There are few things more annoying than lower back pain. It can disrupt your entire life. Of course, one of the things that back pain affects the most is our sleep quality. It’s practically impossible to enjoy a good night’s sleep when any back pain flares up. Back pain has become more widespread particularly over the past few years due to the global pandemic and the work from home new normal. While many of us have been sitting at home at our desks, some likely without ergonomic chairs to support our backs during the long work days, it’s no surprise that back issues have flared up dramatically. The last thing you want is to relax in bed after a tiresome day, only to have your mattress worsen your back pain, rather than relieve it as it should.
As we all know, when our sleep cycles are negatively impacted, the fallout can affect every aspect of our lives. Thankfully, there are products out there designed specifically to help alleviate back pain throughout the night. If your sleep is usually interrupted because of lower back pain and you can’t fall asleep again for hours, there’s a solution to this. While back pain is unfortunately very common nowadays, it’s something you can fix with the right tools. Yes, laying down might feel like hell and you can’t seem to get enough rest during the night, but adding a mattress topper to your bed might be exactly what you need.
It sounds crazy, right? That something as small and seemingly insignificant as a mattress topper could make a huge impact on your entire life. Yet it’s true. With the right topper, your back pain that keeps you awake will seemingly vanish and you’ll find yourself enjoying satisfying sleep like a baby. You just have to make sure that you bring home the right topper, and that’s where The Sleep Judge comes in. We’re here to help you find the right topper that will allow you to sleep through your back pain and improve the overall quality of your sleep. Take a look below at our top 5 mattress toppers for back pain relief.
Isolus 2.5 Inch Ventilated Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper
Lucid 2” Foam Topper
Lucid 2 Inch Bamboo Charcoal Memory Foam Mattress Topper
Best Price 4” Mattress
Recci 2.5″ Mattress Topper Pressure Relief for Back Pain
||30-night sleep trial|
Best Mattress Topper for Back Pain Reviews
While some mattress toppers may appear very thin, don’t be fooled by their size alone. These specially designed toppers make a huge difference, even though they may not look like a miracle cure to sleeping through back pain. However, you’ll notice a huge difference as soon as you place it on your bed.
If you have back pain and are shopping for a mattress topper to help alleviate your pain, it’s important to know the difference between mattress pads and mattress toppers.
As its name suggests, a mattress topper will sit on top of your mattress and its thick make-up creates an extra layer of support when placed on your mattress. While mattress pads also add additional comfort, they’re much thinner than toppers and mainly provide protection for your mattress, e.g. from spills and stains. Pads often have straps or zippers to firmly attach to your mattress so they won’t shift, while toppers may shift during the night. Most mattress toppers are dry-clean only, so factor this in while budgeting your costs.
After researching countless toppers, we tested over 13. Everyone suffers from back pain differently after all, so not all of these options will work for every sleeper. Here are the top mattress toppers that we personally tested: you won’t find a better topper to cure your back pain than these!
1. Editor’s Choice – ISOLUS 2.5 Inch Ventilated Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper
- Warranty: 3 years
- Weight: 24 pounds
- Size: 13 x 13 x 24 inches
- Material: Memory foam
- Suitable for: People who sweat during the night, people with lower back pain
The Isolus Ventilated Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper is extremely soft, will breathe new life into your old bed and noticeably improve the quality of your sleep. The extra half an inch compared to the two inch toppers really makes a difference, too. That’s especially true for side sleepers who need that extra bit of support and cushioning. It’s also amazing for back and stomach sleepers too, as this topper can vastly improve the sleep experience when paired with a firm mattress.
This memory foam topper uses the latest ventilation technologies in order to provide a user with a good amount of air flow and distribute body heat evenly over the surface. Therefore, you’ll avoid overheating and will be able to sleep throughout the night without waking up in discomfort.
This is the perfect topper for anyone looking to improve the quality of their old mattress, side sleepers looking for extra cushioning and back sleepers who need soft support. If you fall into any of these categories, consider getting yourself an Isolus Ventilated Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper.
The overall good quality is clear and Isolus created an excellent blend of materials which do their job well. It’s also important to mention that this topper comes with a mildew resistant bamboo topper, which is also hypoallergenic and will provide you with a clean sleeping environment. It’s no surprise that this is our editor’s pick, and many happy customers seem to agree!
