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Best Orthopedic Mattress

Keith Cushner

Written by

Keith Cushner, Sleep Product Expert

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We personally test every product featured in our reviews and guide to provide accurate, data-driven recommendations. Learn More

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In light of some recent product tests, we've updated this page to feature the WinkBed as our best overall orthopedic mattress. Additionally, the Helix Midnight is now our top pick for side sleepers and the Bear Elite Hybrid is our best mattress for back pain.

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Sleep is a crucial time for the body to rest and restore itself. For many who suffer from back and joint pain, a lack of quality sleep can exacerbate their pain, creating a harmful cycle of pain and poor sleep. Sometimes, simply sleeping on the wrong mattress can trigger back and neck pain.

If you’re experiencing discomfort, you should speak with your doctor to assess the potential causes and treatment options. However, a quality orthopedic mattress that is well suited to your body and sleep preferences can play a role in preventing both the initiation and continuation of mattress-related back, neck, and joint pain. The right model can help alleviate pressure and promote spinal alignment, reducing or preventing aches and pains and enabling a deeper, more restorative sleep.

An orthopedic mattress is one that is intended to relieve bone and joint pain. However, because many manufacturers use the term for marketing, it can be challenging to determine which mattresses use truly orthopedic designs.

Many shoppers struggle with selecting an orthopedic mattress due to the overwhelming number of options. We’ll highlight some of the best orthopedic mattresses and explain what to look for to help you find a model that will work best for your body and sleep preferences

The Best Orthopedic Mattress

Product Details

Best Overall

WinkBed

WinkBed
Price Range: $1,149 - $2,049
Mattress Type: Innerspring
Firmness: Medium Soft (4), Medium Firm (6), Firm (7), Firm (8)
Trial length: 120 nights (30 night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Hot sleepers
  • People who carry extra weight in the chest, stomach, and hips
  • Those who are unsure which mattress firmness is best for them
Highlights:
  • Luxurious design pairs dense, adaptive comfort layers with a robust coil system
  • Available in four firmness levels
  • Zoned support core reinforces the midsection and reduces sinkage along the edges
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

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Determining your ideal mattress firmness is key to alleviating upper and lower back pain. The WinkBed is available in four firmness levels. These include medium soft (4), medium firm (6), and firm (7) options for the standard model, which is constructed with adaptive polyfoam comfort layers. You can also select the WinkBed Plus, which is specifically designed for people over 230 pounds with a latex transitional layer for extra support.

All versions of the WinkBed feature pocketed coil support cores. The coils are thicker and stronger beneath your midsection, creating extra pushback for added weight in your chest, stomach, and hips, while thinner coils cradle the head and legs. Thicker coils also line the perimeter to protect the edges from excessive sinkage. A cover of breathable Tencel fabric encases the mattress. The Tencel has moisture-wicking properties and air circulates freely through the support core, so the WinkBed should sleep cool for most people.

Our hands-on tests show the medium soft feel’s deep contouring is best suited to side sleepers, particularly those weighing less than 130 pounds. Back sleeping testers in this weight range also found the mattress comfortable. The medium firm feel is the most balanced option, and drew favorable ratings from all testers on our team weighing up to 230 pounds across all position groups. Those who want less cushioning and more support should opt for the firm or Plus designs.

Standard ground shipping is free of charge for all customers in the contiguous U.S. and each order includes a 120-night sleep trial. If you aren’t satisfied with your initial firmness selection, WinkBeds allows you to exchange the original mattress for a model with a different feel. This process won’t cost you anything extra, and the replacement model comes with its own 60-night trial period. Whichever model you choose to keep is backed by a lifetime warranty.

Best Value

DreamCloud Mattress

DreamCloud Mattress
Price Range: $799 - $1,499
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 365 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Hot sleepers
  • People who normally find coil mattresses too bouncy
  • Shoppers who want a mattress with a long sleep trial
Highlights:
  • Sophisticated hybrid design with premium foam layers and luxe cashmere-blend cover
  • Pocketed coils reinforce and stabilize the mattress without creating too much springiness
  • 365-night sleep trial and lifetime warranty
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

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The crowd-pleasing DreamCloud Mattress combines the enduring support of an innerspring with thick, closely contouring foam layers. The result is a mattress that cushions the body and alleviates pressure without sacrificing support or stability. A medium firm (6) feel ensures most people who weigh up to 230 pounds won’t sink excessively, but the surface is quilted with adaptive foam for a plush feel when you get into bed. And while luxury hybrids typically cost quite a bit, the DreamCloud Mattress has a sticker price most shoppers will find very approachable.

