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Best Mattress Toppers for Back Pain

Jennifer Miller, PT, DPT

Jennifer Miller, PT, DPT

Dr. Jennifer Miller is an outpatient physical therapist. She earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Elon University, and a Bachelor of Science in Health Science from Minnesota State University-Mankato. She now specializes in Neurological, Geriatric, and Vestibular Physical Therapy and works in the medical field as a primary care provider treating neurological conditions. Dr. […]

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Mattress toppers are a great tool for those who feel they bought the wrong mattress. Maybe you got a mattress on clearance, and it didn’t come with a trial period. Maybe you waited too long to return your mattress.

Whatever the reason, if your mattress is causing you back pain and you can’t return or replace it, a mattress topper could be the best solution for you. Below, we’ll talk about the best mattress toppers on the market today and what they can do for you.

Best Mattress Topper for Back Pain Overall

Amerisleep Lift

Amerisleep Lift
  • Price Range: See Price
  • Material Type: Memory Foam
  • Thickness: 3 Inches
  • Available In: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

Warranty

5 Years

Sleep Trial

N/A

Shipping

Free

Mattress Topper Highlights
  • Soft or firm feels support different styles
  • Soft version is eco-friendly plant-based foam
  • Airy cover promotes a stay-cool surface
Recommended For
  • Hot sleepers
  • Back sleepers (Support Lift)
  • Side sleepers (Comfort Lift)

Amerisleep Lift Overview

If you want a fantastic mattress topper that offers tons of versatility and a choice of firmness, check out the Amerisleep Lift. This memory foam mattress topper offers tons of contouring, breathability, and support to relieve your pain and relax you to sleep, whether you choose the firm or soft version.

One of the best things about this mattress topper is the fact that you can choose your firmness options. The Lift has a soft version and a firm version. Both of them are topped with a soft, ultra-breathable cover that wicks away heat and sweat all night. So you can sleep cool regardless of which firmness you choose.

“The Amerisleep mattress topper offers two different firmness options, which helps to ensure proper cushion and alignment for back or side sleepers,” says Jennifer Miller, a prominent physical therapist. “I typically treat women and a common complaint is that they wake up due to being too hot at night. The Amerisleep mattress topper helps reduce this issue by wicking away heat at night.”

The Editors at Sleep Junkie recommend the Amerisleep Lift as the best mattress topper for back pain of 2022.

  • Supportive Firm Option

    Affinity material is buoyant and supportive enough for back sleepers.

  • Conforming Soft Option

    Bio-Pur® foam absorbs pressure and protects sensitive pressure points.

  • Limits Heat Retention

    Breathable cover wicks away heat and moisture all night – perfect for hot sleepers.

If you go with the soft version (the Comfort Lift), you’ll get three inches of Bio-Pur® memory foam. This plant-based memory foam is responsive, breathable, and ultra-contouring to take the pressure off your hips and shoulders. It’s perfect for side sleepers and those whose mattresses are too firm for their liking.

The firm version (the Support Lift) offers three inches of Amerisleep’s Affinity foam. This material offers tons of buoyancy and support for those who need a little more lift than that provided by their mattress. So if you sleep on your back or feel you bought a mattress that’s a tad too soft for your preferences, the Support Lift could be for you.

Pros

  • Two firmness options
  • Breathable cover
  • Non-skid fabric bottom

Cons

  • Plant-based foam only comes in the Comfort Lift

Best Mattress Topper for Athletes

Zoma Balance Pad

Zoma Balance Pad
  • Price Range: See Price
  • Material Type: Foam
  • Thickness: 3 Inches
  • Available In: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

Warranty

5 Years

Sleep Trial

N/A

Shipping

Free

Mattress Highlights
  • Responsive foam fill for adaptability
  • Airy cloth cover fabric for cool feel
  • Medium feel restores most mattresses
Recommended For
  • Athletes and physical worker
  • Most sleeping positions
  • Sleepers with an older mattress

Zoma Balance Pad Overview

If your back pain is caused by physical activity – like training for a competition or even a physical job – say hello to the Zoma Balance Pad. This ultra-responsive mattress topper will bounce right back underneath you, as well as keep you cool as a cucumber all night.

Also, the medium feel of this mattress topper means it’s versatile enough to accommodate a wide range of sleepers. It can also be a good choice for you if you feel your mattress is only slightly too soft or slightly too firm.

