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Best Mattresses for Pain Relief

Human body in pain

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Aches and pains are a common issue while we sleep, especially as we age. Hip pain and back pain are some of the most frequent offenders and can be caused by chronic health conditions and injuries. The mattress that you choose to buy can have a huge impact on your pain, which can greatly affect your quality of life.

Mattresses that conform to the shape of your body are generally much better for pain relief. These mattresses help support and align your neck, shoulders, and pelvis; ensuring that you are sleeping in a neutral position. Beds that don’t offer this conforming benefit don’t offer adequate support to your hips and back, and in many cases can make your pain much worse.

Our favorite mattress for hip pain relief is Nectar. We found that the medium-firm level of firmness is ideal for most sleepers, and its low price point makes it a great value.

Our favorite mattress for back pain relief is Saatva. It has a great reputation and is one of the most popular “mattress in a box” companies. The luxury firm option is great for spinal alignment and pain relief.

Recommended mattresses for hip pain

The best mattresses for relieving hip pain are:

  1. Nectar
  2. Puffy
  3. DreamCloud
  4. Layla
  5. Brentwood Oceano
  6. Nest Alexander

#1. Nectar

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The Nectar is a medium-firm memory foam mattress. These types of mattresses are great for people who suffer from hip pain because they provide support while also contouring to your body, which prevents painful pressure points. It’s made out of the same material as their extremely popular pillows.

This mattress is also great for you if you sleep with a partner. The two memory foam layers absorb and reduce motion transfer, which is definitely something you want to avoid if you’re dealing with chronic pain!

While the technical specifications of the Nectar are phenomenal, the real reason it’s earned a #1 spot on our list is the extremely affordable price. The Nectar costs hundreds of dollars less than other mattresses in the premium direct-to-consumer category without any reduction in quality.

Nectar offers free shipping within the contiguous United States. They also give you a 365-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty to protect you against manufacturer defects.

#2. Puffy

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Puffy makes their mattresses with a medium level of firmness. If medium-firm mattresses like the Nectar aren’t soft enough for you, then medium mattresses like Puffy will be perfect. They provide just the right amount of support without being too uncomfortable, and just the right amount of softness without feeling like there’s no structure to your bed.

Side sleepers will love this mattress because the memory foam contours to your body shape. This is extremely important for side sleepers who suffer from hip pain, since non-contouring mattresses tend to put too much pressure on your hips. We’re happy to report that this isn’t a problem with Puffy.

Puffy offers a 101-night sleep trial so you can test out the mattress risk-free. They also give you a 10-year limited warranty that protects you against defects in workmanship. They also offer financing for as low as $25 per month, making it more affordable.

#3. DreamCloud

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We rate the DreamCloud as a medium-firm mattress. Like the Nectar, this mattress provides slightly more support than a medium mattress, but it’s not as unforgiving as a firm one.

The DreamCloud is a hybrid mattress with an innerspring core that is surrounded by a cooling layer of gel. There are actually eight different layers involved in the construction of this mattress, which makes it one of the more uniquely constructed beds that we’ve reviewed.

When you buy a DreamCloud you’ll get free shipping, 0% financing, and a lifetime warranty. They also offer a 365-night sleep trial, which is designed to give you the chance to try out the mattress over an extended period of time to make sure that it meets your needs.

#4. Layla

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Layla makes a mattress that has a unique selling point: it’s both a soft mattress and a firm one. The company recommends the soft side for people who sleep on their side, and the firm side for stomach and back sleepers.

This mattress is constructed out of copper foam, which provides similar contouring effects as memory foam but with added support. The copper gel in the foam reacts to increased pressure by turning up the level of firmness. This means that it provides extra support around deep compression areas – like the hips – while staying soft throughout.

Layla offers free shipping, a 120-night money back guarantee, and a lifetime warranty.

#5. Brentwood Oceano

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The Oceano has a medium feel, similar to the Puffy listed above. There are 1353 individually wrapped coils in the 4-inch top pocket, which is designed to provide support while remaining comfortable.

The gel memory foam is a contouring layer that provides spinal support and, most importantly for people suffering from hip pain, pressure relief. There are 796 base coils distributed in 5 zones throughout the mattress, giving you even more support.

Brentwood gives you a 25 year limited warranty and you get free shipping when ordering from Amazon.

