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Best Mattress Topper for Back Pain. Read before you buy!

March 11, 2022 | By Amanda Doyle | Sleep Accessories

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Written by Amanda Doyle Sleep Researcher Writer
Reviewed by Pavel Ufimtsev Sleep Science Coach

Many people who struggle with back pain sleep on a firm mattress. However, if you are a side sleeper, you may need a bit more cushion to be comfortable. 

The best mattress topper for back pain will vary from person to person, but depending on your sleeping position, a thicker and softer mattress topper may be the best choice for a side sleeper. 

A back sleeper will need less cushion, and a tummy sleeper will probably only need a bit of pressure relief.

Saatva Mattress Topper

Linenspa 3 Inch Gel Infused Memory Foam Queen Mattress Topper

Zinus 3 Inch Swirl Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Plushbeds 100% Natural Latex Topper

Dreamfoam Mattress Topper For Back Pain

Avocado Organic Latex Mattress Topper

Brooklyn Bedding 3 Inch Talalay Latex Topper

Puffy Mattress Topper

BedStory 3 Inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Birch Organic Mattress Topper

What Is a Mattress Topper?

A mattress topper is an additional layer of cushioning that lives on top of your current mattress. Mattress toppers can be found in a variety of materials. You can use a square cut memory foam mattress topper, a gel infused mattress topper or a latex foam mattress topper.

If you struggle with back pain, a mattress topper can add another layer of cushioning that will allow you to sink in a bit further and get more consistent support up and down the length of your body. You can also beef up the softness of a mattress that is too squishy with a firm mattress topper.

Back pain can come from several different sources. If your back hurts when you lay down, your mattress may be too hard. Stiff muscles and inflamed nerves will not release if you try to stretch out on a too-hard mattress each night. If you wake up with back pain, your mattress may be too soft, particularly if you’re a tummy sleeper.

A mattress topper can make a huge difference for anyone struggling with back pain. Carefully study your sleeping style and standard position, particularly the position you wake up in, which will make it easier for you to find the best mattress topper for back pain in your case. If you wake up on your side, trying to find relief, a soft mattress topper may be best. 

For those who wake up on their backs, a medium firm mattress topper is probably a better choice. Should you wake up on your tummy and struggle with soreness in the low back, you need a firm mattress topper.

Finally, mattress toppers can cool or warm up your bed. If you wake up sweaty on a memory foam mattress, the best mattress topper for you may be a gel infused memory foam or a latex mattress topper. If you wake up cold and stiff, the best mattress topper for you may be a softer memory foam that allows you to sink in and warm up as the cushion flexes. No matter your temperature needs, keep an eye out for a pressure-relieving foam that will provide more support the further you sink in.

Best Mattress Toppers for Back Pain: Top 10 Reviews

1. Top pick: Saatva Mattress Topper

Saatva Mattress Topper

The Saatva Mattress Topper can be purchased in traditional memory foam, latex or graphite infused foam. These mattress toppers come in an organic cotton cover to wick away heat and moisture.

The graphite infused foam also offers cooling and antibacterial protection. If you struggle with back pain but find memory foam mattresses to be too hot, this mattress topper for back pain may be exactly what you need. This mattress topper offers 180 nights of free trial and a one-year's warranty.

Your memory foam topper also comes with elastic straps that you can use to secure it to the mattress to avoid sliding. Back pain can often make us restless; these mattress toppers for back pain also offer protection against motion transfer. As you stretch out and relax on this cover, you may need to move, but it should not disturb your partner.

  • The lower layer of foam, below the graphite, offers more pressure relief as you sink
  • You can get this in high-density foam for a firmer mattress feel
  • You can expect this memory foam topper to last up to 5 years

Cons

  • This should not be used over a box spring; the flexing may lead to separation of the foam layers
  • You may need a new mattress protector once you put on your topper
  • Like any foam product, there may be a foam smell when this expands

Saatva Mattress Topper

  • This topper for back pain offers a layer of cooling charcoal right below the cotton cover to keep you cool.
  • The memory foam offers extra cushion and support as you relax.
  • The organic cover can be spot cleaned as needed.

2. Runner Up: Linenspa 3 Inch Gel Infused Memory Foam Queen Mattress Topper

Linenspa 3 Inch Gel Infused Memory Foam Queen Mattress Topper

If you're looking for memory foam mattress toppers that reduce the risk of back pain without leaving you feeling overheated, the Linenspa 3 Inch Gel Infused Memory Foam Queen Mattress Topper is a terrific choice.

