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Best Mattress Toppers for Back Pain – Top Picks and Buyer’s Guide

Written by Tuck Staff

Quick Overview

Mattress toppers are layers of material – typically 1 to 3 inches thick – that are added to the top surface of a mattress to add extra cushioning and adjust the firmness. Additionally, some toppers are designed to conform closely to the sleeper’s body in order to help align their spine and alleviate pain and pressure points throughout their body.

These toppers can be especially beneficial for sleepers with older beds or mattresses that provide minimal relief for aches and pains. They can also be used on sleep surfaces that are less comfortable, such as pull-out beds and tent floors during campouts.

The toppers that offer the best pressure relief are typically made from materials like memory foam and latex that hug the sleeper’s body closely without sagging excessively. The right level of conforming and pressure relief often depends on the sleeper’s weight and preferred position. For this reason, a topper may be ideal for some sleepers but uncomfortable for others.

This guide will discuss tips for choosing a mattress topper that will offer the optimal level of pain and pressure relief for different sleepers. Below you’ll find our picks for the best mattress toppers for back pain. Our choices are based on verified customer and owner experiences, as well as intensive product research and analysis.

Best Mattress Toppers for Back Pain

Best Mattress Toppers for Back Pain – Reviewed

Best OverallBirch Pillow Top

Best Overall – Birch Pillow Top


  • Natural Talalay latex and wool
  • Exceptional breathability
  • Soft and body-contouring
  • 100-night sleep trial and 10-year warranty
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Best OverallBirch Pillow Top

The Birch Organic Mattress Topper mattress topper is soft, comfortable, and made with natural materials. The topper is 3 inches thick and contains wool and Talalay latex layers. Talalay is a high-quality latex that contours to the body while maintaining breathability.

The Talalay latex provides cushioning that eases stress on pressure points. An organic cotton covers the wool and latex layers, further adding to the cooling quality of the topper. Hot sleepers should definitely consider this topper, especially if they’ve had bad experiences with foam layers in the past.

Birch provides free ground shipping to customers in all 50 states. All orders come with a 100-night sleep trial, and those who keep the topper are also entitled to a 10-year warranty against structural defects.

Good for:

  • People who sleep in any position (back, stomach, side, combination)
  • Those who tend to sleep hot
  • Sleepers needing pressure point relief
  • People who prefer sustainable, all-natural products

Best ValueAllswell Memory Foam Mattress Topper with Graphite

Best Value – Allswell Memory Foam Mattress Topper with Graphite


  • Infused with cooling graphite
  • 3” thick open cell memory foam
  • Sleeps very cool
  • 30-night trial
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Best ValueAllswell Memory Foam Mattress Topper with Graphite

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The Allswell Memory Foam Mattress Topper with Graphite is a great pick for value seekers. Each size of this mattress topper carry very reasonable price-points, making it one of the most affordable memory foam toppers on the market.

This topper is made of a single layer of memory foam that can provide additional comfort and support to sleepers who don’t feel they’re getting enough of that from their current mattress.

The Allswell 3-inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper is an especially good choice for people who tend to sleep hot. It is made of open cell memory foam, which is more breathable than other foams and wicks moisture. The topper is also infused with graphite, which also cools the body.

Good for:

  • People who tend to sleep hot
  • Shoppers with a smaller budget
  • People who sleep in any position

Best LuxurySaatva Latex Topper

Best Luxury – Saatva Latex Topper


  • American Talalay latex
  • Organic cotton cover
  • Ventilated to promote airflow
  • 180-day trial period
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Best LuxurySaatva Latex Topper

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The Saatva Latex Topper contains a 1.5-inch American Talalay latex layer covered by organic cotton. Latex is known for its cooling properties, and this topper is particularly cooling due to ventilation spots in the latex. The organic cotton cover adds to the topper’s cooling ability, since cotton is naturally breathable.

The Saatva Latex Topper promotes pressure point relief and can make older mattresses feel more comfortable. All of its components are natural and the cover is certified organic cotton, so this topper is a good choice for customers that prioritize sustainability.

Saatva offers a generous 180-day trial period on this mattress topper, which is longer than what many other brands offer.

Good for:

  • People who sleep hot
  • Customers who prefer all natural materials
  • Sleepers with allergies
  • Customers who value a longer trial period

Most ComfortableBrooklyn Bedding Gel Swirl Memory Foam Topper

Most Comfortable – Brooklyn Bedding Gel Swirl Memory Foam Topper


  • Gel-infused memory foam (2.5 PCF)
  • Two profile options (2" or 3")
  • Close contouring for excellent pressure relief
  • 30-night trial and 3-year warranty
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Most ComfortableBrooklyn Bedding Gel Swirl Memory Foam Topper

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The Gel Swirl Memory Foam Topper from Brooklyn Bedding is a great option for sleepers with worn, uneven mattresses who need a major comfort improvement. The topper is available in profiles of 2 or 3 inches. The latter significantly alters the sleep surface, making it best suited to people with old mattresses with deep indentations. The 2-inch profile, which feels slightly firmer, is a good option for mattresses with less pronounced impressions that need a slight adjustment.