“A lot of my patients with back pain sleep in different positions at night,” says Jennifer Miller. “Therefore, the Zoma mattress topper is a great option as it offers a medium firmness that can accommodate combination sleepers. It also has a cooling effect that helps keep you cool at night, which is ideal.”

The Editors at Sleep Junkie recommend the Zoma Balance Pad as the best mattress topper for athletes with back pain of 2022.

  • Feel Suits Most Sleeping Styles

    Medium feel of this mattress topper makes it perfect for a wide variety of sleepers.

  • Aptly Named Reactiv™ Material

    Highly responsive material means this topper will bounce right back into shape.

  • Moisture-Wicking, Airy Cover Fabric

    Breathable performance cover wicks sweat just like exercise gear.

The topper provides its responsive feel through a combination of an airy and breathable cover and Zoma’s proprietary transition foam. This Reactiv™ material is light and springy, and it bounces right back to its original shape as soon as you move. That makes it perfect for active sleepers who like to toss and turn but hate waiting for body impressions to go away.

Meanwhile, the performance cover helps wick away sweat for a cool and comfortable night’s sleep. So no matter how much you sweat during the day, you can rest assured you won’t be doing it while you’re asleep.

The bottom of the Balance pad also features non-skid fabric that won’t slide around on top of your mattress but also won’t damage its cover.

Pros

  • Highly responsive material
  • Airy cover for consistent coolness
  • Versatile medium feel

Cons

  • Only one firmness option

Best Firm Mattress Topper

Saatva Mattress Topper

Saatva Mattress Topper
  • Price Range: See Price
  • Material Type: Foam or Latex
  • Thickness: 1.5 or 3 Inches
  • Available In: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King

Warranty

1 Year

Sleep Trial

180 Nights

Shipping

Free

Mattress Topper Highlights
  • Three potential materials to choose
  • Breathable organic cotton covering
  • Cooling, contouring foam fills
Recommended For
  • Hot sleepers (graphite foam)
  • Sleepers with allergies (natural latex)
  • Heavier sleepers (high-density foam)

Saatva Mattress Topper Overview

If you’re not sure which will be your ideal mattress topper for back pain, check out the Saatva Mattress Topper. This topper lets you choose from three different materials, so you can figure out which is the right one for you.

Shoppers seeking a firmer topper for back pain should consider the latex foam option or the high-density foam topper. The graphite memory foam topper offers a touch more softness than what a sleeper seeking a firmer feel is seeking.

The Editors at Sleep Junkie recommend the Saatva mattress topper as the best firm mattress topper for back pain of 2022.

  • Three Foam Fills to Choose From

    Different material options allow you to choose the type of foam that’s right for you.

  • Breathable Cotton Cover Fabric

    Organic cotton cover wicks away sweat and heat to keep you cool while you sleep.

  • Stretchy Bands Keep Topper Still

    Elastic bands ensure this topper isn’t going anywhere – no matter how much you toss and turn.

The Saatva Mattress Topper lets you choose from three different materials: graphite-infused foam, natural latex foam, and high-density comfort foam. Each of these materials has its own distinct advantages that can help your back pain.

The graphite foam topper is made with some of the most advanced cooling technology available. The graphite-infused memory foam draws heat away from your body to keep you cool throughout the whole night. That means it’s perfect for side sleepers who also sleep hot.

Back pain sufferers who like to toss and turn throughout the night should check out the ultra-responsive latex version of the Saatva Mattress Topper. This buoyant and hypoallergenic natural latex will bounce back as soon as you move. That means you won’t have to worry about body impressions or slow response time.

Finally, back pain sufferers who need a lot of lift will likely do best with the high-density foam topper. This ultra-dense foam provides plenty of lift to keep you from sinking into the sleep surface, all without sacrificing pressure relief.

No matter which material you choose, the Saatva Mattress Topper will be wrapped in Saatva’s ultra-plush organic cotton cover. This breathable fabric wicks away sweat and breathes for a cool and comfortable sleep experience every single night.

The Saatva Mattress Topper also comes with stretchy elastic corner bands to keep it firmly in place. So regardless of the foam you select, you won’t have to deal with the topper sliding all over the place while you sleep.

