The Best Orthopedic Mattress for Backaches, Joint Pain, and Sports-Related Injuries

How the best Orthopedic Mattress looks


Any injury or disease that affects the musculoskeletal system can cause pain or disability and make it difficult to stay active. Unfortunately, orthopedic issues are common. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, more than half of people in the United States ages 18 and older suffer from musculoskeletal problems. Worse, nearly three out of every four people 65 years old and above do, as well. If you're sleeping on a mattress with poor support, you could be aggravating your back or joint pain. Finding an orthopedic mattress that encourages spinal alignment and pressure relief can do wonders for your sleep and help you regain your active lifestyle.

So how do you find the best orthopedic mattress? We teamed up with the Mattress Advisor review team to find the top orthopedic beds based on 14 criteria. We then identified which orthopedic mattress was best for various lifestyle preferences and sleep styles. Here's what the Mattress Advisor team found:

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The Best Orthopedic Mattresses - Our Top Picks

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Best Overall Orthopedic Mattress - Saatva Classic

Saatva Classic

SPECS

  • Mattress type: Hybrid
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 9/10
  • Firmness: Plush Soft, Luxury Firm, Firm
  • Sleep trial: 365-night
  • Warranty: Lifetime

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The Saatva Classic is Mattress Advisor's top pick for the best overall orthopedic mattress because it is specifically designed for people with back problems. The luxury foam and innerspring mattress are firmer and more durable in the middle third of the bed to cradle and support the lower back and keep the spine in alignment. The entire mattress is topped with a three-inch Euro pillow top for additional cushion and comfort.

We especially like that the Saatva Classic comes with free white-glove delivery. If you suffer from orthopedic issues, the last thing you want to do is unbox and set up a mattress on your own. Saatva will not only set up your bed for you, they'll also haul away your old mattress for free. The Saatva Classic comes with a full-year sleep trial and an impressive lifetime warranty.

What We Like

  • Built-in lumbar support helps reduce back strain
  • Free white-glove delivery
  • Three firmness levels and two mattress height options to choose from

What We Don't Like

  • So many firmness and thickness options may make it difficult to decide
  • $99 fee for returns

BUY: Saatva Classic

Best Budget Orthopedic Mattress - Nectar

Nectar

SPECS

  • Mattress type: Memory Foam
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 8.7/10
  • Firmness: Medium-firm
  • Sleep trial: 365-night
  • Warranty: Lifetime warranty

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At less than $1,000 for a queen-sized mattress, the Nectar is a great deal for bargain shoppers, especially those who need orthopedic support. This all-foam mattress cradles and cushions your body to help relieve joint tension. It's also highly responsive to your movements, so you won’t get that "stuck in bed" feeling that sometimes happens with memory foam. And at just 66 pounds for a queen-sized mattress, it's easier to set up than heavier beds. Nectar comes well-packed in plastic inside of the box, so it might take a hot minute to break it loose, even with the included unboxing tool.

Once you do get it free from all the wrappings (and give it a couple days to air out), you have a full year to decide if you want to keep it. If you feel Nectar is right for you, you can rest assured that the mattress will stand up over time with its generous lifetime warranty.

What We Like

  • White-glove delivery available at an additional cost
  • Full-year sleep trial
  • Lifetime warranty

What We Don't Like

  • Slight off-gassing after unboxing
  • May sleep hot

BUY: Nectar

Best Orthopedic Mattress for Back Pain - WinkBed

Winkbed

SPECS

  • Mattress type: Hybrid
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 8.6/10
  • Firmness: Softer, Luxury Firm, Firmer, Plus (for heavier people)
  • Sleep trial: 120-night
  • Warranty: Lifetime warranty

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If you suffer from back pain, you need a mattress designed for support. The WinkBed combines pocketed coils and microcoils with a dense cotton lumbar support pad to create pressure relief and support the lower back. The mattress is covered with a gel foam layer for added comfort and topped with a quilted foam Euro top.

The WinkBed is also highly durable. Most mattresses are made to support individuals who weigh up to 250 pounds, but the WinkBed (and particularly its Plus model) can accommodate heavier sleepers without sacrificing support. For couples who sleep together, mattresses designed for midweight to heavier people will feel firmer to lighter ones. WinkBed also offers white-glove delivery at an extra cost.

