A mattress topper for back pain is an additional layer of foam, fabric, or natural fibers that people can add on top of their mattress. It can be a cheaper alternative to buying a new mattress if individuals need extra support for their back.

A quick look at the best mattress toppers for back pain

Mattress toppers can contour the body and add extra cushioning, which may help support a person’s back and reduce pain.

Here we look at some of the best mattress toppers for back pain and what to consider when buying one.

Some of the best mattress toppers for back pain

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Please note that all prices are based on queen-size mattress toppers.

Best for different firmness levels: PlushBeds 100% Natural Latex Mattress Topper

PlushBeds 100% Natural Latex Mattress Topper against a blue background.
  • Price: from $445
  • Depth: 2 and 3 inches (in)
  • Firmness: soft, medium-soft, medium, medium-firm, and extra-firm
  • Material: natural latex
  • Sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and CA king

PlushBeds Latex Mattress Topper is 100% natural latex. Its features include:

  • pressure point relief for shoulders, hips, knees, and the back
  • open-cell design to allow airflow
  • 2- or 3-in thickness for different levels of cushioning
  • choice of five different firmness levels to suit all sleeping styles, with an extra-firm option for people weighing over 250 pounds
  • shock absorbency to reduce motion transfer

People who buy this mattress topper can benefit from a 5-year warranty and free shipping.

Also, the mattress holds Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification, which indicates that it contains no harmful substances. It is also GREENGUARD Gold certified, meaning that the product contains low volatile organic compounds and contributes to low emissions.


  • five firmness choices
  • 5-year warranty and free shipping included
  • some reviews mention it is a good quality product which achieved its purpose


  • not suitable for individuals with latex allergies
  • item is not returnable
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Best for a removable cover: ViscoSoft Select Memory Foam Topper

ViscoSoft Select Memory Foam Topper against a blue background.
  • Price: from around $150
  • Depth: 2, 3, and 4 in
  • Firmness: medium-firm
  • Material: memory foam
  • Sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, short queen, king, and CA king

The ViscoSoft Select Memory Foam Topper is available in 2, 3, and 4 inches in height. It is a high-density mattress topper that:

  • relieves pressure points
  • aligns the spine
  • minimizes motion transfer
  • offers a medium-firm feel
  • contains gel-infused memory foam for a cooler sleep
  • suits all sleep styles

It comes with a 90-day return policy and a warranty of 5 years.


  • three depth choices
  • 5-year warranty and ability to return within 90 days
  • more affordable than many competitors


  • only one firmness option
  • some customer reviews comment on poor-quality materials and product
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Best for organic materials: Birch Plush Organic Mattress Topper

Birch Plush Organic Mattress Topper against a blue background.
  • Price: $623.80
  • Depth: 2 in
  • Firmness: plush
  • Material: organic cotton, wool, and natural latex
  • Sizes: twin, twin xl, full, queen, king, and CA king

Featuring a blend of organic cotton, wool, and natural latex, this 3-in deep Birch Organic Mattress Topper also includes:

  • deep body contouring
  • a natural latex contour layer that cushions pressure points
  • a breathable cotton cover that allows airflow
  • an organic cotton cover to wick away moisture
  • a wool layer to regulate temperature
  • nontoxic and naturally fire retardant materials

The mattress topper has the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification as the material is organic. It is also GREENGUARD Gold certified.

The company offers free shipping, a 100-night sleep trial, and a 10-year warranty.


  • choice of three materials
  • comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty
  • positive reviews frequently mention comfort and good customer service


  • plush firmness may not be suitable for all sleepers
  • expensive in comparison to competitors
  • negative reviews mention the topper needed replacing after a short period of time
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Best for gel memory foam: Sleep Innovations 4-Inch Dual Layer Memory Foam Topper

  • Price: from around $140
  • Depth: 4 in
  • Firmness: medium-plush
  • Material: memory foam
  • Sizes: twin, full, queen, king, and CA king

The Sleep Innovations Memory Foam Topper is a 4-in deep memory foam and quilted cushion. The topper offers:

  • pressure relief
  • a washable quilted cover
  • gel memory foam for a cooling effect
  • a cradling effect to provide comfort and support
  • comfort for all sleeping styles

The company claims that the foams meet the CertiPUR-US certification standards.

This Sleep Innovations mattress topper features a 10-year warranty.