Pros

  • Graphite infusions
  • Natural latex
  • Organic cotton

Cons

  • No firmness options

Best Cooling Mattress Topper

Nolah Mattress Topper

Nolah Mattress Topper
  • Price Range: See Price
  • Material Type: Memory Foam
  • Thickness: 2 Inches
  • Available In: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

Warranty

10 Years

Sleep Trial

30 Days

Shipping

Free

Mattress Topper Highlights
  • Heat-wicking organic cotton cover
  • Airy, sturdy foam filling
  • Soft or luxury firm toppers available
Recommended For
  • Hot sleepers
  • Sleepers with a too-firm mattress
  • Sleepers with allergies

Nolah Mattress Topper Overview

If you want a fantastic mattress topper for back pain that also works overtime to keep you cool all night, take a look at the Nolah Mattress Topper. This mattress topper features some of Nolah’s premium cooling technologies for an all-night cool sleep.

Another great feature of this topper is the fact that it offers two different firmness options. The Plush option is perfect for side sleepers and those who want to add a little more softness to their beds. Back sleepers should check out the Luxury Firm option.

The Editors at Sleep Junkie recommend the Nolah mattress topper as the best cooling mattress topper for back pain of 2022.

  • Natural, Temperature-Neutral Cotton

    Organic cotton cover fights allergens and heat buildup at the same time.

  • Cooling, Responsive Foam

    Airy and breathable foam works with the cover to wick away moisture while you sleep.

  • Choice of Two Firmnesses

    Two firmness options mean this mattress topper can work for you whether you need to soften or firm up your mattress.

The cooling starts right away with the organic cotton cover. This breathable and hypoallergenic cover offers all-natural temperature control because it pulls cool air in and forces warm air out. This prevents both heat and moisture buildup at the same time.

Underneath the cover, you’ll find two inches of Nolah’s highly breathable AirFoam™. This highly breathable foam works with the organic cotton cover to ensure that the mattress topper breathes throughout – from the top cover to the bottom fabric. This means you won’t have to worry about heat buildup inside the foam itself.

The Nolah Mattress Topper also features elastic corner bands to ensure it stays in place all night. So you can toss and turn to your heart’s content. You can even put this topper on an adjustable bed, and it will stay in place.

Pros

  • Organic cotton cover
  • Breathable foam
  • Firmness options

Cons

  • No medium firmness option

Best Hypoallergenic Mattress Topper

Bear Pro Mattress Topper

Bear Pro Mattress Topper
  • Price Range: See Price
  • Material Type: Memory Foam
  • Thickness: 2 Inches
  • Available In: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

Warranty

3 Years

Sleep Trial

30 Days

Shipping

Free

Mattress Topper Highlights
  • Silky soft, cool surface on contact
  • CertiPUR-US® certified memory foam
  • Removable, machine-washable cover
Recommended For
  • Side sleepers
  • Petite sleepers
  • Sleepers with allergies

Bear Pro Mattress Topper Overview

If you want a memory foam mattress topper with that classic contouring feel that only memory foam can provide, take a gander at the Bear Pro Mattress Topper. This might just be among the best mattress toppers for back pain on this list for petite sleepers because of its plush feel and pressure absorption.

This medium-plush topper offers top-notch contouring and compression. It follows the curve of your body and protects your pressure points from an overly firm sleeping surface. So if you bought a mattress that turned out to be firmer than you like, this topper could be the solution.

The Editors at Sleep Junkie recommend the Bear Pro Topper as the best hypoallergenic mattress topper for back pain of 2022.

  • Conductive Copper Infusion

    Copper infusions fight overheating and microbes that commonly trigger allergies, making this topper perfect for allergy sufferers.

  • Softer Cushion Eases Tension

    Medium-plush feel will provide lots of pressure relief to petite and side sleepers.

  • Cooling Circular Knit Cover

    Breathable cover works with the breathable memory foam to fight moisture buildup.

The CertiPUR-US® certified memory foam is hypoallergenic and free of potentially dangerous ingredients like heavy metals and formaldehyde. That means you can rest assured your mattress topper is safe to sleep on night after night – and it won’t stink when you unpack it either.

One of the best qualities of the memory foam in this mattress topper is its copper-gel infusions. Copper not only draws heat away from your body. It also creates a hostile environment for common microbes that cause allergens – like dust mites and mold. The copper memory foam is also highly breathable to keep air flowing throughout the topper.