What We Like

  • Cooling gel technology
  • Option for heavier weight sleepers
  • White glove delivery available for an additional cost

What We Don't Like

  • Heavy mattress makes setup more difficult
  • Does not isolate motion very well, so may not be a good option if you have a restless bedmate

BUY: WinkBed

Best Luxury Orthopedic Mattress - Brooklyn Bedding Sedona Elite

Brooklyn Bedding Sedona Elite

SPECS

  • Mattress type: Hybrid
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 9/10
  • Firmness: Medium
  • Sleep trial: 120-night
  • Warranty: 10-year warranty

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The Brooklyn Bedding Sedona Elite is a luxury mattress worthy of its higher price tag. This hybrid has four layers of foam on top of a supportive layer of pocketed coils, including two gel foam layers that add a cooling element. The other cooling technology is in the fabric cover, which makes the bed literally cool to the touch.

The Sedona Elite is a top orthopedic pick for the Mattress Advisor team because it combines pressure-relieving cushioning with enough support to keep the spinal column aligned. The bed is custom built, which means you'll have to wait a little longer to receive it. But it's also very durable and can last through its 10-year warranty if you take care of it. One downside is the slight off-gassing smell, which is common among foam beds. This generally goes away within a few hours to a couple days.

What We Like

  • Can accommodate heavier weights
  • Cooling technology
  • Fast, easy set-up

What We Don't Like

  • Pricier mattress
  • Can take up to 3 weeks to receive your mattress after ordering

BUY: Brooklyn Bedding Sedona Elite

Best Orthopedic Mattress for Stomach Sleepers - Helix Midnight

Helix Midnight

SPECS

  • Mattress type: Hybrid
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 8.7/10
  • Firmness: Firm
  • Sleep trial: 100-night
  • Warranty: 10-year warranty

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Stomach sleepers are a rare breed. Not only does sleeping on your stomach put you at greater risk of waking with a neckache, jaw pain, or lower back strain, but it can exacerbate orthopedic issues. However, some people just can’t fall asleep any other way. If this sounds like you, it’s important that you choose a mattress that will help you wake up feeling refreshed. For stomach sleepers, the Mattress Advisor team prefers the Helix Midnight memory foam and innerspring bed. It’s firm enough to ease lower back strain and supportive enough to hold your spine in proper alignment. It also has foam layers that provide just enough cushioning for comfort.

One word of caution: memory foam mattresses can trap body heat and sleep hot. If you run hot at night, consider paying a little extra for Helix's special cooling cover. This cover’s high thermal conductivity pulls heat away from the body so you stay cool through the night.

What We Like

  • Even support right up to the edge of the bed
  • Cooling cover available at an extra cost
  • Competitive price range

What We Don't Like

  • Slight off-gassing upon unboxing
  • May be too firm for side sleepers

BUY: Helix Midnight

Best Orthopedic Mattress for Pressure Relief - DreamCloud

DreamCloud

SPECS

  • Mattress type: Hybrid
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 9/10
  • Firmness: Medium-firm
  • Sleep trial: 365-night
  • Warranty: Lifetime warranty

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The DreamCloud memory foam and pocketed coil mattress scored high overall with the Mattress Advisor review team, and its pressure-relieving qualities make it a top choice for those who suffer from joint pain, especially in the shoulders and hips. This hybrid mattress has a support layer made from pocketed coils, three layers of foam that add a body-contouring cushion for optimal pressure relief, and a cashmere quilted foam cover.

DreamCloud also offers white-glove delivery, but the $149 cost is higher than what other companies charge for the service. If you're strong and healthy, you can likely manage to unbox the 85-pound, queen-size mattress and forgo the extra cost. DreamCloud also gives you a full year to decide if you want to keep your mattress.

What We Like

  • High marks on pressure relief
  • Full-year sleep trial
  • White-glove delivery available for an extra cost

What We Don't Like

  • May not be supportive enough for stomach sleepers
  • Heavier mattresses may be difficult to set up for some people

BUY: DreamCloud

Best Memory Foam Orthopedic Mattress - TEMPUR-Pedic TEMPUR-Adapt

TEMPUR-Pedic TEMPUR-Adapt

SPECS

  • Mattress type: Foam
  • Mattress Advisor Score: N/A
  • Firmness: Soft, Medium, Medium-Hybrid, Firm
  • Sleep trial: 90-night
  • Warranty: 10-year warranty

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When it comes to memory foam, TEMPUR-Pedic is king. The company's proprietary TEMPUR foam paved the way for memory foam usage in many other mattresses. It was originally developed by NASA to cushion astronauts during liftoff, and the foam quickly adapts to your body's shape, weight, and temperature.