  • more affordable than many options
  • comes with a 10-year warranty
  • features a machine washable cover


  • the 4-inch depth may be too high for some individuals
  • some reviewers experienced shedding of the foam
  • some reviewers comment on poor-quality product and materials
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Best for organic latex: Pure Green 100% Natural Latex Mattress Topper

  • Price: from around $165
  • Depth: 1, 2, or 3 in
  • Firmness: soft, medium, or firm
  • Material: organic latex
  • Sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and CA king

The 100% natural latex Pure Green Mattress Topper has an optional organic cotton and polyester cover. Its features include:

  • contouring support
  • instant response to body movement
  • three depth options
  • soft, medium, or firm options to suit all sleep positions
  • durable and breathable natural latex

Certifications include the Oeko-Tex Standard 100, Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS), and EcoInstitut.

Sleep On Latex, the main manufacturer offers a free 30-day returns period and a 5-year warranty.


  • one of the most affordable options on the list
  • 5-year warranty and 30-day returns policy
  • three firmness options


  • not suitable for individuals with latex allergies
  • some negative reviews mention an off-gassing smell
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Best for a linen blend cover: Keetsa Luxurious Comfort Layer

  • Price: $380
  • Depth: 3 in
  • Firmness: soft
  • Material: BioFoam
  • Sizes: twin, full, queen, king, and CA king

The 3-in Keetsa mattress topper uses memory foam and padding to provide comfort and support. Features include:

  • body contouring
  • memory foam comprising a combination of natural and synthetic materials
  • a linen blend cover with a soft, smooth feel
  • a fiberfill padding layer for moisture control and airflow

The Keetsa mattress topper is in line with CertiPUR-US and Oeko-Tex Standard 100.

Individuals can benefit from a 90-day return guarantee and a 5-year warranty when opting for this bedding product.


  • comes with a 5-year warranty and 90-day return guarantee
  • free shipping available
  • many customer reviews mention the product is very comfortable and reduces pain


  • expensive in comparison with some competitors
  • no firmness options to choose from
  • some customer reviews say this topper is too soft and causes a sinking feeling
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Best for cooling: Casper Comfy Mattress Topper

  • Price: $299
  • Depth: 3 in
  • Firmness: plush
  • Material: AirScape perforated foam and memory foam
  • Sizes: twin, twin xl, full, queen, king, and CA king

This mattress topper contains AirScape perforated foam that may help keep the body cool during sleep and a responsive top layer of memory foam. The cover is a stretchable quilted knit for extra comfort.

This mattress is CertiPUR-US certified.

Additionally, the company offers free delivery, a 30-night trial, and a 5-year warranty.


  • free delivery
  • the company provides a 5-year warranty and a 30-night trial
  • contains perforated foam to help keep the user cool in the night


  • no firmness option
  • there are only two customer reviews on the website, one of which mentions an off-gassing smell
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Best for different material options: Saatva Mattress Topper

  • Price: $445
  • Depth: 1, 1.5, or 3 in
  • Firmness: medium-firm
  • Material: graphite, latex, or foam
  • Sizes: twin, twin xl, full, queen, king, CA king, and split king

This mattress topper has a breathable and moisture-wicking organic cotton cover.

People can choose between a graphite, latex, or foam topper. All toppers have elastic anchor bands for a more secure fit and cooling technology.

In addition, the company states that the toppers are compatible with all Saatva mattresses and most other brands.

Saatva offers free shipping, a 180-night trial, and a 1-year warranty.


  • three choices of material
  • lengthy 180-night trial
  • free shipping available


  • the company only provides a 1-year warranty, which is less than most competitors
  • no firmness options
  • some negative reviews mention creasing and the topper being too firm
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Best soft topper: Layla Sleep Memory Foam Topper

  • Price: $349
  • Depth: 2 in
  • Firmness: soft
  • Material: memory foam
  • Sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and CA king

The Layla Sleep Memory Foam Topper can make any mattress feel more plush. The company recommends using this topper with the Layla Mattress to make the soft and firm side of this flippable mattress even more comfortable.

The mattress comprises CertiPUR US-certified memory foam infused with a copper gel.

Layla Sleep claims that the copper gel beads absorb body heat and pull it away from the body to help a person feel cooler during sleep.

Layla provides a 120-night trial, free shipping, and a 5-year warranty.


  • comes with a 5-year warranty and a 120-night free trial
  • flippable for soft and firm options in one mattress
  • copper gel could help a person keep cool during sleep


  • 2-inch support may not be enough for side sleepers
  • some negative reviews mention poor quality materials
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Best easy-clean topper: Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Adapt Topper

  • Price: $419
  • Depth: 3 in
  • Firmness: soft
  • Material: TEMPUR material
  • Sizes: twin, twin long, full, queen, king, and CA king

This mattress topper is made from TEMPUR material. The company states that this material conforms to the body, instantly responding to a person’s weight, shape, and temperature.