This mattress topper for the back is available in 2-inch and 3-inch profiles. Your topper for back pain is a bead-infused foam that will help you stay cool no matter which thickness you choose.

Toppers for back pain can require new bedding, but this foam mattress topper offers great comfort without greatly increasing the profile of your bed. This gel memory foam offers great cushion and pressure relief while wicking away heat all night.

  • This is a CertiPUR memory foam topper; chemical odors are minimal
  • The gel beads make this a cooler, comfier sleeping tool
  • This mattress topper offers some protection against motion transfer

Cons

  • This will not increase the firmness of your mattress
  • You will be protected against pressure points, but you may not get enough "squish" to be comfortable
  • If the mattress below your topper doesn't wick away moisture and heat, moisture may build up between the topper and the mattress

Linenspa 3 Inch Gel Infused Memory Foam Queen Mattress Topper

  • This gel bead memory foam is formulated to reduce pressure; the height difference simply allows you more space to sink in.
  • Your Linenspa topper has enough texture grab to prevent sliding around.
  • Even the 3-inch queen-sized topper is less than 20 pounds. If you need to move this to another mattress, it's fast and light.

3. Best Value: Zinus 3 Inch Swirl Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Zinus 3 Inch Swirl Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper

If you need a mattress topper that greatly reduces pressure points, the Zinus 3 Inch Swirl Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper is a terrific choice. These memory foam mattress toppers are often referred to as egg crates. If your back pain has limited your ability to exercise until you heal up, this mattress topper for back pain will also protect your skin from pressure points, such as from laying on one side or your back for too long. This gel memory foam is one of the best mattress toppers for hot sleepers. If you're facing surgery or a long recovery and back pain is a worry, this memory foam mattress topper is an excellent choice.

  • Egg crate toppers are great if you are a restless sleeper; this mattress topper will support you dynamically as you settle in and try to get comfortable
  • The gel infused foam offers carries away heat and the gaps in the foam layer allow cool air to get close to your skin
  • The bottom of this mattress offers a great grab; no need to worry about this sliding

Cons

  • This will make the top profile of your bed bumpy
  • You may lose loft if your sheets are already tight
  • Some find the rippled surface takes time to get used to

Zinus 3 Inch Swirl Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper

  • This topper for back pain and skin protection is quite lightweight; the queen 3 inch topper is just 10 pounds.
  • The foam in this mattress topper is infused with green tea to prevent moisture build-up, heat build-up and odor.
  • You can firm or soften your mattress with this topper.

4. Best Latex: Plushbeds 100% Natural Latex Topper

Plushbeds 100% Natural Latex Topper

If you're looking for a long-lasting topper with plenty of air movement, the Plushbeds 100% Natural Latex Topper is a great choice. These mattress toppers are pure latex. No fillers, no infusions of any material besides Talaex latex.

For anyone who finds memory foam scents to be off-putting, this mattress topper is a great choice. You can get this in a variety of firmness levels; if you are a side sleeper and back pain is a problem because your bed is too hard, this mattress topper for back pain in medium firmness may be an ideal choice.

If you like a more plush sleep, the soft may be best. You can also firm up an overly soft mattress with the medium firm or the extra firm. You can easily put this topper for back pain to work with confidence. Your latex mattress topper will offer plenty of pressure relief and you can expect up to 20 years of use.

  • The PlushBeds latex mattress topper is pure latex; no odor, no off-gassing
  • The latex material has great grab; this mattress topper will not slide around
  • The larger toppers, such as the California King, are split for easier handling

Cons

  • Your PlushBeds mattress topper cannot be returned
  • These toppers are quite heavy compared to memory foam
  • Larger folks may not be happy with the support of the soft topper

Plushbeds 100% Natural Latex Topper

  • This mattress topper has a 5-year warranty, but you can expect a much longer life.
  • The firmer your mattress topper choice, the more support you will enjoy.
  • This mattress topper is built to move air; the whole topper is ventilated to keep you from overheating..

5. Best Budget: Dreamfoam Mattress Topper For Back Pain

Dreamfoam Mattress Topper For Back Pain

When budgets are tight, the Dreamfoam Mattress Topper For Back Pain is a great memory foam topper for your existing bed. Because a topper can increase the cushion and reduce your risk of having to replace your mattress, a gel swirl mattress topper can be a great choice.

Back pain can come from many different sources; if you've got muscle soreness from an injury, a mattress topper for back pain that lets you sink in a bit may be ideal. If you're dealing with nerve impingement or damage, a firmer topper for back pain may be in order.