The breathable copper-infused memory foam works with the equally breathable circular-knit fabric cover to fight moisture and overheating. The cover also unzips for easy washing, making this mattress topper even more hypoallergenic.

Pros

  • Copper gel infusions
  • Zippable cover
  • Medium-plush feel

Cons

  • Too soft for back and stomach sleepers

Best Plush Fiber Mattress Topper

Helix Mattress Topper

Helix Mattress Topper
  • Price Range: See Price
  • Material Type: Fiberfill
  • Thickness: 1.5 Inches
  • Available In: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

Warranty

1 Year

Sleep Trial

100 Nights

Shipping

Free

Mattress Topper Highlights
  • Thin topper profile creates a softer feel
  • Fiberfill kept fluffy with baffle box stitches
  • Extra-deep pockets slide over thick beds
Recommended For
  • Those who like luxury bedding
  • Sleepers with allergies or sensitive skin
  • Side sleepers

Helix Plush Mattress Topper Overview

If you’re looking for a plush mattress topper that feels like down but is much more affordable and lower-maintenance than down, check out the Helix Mattress Topper. This mattress topper is made of state-of-the-art cluster fiberfill that offers the high-loft feel of down without all the downy hassle.

This plush mattress topper was also designed with sensitive skin in mind. That means it will fight allergens and moisture buildup that can cause acne, rashes, and other skin issues. So it’s perfect for those who are sensitive to the chemicals in memory foam.

The Editors at Sleep Junkie recommend the Helix Plush Mattress Topper as the best mattress topper for back pain of 2022.

  • Soft Downy-like Fill

    Lofty cluster fiberfill gives this topper the look and feel of down without the maintenance and expense of down.

  • Stay-In-Place Stitching

    Baffle box stitching and deep pockets keep both the fill and the topper in place.

  • Resists Allergens and Feels Gentle

    Hypoallergenic fabric and fill are made for sensitive skin and allergy sufferers.

The Revoloft™ cluster fibers are lofty and squishy like down, and the breathable cover increases breathability throughout the mattress topper. This reduces hot spots and wicks away heat and moisture to keep you cool.

The baffle box stitching in the cover creates pockets to keep the fill in place, which maintains even distribution regardless of how much you toss and turn. The lofty fill and the baffle box stitching give the topper a luxury hotel look.

One of the best things about this mattress topper is how low-maintenance it is. You can just yank it off the bed and toss it in the washing machine to clean it – and you don’t even have to use special detergent. The Helix topper can also be tumble dried on low.

The Helix topper comes with extra-deep pockets as well. It looks a little like a mattress protector, with fabric pockets that go over the mattress to keep the topper in place. So you don’t have to worry about it going anywhere, even if you toss and turn.

Pros

  • Lofty fiberfill
  • Breathable fabric
  • Deep pockets stretch over mattresses

Cons

  • Not for those who want natural fill

Best Pressure-Relieving Mattress Topper

Brooklyn Bedding TitanFlex Topper

Brooklyn Bedding TitanFlex Topper
  • Price Range: See Price
  • Material Type: Foam
  • Thickness: 3 Inches
  • Available In: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, Short Queen, King, California King

Warranty

N/A

Sleep Trial

30 Days

Shipping

Free

Mattress Topper Highlights
  • Three potential firmnesses for all styles
  • Two cover fabrics for cooling feels
  • Responsive foam fill eases pressure points
Recommended For
  • Side sleepers (plush)
  • Combo sleepers (medium)
  • Stomach sleepers (firm)

Brooklyn Bedding TitanFlex Topper Overview

Those who want a mattress topper that gives them the exact mix of support and pressure relief for their needs should check out the TitanFlex Topper by Brooklyn Bedding. This topper offers you firmness options and even a choice of cover.

As far as firmness options go, you have the choice between soft, medium, and firm options. Side sleepers should consider the plushest choice, while stomach sleepers should go for the firmest option. Combo sleepers and back sleepers will likely do best on the medium, depending on whether they want to firm or soften up their mattress.

The Editors at Sleep Junkie recommend the Brooklyn Bedding TitanFlex Topper as the best pressure-relieving mattress topper for back pain of 2022.

  • Thick, Flexible Foam Fill

    Hyperelastic material offers more contouring than traditional memory foam.

  • Soft, Medium, or Firm

    Firmness options mean everyone can sleep on this mattress topper.

  • Organic Cotton or Luxury Cooling Covers

    Two cooling cover options allow you to choose how your topper feels.