The topper features a high-stretch knit cover, which the company states is both cooling and hypoallergenic. The cover is removable and machine washable for easy cleaning.

A strap in each corner of the mattress topper helps to keep the product in place.

This mattress topper comes with a 10-year warranty and free shipping. However, the company does not offer a trial period.


  • comes with a 10-year warranty and free shipping
  • the cover is washable and easy to clean
  • positive customer reviews mention improved sleep and reduced pain after using the mattress topper


  • company does not accept returns or offer a trial period
  • expensive in comparison to some competitors
  • some negative customer reviews mention that the mattress was too soft and that the product made them sweat
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Comparison chart

The following table compares the mattress toppers in this article.

PlushBedsfrom $4452 and 3 in• soft
• medium-soft
• medium
• medium-firm
• extra-firm
natural latextwin–CA king
ViscoSoftfrom around $1502, 3, and 4 inmedium-firmmemory foamtwin–CA king
Birch$623.802 inplush• organic cotton
• wool
• natural latex
twin–CA king
Sleep Innovationsfrom around $1404 inmedium-plushmemory foamtwin–CA king
Pure Greenfrom around $1651, 2, or 3 in• soft
• medium
• firm
organic latextwin–CA king
Keetsa$3803 insoftBioFoamtwin–CA king
Casper$2993 inplush• AirScape foam
• memory foam
twin–CA king
Saatva$4451, 1.5, or 3 inmedium-firm• graphite
• latex
• foam
twin–split king
Layla$3492 insoftmemory foamtwin–CA king
Tempur-Pedic$4193 insoftTempur materialtwin–CA king

How we chose

MNT’s methodology

MNT chooses mattresses, sheets, pillows, and other bedding that meet the following criteria: 

  • Certifications: MNT will choose products that have CertiPUR-US or other certifications. This means that the products are low in pollutants and free from heavy metals and volatile organic compounds. 
  • Size: MNT chooses products that are available in various sizes. 
  • Materials and fill: MNT selects products made from different materials and fills, such as memory foam and latex, to suit a range of sleep and lifestyles. 
  • Budget: MNT features products to suit a wide range of budgets. 
  • Firmness: MNT selects mattresses that are available in a range of firmness options to suit most people’s sleeping styles. 
  • Sleep trials: MNT chooses companies that offer a sleep trial. 
  • Shipping: Where possible, MNT will include shipping information, such as where the company delivers to and whether shipping is free. 
  • Warranties and return policies: MNT will include products that carry warranties and clear returns policies. 
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How to choose a mattress topper

People may wish to consider the following factors when choosing a mattress topper for back pain. According to review and product websites, the following can all play a part in an effective mattress topper:

  • Contouring: A topper that contours with the body may help relieve pressure points and support spinal alignment.
  • Price: A cheaper topper may provide a quick fix, but more expensive models may represent a better investment. People can look for toppers that use durable materials without sagging and provide long lasting comfort.
  • Quality materials: Certain performance materials or technology can add extra benefits, such as temperature regulation or a springy feel.
  • Firmness: People can also consider whether they want to sink into a topper and what body weights a topper will support. One study found that high rebound mattress toppers improved deep sleep quality.
  • Thickness: The depth of a mattress topper can alter the amount of cushioning and contouring it provides. A thicker topper may offer greater contouring and pressure relief.
  • Sleeping position: Side sleepers may need more cushioning for hips and shoulders, while back and front sleepers may need a slightly firmer surface to prevent sinking.

Research states that chronic pain can cause sleep disturbance. If pain interferes with sleep quality, a person should consult a doctor.

Why mattress toppers help back pain

Mattress toppers can be useful for individuals who have old mattresses and are experiencing back pain as a result. This extra layer can help distribute weight and remove the strain from sensitive areas, such as the shoulders, hips, and lumbar region.

Toppers may also make the mattress more comfortable and improve sleep quality.

What type of mattress topper is best for back pain?

A firm mattress topper may be comfortable for people who sleep on their back, but those with back problems should opt for a topper that is not too firm. A medium-firm product may provide comfort and support spine alignment.

In a review of studies, researchers studied the firmness effects of soft, medium-firm, and firm mattresses in people with lower back pain. They found that the medium-firm mattresses reduced pain.