These toppers for back pain can also stretch the life of a standard spring coil bed. Using a memory foam mattress topper to stretch the life of a mattress that is suffering crush damage may shorten the life of the topper, but mattress toppers for back pain generally hold their shape quite well.

The Dreamfoam mattress topper is made of cooling gel, will offer terrific pressure relief, and is one of the best mattress toppers for the money.

  • This topper comes with a three-year warranty
  • These are very lightweight and easy to settle on your existing bed
  • The gel foam has great grab; it should not slide around on your bed

Cons

  • This mattress topper may warm up your existing bed
  • Some users notice a foam smell when they open the package
  • If your mattress is suffering crush damage, this mattress topper will also suffer crush damage over time

Dreamfoam Mattress Topper For Back Pain

  • This topper is just two inches thick but offers great pressure relief and limits motion transfer.
  • The cooling gel will keep you from becoming overheated.
  • This foam is CertiPUR-US certified; there may be a foam smell but this mattress topper will not outgas long-term.

6. Best Organic: Avocado Organic Latex Mattress Topper

Avocado Organic Latex Mattress Topper

For those who do not care for memory foam, the Avocado Organic Latex Mattress Topper is an ideal choice. These mattress toppers feature latex foam, wool filling, and an organic cotton cover.

Those suffering from back pain can get this mattress topper for back support to a firm or soften their existing mattress. Unlike a plain foam topper for back pain, these toppers for back pain can change your existing mattress feel either way.

This is a latex mattress topper surrounded by wool, cotton, and a cotton cover. For pressure relief and coolness, the Avocado can't be beaten.

  • If you prefer not to use animal products, you can get this mattress topper without wool; the fill is organic cotton
  • The firm topper can both cool and firm up your existing bed if you are healing up from an injury
  • This mattress topper offers terrific motion transfer protection

Cons

  • These toppers are quite lightweight and the cotton cover can lead to sliding
  • Because these toppers contain both cotton and wool, you will need to use a waterproof protector over your mattress topper
  • You may need to upgrade your sheets to enjoy the full loft

Avocado Organic Latex Mattress Topper

  • The wool under the cotton cover carries away heat and moisture.
  • The cotton cover offers antibacterial protection.
  • The latex foam offers protection against allergens.

7. Most Comfortable: Brooklyn Bedding 3 Inch Talalay Latex Topper

Brooklyn Bedding 3 Inch Talalay Latex Topper

If your firm mattress is making your back pain worse, the Brooklyn Bedding 3 Inch Talalay Latex Topper is an ideal choice. This topper can be purchased with a cooling or a plush cover and the Talalay latex mattress topper is fully ventilated to move air.

For those who don't care for the scent that can come from memory foam or gel topper, Talalay latex is an excellent option. This may be the best mattress topper for someone just looking for more cushion or to extend the life of an existing mattress that is suffering crush damage.

If you're shopping for a topper for back pain that won't heat up your sleeping space or break the bank, the Brooklyn Bedding line is a great choice.

  • This company makes returns very easy
  • The cover can be removed for washing
  • You can also get a poly cover which will reduce heat build-up

Cons

  • Adding foam always includes the risk of adding heat
  • The cover can make this topper a bit slippery on your existing mattress
  • You may need to try different combinations of firmness and cover material to get to the right topper for your back pain

Brooklyn Bedding 3 Inch Talalay Latex Topper

  • The Brooklyn Bedding mattress topper comes with an organic cotton cover for softness and luxury.
  • These toppers can save you the expense of replacing a too hard mattress.
  • Talalay latex is ventilated to move air and prevent heat build-up; it's also a terrific choice if allergen build-up is a concern.

8. Best Firm: Puffy Mattress Topper

Puffy Mattress Topper

Some with back pain use a mattress topper temporarily. If you're ready to upgrade your mattress for the long term, the Puffy Mattress Topper is an excellent choice.

These mattress toppers feature deep elastic pockets to secure the topper to any properly sized mattress. Whether your back pain is worsened by too much softness or a too firm mattress, you can customize your purchase with this mattress topper for back stability.

The cover of this topper for back pain is a combination of poly and bamboo for softness and stretch. Additionally, these toppers for back pain have an anti-slip layer to increase grip and reduce worries.

Finally, unlike other memory foam topper options, this mattress topper may be cooler than your existing mattress.