- Very durable
- Excellent materials
- Comes with sweat resistant cover
- Strong odor when unpacked
- Difficult returns
2. Best Ventilation – LUCID 2″ Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper
- Warranty: 3 years
- Weight: 14 pounds
- Size: 60 x 80 x 2 inches
- Material: Gel-infused memory foam
- Suitable for: People who want extra comfort
The Lucid Gel Infused Ventilated Memory Foam Mattress Topper is great when paired with the right type of bed. For those who are back sleepers, this topper is best suited when used with a more firm mattress because the 2” of memory foam will give just the right amount of support and cushioning.
For those who are side sleepers, this product will produce the best results when paired with a softer bed. You need a bit more give and cushioning as a side sleeper to reduce the amount of pressure on the hips.
The gel infusion means that it doesn’t trap heat as normal memory foam often does. While gel keeps you cool, the ventilated holes throughout the surface conduct air flow. Overall, this topper is great in any situation as long as it’s paired with the right mattress.
Once you take this mattress topper out of its packaging, you will notice a distinctive smell. This is nothing to be concerned about, it’s merely off-gassing and is completely normal. Just lay the topper down somewhere in your home or outside to let it air out. The odor will go away completely after 48 hours and you can then place the topper on your mattress and try it out.
- Excellent ventilation
- Great combination of materials
- Regulates body heat
- Spot clean only
- No cover
3. Best Value – LUCID 2″ Bamboo Charcoal Memory Foam Mattress Topper
- Warranty: 3 years
- Weight: 11.53 pounds
- Size: 58.98 x 78.98 x 1.97 inches
- Material: Memory foam
- Suitable for: Those on a budget
Another great option from Lucid is the 2-Inch Bamboo Charcoal Memory Foam Mattress Topper. One of the more cost-effective options on the market, this topper is specifically designed to help reduce pressure point pain in your back. Its infusion of bamboo charcoal aids in regulating your body topper so as not to trap heat while you sleep, as well as dissipates the new-smell odor that often comes with any memory foam product.
Some users have reported that consistent sagging of the topper has fallen short of their expectations, however any product defects such as this will be covered in the generous three-year warranty that Lucid offers. For the extremely affordable price point, it’s definitely worth giving this topper a go as many users have shared that their back pain has been significantly alleviated since sleeping on this topper.
- Great value for money
- Reduces pressure point pain in your back
- Bamboo charcoal regulates body heat
- May be too thick and heavy for some sleepers
- Some reports of sagging into mattress
4. Best Memory Foam Duo – Best Price Memory Foam Mattress Topper
- Warranty: 3 years
- Weight: 20.6 pounds
- Size: 74 x 53 x 4 inches
- Material: Memory foam
- Suitable for: People suffering from lower back pain and side sleepers
The Best Price 4-Inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper is one of the thicker toppers on the market and definitely has exceptional support for back pain. It will arrive neatly packaged and will start to quickly unravel to its original shape. Be prepared to wait a few days after you unroll it for the odor to completely disappear, as off-gassing is guaranteed with most memory foam products. The smell is completely normal and nothing to be concerned about.
This topper also comes with a mesh cover which will both lengthen its lifespan and offer protection if you need to stow it away, or if you relocate often. It’s made of durable materials and you’ll be able to use it for years with proper care. There shouldn’t be any indentations over time and the support in general is impressive. This topper is excellent for restless sleepers because their partner will not be woken up by the mattress vibration.
Additionally, it’s important to mention that Best Price 4-Inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper has excellent ventilation and heat retention is minimal. You can sleep peacefully because your body temperature will be regulated by the air flow.
As this topper is doubled sided – one regular dense foam and the other memory foam – you can select your ideal comfort level. If you have minor back pain and prefer the cushion of the memory foam, you can sleep on side. However, if you have medium to severe back pain, you can choose the thicker, more dense foam side.