According to an old article from the University of Utah, a person’s comfortable sleeping position is similar to that when they are standing straight. A soft mattress causes the spine to sag, while an extra-firm mattress leads to a very straight spine, which may lead to back pain.

Those with an extra-soft mattress may consider adding a firmer mattress topper to help align the spine.

A person can speak with a healthcare professional for further advice on choosing a mattress topper to help relieve back pain.

Benefits of sleeping with a mattress topper

Sleeping with a mattress topper can have several health benefits.

A 2020 article found that a thin mattress topper of 30 millimeters (1.2 inches) in thickness can help reduce body pressure and temperature. It can also improve spinal alignment.

Furthermore, a 2018 study found that high rebound mattress toppers can help reduce body temperature and improve deep sleep.

However, before purchasing a mattress topper, a person may wish to consider the pros and cons.


  • Mattress toppers can improve comfort.
  • Mattress toppers help protect the mattress, which may increase its lifespan.
  • Mattress toppers can help regulate body temperature.


  • A mattress topper may slide around the bed if a person does not secure it properly.
  • Mattress toppers can be expensive.
  • Mattress toppers are not suitable for mattresses that are lumpy, misshapen, or do not provide support.
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Types of mattress toppers

Mattress toppers differ from protectors and pads.

  • Topper: Provides additional comfort and can adjust the firmness, temperature, and height.
  • Protector: The purpose of this is to protect the mattress from spills, dust, and getting dirty.
  • Pad: These are thinner than toppers and simply serve to adjust the firmness.

Manufacturers may use synthetic or natural materials to make mattress toppers. Synthetic materials include memory foam and synthetic latex. Natural materials can include feathers or down, wool, and natural latex. The advantages of different materials are as follows:

Mattress toppers are available in a range of materials, such as:

  • Latex: This material is durable, firm, and contours to a person’s body, so it may offer additional support and spinal alignment. However, latex may be more costly than other materials.
  • Memory foam: This material molds to a person’s body shape. Memory foam provides pressure relief and may help reduce motion transfer.
  • Wool: This material is naturally hypoallergenic and antimicrobial. Additionally, wool is soft and comfortable.
  • Feather and down: This material is durable and comfortable. However, feather and down toppers require regular maintenance and are not suitable for people with an allergy to down.

Frequently asked questions

Below are some of the most common questions and answers about mattress toppers.

Does a mattress topper go under the sheet?

A mattress topper sits directly on the mattress, under the sheets. Most of them have straps or ties so that people can secure them in place.

How thick should a mattress topper be for back pain?

Typically, a medium thickness is 2–4 in, offering a feel that is not too soft or firm.

A person should measure their mattress size and choose a topper that fits that measurement. If they buy the product from an online retailer, it may be best to read customer reviews to find out if others have had any problems with its sizing guide.

Depending on the type of back pain a person is experiencing, they should speak with a doctor for further advice on the style of mattress topper that might help.

Is memory foam or a firm mattress better for back pain?

Memory foam provides a snug fit that may be beneficial for those with back pain, as it also adjusts to the individual’s body.

Typically, experts recommend medium-firm mattresses for back pain. However, a person should speak with a healthcare professional, as the cause of their back pain may mean a different type of mattress is more suitable. Additionally, there may be an underlying health issue causing the discomfort.

How do you wash a mattress topper?

Some mattress toppers come with a removable cover. To determine whether the cover is washable, a person should check the label.

Labels should state whether the product is machine washable or requires dry cleaning. Those that are machine washable should provide further cleaning instructions.

Some manufacturers sell mattress toppers and removable covers separately. Purchasing a removable cover may be a good investment since it could prolong the life of the mattress topper.

Are mattress toppers appropriate for front sleepers?

A 2017 study compared the effects of different mattress materials on body pressure distribution during three different sleep postures; front-sleeping, back-sleeping, and side-sleeping. The study found that a latex mattress was preferable to a polyurethane mattress, distributing pressure more evenly across the body for all three sleep postures.

Given the above, a front sleeper using a polyurethane mattress may benefit from adding a latex mattress topper. Doing so may help to distribute their body weight more evenly, ensuring a more comfortable sleep.


A mattress topper can be a suitable option for changing a mattress’s feel without the necessary expense or commitment of buying a new mattress. Mattress toppers offering contouring, spinal alignment, extra cushioning, and pressure relief may help relieve back pain.

However, if a sagging or worn-out mattress is causing back pain, a mattress topper may not help, and people may need to consider getting a new mattress.

If a change in bedding and sleeping surface does not improve back pain, individuals can speak with a doctor to explore other treatment suggestions.