  • This topper has rubber grips that allow you to secure it to your existing mattress
  • You can either firm up or soften your existing mattress
  • The cover is washable

Cons

  • This may add to the height of your bed without increasing support; getting in and out of bed could be more challenging
  • These toppers can be heavier than a standard foam topper
  • Some users notice an odor from the Puffy mattress topper

Puffy Mattress Topper

  • This topper offers permanent pressure relief and can stretch the life of your current mattress.
  • The best mattress topper when your back hurts is the one you can set and forget; this one may be best for you.
  • Many of the best mattress toppers warm up your bed. This one can cool an overly warm bed.

9. Best Cooling: BedStory 3 Inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper

BedStory 3 Inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Hot sleepers will be excited to find out that there is an option just for them! The BedStory 3 Inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper is a layered memory foam mattress topper that will help you stay cooler as it supports you and gives you more cushion.

These mattress toppers benefit back pain sufferers in many ways. The bottom layer of supporting foam gives terrific pressure relief. The top layer of gel memory foam features holes for airflow and comfort.

Finally, this mattress topper for back support has a removable cover that can easily be washed as needed. Whether you just need a topper for back pain or need to stretch the life of your existing mattress, this mattress topper can protect your back and your budget.

  • The more you sink, the more support you get
  • Thanks to the washable cover, this may be the best mattress toppers for someone recovering or in therapy
  • CertiPUR foam reduces the risk of long term odor

Cons

  • This will need to expand for at least 48 hours
  • This mattress topper may slide on top of your existing mattress if you can't lift the mattress to secure the straps
  • This may not be the best mattress topper for someone who needs to firm up a soft mattress

BedStory 3 Inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper

  • Unlike many toppers for back pain, this one stays cools and wicks away heat.
  • While some mattress toppers for back discomfort are just foam, this one has a foam base layer for stability and a removable cover.
  • If you've struggled to find the best mattress topper for your back, this one offers free returns if it doesn't work for you.

10. Luxury: Birch Organic Mattress Topper

Birch Organic Mattress Topper

For those struggling with breathing issues as well as back pain, the Birch Organic Mattress Topper is an ideal choice. This is a latex mattress topper with a layer of birch wool on top of the foam and an organic cotton quilted cover.

If you find synthetic foam mattress toppers to be too hot, this mattress topper can cool you thanks to the cotton cover. It should be noted that this mattress topper for back soreness is quite subtle; if your current bed is too hot or too hard, this will offer a bit of cushioning and a modicum of cooling.

If your old mattress is quite crushed and hard or is extremely firm, you may need more cushion than this topper for back pain offers.

However, if your current memory foam mattress is far too hot, this may be the best mattress topper for your needs.

  • The 100-night sleep trial makes this one of the best mattress toppers for anyone who's been searching for a while
  • This topper offers a 10-year warranty as well
  • The cover is easy to spot clean; simply air dry when finished

Cons

  • If you are vegan, this mattress topper will not suit you
  • Fans of a flat, square mattress may not appreciate the look of rounded corners and the quilted top
  • Make sure you check the dimensions of your existing bed to avoid delivery hassles

Birch Organic Mattress Topper

  • Of the toppers for back pain in this review, this may be considered the most mattress enhancing.
  • Unlike gel memory foam, this cooling option has a cover that can be spot cleaned.
  • You can enjoy pressure relief all down your body on this mattress topper.

Best Types of Mattress Toppers for Back Pain?

Your sleeping style will have a huge impact on finding the right mattress toppers for back discomfort. If you are a tummy sleeper, you may do better by firming up your mattress and changing out your pillow. 

Side sleepers may determine that their best mattress topper for back pain is softer than your current mattress. Back sleepers who need a mattress topper can probably use a memory foam product of medium density.

Hot sleepers with back pain will want a cooling mattress topper. Because many people react poorly to many types of foam, from memory to latex foam, mattress toppers that offer layers and a fabric cover may be more comfortable.

Unfortunately, many back pain sufferers trying to sleep can make life hard for their sleeping partner. A mattress topper that eliminates motion transfer may reduce tension and frustration in the household as you work out your back pain.

Finally, make sure you can open up the sleeping space to freshen the air once your mattress topper expands. Some have an odor when they expand. Others take up to 72 hours to expand. Take care not to sleep on your new mattress topper until it has fully expanded and the odor is gone.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Mattress Topper for Back Pain

Comfort

A hard bed can be a misery. Adding a mattress topper, whether latex or memory foam, can reduce the intensity and severity of your back pain. The mattress toppers in this listing give you the chance to add just a bit of cushion or a fully plush sleeping experience.