The comfort system contains a comfort layer of gel memory foam followed by a transitional polyfoam layer to keep your body on an even plane. Individually pocketed coils line the support core. The coils stabilize the mattress and protect the edges from deep sagging without making the surface feel stiff or producing disruptive motion transfer. Air circulates through the coils to help maintain a comfortable temperature. Another cooling component is a cover blended with cashmere, a material with natural temperature-regulating and moisture-wicking properties.

Not only is the DreamCloud Mattress an affordable option for shoppers seeking a cheap mattress, but it also qualifies for free ground shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. DreamCloud’s 365-night sleep trial is among the longest in the online mattress industry. Those who choose to keep the mattress also receive a lifetime warranty against structural defects.

Best Luxury

Saatva Classic

Saatva Classic
Price Range: $935 - $2,450
Mattress Type: Innerspring
Firmness: Soft (3), Medium Firm (6), Firm (8)
Trial length: 365 Nights ($99 Return Fee)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Split King, California King, Split California King
Who it's best for:
  • Shoppers searching for an excellent combination of pressure relief and bounce
  • Individuals who tend to sleep hot
  • Those looking for a durable mattress that’s easy to move on
Highlights:
  • Three firmness and two height options
  • Plush Euro-top cushions the surface
  • Free White Glove delivery
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

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The Saatva Classic combines a thick Euro-top with two coil layers to provide a comfortable surface that balances pressure relief, breathability, edge support, and bounce.

Three firmness options are available for this innerspring model: Plush Soft, Luxury Firm, and Firm, which rate at 3, 6, and 8 respectively. It is also available in two height options: 11.5 inches and 14.5 inches. All of these options employ similar materials and designs.

A 3-inch Euro-top is quilted with 1.25 to 1.5 inches of polyfoam, depending on the firmness level. It also includes .75 inches of fiber fill and one ounce of Dacron. Below the Euro-top are two layers of foam, a .625-inch layer of polyfoam and .375 inches of memory foam. The memory foam layer is exclusively in the center of the bed to cradle the hips and support spinal alignment.

Two layers of coils add support, breathability, and bounce. First, a 4-inch layer of foam-encased coils contours to the shape of the body while limiting motion transfer. The support core is composed of hourglass coils. This layer is 4 inches in the 11.5-inch mattress option and 7 inches in the 14.5-inch option.

The Saatva Classic excels at relieving pressure. Its Euro-top and pocketed coil layer provide close contouring that promotes spinal alignment, while the coil core enhances the supportiveness and responsiveness of the surface. A reinforced foam edge provides a comfortable perimeter for individuals who tend to sit or sleep near the edge of the bed.

With three firmness and two height options, sleepers of all body types and preferred sleeping positions should enjoy the Saatva’s pressure relief capabilities.

Saatva offers free White Glove delivery within the contiguous U.S. A 365-night trial period is available, though returns are subject to a $99 transportation charge. Saatva also includes a lifetime warranty with each order.

Nolah Evolution 15

Best for Spinal Alignment

Nolah Evolution 15

Nolah Evolution 15
Price Range: $999 - $1,699
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium (5), Medium Firm (6), Firm (8)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Sleepers who run hot
  • People who experience painful pressure points
  • Those who enjoy beds with thicker profiles
Highlights:
  • Three firmness options
  • Plush Euro-top
  • Lifetime warranty
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

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The Nolah Evolution 15 is a hybrid mattress that comes in three firmness options. Designed with a quilted Euro-top, the bed is ideal for sleepers seeking a cushioned surface to cradle areas of the body that are susceptible to painful pressure buildup.