Regardless of the firmness you choose, the hyperelastic TitanFlex material will contour to your unique shape to relieve pressure and keep your spine aligned. This means everyone from side sleepers to stomach sleepers can get the pressure relief they need.

Another great feature of this mattress topper is it gives you the choice between luxury cooling fabric and organic cotton covers. The organic cotton cover will breathe to keep you cool, while the circular knit cover draws heat away.

The cover works with the water-absorbing foam to wick away moisture to keep your skin dry while you sleep. This cooling TitanFlex foam is also higher in responsiveness than traditional memory foam.

Pros

  • Multiple firmness options
  • Cover options
  • Hyperelastic material

Cons

  • Not for those who want natural ingredients
Avocado Organic Latex Mattress Topper
  • Price Range: See Price
  • Material Type: Latex
  • Thickness: 2.75 Inches
  • Available In: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

Warranty

10 Years

Sleep Trial

1 Year

Shipping

Free

Mattress Topper Highlights
  • Buoyant latex foam fill for natural relief
  • Choice of two firmnesses
  • Cover of organic cotton and wool
Recommended For
  • Eco-conscious shoppers
  • Hot sleepers
  • Sleepers with non-latex allegies

Avocado Organic Latex Mattress Topper Overview

Perhaps the best latex mattress topper for back pain on the market, the Avocado Organic Latex Mattress Topper offers organic comfort through and through. It’s perfect for those looking for all-natural pressure relief and hypoallergenic comfort.

The Avocado topper comes with the choice between plush and firm feels. So whether you need contouring pressure relief or buoyant support, you can still sleep on the Avocado.

The Editors at Sleep Junkie recommend the Avocado Organic Latex mattress topper as the best latex mattress topper for back pain of 2022.

  • Cotton and Wool Covering

    Organic textiles offer all-natural breathability and fire protection.

  • All the Benefits of Natural Latex

    Organic latex is responsive, breathable, and eco-friendly.

  • Choice of Feel to Ease Back Pain

    Two firmness options mean just about everyone can sleep on this mattress topper.

The Avocado topper features a cover made from Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified wool and cotton. These breathable natural fibers wick away sweat and heat. They also offer an all-natural fire barrier that doesn’t require any harsh chemicals.

The inside of the Avocado topper is filled with GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard) certified Dunlop latex. This durable and buoyant latex is some of the most supportive and responsive foam on the market. It’s also more breathable than any memory foam could hope to be. So it’s perfect for active sleepers and hot sleepers alike.

Organic latex is also the best foam for eco-conscious sleepers. This foam produces comparatively little toxic waste during its manufacturing process. It’s also biodegradable and recyclable to boot!

Pros

  • Organic latex
  • Organic textiles
  • Biodegradable and recyclable

Cons

  • Not for those with latex allergies

Best Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Layla Memory Foam Topper

Layla Memory Foam Topper
  • Price Range: See Price
  • Material Type: Memory Foam
  • Thickness: 2 Inches
  • Available In: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, and California King

Warranty

5 Years

Sleep Trial

120 Nights

Shipping

Free

Mattress Topper Highlights
  • Plush topper cradles the body
  • Specialty cooling cover fabric
  • Copper infusion maintains a clean feel
Recommended For
  • Petite sleepers
  • Side sleepers
  • Hot sleepers

Layla Memory Foam Topper Overview

If you want a memory foam topper that offers superior pressure relief and a classic memory foam feel, check out the Layla Memory Foam Topper. The Layla Memory Foam Topper boasts top-notch pressure relief and a cooling feel that gives you the memory foam contouring without the memory foam sweats.

This plush topper is cooling and supportive. It adds a layer of softness and pressure relief to an overly firm mattress. That makes it perfect for side sleepers and those who feel their mattress is too firm.

The Editors at Sleep Junkie recommend the Layla Memory Foam Topper as the best memory foam mattress topper for back pain of 2022.

  • Soft Memory Foam for Firm Beds

    Plush feel offers tons of pressure relief without allowing sinkage or body impressions.

  • Advanced Cooling Cover

    Cooling cover features a hexagonal pattern that pushes air around for cooling circulation.

  • Antimicrobial Copper

    Copper infusions fight moisture and microbial buildup on top of drawing body heat away from your skin.