#6. Nest Alexander

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The Alexander by Nest is another hybrid-style mattress. The combination of pocket coils and memory foam gives you a great balance between support and comfort. You can choose between different levels of firmness including medium, luxury firm, and plush. You can also split your mattress between two different levels of firmness.

We recommend that people with chronic hip pain choose the medium mattress. This will provide you with the right amount of support and softness that injured or painful hips require. You won’t experience any painful pressure points on the parts that sink in (like your hips).

If you’re familiar with Nest Bedding pillows then you already know what you’re getting with their mattress since it’s made out of similar materials.

Nest Bedding offers 0% APR financing, free shipping, and a lifetime warranty.

Recommended mattresses for relieving back pain

The best mattresses for back pain are:

  1. Saatva
  2. Bear
  3. Purple

#1. Saatva

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As one of the most popular “mattress in a box” companies, Saatva definitely has a great reputation. Their mattress is available in three different firmness levels: luxury firm, plush soft, and firm.

For back pain relief we recommend the luxury firm version. The standard firm version might not be comfortable enough, while the plush soft version won’t provide adequate support.

This mattress features active wire support in the middle of the mattress for optimal spinal alignment. The company brands this feature as “Lumbar Zone support technology”, and our reviewers found that it did a great job of relieving back pain.

Saatva includes a 120-night free trial and free “white glove delivery”, meaning that the company will bring your mattress to your bedroom and set it up for you. They’ll also remove your old bed so you don’t have to worry about getting rid of it on your own.

#2. Bear

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Bear mattress in bedroom

The Bear Mattress is another medium-firm mattress that is great for people with sore backs. The mattress uses a multi-layered memory foam structure to help support the natural curvature of your back and sides.

Graphite gel and open cell response foam help create a cooling effect that will help lead to a much more comfortable night of sleep. The company uses environmentally friendly construction, so you can rest easy knowing that you’re not contributing to climate change.

Bear comes with a 100-night free trial period, free shipping and returns, and a 10-year warranty. This mattress is even more affordable due to financing with Affirm.

#3. Purple

Check price | Full review coming soon

Purple is another company that’s part of the “mattress in a box” hype train. One thing all of our reviewers loved about this one is that it provides a great degree of motion isolation, which is great if you sleep with a partner.

The company claims that their mattress will never develop a body indent. We determined that this is definitely true, at least during our initial testing period. The mattress looked like new even after extensive use.

When you buy a Purple mattress through their Amazon store you’ll get a 100-night free trial as well as free shipping.

How to deal with stiff joints and muscles in the morning?

Regardless of whether your morning stiffness lasts less than 30 minutes or up to several hours, here are some tips on how to relieve the pain:

  • Make sure your joints are supported:

Back sleepers may need a special pillow for neck support, one for lower back support and one below the knees;

Side sleepers also need neck support and may require a pillow to support the waist and one placed in between the knees for hip and knee support;

Stomach sleepers could need a flat (or no) pillow for the head and one flat pillow to keep their pelvis from sinking in and straining the back.

  • It could be that your sleeping position may be bad for your condition, so try changing it for a few days and see if it helps.
  • Rethink your mattress and pillows. Do they offer proper support? Do you need to change anything?
  • Sleep in a warm environment. Your room shouldn’t be hot, which would keep waking you up, but it shouldn’t be too cold either. Coldness worsens arthritis and stiffness. Heating pads can be very helpful.
  • After waking up do some light stretching and take a hot shower.
  • Arrange your activities so that you don’t have to do them early in the morning. Instead focus on doing exercises that can help your muscles and joints.
  • Avoid stress in the evening. Try to relax and get warm.

More tips that you can do throughout the day:

  • Stay active during the day. Exercise can relieve inflammation and keep your limbs warm. (Exercise within your limits. Too much can aggravate the pain)
  • Mind your posture and keep a healthy diet. 
  • Make sure your weight doesn’t go too far up.
  • Stop consuming cigarettes if you’re a smoker.
  • Take a vitamin D supplement.

Is a firmer mattress always the better choice for chronic pain?

Not necessarily. Research has shown that medium-firm mattresses help ease low back pain and shorten sleep latency (the time it takes to fall asleep). 

People with chronic pain who slept on firm mattresses need a longer time to fall asleep, have slightly worse sleep quality, and wake up feeling more pain than those who sleep on somewhat softer mattresses.