The Evolution has a 15-inch profile and is available as a plush (5), luxury firm (6), or firm (8) model. The plush Euro-top is quilted with a cooling foam that conforms to the body, followed by a layer of proprietary AirFoamICE polyfoam. Together, these layers offer ample contouring to help ease pressure off areas like the hips, shoulders, and spine. Next is a firmer foam layer that prevents the lower back from sinking into the bed, followed by high-density foam for enhanced support. A thick coil system provides strong support but is responsive enough to provide some pressure relief.

With three firmness options to choose from, sleepers across all weight categories and sleep positions should find this bed comfortable. Side sleepers will likely find the softer models more suitable, while stomach sleepers may gravitate toward the firmer models. For shoppers seeking a bed with temperature neutrality, this mattress has excellent cooling features. The Euro-top and AirFoamIce are engineered to draw heat from a sleeper’s body at night. A breathable gusset around the comfort layer helps aerate the foam comfort layer, and the coils allow air to circulate through the bed’s interior.

The Nolah Evolution 15 comes with a generous lifetime warranty as well as a 120-night trial for those who would like to try out the bed. Shipping is free to the contiguous U.S.

GhostBed 3D Matrix

Best for Back Pain

GhostBed 3D Matrix

GhostBed 3D Matrix
Price Range: $2,650 - $5,300
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium (5)
Trial length: 101 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 25 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin XL, Queen, King, California King, Split King
Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers who weigh 230 pounds or less
  • People who experience sharp pain or pressure points along the spine
  • Hot sleepers
Highlights:
  • Mixed-foam comfort system cushions the body without sacrificing responsiveness
  • Coils are reinforced around the perimeter to reduce sinkage
  • Proprietary, cool-to-the-touch cover fabric can draw heat away from the surface
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

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Many sleepers experience hip pain due to insufficient mattress support. The hips are an area where people tend to carry a disproportionate amount of weight, causing them to sink excessively in this area on mattresses that feel too soft. The GhostBed 3D Matrix is considered medium (5) in terms of firmness, creating a plush feel with close body-conforming, but the six-layer design also delivers great reinforcement for sleepers who weigh up to 230 pounds – particularly those who sleep on their sides.

The mattress has a top layer consisting of proprietary 3D Matrix Polymer material lined with gel pods to capture and release body heat. The next layer is composed of gel-infused memory foam, followed by a layer of Ghost Bounce foam that offers latex-like responsiveness. The cooling components of the top two layers help the mattress sleep at a comfortable temperature, as does the cover made of Ghost Ice fabric. People who have found other foam mattresses too warm should consider the 3D Matrix for this reason.

The support core contains pocketed coils over a layer of high-density polyfoam. The coils are zoned to provide extra strength along the perimeter, which should help sleepers feel secure when they sleep near the edges of the mattress or get in and out of bed. Steady airflow through the coil system also contributes to the 3D Matrix’s excellent temperature control.

GhostBed provides free ground shipping across the contiguous U.S. The company’s sleep trial spans 101 nights in length, and each purchase is also backed by a 25-year warranty.

Helix Midnight

Best for Side Sleepers

Helix Midnight

Helix Midnight
Price Range: $799 - $1,549
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Side and back sleepers
  • Hot sleepers
  • Shoppers with limited budgets
Highlights:
  • Memory foam conforms to the body without sinking too much
  • Perimeter coils push back against compression to minimize sinkage
  • Affordable pricing and free shipping to all 50 states
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

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Helix Sleep’s mattress line includes more than a dozen hybrids designed for specific body types and sleep positions. The Helix Midnight is one of the company’s most balanced models. While the mattress is geared toward side sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds, the Midnight’s medium firm (6) feel and even contouring made it popular among the side and back sleepers on our team – especially those weighing up to 230 pounds.

A memory foam top layer over a polyfoam transitional layer creates an adaptive yet supportive comfort system. Pocketed coils make up the support core. Thicker coils along the perimeter help reduce sinkage to make you feel more stable when lying close to the edges or getting in and out of bed. The coils also promote steady airflow to maintain a cool, comfortable temperature for the mattress.