- Good back support
- High quality materials
- Comes with mesh cover
- Double sided
- Not waterproof
- It might be too thick for some people
- Memory/regular foam only, without gel
5. Best for Hot Sleepers – Recci Mattress Topper for Back Pain
- Warranty: 30-night sleep trial
- Weight: 17.86 pounds
- Size: 79.53 x 59.45 x 2.5 inches
- Material: Memory foam
- Suitable for: Warmer sleepers
As its name suggests, this memory foam mattress topper by Recci is another ideal option for those who experience back pain. The foam technology optimizes your comfort and allows your spine to relax in its natural arc as you sleep. It’s not too thick at 2.5 inches, and like our other picks you’ll need to air it out before use to alleviate the off-gassing smell and let it fully expand. Users have reported that its squishy surface is extremely comfortable, without it feeling too lightweight and not supporting your body weight. This is another great choice for those who don’t want to break the bank, or if you’re trying out a foam topper for the first time and don’t know what to expect.
Its main drawback, however, is that it only offers a 30-night sleep trial rather than a standard warranty like our other top 4 suggestions. While it’s a noticeable difference from 30 days to 3 years, it shouldn’t take too many nights to decide whether this topper is aiding your back pain. It’s also important to note that you should rotate the mattress topper every few months to prevent sagging in any one area, which will in turn increase its lifespan.
- Gel-infused cooling technology prevents overheating
- CertiPUR-US certified – precision technology
- Excellent for stomach and back sleepers
- Short warranty compared to our other 4 options
Choosing Your First Mattress Topper
If this is your first introduction to the mattress toppers, you should note that they are not full sized mini-mattresses. Instead, they are placed on top of your bed in order to give you more support and comfort during the night. Think of it as added support as opposed to sleep solution on its own. This is an item specifically designed to target your comfort goals that will augment and extend the lifespan of your mattress.
Mattress toppers are usually thin and light. They will arrive in small packaging and you’ll be able to unwrap and place them on your existing mattress. Mattress toppers are known for alleviating back pain and they are often recommended by doctors and physicians. These humble toppers can make a huge impact on improving your day-to-day life. They are simple but effective additions to your daily life that should improve your sleep and help you feel energized as soon as you wake up.
If you want to protect your investment, consider a waterproof cover or encasement as toppers can only be spot cleaned. Their designs are too delicately balanced to survive a trip through the washing machine.
What to Look for in a Topper for Back Pain
Mattress toppers differ in size and shape, so there are key features to note if you’re searching for a topper for back pain relief. Not all toppers are created equal, so be mindful of this to ensure you end up with the mattress topper to suit your specific needs.
Choose Memory Foam or Latex
Memory foam should be your material of choice because it forms around your body and “memorizes“ your shape. This means you’ll have enough support on all key points such as joints and back, as long as your weight is distributed evenly. The density of the memory foam is also very important. Never select anything lower than 4-5 pounds per cubic foot for memory foam because it won’t help your back pain in the long run. Take these facts into account to better understand foam types:
If the mattress topper is thick, this means the sleeping experience will usually be super comfortable. You want a nice and thick layer of foam to cushion and cradle your body throughout the night. The thickness varies and if the topper isn’t big enough, your back support will be almost non-existent. Since our goal is to help you get better sleep quality, we suggest going for a topper at least three inches thick. Anything less than this will likely leave you unsatisfied.
Sure, there are some thinner models that have excellent density which sets them apart from the rest, but if your pain is severe, these lighter toppers won’t be of much use to you. You’ll likely still have trouble falling asleep due to the constant pain, so the problem will remain. Make sure that when you choose your topper, its thickness is at least 2 inches.
Soft vs Firm
If your topper or mattress is too soft, it won’t be very kind to your back. Your spine alignment won’t be correct which might lead to even more chiropractic issues. While your bed will feel super comfortable, chances are that your back aches won’t be resolved. It’s important to find a topper that will be resilient and support you throughout the night.
The level of thickness or firmness you should choose also depends on the mattress itself. If your bed is fairly soft and offers little support, then a topper on the firm side would be best. If your bed is quite solid and firm and you tend to sleep on your side, then a thicker memory foam topper will help you out. We suggest you determine the main issue with your mattress first, then select a topper to remedy the issue and complement the mattress.
Avoid mattress toppers that are too firm as you don’t want to feel like you’re sleeping on the hardwood floor. That’s not going to help your sleep at all. Contrary to popular belief, firm surfaces won’t do wonders to your back pain unless you’re exclusively a back sleeper. For side sleepers, finding a middle ground is the way to go in this situation.