TEMPUR-Pedic has several iterations of its mattresses, one of which is the TEMPUR-Adapt. This all-foam mattress sports a base made from the original TEMPUR support foam and is topped with a softer comfort layer. The mattress is also wrapped in a cool-to-the-touch cover. The price is a little steep, but you can qualify for 0% percent financing to help soften the blow. Disappointingly, this bed has one of the shortest sleep trials on our list. You get just 90 days to test out your mattress.

What We Like

  • Free white-glove delivery
  • Cooling technology adds a cool-to-the-touch cover and boosts breathability
  • 0% financing makes big price tag more affordable

What We Don't Like

  • Pricey
  • Skimpy sleep trial

BUY: TEMPUR-PEDIC TEMPUR-Adapt

Best Orthopedic Mattress for Side Sleepers - Casper Wave Hybrid

Casper Wave Hybrid

SPECS

  • Mattress type: Hybrid
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 9.1/10
  • Firmness: Medium
  • Sleep trial: 100-night
  • Warranty: 10-year warranty

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If you are a side sleeper and deal with orthopedic issues, your mattress could be aggravating your condition. However, the Mattress Advisor team found the Casper Wave Hybrid mattress to be an ideal choice for side sleepers. With targeted support in the lumbar region and extra give at the hips and shoulders, this mattress excels in keeping the spine aligned.

The Casper Wave Hybrid is built on a foundation of durable pocket coils that help isolate motion. Breathable latex separates the layers of pressure-relieving memory foam to help transfer body heat away from you as you sleep. An additional cooling cover is also available if you struggle with overheating, but it will cost you a pretty penny. The Casper Wave mattress is one of the highest-scoring beds the Mattress Advisor team has reviewed, but it's also one of the priciest.

What We Like

  • Cooling technology
  • Zoned support
  • Option to add cool-to-the-touch cover for an additional cost

What We Don't Like

  • Hefty price tag
  • Add-on cooling cover also comes with a steep price tag

BUY: Casper Wave Hybrid

Best Orthopedic Mattress for Athletes - Bear Elite Hybrid

Bear Elite Hybrid

SPECS

  • Mattress type: Hybrid
  • Mattress Advisor Score: 8.9/10
  • Firmness: Luxury Plush, Luxury Firm, Extra Firm
  • Sleep trial: 120-night
  • Warranty: Lifetime warranty

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The Mattress Advisor team found the Bear Elite Hybrid to be a great choice for athletes who require good sleep to help recover after maximum exertion. This memory foam and innerspring mattress scores exceptionally high in spine alignment, which can help ease back strain and stress. The individually encased pocketed spring coil system and the five-zone foam layer help relieve pressure at sensitive joints and cushion sore muscles.

The Bear Elite also has a layer of copper-infused memory foam to help wick away moisture to keep you cool and dry at night. Some studies show that copper has antimicrobial properties which can help fend off viruses, bacteria, and odors. Copper has also been found to reduce inflammation and arthritis, two issues athletes often deal with. And with three firmness options, the Bear Elite Hybrid is a great choice for any sleep position.

What We Like

  • Scores well in spine alignment and pressure relief
  • Copper-infused layer may help with recovery
  • Highly responsive mattress makes it a good option for restless sleepers

What We Don't Like

  • Heavy mattress makes setting up cumbersome
  • Pricier mattress

BUY: Bear Elite Hybrid

What to Look for in an Orthopedic Mattress

Here are some key factors you should keep in mind when shopping for an orthopedic mattress.

Firmness

Mattress firmness is a personal preference, but you should consider your sleep position when deciding on a firmness level. Firmness is usually gauged on a 1-10 scale with softer mattresses on the lower end and firmer ones toward the top.

Sleep Position

Generally speaking, there are four different sleeping positions: side, back, stomach, and combination.

  • Side sleepers need a medium to a medium-firm mattress that's supportive enough to keep the spine aligned but cushioned enough to prevent joint pain, especially at the shoulders and hips.
  • Back sleepers can benefit from a softer mattress as long as it supports the natural curvature of the spine and doesn't cause strain.
  • Stomach sleepers are at greater risk of lower back and neck strain. Firmer mattresses tend to work best for stomach sleepers, so long as they provide enough comfort.
  • Combination sleepers should consider a mattress with medium firmness that strikes a balance between contouring and sinkage.

Spine Alignment

The key to easing or preventing back pain is maintaining good posture and spinal cord alignment, even when you're asleep. The spine has a natural curvature in the lower back, and if your mattress does not properly support that curve, it can result in strain and pain.