If the Midnight sounds intriguing but medium firm is too soft or too firm for you, we recommend completing Helix Sleep’s online mattress questionnaire. You’ll answer questions about your weight, height, primary position, and other personal factors. Based on your responses, the company points you toward mattresses in both the standard and Luxe hybrid lines.

The Midnight and other standard Helix models carry price-points that fall well below average compared to other hybrids, and shipping is free for customers in all 50 states. Each purchase includes a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty against structural defects.

Bear Elite Hybrid

Best for Hip Pain

Bear Elite Hybrid

Bear Elite Hybrid
Price Range: $1,721 - $3,565
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium (5), Medium Firm (6), Firm (8)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night break-in period)
Warranty: Lifetime warranty
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King
Who it's best for:
  • Hot sleepers
  • Couples with differing firmness preferences
  • Side and back sleepers
Highlights:
  • Zoned transitional layer delivers targeted upper and lower back support
  • Three firmness options to accommodate different types of sleepers
  • Celliant-blend cover excels at cooling and temperature control
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

30% off sitewide, plus 2 free Cloud Pillows with mattress purchase

Those who live with chronic shoulder, back, or hip pain should consider a mattress that provides extra support for these areas of the body. The Bear Elite Hybrid contains a zoned transitional layer of convoluted polyfoam that feels firmer beneath the midsection and gentler for lighter areas of the body. A robust pocketed coil system provides additional reinforcement to keep your entire body on an even plane and reduce pain in your most sensitive places.

The Elite Hybrid’s topmost layer is composed of adaptive memory foam that hugs the body without sinking too much. You can choose from three firmness levels. Those who need close contouring to sleep comfortably may want to opt for the medium (5) feel, while the medium firm (6) provides slightly more support. The firm (8) feel was most popular among our back and stomach sleepers weighing at least 130 pounds. If you and your sleep partner have contrasting firmness needs, you can select a split king with a different feel on each side.

A cover made of Celliant-blend fabric encases the mattress. Celliant is engineered to capture and dissipate body heat, creating a cool surface at all times – even on hot and humid nights. Steady air circulation through the coils also helps the interior maintain a comfortable temperature. Sinkage shouldn’t be an issue along the edges thanks to sturdy perimeter coil support, and most of our testers were able to move across the mattress without sinking or feeling stuck.

The Elite Hybrid is competitively priced and shipping is free throughout the contiguous U.S. Each order includes two Bear Pillows at no extra cost, but you can also upgrade to a discounted sleep accessories set that includes both pillows, a sheet set, and a mattress protector. Bear’s sleep trial runs for 120 nights, and those who keep their mattress also receive a lifetime warranty against structural defects.

PlushBeds Botanical Bliss

Best Pressure Relief

PlushBeds Botanical Bliss

PlushBeds Botanical Bliss
Price Range: $1,549 - $3,049
Mattress Type: Latex
Firmness: Medium Firm (6), Firm (7)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Individuals with allergies or chemical sensitivities
  • Those looking to customize the firmness and thickness of their mattress
  • Eco-conscious shoppers
Highlights:
  • GOLS-certified latex and GOTS-certified wool and cotton
  • Adjustable layers to change the feel
  • Two firmness and three thickness options
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

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The PlushBeds Botanical Bliss conforms to the body to relieve pressure, but its resilient latex also resists sagging to better support the spine. Since this material also springs back to its original shape quickly, those who need to change positions frequently due to pain shouldn’t feel trapped in the bed.

This model comes in two firmness options: Medium and Firm, which correspond to medium firm (6) and firm (7) respectively. The company offers 9-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch height options.

The Botanical Bliss uses organic materials, including GOLS-certified natural latex, GOTS-certified New Zealand wool, and GOTS-certified cotton. Additionally, this model holds a host of other certifications, including GreenGuard Gold, OEKO-TEX, and eco-INSTITUT. The mattress is designed to be free of harmful chemicals and naturally antimicrobial and hypoallergenic.

All the versions of the Botanical Bliss Mattress are constructed with similar materials, but there are variations depending on the thickness and firmness settings. What is particularly unique about the Botanical Bliss Mattress is its customizability. Owners can rearrange the latex layers to adjust the firmness, thereby accommodating changing needs and preferences.