Your memory foam topper should fit your mattress perfectly, so be sure to measure it before you make the purchase. Toppers do come in various sizes and you’ll likely find one that will cover your bed completely. Be aware that sometimes the information available on the manufacturer’s website might be misleading, so make sure you check the comments and reviews from other customers to determine the right fit for your bed. Research is vital in ensuring that you bring home the right mattress topper for your needs. Buying the first topper that you find is a recipe for disaster, even if you have a friend that swears by it. As we mentioned earlier, mattress toppers are definitely not a one-size-fits-all as everyone sleeps differently and will have varying degrees of back pain, if any at all.
Heat Retention Issue
There’s a perfect temperature for sleeping, and memory foam mattresses and toppers do tend to get warm easily, while some lower-quality products will significantly raise your body temperature. This can be a huge issue that you simply shouldn’t deal with. After all, your primary goal is to rest well and start sleeping better on your new memory foam mattress topper.
Gel infused memory foam is capable of evenly dispersing your body heat and cooling down your sleep environment. Toppers will still feel warm underneath you, which is perfectly normal. On the other hand, toppers which are made of high quality memory foam can provide you with the exact same result.
If you’re still on the fence about it, we suggest you get a cooling pad that can be placed over your topper as a cover. These are particularly useful during summer months when the weather is unbearably hot, but they can also come in handy if your memory foam mattress is prone to overheating.
Mattress toppers can be helpful to people suffering from back pain, especially if you choose the product that has the right amount of support and density. Memory foam will conform to your body shape, creating a safe and comfortable environment in your bed. The Isolus Ventilated Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper Sleep Better 3″ Foam topper is the obvious choice here as its thickness is just right and feels as soft as a cloud.
It’s a perfect blend of a soft and firm surface so you’ll fall asleep quicker and feel energized in the morning. As it’s infused with gel, it has excellent air flow which means you won’t overheat or sweat during the night. This topper will help to align your spine and improve your back pain in no time.
If you found these recommendations helpful, or have any additional questions, please feel free to share and comment below!
May 31, 2021: SleepJoy 2″ ViscO2 Ventilated Memory Foam topper has been replaced by the Recci 2.5″ Mattress Topper Pressure Relief for Back Pain due to product unavailability. The Lucid 2″ Bamboo Charcoal Memory Foam Mattress Topper has been added due to product popularity. Introduction section has been included, referencing back pain being exaggerated by working from home conditions due to the global pandemic. The difference between a mattress topper and mattress pad has been outlined prior to reviewing the products, as this was a commonly asked question. Included “Best” awards for each product and an FAQ section to reflect most popular questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do mattress toppers really work?
In short, yes. A good quality mattress topper is a great alternative to purchasing a brand-new bed and it can substantially improve the quality of your sleep surface. Whether your bed is too soft, too firm, lumpy or doesn’t provide the level of support you require, there's a mattress topper specifically designed to meet that need. They range from 1 to 4 inches thick with fills that can include memory, gel and latex foams for cradling support, down and down alternatives for a plusher level of comfort and organic wools for superior warmth and softness.
What type of mattress topper is best for lower back and hip pain?
Mattress toppers come in a range of thickness levels and fill types, so you’ll want to be sure you choose a product that addresses your personal needs. For lower back and hip pain, opt for a topper that’s at least 4-inches thick so that it can effectively support heavier joints. And it should be constructed using a memory foam fill (either alone or combined with other foams) that can cradle contours, fill gaps such as your lower back and ensure neutral spinal alignment. A great option at an affordable price is the Best Price 4-inch memory foam topper.
What's the difference between a mattress topper and mattress pad?
While these terms are often used interchangeably, they're not in fact referring to the same thing. A mattress pad is typically much thinner than a topper, and is used more to protect the mattress/offer temperature control. A topper is far more dense and acts as a solid barrier between you and the mattress. They're usually made of more durable materials such as memory foam to provide extra support and comfort.
Do mattress toppers trap heat?
Mattress toppers are designed to promote air flow between your body and the mattress itself, so they typically shouldn't trap heat. If you're a warm sleeper, you can also find specific mattress toppers with cooling technology, such as the LUCID 2" Gel Infused Ventilated Memory Foam Mattress Topper, which regulates body heat.
How do you clean a mattress topper?
As mattress toppers typically aren’t machine-washable, it’s best to spot clean your topper with mild soap/detergent and allow it to air dry for optimal results. For those hard-to-get stains, a quick trip to the dry cleaners will have your topper good as new.