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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 9 of 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.

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.

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.

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

PlushBeds 100% Natural Latex Mattress Topper against a blue background.
  • 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
  • Price: from $288

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 the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification that 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.

Best for a removable cover: ViscoSoft Select Memory Foam Topper

ViscoSoft Select Memory Foam Topper against a blue background.
  • Depth: 2, 3, and 4 in
  • Firmness: medium-firm
  • Material: memory foam
  • Sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and CA king
  • Price: from around $110

The ViscoSoft Select Memory Foam Topper is available in 2 and 3 in-depths. 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 60-day return policy and a warranty of 5 years.

Best for organic materials: Birch Plush Organic Mattress Topper

Birch Plush Organic Mattress Topper against a blue background.
  • Depth: 3 in
  • Firmness: plush
  • Material: organic cotton, wool, and natural latex
  • Sizes: twin, twin xl, full, queen, king, and CA king
  • Price: from $300

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.

Best for a 5-year warranty: Lift by Amerisleep — Support option

Lift by Amerisleep - Support option against a blue background.
  • Depth: 3 in
  • Firmness: soft and firm
  • Material: Bio-Pur or Affinity foam
  • Sizes: twin, twin xl, full, queen, king, and CA king
  • Price: from $199

The 3-in thick Support Lift Mattress Topper offers firmer support to a mattress. Additional features include:

  • increased comfort and reduced pain from pressure points
  • targeted support for different areas of the body
  • a breathable cover for a cooler sleep
  • comfort for back and front sleepers

A person can choose between the comfort and support layer type, and these come with Bio-Pur and Affinity material respectively.

Side or combination sleepers or anyone looking for extra cushioning may prefer the Comfort option.

Amerisleep states that its foams are CertiPUR-US certified, meaning that they are free of harmful chemicals.

The mattress topper is available with free shipping and a 5-year warranty.

Best for gel memory foam: Sleep Innovations 4-Inch Dual Layer Memory Foam Topper

Sleep Innovations 4-inch Dual Layer Memory Foam Topper against a blue background.
  • Depth: 4 in
  • Firmness: medium-plush
  • Material: memory foam
  • Sizes: twin, full, queen, king, and CA king
  • Price: from around $100

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.

Best for organic latex: Pure Green 100% Natural Latex Mattress Topper

Pure Green 100% Natural Latex Mattress Topper against a blue background.
  • Depth: 1, 2, or 3 in
  • Firmness: soft, medium, or firm
  • Material: organic latex
  • Sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and CA king
  • Price: from around $100

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 30-day return and a 5-year warranty.

Best for a linen blend cover: Keetsa Luxurious Comfort Layer

Keetsa Luxurious Comfort Layer against a blue background.
  • Depth: 3 in
  • Firmness: soft
  • Material: BioFoam
  • Sizes: twin, full, queen, king, and CA king
  • Price: from $320

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.

Best for cooling: Casper Comfy Mattress Topper

Casper Comfy Mattress Topper against a blue background.
  • Depth: 3 in
  • Firmness: plush
  • Material: AirScape perforated foam and memory foam
  • Sizes: twin, twin xl, full, queen, king, and CA king
  • Price: from $149

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.

Best for different material options: Saatva Mattress Topper

Saatva Mattress Topper against a blue background.
  • 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
  • Price: from $245

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

People can choose between a graphite, latex, or foam topper. All toppers come with 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.

The following table compares the mattress toppers in this article.

DepthFirmnessMaterialSizesStarting price
PlushBeds• 2 in
• 3 in
• soft
• medium-soft
• medium
• medium-firm
• extra firm
natural latextwin–CA king$288
ViscoSoft• 2 in
• 3 in
• 4 in
medium-firmmemory foamtwin–CA kingaround $110
Birch3 inplush • organic cotton
• wool
• natural latex
twin–CA king$300
Amerisleep3 in• soft
• firm
• Bio-Pur foam
• Affinity foam
twin–CA king$199
Sleep
Innovations
4 inmedium-plushmemory foamtwin–CA kingaround $100
Pure Green• 1 in
• 2 in
• 3 in
• soft
• medium
• firm
organic latextwin–CA kingaround $100
Keetsa3 insoftBioFoamtwin–CA king$320
Casper3 inplushmemory foamtwin–CA king$149
Saatva• 1 in
• 1.5 in
• 3 in
medium-firm• graphite
• latex
• foam
twi–split king$245

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 with no 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 or not and consider 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.

One older study found that lower back pain can increase the risk of sleep disturbance and poor quality sleep. If back pain interferes with sleep quality, a person should consult a doctor.

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 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.

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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • 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.

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.

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.

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.