Size

A mattress topper can add just a bit of height to your bed, or you can go with a more plush option. Be aware that many mattress toppers can be quite heavy. A memory foam topper without a cover may be much easier to move on your own. If you’re already struggling with back pain, a heavy mattress topper may not be the best purchase.

Price

Your mattress topper options will generally cost more based on the level of finish. For example, single-piece memory foam mattress toppers for back pain can be quite economical. 

However, if you need one that is made of latex foam, it will probably have a cover and additional cushioning. These may be more comfortable to sleep on, but they can also be heavier and more costly.

Portability

The more fabric, stuffing, and foam in your mattress topper, the heavier it will be. Latex foam tends to be heavier than memory foam. Many unadorned mattress toppers are quite lightweight and easy to move as needed. 

If your budget is small and your back pain is severe, you may do better with multiple layers of a simple foam mattress topper so you can manage the weight.

Heat Concerns

As a general rule, a memory foam mattress topper will be warmer than a latex mattress topper unless it is gel-infused or vented. If you sleep hot, look for mattress toppers that are formulated to cool your skin. 

A cover with a cotton cover can also help you stay cool while managing your back pain.

Hygiene

If you are facing surgery or recovering from a medical procedure, a mattress topper that has a removable cover so you can protect your memory foam topper from staining ad moisture. Any moisture or fluid inside mattress toppers can lead to bacterial growth.

How Much Does a Mattress Topper Cost?

You can get a budget mattress topper for about $80. The more expensive options in this listing can run over $200. 

Latex tends to be more expensive than memory foam. The severity and length of your back pain can make even the most expensive mattress toppers a bargain!

FAQ

  1. Is a mattress topper worth it?

    If you have back pain, memory foam or latex foam mattress topper can be a lifesaver.

  2. Can mattress toppers help with back pain?

    The right mattress topper can make your current mattress either softer or harder, both of which can help your back pain.

  3. What's the difference between a mattress pad and a mattress topper?

    A mattress pad is designed to protect your mattress from staining. A mattress topper can increase the softness of your mattress. The right memory foam mattress toppers can make your too-soft bed firmer to reduce back pain.

  4. What kind of mattress topper is best for back pain?

    It depends on your favorite sleeping position. A firm mattress topper is better for back and tummy sleepers, while soft memory foam mattress toppers may reduce back pain for side sleepers.

  5. Can mattress toppers be bad for your back?

    If your back is unstable or inflamed, a mattress topper that is too soft can hurt. Some memory foam mattress toppers get too hot, which can increase inflammation and make your back pain worse.

  6. Is a memory foam topper good for back pain?

    Memory foam or gel infused mattress topper can provide you with the support necessary and keep you cool. Memory foam that offers no pressure relief may add to your back pain. Mattress toppers, whether memory foam or latex, may not completely relieve your pain.

  7. How thick should a mattress topper be for back pain?

    A basic mattress topper of just 2 inches tall may be enough, especially if you need to firm up a mattress. If you need more cushion, a 3-inch memory foam layer may be better. Mattress toppers with additional layers and a cover may reduce your back pain even more.

  8. How long do mattress toppers last?

    You can expect at least a year of quality support from the cheapest mattress topper in this listing. If your current mattress is crushed, a simple memory foam layer can help. Of course, mattress toppers and memory foam can crush over time as well; be prepared for your back pain to return as the cushion compresses.

  9. Can I just sleep on a mattress topper?

    Usually, a mattress topper will be too thin. Multiple memory foam mattress toppers may work if your back pain requires a firm surface. Like any other sleeping surface, mattress toppers will crush over time.

  10. Can I put a mattress topper on top of a box spring?

    A layered mattress topper may not survive top on a box spring. Memory foam, layered may work, but generally, mattress toppers are too thin to support you and reduce the risk of back pain.

Stretch Out and Sleep Deeply

Whether your bed is too firm, too soft, or just worn out, you can add a mattress topper that can reduce your back pain. 

A quality memory foam layer or topper can be a simple addition, but the winner of this review is clearly the Saatva Mattress Topper. Not only can this stretch the life of your current mattress, but these mattress toppers can be banded to your mattress to prevent slipping.

Saatva Mattress Topper

Finally, the cotton cover will keep you cool.

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Amanda Doyle

Hi, I’m Amanda and I'm a writer and a researcher and love writing about sleep since it's a very important topic! I'm very detailed when it comes to mattress firmness, bedding comfort! Meditation is part of my daily routine and it's awesome :)

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