Each option includes a support core composed of two 3-inch Dunlop latex layers. The 9-inch and 12-inch mattresses have a 2-inch comfort layer of organic Talalay latex, while the 10-inch option uses 3 inches. The 12-inch mattress also incorporates an additional 3-inch layer of Dunlop latex to add height and provide a wider variety of customizable firmness settings.

An organic cotton cover encases the mattress, and a layer of organic wool cushions the surface while wicking away heat and moisture.

While the PlushBeds Botanical Bliss has a higher price-point than average, shoppers should keep in mind that the mattress is durable, which may ultimately make it more affordable than buying a low-quality model that you’ll need to replace sooner. The Botanical Bliss is springy and easy to move on while also cradling the sleeper’s body.

PlushBeds offers a 100-night sleep trial that includes a 30-night mandatory break-in period. PlushBeds provides free shipping in the contiguous U.S. and a 25-year limited warranty.

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Adapt

Best for Couples

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Adapt

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Adapt
Price Range: $1699 - $3398
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium (5)
Trial length: 90 Nights (30-Night Requirement)
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King, Split California King
Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers up to 230 pounds
  • People who are easily awakened by their sleep partner’s movements and position changes
  • Shoppers who need a hand setting up their mattress
Highlights:
  • High-density TEMPUR memory foam contours closely and evenly
  • Excellent pressure relief and motion isolation for couples
  • Free White Glove delivery for all orders in the contiguous U.S.
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

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The TEMPUR-Adapt epitomizes the luxurious construction and cloud-like comfort that has come to define the Tempur-Pedic brand. Thanks to a flexible all-foam design and excellent pressure relief, the mattress is particularly well-equipped for an adjustable bed base. Couples with different needs or preferences when it comes to adjusting their side of the bed can order the TEMPUR-Adapt in a split king or split California king. The mattress is also available in the six standard mattress sizes.

In terms of firmness, the TEMPUR-Adapt is considered medium (5). The top two layers are composed of proprietary TEMPUR memory foam, a high-density material that molds to the body for deep, even contouring. The topmost layer is plusher and more adaptive than the second, creating a progressively firmer feel as your body sinks into the surface. A base layer of high-density polyfoam stabilizes the mattress without compromising the relatively soft feel.

Our hands-on testing found the mattress offers the most comfort and orthopedic support for side sleepers, particularly those weighing up to 230 pounds, and back sleepers under 130 pounds.. As an all-foam mattress with dense layers, the TEMPUR-Adaptalso isolates motion exceptionally well. Neither you nor your partner should notice much – if any – motion transfer when the other person changes positions, tosses and turns, or gets up during the night.

If you need more support than the TEMPUR-Adapt provides, the mattress is also available in a hybrid design that swaps out the polyfoam base layer with a pocketed coil system. The coils reinforce the sleep surface without generating too much motion transfer. Two upgrades are also available. The TEMPUR-ProAdapt is constructed with roughly 20% more TEMPUR foam, while the TEMPUR-LuxeAdapt contains 40% more.

While the TEMPUR-Adapt’s price-point is on the expensive side, all orders in the contiguous U.S. come with free White Glove delivery. On your scheduled delivery date, a team of couriers will carry the mattress into your residence and assemble it in a room of your choice. Your purchase also includes a 90-night sleep trial and 10-year manufacturer’s warranty.

What Is an Orthopedic Mattress?


Orthopedic mattresses are designed to cradle and support the spine, back, and joints to promote good sleep posture and reduce aches and pains. They are popular with those who suffer from back and neck pain, seniors, and those recovering from injuries, but they can be a good fit for virtually anyone.

The term “orthopedics” refers to the branch of medicine that focuses on the skeletal system and related structures, including muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Though many companies describe their mattresses as orthopedic, shoppers should be aware that there are no regulations or standards in place defining what qualifies as an orthopedic mattress. Because of this, orthopedic is often used as a marketing term regardless of whether a mattress is specially designed for optimal support. This doesn’t mean, however, that orthopedic mattresses aren’t beneficial to sleepers. That said, shoppers should select carefully.