The cooling memory foam features copper gel beads to increase breathability and draw body heat away from you. Copper infusions aren’t just thermally conductive, though. They also fight all kinds of microbes that can trigger allergies and skin problems: like mold and bacteria.

The copper-gel memory foam is also highly supportive for plush foam. It offers deep compression and fights sinkage all at once. This makes it a great choice for back pain because it can keep you lifted onto the sleep surface without sacrificing pressure relief.

The cooling, hexagonal cover also features air channels to keep cool air flowing underneath your body, wicking away both heat and moisture. That means hot sleepers can enjoy this mattress topper despite its body-hugging plush feel.

Pros

  • Copper-gel foam
  • Cooling cover
  • Plush feel

Cons

  • Too soft for back and stomach sleepers

Most Practical Mattress Topper

Puffy Mattress Topper

Puffy Mattress Topper
  • Price Range: See Price
  • Material Type: Memory Foam
  • Thickness: 2.5 Inches
  • Available In: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

Warranty

Lifetime

Sleep Trial

100 Nights

Shipping

Free

Mattress Topper Highlights
  • Bamboo/polyester fabric covering
  • Firm or soft topper options
  • Durable stretch pockets slip over easily
Recommended For
  • Sleepers with allergies
  • Those who eat in bed
  • Parents of small children

Puffy Mattress Topper Overview

Those who want a mattress topper that’s easy to place, easy to care for, and hard to mess up should check out the Puffy Mattress Topper. This topper is perfect for those who eat in bed or have little kids because it’s easy to wash and won’t tear or stain easily.

The firmness options also allow you to choose between soft and firm options. So whether you bought an overly soft or overly firm mattress, you can still have the Puffy topper.

The Editors at Sleep Junkie recommend the Puffy mattress topper as the most practical mattress topper for back pain of 2022.

  • Mattress Topper Won’t Skid Out of Place

    Anti-slip grip layer will help align your mattress and topper and prevent it from sliding around.

  • Easy-to-Maintain Covering

    Zippable cover can be easily removed and washed to get rid of allergens, stains, and more.

  • Feels for Too-Soft & Too-Firm Beds

    Firmness options allow you to pick between soft and firm mattress toppers.

The Puffy topper has tons of features that can make your life a little easier. Its ultra-deep and durable stretch pockets and non-skid fabric work together to keep the topper firmly in place – no matter how many kids are jumping on it.

The high-quality build also ups the durability of this mattress topper. It’s built to stand the test of time, which is why it’s backed by Puffy’s lifetime warranty.

The Puffy Mattress Topper also features a lightweight cover that can be taken right off and tossed in the washing machine. This allows you to remove stains, crumbs, and allergens with ease – even if you don’t use a mattress protector.

Don’t let all its practical features fool you. The Puffy Mattress Topper still offers tons of cooling comfort. Its plush cover features a blend of bamboo viscose and polyester that can prevent overheating and give you a cool-touch feel that lasts all night.

Pros

  • Zippable and washable cover
  • Firmness options
  • Anti-slip grip

Cons

  • No medium firmness option

How to Choose a Mattress Topper for Back Pain

Picking the best mattress topper for back pain can feel a little bit like a guessing game, as it can sometimes be hard to know if your back pain is due to a lack of contouring, pressure relief, or support. But if you’re armed with a few key areas of knowledge, you can take the guesswork right out of the process.

Material

The material your mattress topper is made of is one of the most important aspects of its pain relieving capacity. A topper’s material decides its breathability, responsiveness, buoyancy, and more. So you’ll need to know what you’re looking for when it comes to choosing your ideal pain-relieving mattress topper.

Memory Foam

If your mattress’s lack of contouring is the main problem causing your back pain, a memory foam mattress topper might be just the thing for you. Memory foam is the most adaptable mattress material, and this is true for mattress toppers as well.

Memory foam can take the shape of your body in a way that no other material can, a big part of why memory foam mattresses are so popular. It can compress under your pressure points to relieve pressure on the hips and shoulders. It can also adapt to the shape of your spine to keep it aligned.

The main problems you might experience with a memory foam mattress topper are issues with temperature control and lack of responsiveness. Memory foam can have issues with slow response time and heat retention. So if you’re an active sleeper, you might want to go with natural latex mattress toppers. If you’re a hot sleeper, you have another option.

