshed for the next day.
- Simple & Effective Pain Relief
- Excellent for Lower Back Pain
- Suits Any Position Sleeper
- Great Ventilated Cooling Design
- Slightly Warmer than Latex
2. Pure Green Organic Latex Mattress Topper
The Pure Green Latex Topper has a firmer density at 4 lbs/foot3. This helps to avoid that “sinking” feeling you get with memory foam. You also tend to have much better spinal alignment due to the firmer surface.
Another great advantage of Latex is that it recovers it’s shape almost instantly. This means that when you move or turn, the surface immediately responds to your new position (which memory foam doesn’t). This makes it the best choice if you change position a lot while sleeping.
Natural Latex is also cooler than any memory foam.
Natural Latex is 100% organic as opposed to the petrochemical compounds used to make memory foam. This makes it great for health conscious individuals and people with allergy concerns.
It’s available in 1, 2 or 3 inch thickness! If you’re somewhat happy with the feel of your mattress surface already, all you need is two inches, otherwise go for 3. (If you weight less than 180 pounds though, 2 inches is fine.)
- Firmer Surface for Better Spine Alignment
- Great for People who Change Sleeping Positions Often
- Excellent Firmness for People Over 200 lbs
- Latex is Naturally Cooler than Memory Foam
- 4 lbs/foot3 is Too Firm for Some Lighter Folks
- A Bit More Expensive than Memory Foam
3. Sleep Innovations Orthopaedic Mattress Topper 2+2
The unique design combines 2 inches of gel memory foam with 2 inches of down alternative comforter on top.
Due to the fact that you’re actually lying on only 2 inches of memory foam, the overall feel is quite hard. The (down alternative cover) merely adds a “comforting” feel to the sleeping surface and doesn’t add much overall cushioning.
If you like thick duvets and layers of cushiness, this might just be your favorite choice.
Some people absolutely love the extra layer of comfort but it isn’t necessarily what you need to fix a sore lower back. If you really struggle with intense back pain while sleeping, you should op for either the 3″ Memory Foam or Latex options above.
- Added Synthetic Layer for “Plushness”
- 2 Inch Foam Might be a Little Thin/Hard
- Average Cooling Ability
- It’s a Little on the Pricier Side
4. Red Nomad Soft Density
With its lower 2.5 lbs/foot3 density, the Red Nomad is a softer mattress topper than the usual. It means that you’ll sink in more. If you’re a lightweight person, you’ll enjoy the added softness and your spine should be better aligned. (Heavier folks should consider a firmer/thicker option.)
The one important thing that the Red Nomad does not have is Gel. This is usually incorporated in high-end luxury mattress toppers to disperse heat away from your body. It’s a feature that’s unfortunately missed in this design and you’ll be just a little warmer than on the other options.
The only real reason you’ll want the Red Nomad over it’s competitors is the softer density. Either you weigh less than 160 lbs or you really need to soften n already too-hard mattress.
On the other hand, if your bed is already too-soft, you’ll simply be sinking deeper into your bed causing a convex alignment of your spine. (Remember, you want to straighten out your spine to relieve tension.)
- Softer Density Suits Lightweight Sleepers
- Too Soft for Heavy People
- Not Much Cooling Effect
5. Lucid Bamboo Charcoal
Our second Lucid on the list, this one’s infused with bamboo charcoal (bamboo is burnt then ground into a fine powder) to help reduce absorb moisture from the body while sleeping. This assist in fight bacteria and odors.
Because it’s free of any moisture, this also tends to keep the surface slightly cooler than normal memory foam. This is further improved by the ventilated design common in the Lucid brand of toppers and mattress pads.
I gotta tell you, we LOVE it! But if you’re not into the novelty of hybrid mattress toppers, the very first Lucid on the list is an excellent, simple choice gel memory foam mattress pad topper. For roughly the same price as this one, you get the tried and tested king of the hill and you won’t be disappointed.
- The Charcoal Fights Moisture
- Cool Sleeping
- A Bit “Gimmicky” for Some
The LineSpa is a super affordable 3 inch option with a softer feel than the competition. Furthermore, it’s the softest option at only 2 lbs/foot3. For this to work, you should be under 200 lbs for sure. Otherwise, you’ll sink in too much and it will have the opposite effect of helping your back heal.