How to Choose an Orthopedic Mattress

Chronic lower back pain is linked to greater sleep disturbance and reduced sleep duration, sleep quality, and sleep efficiency. A true orthopedic mattress should provide an excellent combination of pressure relief and support. This balance can help promote spinal alignment, reducing the aches and pains many sleepers experience after sleeping on an unsupportive or excessively firm mattress.

What to Look For in a Mattress

The most important things to take into consideration when looking for a mattress are your body type, sleeping position, and personal preferences. While some mattress companies may use terms like “best” or “most comfortable” to describe the feel, construction, features, or materials of their mattresses, only you can decide what is ideal for you. Features like the firmness level, contouring, and pressure relief can affect how comfortable your mattress feels to you.

Price
A true orthopedic mattress may be more expensive than other models on the market. This is because striking the right balance between pressure relief and spinal support often requires higher-end materials and/or special design features. While a higher price tag may be a turnoff for some shoppers, a mattress is an investment, so it may be worth spending a little more to get the best option for you.

Firmness Level
A proper orthopedic mattress offers an ideal combination of cradling and support. If a mattress is too firm, it could contribute to pressure points and make it difficult to maintain proper spinal alignment, potentially causing your muscles to tense. A mattress that is too soft won’t provide enough support, which could put more pressure on your lower back.

While orthopedic mattresses are often slightly firmer, the ideal firmness level will depend on the sleeper’s body type and sleep position. Sleepers who weigh less typically need a softer model to enjoy contouring, while heavier individuals generally need a firmer option for sufficient lumbar support. Similarly, side sleepers often prefer a slightly softer option to reduce pressure buildup, but back and stomach sleepers usually need something firmer to prevent their midsections from sagging.

Pressure Relief
Pressure point relief occurs when a mattress molds to the sleeper’s body and redistributes its weight to reduce the pressure around wider, heavier body parts. This can limit joint discomfort and promote spinal alignment. However, achieving optimal pressure relief also requires selecting the right firmness level for your body type and sleep position.

Quality Materials
Getting the most for your money may require choosing a model constructed with durable materials that will remain comfortable for years to come. Quality materials are more likely to provide sufficient support while limiting sagging, which may be especially beneficial for those with back pain. While orthopedic mattresses tend to be more expensive than other options on the market, many use quality materials that should resist signs of wear.

Motion Isolation
Motion isolation refers to how a mattress reduces the transfer of movement. Preventing the spread of vibrations across the surface can decrease disturbances from sleep partners or pets moving throughout the night. Generally, mattresses with substantial foam comfort layers excel at motion isolation.

Temperature Regulation
Temperature regulation refers to a mattress’ ability to remove excess heat or, conversely, keep you warm when it is colder. Individuals who sleep warm should be particularly attentive to this component, as it can make a notable difference in keeping you cool and comfortable throughout the night. Generally, a firmer mattress tends to allow more airflow, while a more conforming mattress may be more likely to trap heat, especially if it uses memory foam and does not include any features designed for cooling.

Edge Support
Edge support refers to the resistance provided around the perimeter of the bed. This can be an important component for those who sleep or sit along the side of the bed and active sleepers who toss and turn. Sleepers who suffer from joint pain who struggle to stand from a lower position may also want to consider a mattress with better edge support.

Contouring
The contouring of a mattress is what provides pressure relief by cradling your body and preventing your weight from pressing into the mattress in the wrong places. Good contouring can be key in preventing aches and pains. Most quality orthopedic mattresses have a foam-based top to shape to the body and encourage healthy sleeping posture, but keep in mind that each person’s body is different and you should experiment with what is most comfortable for you.

Sleeping Position
There are four main sleeping positions: back, side, front, and combination, which is any mixture of the first three. The position you sleep in can have a huge impact on what you need in a mattress because it affects pressure points and spinal alignment. Before purchasing an orthopedic mattress, take some time to consider how you sleep and what firmness may be the best fit for your body.

Mattress Type
There are four main types of mattresses: foam, innerspring, hybrid, and latex. Each type has potential pros and cons and can vary significantly in materials and construction. However, all mattress types can function as orthopedic models as long as they are designed to offer support to prevent aches and pains in the back, neck, joints, and muscles.