Gel Memory Foam

Gel memory foam fixes traditional memory foam’s heat retention issues with thermoconductive gel infusions. These infusions can come in the form of liquid gel swirls, gel microbeads, or even a thin layer of pure gel on top of the memory foam, establishing a cooling mattress topper.

Gel memory foam draws the heat away from your body to keep your sleep surface cool for hours on end. So if you sleep hot and don’t want to invest in a cooling mattress, gel memory foam might be up your alley.

You can even pair a gel memory foam topper with a set of cooling sheets to create a more comfortable sleep surface without investing all you would need to in a new mattress.

Latex Foam

Active sleepers who want a responsive foam mattress topper might consider a latex rather than a memory foam mattress topper. Natural latex is highly responsive and bounces back underneath your body as soon as you move.

Latex is also much more breathable than memory foam. That means it’s better at regulating its temperature than even gel memory foam. And it’s more buoyant as well. Our latex vs memory foam guide discusses these materials in more depth.

The main issue with natural latex is its expense. You can expect to pay at least twice as much for an average natural latex mattress topper. These mattress toppers are also not as contouring as memory foam, so they’re more supportive and less pressure relieving.

Natural Down

Natural down is the layer of feathers that keep fowl like ducks and geese warm and dry. These feathers make some of the softest, squishiest bedding out there. And they’re hugely popular in quilts, comforters, pillows, and – yes – mattress toppers.

A down mattress topper offers a highly contouring and lofty feel. It can make your bed look and feel like a cloud. Many people like the feel of a down mattress topper because it makes their mattress feel like a feather bed.

However, down may not be great for hot sleepers. While it is breathable, it evolved to retain warmth. This means it may not be suitable as a summer mattress topper or for those who wake up in a sweat during the night.

Wool

Natural wool mattress toppers are a wonderful option for those who don’t want foam. Wool is breathable and pressure relieving. Contrary to popular belief, wool is also temperature neutral. It evolved to keep sheep cool in the summer and warm in the winter, so it’s less prone to overheating than you might think.

The main issues with wool mattress toppers are they’re not easy to find, and they can sometimes have a “barnyard” or “sheep” smell when you first get them.

Firmness

The firmness of the mattress topper you get depends on what you want it to do for your mattress. Soft mattress toppers will take the firmness level of your mattress down a notch or two. Firm mattress toppers can raise it up – but only so much.

It’s much easier to make a too firm mattress softer using a mattress topper than it is to make it firmer. This is because the softness of a mattress is created by the layers of padding on top, while firmness is created by the support layer. The thinner the plush comfort layer, the firmer the mattress.

This means you can easily stack a mattress topper on your mattress to soften it up as much as you like. But a firm mattress topper will only go so far. It will increase the firm feel a little, but it cannot make up for a lack of support. This is why saggy or overly soft mattresses may need to be replaced rather than topped with a topper.

As a reminder, the best mattress firmness will depend on what your sleep style is. Softer feels are better for side sleepers and lightweight sleepers, while firmer feels are well-suited for back, stomach, and heavier sleepers.

“One of the first questions I ask my patients is about their quality of sleep,” notes Jennifer Miller. “We spend hours of our day asleep, so naturally this can impact our posture and pain.”

“I highly encourage my patients to sleep on their back or sides to ensure proper alignment of their spine and to ensure their mattress supports these positions. If they can’t afford a supportive mattress, then a mattress topper is a great option.”

Thickness

Mattress toppers are typically between two and four inches thick. If it’s thinner than two inches, it may be a mattress pad. See our mattress pad vs. mattress topper for an in-depth comparison of the two.

The general rule is the thicker the mattress topper, the more it changes the feel of your mattress. That means if you only want to slightly alter your mattress’s firmness, a thinner mattress topper is likely your best option.

Those who want to radically alter the feel of their mattress should opt for a three or even four-inch mattress topper. You might also want a thicker topper if you’re a heavier sleeper who needs extra support or a side sleeper with an overly firm mattress. Thicker toppers will offer more support (if they’re firmer) and more pressure relief (if they’re softer) than thin toppers.

Remember that the thickness of your topper also affects your bed height. For many sleepers, their bed height isn’t of important consideration. However, older sleepers may need to watch that their bed isn’t too tall, as it can make getting out of bed difficult.

Density

The density of your mattress topper also has a lot to do with how much support and cradling it offers. Less-dense mattress toppers are more contouring. This means if you want to add a lot of compression to your mattress, a lighter topper may be the way to go.