The best results come from those who sleep on adjustable beds. If you can inflate or adjust your mattress so that it meets your personal needs then you’re in for a great night’s sleep.

What’s a firm mattress?

There isn’t a standard “firmness scale” for mattresses. How we perceive firmness depends entirely on ourselves, our body, and preferences. Something that is way too soft for a tall heavy person might be very firm for a petite lightweight person.

Here is what you should take into consideration when choosing the right firmness of a mattress:

  • Side sleepers should look for medium or soft mattresses. A softer mattress will keep the spine properly aligned as it allows the shoulder and hip to sink in.
  • Stomach and back sleepers should look for medium to firm mattresses which keep the weight evenly distributed. This way your mattress protects you from having spine strain and keeps the pelvis from sinking.
  • People who weigh more need firmer mattresses (those below 120lb may need medium-soft, whereas those over 240lb should look for medium-firm/firm mattresses).

These guidelines should help you decide on the right mattress for you, but what really matters is how you feel and what’s the most pain-relieving for you personally. Your condition may be unique so it’s always the best to try out different mattresses on your own.

How do I know if I need a firmer mattress?

One article in Harvard Health Publishing gives us a fantastic piece of advice – either put a plywood board under the mattress or put the mattress on the floor. Doing so will make it feel firmer and spending a couple of nights like that should give you a solid idea of whether or not you need a different mattress.

If you wake up in less pain than before then that’s a good sign you may need a firmer mattress.

Old mattress? Flip or rotate it. 

If you have an old mattress and you’ve never flipped or rotated it, you could try that before buying a new one. Many manufacturers recommend flipping or rotating the mattress every few months up to once a year. This way each side wears out equally and the mattress lasts longer. 

Some types of mattresses can’t be flipped. In that case you may need to go shopping soon.

How do I know I need a softer mattress?

These are signs your mattress is too hard: you don’t sink into the mattress at all, you frequently feel pain on your pressure points (hips, shoulders, knees – depending on how you sleep), and/or your arm falls asleep easily – even when you’re not putting so much pressure on it.

Quick fix for a hard mattress 

Mattress toppers provide a thick soft layer on the surface of your mattress to help ease the discomfort. They also come in different temperature-regulating options, so you can choose a cooling topper if you tend to get too hot when sleeping.

My new mattress is causing me pain!

If your new mattress is much different than your old one (perhaps you used to sleep on an old coil mattress and now you switched to a high-quality latex mattress), it may cause pain or stiffness. The pain location may depend on your sleep position.

It’s normal to feel the change after transition – sometimes it’s pain-relieving, sometimes pain-causing. Either way, you can’t really tell if a mattress is good or bad after only one night. If your body is used to a certain firmness and level of support, it doesn’t mean they were good but it could mean it will take some time until you get used to the proper one. This is why many mattress manufacturers allow for a trial period after which you can either replace the mattress or get your money back (depending on their policy). 

Give it several days or a couple of weeks to get used to the mattress. As time passes, you should be getting better rest.

Use common sense – if the pain is not diminishing with time, but rather becomes intolerable, stop sleeping on that mattress. Maybe it’s just not the right mattress for you.  

Why an old mattress is bad for you

After years of use, an average mattress has collected plenty of skin cells and body oils that feed dust mites. These things are in pillows and blankets as well and the majority of people don’t have problems with them unless they are allergic. Dust mites live and die in the mattress, and they produce excrement during their life, so a mattress that’s too old with all the dirty stuff inside could make anyone sneeze, not just the sensitive ones!

An old mattress takes the shape of your body and when its support wears down, you could find yourself sleeping in a hole in the middle of your bed. The uneven surface causes you to be in unfavorable positions that don’t allow proper spine alignment throughout the night. This means you could suffer from strong back or hip pain just because your mattress is old. 

How long can I use the same mattress?

With proper care (flipping/rotating), your mattress can live for about ten years, depending on how and how much you use it. Higher quality mattresses last longer than cheap/low-quality ones. 

If your mattress is firm, has no holes/uneven surfaces, no sagging, and offers you comfortable and painless sleep, you don’t have to worry about getting a new one – although it’s good to get informed about your options so that you know what to buy when the time comes.

How we rate mattresses

We rate mattresses using the following criteria:

  1. Comfort
  2. Structural integrity and durability
  3. Firmness and support

Learn more about our mattress rating process and methodology here.

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