Pressure Relief

Your mattress should have enough cushion to support your body but enough give at sensitive pressure points to provide relief. This helps prevent and reduce joint pain, especially at the hips and shoulders.

Responsiveness

A responsive mattress adapts quickly to your body's movements when you change positions. Mattresses that aren't very responsive can make you feel as if you are sinking into them.

Motion Isolation

A motion-isolating mattress can prevent you from being disturbed when your bed partner tosses and turns or gets up for a bathroom break. Motion isolation is especially critical for light sleepers.

Edge Support

Some mattresses have extra support around the perimeter of the bed. This makes climbing out of the bed easier and can benefit people with orthopedic issues. Good edge support also keeps you from feeling like you might roll out of bed if you tend to sleep close to the edge.

Sleep Trial

All of the mattresses on our list have sleep trials that range from about three months to an entire year. Sleep trials let you try out a mattress to determine if it's the right fit for you. You'll want to carefully read the sleep trial specifics of each mattress you consider. Some require you to test the mattress for at least 30 days before requesting a return, while others may charge a fee.

Warranty

A mattress warranty is the specific time period a mattress company provides during which it will cover the replacement, repair, or refund of a mattress under certain circumstances. As with sleep trials, you'll want to carefully read about your mattress warranty coverage. Many will guarantee the replacement or repair of mattresses if seams split, coils break or pop out, handles break, or the mattress begins to sag.

Mattress Types for Orthopedic Mattresses

Most mattresses are made with innerspring, memory foam, latex, or a combination of two or more materials.

Innerspring

Traditional innerspring mattresses are bouncy and only use a little foam cushioning. In general, they're not as comfortable or supportive as foam or hybrid mattresses. However, they do promote airflow which helps keep the mattresses cool and can offset the heat-trapping properties of any foam cushioning.

Memory Foam

Memory foam mattresses are known for their comfort and body contouring. When you lie on a memory foam mattress, it might feel as if you're sinking into it. One downside to memory foam is that it can trap body heat and sleep hot if it doesn't incorporate some type of cooling technology.

Latex

Latex mattresses are porous and promote airflow, which makes them more breathable than memory foam. They're also bouncier and more buoyant than memory foam, so you feel like you're sleeping “on” the bed rather than "in" it.

Hybrid

Hybrid mattresses are made with two or more mattress materials. This often means a thicker layer of memory foam or latex foam over an innerspring.

FAQs About Orthopedic Mattresses


What's the difference between firm and orthopedic mattresses?

Firm mattresses rate 8 or higher on a 1-10 firmness scale. Comparatively, most mattresses fall in the 4-7, or medium to medium-firm, range, including some mattresses designated as orthopedic. Many believe that firm mattresses are best for orthopedic problems. However, a too-firm mattress may not provide enough pressure-point relief for side sleepers and may even strain the backs of back sleepers.

Who should use an orthopedic mattress?

Anyone who suffers from orthopedic health conditions can benefit from an orthopedic mattress, including people who have arthritis, osteoporosis, muscle atrophy, bursitis, pinched nerves, tendonitis, or sports-related injuries.

What is an orthopedic mattress made of?

Beds advertised as orthopedic are either all foam or hybrids. Hybrids are made with latex or memory foam and a layer or two of innerspring coils. These mattresses incorporate zoned support, mineral infusions, or other technologies that help reduce pressure on sensitive joints, relieve back strain, and aid recovery.

Does an orthopedic mattress have springs?

Many orthopedic mattresses are hybrids. They are made with innerspring to help isolate motion and are topped with memory foam or latex to increase comfort and provide relief on pressure points.

About the Author

Jennifer Walker-Journey

Jennifer began her career as a features writer for daily newspapers before launching a freelance writing business more than a decade ago. Her work has been featured in websites like USAToday.com, HowStuffWorks.com, Psychedelicspotlight.com, Health.com, AARP, EverydayHealth.com, Women.com, AginginPlace.org, as well as magazines such as Omni, Sea Island Life, and Salamander.

See More from Jennifer

Jennifer began her career as a features writer for daily newspapers before launching a freelance writing business more than a decade ago. Her work has been featured in websites like USAToday.com, HowStuffWorks.com, Psychedelicspotlight.com, Health.com, AARP, EverydayHealth.com, Women.com, AginginPlace.org, as well as magazines such as Omni, Sea Island Life, and Salamander.

See More from Jennifer

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