Mattress Types

Hybrid, innerspring, foam, and latex mattresses are widely available. Though models vary in their designs and performance, they tend to have a few consistent features. The term “orthopedic” does not mean that the mattress has any special certifications, and it can apply to any of the four types of mattresses. However, some may be a better fit than others for those suffering from chronic aches and pains.

Hybrid

Hybrid mattresses can use a wide variety of materials. The support layer consists of coils, and the comfort system may include polyfoam, memory foam, microcoils, latex, and/or fill composed of cotton, wool, or other fibers.

The primary difference between a hybrid and an innerspring mattress is the added thickness of the comfort system in a hybrid model, which typically creates a more conforming surface.

Hybrids are an excellent option for individuals who sleep warm but enjoy the contour of a foam bed. Coil cores generally provide airflow, bounce, and edge support, while a contouring comfort system can alleviate pressure on the back and absorb motion. Many hybrid orthopedic mattresses also incorporate zoned support systems to target pressure points and promote good posture.

Innerspring

Innerspring mattresses typically have a thin comfort layer of foam or cotton above a thick layer of metal coils. While some individuals prefer the springiness, ease of movement, airflow, and edge support provided by the coil system, others may find innerspring models lack the optimal amount of contouring and cushioning.

Whether an innerspring is right for you will likely depend on the nature of your aches and pains. If your discomfort is triggered by poor spinal alignment due to excessive sinkage, an innerspring model might be ideal. However, if pressure points are your main problem, you may prefer another type of mattress or pair your innerspring model with a mattress topper.

Foam

Foam mattresses use foam in both their support and comfort layers. Typically, high-density polyfoam makes up the support layer and a softer, more conforming foam is used for the comfort layer. Memory foam, polyfoam, and latex are all popular choices depending on the mattress’ intended levels of contouring, responsiveness, and breathability.

An orthopedic foam model may be an excellent choice for a sleeper who suffers from aches and pains where their body presses hardest against the mattress. The foam should mold to the body to relieve pressure while supporting the spine. However, foam mattresses are often more difficult to move on and frequently don’t have sturdy edges, which may be more challenging for sleepers with mobility issues.

Latex

Latex is often derived naturally from rubber trees but occasionally produced synthetically. Most latex mattresses use naturally derived material, but a synthetic or synthetic blend is not uncommon.

Latex is often used in orthopedic mattresses because it provides contouring without a lot of sinkage, creating a supportive surface that still relieves pressure points. Models constructed of latex also tend to be responsive, breathable, and durable. All-natural latex models are often popular with eco-conscious consumers.

Pros and Cons of Orthopedic Mattresses

For many, an orthopedic mattress can make a significant impact on the alignment of the back, neck, and spine, helping to reduce back and/or joint pain. Because of this, orthopedic models are often recommended to those suffering from arthritis. However, they are not the perfect solution for everyone, and for some sleepers, a mattress with a different design may be a better fit.

Pros

  • Enhanced Spinal Support: Orthopedic mattresses are specifically intended to promote spinal alignment.
  • Reduced Discomfort: The right orthopedic mattress should simultaneously support the spine while relieving pressure, potentially limiting the aches and pains sleepers experience overnight.

Cons

  • Relatively Expensive: Orthopedic mattresses tend to have a higher price-point than other mattresses on the market.
  • Difficulty Shopping: With many manufacturers marketing their mattresses as orthopedic, it can be difficult to find a truly orthopedic model.

How Does Back and Joint Pain Affect Sleep?

While you should talk to your doctor to explore the possible causes of joint pain and/or sleep problems, the two are often directly linked.

Those suffering from chronic back and joint pain experience discomfort that can cause tossing and turning, making it hard to slip into the deeper sleep stages and get a quality night’s sleep. Because the body’s restorative processes are most active as you sleep, a lack of deeper sleep impacts your body’s ability to repair itself, potentially exacerbating back and joint pain. This can create a vicious cycle in which pain causes sleep quality to deteriorate, putting you at a greater risk of getting sick or injured.

Many conditions can affect back and joint pain, but one of the most common conditions is arthritis. Many with arthritis suffer from sleep problems, since their pain may prevent them from getting comfortable enough to fall asleep and stay asleep.