Conversely, if you want more buoyancy in your mattress, a denser topper may be for you. Denser mattress toppers fight sinkage and help keep you lifted onto the sleep surface. This means they’re particularly good for heavier sleepers.

Price

The good news is that mattress toppers are definitely cheaper than a whole new mattress for back pain. The bad news is they’re still not cheap. Affordable mattress toppers do exist, but you should watch out for quality issues if you find a mattress topper for much under $100.

Generally, you should expect to pay $80 to $500 for a good-quality mattress topper. Luxury mattress toppers can cost upwards of $1,000. But you don’t have to pay anywhere near that much for quality and functionality.

Remember that material, thickness, and size can affect how much the topper costs. For example, a king size mattress topper will cost more than just about any other standard size, and a 3-inch topper will cost more than a 2-inch topper. Latex and down are two of the more expensive potential materials, due to their production costs, with memory foam and down alternative providing more budget-friendly options.

FAQs

What thickness is best for a pain-relieving mattress topper?

If you’re buying a mattress topper for back pain, a thicker mattress topper is likely best. Mattress toppers that offer more support or cushioning between you and your mattress will do more for your back pain than thinner toppers or mattress pads.

This is true of both firmer and softer mattress toppers. If you need extra support, a thicker firm mattress topper will do more for you than a thinner firm one. This is also true if you need to drastically increase the compression of your mattress. A soft and thick mattress topper will help.

The only time this is not true is if you want to slightly alter your mattress’s feel but are overall happy with the level of cushioning and support. In this case, a thinner mattress topper will suffice.

Can I use a mattress topper with my adjustable bed?

You can use a mattress topper with an adjustable bed. Mattress toppers are flexible and can bend with the bed because they don’t have springs or any other internal mechanisms stopping them.

That being said, you’ll need to make sure that your mattress topper has elastic bands or gripping fabric that will keep it from moving around on top of the mattress when you alter the adjustable bed’s position.

What’s the best mattress topper material for back pain sufferers?

That depends on what is causing your back pain and the type of sleeper you are. If lack of pressure relief or low contouring power is causing your back pain, and you don’t sleep hot or like to toss and turn, then memory foam is probably going to be the best fit for you. If you do sleep hot but still need lots of contouring, gel memory foam may be a better solution.

Conversely, active sleepers who like to toss and turn might want to consider natural latex for their mattress topper. Natural latex is also a good option for those who want more buoyancy and less sinkage in their mattress. Hot sleepers may also prefer natural latex because of its amazing breathability.

How firm should my mattress topper be to relieve back pain?

The general rule is a medium-firm mattress is the best firmness level to relieve back pain. So the mattress topper firmness that helps you achieve this overall firmness level is likely to be the best. That means if your mattress is a firm or extra firm mattress, a softer mattress topper with more contouring will be the best firmness level for your back pain.

Conversely, if your mattress is too soft, then a firmer mattress topper will help you achieve a firmer overall feel for your mattress. Just remember that if your mattress is extremely soft, then it likely needs to be replaced. A firm mattress topper cannot make up for the lack of support in the core of the mattress.

What should I expect to pay for a mattress topper?

That depends on a number of factors, including size, material, and brand. Generally speaking, if your mattress topper costs a lot less than $100, you should be concerned about its quality and durability.

On the other hand, if it costs over $500, you need to figure out why to avoid being ripped off. Luxury organic latex mattress toppers can cost a pretty penny, but standard memory foam mattress toppers should not cost much more than $500.

Bottom Line

Depending on the cause of your back pain, a mattress topper may be the perfect solution. If your pain is caused by a lack of contouring or pressure relief, a topper can help. If, however, your back pain is caused by a saggy or unsupportive mattress, it may be time to choose a new mattress.

Our buyers’ guides to the best mattresses on the market can simplify what can seem a complicated shopping experience.

Christine Lapp is a full-time graduate student and part-time freelancer for Sleep Junkie. Since she was a little girl on the soccer field, Christine has had a love for sports, and she believes everybody should get up and get moving once a day. Now, she incorporates her love for exercise into her studies, pursuing a degree in exercise physiology. Christine understands that what you do during your waking hours has a direct impact on your night’s sleep. In our better sleep guides, she offers advice for developing healthy daytime habits to nurture a more peaceful slumber.

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