On the other hand, if you’re a lighter weight person and you can do with just a bit of added softness on your existing bed, this is a great choice. You’re hips and shoulders will sink in softly allowing your spine to align.
It works really well for lightweight side sleepers but has an equally effective response to lighter back and stomach sleepers too.
- Very affordable
- Soft Mattress Great for Lightweight People
- Too Soft for Heavier People
- No Real Cooling Effect
7. Millard Egg Shell Mattress Topper
Some folks don’t particularly love the convoluted 2 inch “egg crate” surface. It’s still 3 lbs/foot3 memory foam so it will provide some additional comfort and pressure distribution. If you’re only a little uncomfortable at night and your backache isn’t too much of a concern, this quick-fix budget solution might be just what you need.
It’s by far the most affordable option but might not be quite what you’re looking for to alleviate chronic lower back pain while sleeping.
The fact that it’s only 2 inches in thickness also means that you should already be about 75% happy with your current mattress. The extra 2 inches won’t change the feel of your existing mattress by more than about 25%.
To avoid disappointment try one of the options higher up on the list first. Given the huge increase in quality for a little bit more money, it’ll be worth the upgrade.
- Most Affordable Mattress Topper
- Some Dislike the Egg Crate Surface
- Too Thin for a Really Great Result
Mattress Topper Buyer’s Guide
There are several reasons why back pain occurs. Injuries, strains, herniated discs, intervertebral disc degeneration, spinal stenosis, sciatica and the list goes on. One can’t expect a mattress pad alone to completely solve a serious spinal problem… but it will go a long way to making a difference.
Also, if your mattress is already too soft or just plain in terrible condition, you should replace the entire mattress instead. Check out our review of the Best Mattress for Side Sleeper with Lower Back Pain.
If nothing serious is wrong with your back and you simply wake up with unexplained pain, it’s most likely being caused by poor sleeping posture. This is where a mattress topper will really improve the situation.
When buying a mattress pad, there are a few important things to consider. Making the right choice will go a long way to resolving aches and pains in your lower back and hips as well as your neck and shoulders.
The most common types of mattress pads around 2 to 4 inches thick.
On average, the 2 and 3 inches options are great for keeping your spine straight while offering comfortable, gentle support in high pressure areas like your hips and shoulders.
Best Mattress Topper Thickness for a Heavy Person
The heavier you are the ticker your mattress topper should be. A heavy person will overwhelm a softer, thinner mattress pad and you would have wasted your money. If you’re around 200 pounds or more, consider 3 to 4 inches instead.
Firmness & Density
Firmness is a critical part of resolving backache from sleeping.
If it’s too firm you’ll turn your hips away from the bed to avoid pressure. This will twist your spine sideways and create unwanted strain.
If it’s too soft, the heavier part of your body will simply sink into the bed and end up curving your spine.
You need the right firmness a perfectly aligned neck and back.
Mattress topper density ranges from 2 to 5 pounds per foot3 with 2 being really soft and 5 being very firm. The best firmness for back pain is usually around 3-4 pounds per foot3.
It will offer the needed support to keep your spine lined up and relieve any strain caused by curving your back.
(Bear in mind that the heavier you are, the firmer & thicker your mattress topper should be.)
Why Should You Choose a Firm Mattress Topper for Back Pain?
Firmer mattress pads promote better alignment of your spine. If it’s too soft you’ll “sink in” to your mattress leaving your spine slightly bent.
The problem is, they can sometimes feel a little harder and cause pressure on certain areas like your hips and shoulders. After all, the primary reason for getting a mattress topper is to alleviate these pressure points.
Medium to firm is the better choice, but there are one or two caveats you need to consider.
Note! A Firm Mattress Topper Cannot Rectify a Too-Soft Mattress!
If your mattress if uncomfortably soft, you’ll unfortunately need to replace it with a firmer option.
The too-soft mattress will collapse under the weight of your body and even the firmest topper will not stop it from simply sinking into the same unwanted profile.
Once you’ve replaced the actual mattress, you can always buy a softer topper if you’re finding the mattress is too firm.
Do You Also Have Hip Pain?
Let’s say you have lower back pain as well as localized pain from the pressure on your hip.
You’ll need to find a balance between the two issues.
- Too firm and you’ll hurt pressure points like hips and shoulders.
- Too soft and you won’t have enough support to keep you aligned.