How to Get Better Sleep with Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can arouse your central nervous system, preventing you from drifting off to sleep. Several lifestyle changes can help calm your body and mind, making it easier to get the rest you need.

  • Meditation, deep breathing, mindfulness, or guided imagery may help reduce pain, making it easier to sleep comfortably.
  • Avoiding stimulants, such as alcohol or caffeine, can help you fall asleep more easily. Similarly, using devices, like your cell phone or tablet, too close to bedtime may interfere with sleep.
  • Healthy daytime habits, such as getting exercise, sunlight, and following a healthy diet, can help promote good sleep habits.

Another element to getting quality sleep with chronic pain is selecting the right mattress and bedding components to keep you as comfortable as possible throughout the night. What is best for you and your body will depend largely on your sleeping preferences and body type. Some important things to keep in mind are:

Sleep Position: The position you sleep in may contribute to your discomfort. While finding the right mattress can help, some positions are more prone to triggering pain than others. For instance, experts often advise against stomach sleeping because it often puts more strain on the neck and lower back. Experimenting with different sleep positions can help you determine what works for you.

Bedding: Some sleepers may not want or need a new mattress, particularly if their existing bed is still in good condition. A new mattress topper and/or pillows can be more affordable solutions. The ideal mattress topper can fine-tune the firmness of your bed so that it better matches your needs and preferences, while new pillows often provide more support for the neck.

Pillow Placement: While it is important to have the best pillow for your sleep position, strategic pillow placement can enhance alignment, thereby potentially reducing aches and pains. Side sleepers often benefit from a small pillow between their knees, back sleepers could use a pillow under their knees, and stomach sleepers may use a body pillow to prop themselves onto their sides.

It is always a good idea to talk to a doctor or physician about your sleep and pain management. They may be able to recommend solutions, such as therapies or medicine, to help you sleep better.

Frequently Asked Questions About Orthopedic Mattresses

An orthopedic mattress can be a big investment, so it’s normal to have questions. We’ll answer some of the most common questions of orthopedic mattress shoppers.

  • What are orthopedic mattresses made out of?

    Because the term orthopedic can refer to any mattress designed to prevent joint and back pain, orthopedic models can be made out of any materials you’d find in other beds. There is no special certification or requirement that designates a mattress as orthopedic, and many manufacturers use the term to help sell their products. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the materials, firmness, and design to assess whether a bed is a good fit for your body and sleep style.

  • What makes a mattress “orthopedic?”

    Orthopedic mattresses are generally designed to relieve pressure points and support spinal alignment in order to reduce joint and back pain. Most orthopedic models are firmer and more supportive than average to promote healthy sleeping posture, but they also frequently have contouring comfort layers to redistribute the force of the sleeper’s weight.

    However, shoppers should keep in mind that an orthopedic mattress has no true, consistent definition since no certifications or specific requirements are attached to the term.

  • How much do orthopedic mattresses cost?

    Orthopedic mattresses come at a wide range of price-points starting at under $1,000 and reaching upward of $4,000. Most tend to be more expensive than other models on the market. However, those who experience chronic pain may find that an orthopedic mattress is worth the investment.

  • Where can you buy an orthopedic mattress?

    Orthopedic mattresses are commonly sold online and in brick-and-mortar stores. Direct-to-consumer mattresses sold online are often less expensive, since the manufacturer isn’t paying for showrooms and additional staff. These “mattress in a box” models are comparable to those sold in brick-and-mortar stores in terms of construction and performance. Because orthopedic mattresses are often more expensive than other models on the market, monitoring online sales can be a great way to find a high-quality option at a more affordable price. Shoppers should also note that buying directly from a manufacturer’s website is often more budget-friendly than purchasing from a third party.

Still have questions?

Our product experts have extensive experience testing just about every sleep product on the market. Send an email to [email protected] or call us at (877) 672-8966 with your questions and we’ll help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

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About Our Editorial Team

author
Keith Cushner

Sleep Product Expert

Keith is a sleep product expert with nearly a decade of experience researching, developing, and testing sleep products.