Because you’ll feel the pressure on your hip much sooner than experiencing a misaligned spine, consider the softer pads at around 2-3 pounds per foot3. (This will also help you avoid unnaturally “turning” your hips away from the pain, thus creating a twist in the spine.)
If you simply can’t find a good enough balance, you may need to consider adopting a different sleeping position.
Try sleeping on your back with a pillow tucked under your legs. It will alleviate the pressure on your lower spine and avoid pressure on your hips at the same time.
Memory Foam vs Latex Mattress Topper
Which is better?
Latex Mattress Toppers
Latex offers a similar gentle pressure relief in key areas as memory foam for a really comfortable night’s sleep. The main difference is latex will adapt to your body movements much more rapidly than memory foam. If you are a restless sleeper, this is the better choice.
Think about it like this… as you move or lift hips, shoulders, elbows or knees off the latex mattress topper, it quickly pops back to a level position, waiting for the next pressure point.
It’s usually much cooler on hot nights due to perforated holes in the design and ventilation built into the material.
Memory Foam Mattress Toppers
Memory foam has a spongier feel and adapts with a “squishier” response to pressure points. It feels like you’re lying on a comfortable sheet of marshmallow.
Some people love it and some don’t. It really is a matter of preference.
The problem with memory foam is that it has a much slower “reset” time and you’ll feel some indents even after you’ve changed position.
It also tends to get much warmer due to limits in the ventilation of the material.
Which is Safer to Sleep on, Latex or Memory Foam?
There’s a growing awareness over the petrochemical compounds that make up memory foam. (Toxic flame retardants and formaldehyde to name a few.)
These are hormone-altering compounds and have been linked to things like cancer, infertility and brain disorders.
Latex, on the other hand, is a 100% natural product made from tree sap. It’s entirely non-toxic and safe.
We’ve made a point of selecting the safest memory foam options available based on their CertiPUR rating, but if you’re at all concerned, simply opt for the natural latex mattress toppers.
Gel vs. Non-Gel Memory Foam
One of the primary reasons you would opt for Gel infused memory foam is the cooler sleeping temperature it provides. The gel tends to not retain heat from your body and allows for a cooling surface on hot summer nights.
What about Hybrid Mattress Toppers?
As technology progresses, newer makes and models of mattress toppers are created using a combination of materials like memory foam, latex, cotton and wool. Each has its own unique characteristics and benefits. In the list above, we’ve also explored a unique hybrid design offering a comfortable sleeping surface with adequate support and great ventilation.
Mattress Topper vs Pad
Basically a pad is much thinner and even though it adds some plushness, it doesn’t compare with the comfort of a mattress topper. For the most part, it’s used to protect the mattress from wear, like in hotels. Since they’re very easy to remove and clean, they also have the added benefit of better hygiene and keeping bed bugs and other crawlies at bay. There’s also a little bit of added ventilation which results in a slightly cooler sleep.
A mattress topper is around 2-5 inches in thickness and adds much more comfort. It can actually change the way you sleep entirely. The high volume ensures great ventilation (especially latex) and is a much better choice for hot sleepers.
If you’re looking to resolve the issue of a sore back while sleeping, you should absolutely choose a mattress topper, not a mattress pad.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a mattress topper make bed firmer?
Yes, but only if the mattress itself isn’t too soft. Otherwise, you’ll have a harder topper surface that feels like it’s “caving in” in the middle under your bodyweight.
Can a mattress topper make a bed softer?
Absolutely! This is one of the primary reasons for buying a mattress topper in the first place. You can go as thick and soft as you want if your current bed is too hard.
Does a mattress topper keep you cool?
Yup, they are usually designed with cooling gel, ventilation or both to keep the temperature levels from rising too high.
Where to buy a mattress topper?
Since it’s such an easy item to ship (rolled up) buying online is a breeze. You can get the best prices from an online retail store because traditional stores need to add rent, floor staff and other expenses to the price of the item. Their returns policy is usually also very customer friendly.
Can you wash a mattress topper?
Yes! Start by vacuuming the top and flip it over to vacuum the bottom. Then use diluted dish detergent (1 part detergent / 2 parts water) and scrub it gently over stained areas if needed. Make sure not to drench the topper with too much water. After that, ensure all the soap is wiped away and allow for at least 18 hours to dry completely. If you can lay it out in the sun somewhere clean, it will help speed up the drying process.