The memory foam is infused with cooling gel intended to absorb and dissipate body heat. Couples can benefit from using this topper if their mattress feels too responsive and their sleep is disrupted by movements in bed. Those who experience sharp pressure points along the spine should also consider the topper, as the foam contours evenly to reduce pressure buildup in areas like the shoulders and hips. A cover is not included, but Brooklyn Bedding recommends purchasing a protector to safeguard the foam against spills and stains.

The Gel Swirl Memory Foam Topper’s price-point is very reasonable compared to similarly designed toppers from other brands. Brooklyn Bedding provides free ground shipping throughout the contiguous U.S. Each topper comes with a 30-night sleep trial, and those who decide to keep it also receive a 3-year warranty against structural defects.

Good for:

  • People with very old mattresses
  • Those who feel pressure along the spine
  • Couples and co-sleepers
  • Value seekers

Best Eco-FriendlyAvocado Green Natural Latex Topper

Best Eco-Friendly – Avocado Green Natural Latex Topper


  • Natural, ventilated Dunlop latex
  • 2" thick, multiple firmness options
  • Breathable and body-conforming
  • 10-year warranty
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Best Eco-FriendlyAvocado Green Natural Latex Topper

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Sleeping on your back naturally aligns the spine, but this position requires a flat, even surface; toppers that sag in places where weight is concentrated may create gaps in the sleep surface that compromise support and lead to back pain. For stomach sleepers, sagging is one of the most important issues. Surfaces that sink excessively around the midsection can lead to neck and back pain.

The Avocado Organic Latex Mattress Topper is suitable for both back and stomach sleepers because it provides a comfortable, supportive surface that won’t sag too much. It is also available in ‘Soft’ and ‘Firm’ options, making it suitable for sleepers in different weight groups.

The topper is eco-friendly, as well. The topper contains layers of natural Dunlop latex and organic New Zealand wool housed within an organic-cotton cover. These materials allow the mattress to maintain good temperature neutrality and sleep fairly cool for most; the wool layer also ensures that the topper will offer some warmth in colder sleep environs.

The Avocado Organic Latex Mattress Topper is backed by a 10-year warranty, which is one of the longest topper warranties available today. Avocado offers free shipping to the contiguous U.S., as well.

Good for:

  • Every type of sleeper (side, back, stomach, combination)
  • Sleepers in all weight groups (light, average, heavy)
  • Eco-friendly shoppers
  • Those who tend to sleep hot

Buying Guide – How to Choose the Best Mattress Topper for Back Pain

The term ‘mattress topper‘ refers to an individual layer of cushioning that rests on top of the bed’s sleep surface. Toppers are normally used to provide additional softness for mattresses that are overly firm, as well as extra support for mattresses that sag. Additionally, people with back pain can use a topper to alleviate the aches, discomfort, and pressure points that occur night after night.

Toppers may be made from a wide range of materials, but those made from memory foam or latex are considered the best for back pain and pressure relief. While price-points vary by brand and model, high-quality foam and latex toppers are widely available for $150 or less.

This guide will look at the causes and symptoms of chronic back pain, common designs and characteristics of toppers that provide back pain relief, tips for first-time buyers, and our picks for the best toppers for back pain relief that are sold today.

Causes and Symptoms of Back Pain for Sleepers

The Mayo Clinic notes that the following conditions are common sources of back pain in adults:

  • Muscle and Ligament Strain: Strenuous activities like heavy lifting and awkward or sudden movements can cause people to strain their back muscles or spinal ligaments. People who are in poor physical shape may also be vulnerable to strained muscles and ligaments.
  • Bulging or Ruptured Disks: Each vertebra in the spine is cushioned with fibrous pads known as disks. These disks are vulnerable to bulging or rupturing when they press against nerves in the lower back, and this may cause shooting pains along the spine.
  • Arthritis: Arthritis refers to joint inflammation anywhere in the body, and osteoarthritis applies to joints in the lower back. Arthritis in the spine may cause the spinal column to become narrower, which can lead to a painful condition known as spinal stenosis.
  • Osteoporosis: The condition known as osteoporosis causes pores to form in bones, which causes them to become brittle and deteriorate quickly. Osteoporosis that spreads to the spinal column can cause severe back pain.
  • Scoliosis: Scoliosis is a skeletal irregularity that causes the spine to be C- or S-shaped. Most people with scoliosis experience some level of back pain, especially those with more pronounced spinal curvatures.

Symptoms of back pain include:

  • Aching muscles
  • Shooting or stabbing pains, particularly in one or both legs
  • Reduced range of motion and flexibility

Most back pain does not require medical attention, but the Mayo Clinic urges patients with back pain to see a physician if they experience the following:

  • Bowel or bladder problems
  • Fever
  • Significant pain after a physical injury

Choosing the Right Topper for Back Pain Relief

Unlike mattress pads and protectors — which primarily protect mattresses from spills and stains, and offer minimal cushioning — toppers are designed to provide extra support and comfort for mattress surfaces. Most make mattresses feel softer, but firmer models for excessively soft mattresses are also available.

Mattress toppers come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and compositions. However, people with back pain should take the following attributes into consideration:

Durability: Toppers, like mattresses, often sag as the materials begin to deteriorate. Sagging can cause the topper’s surface to become uneven, leading to discomfort for any sleeper — especially those with back pain.

Conforming Ability: Some topper materials conform closely than others, forming a cradle-shaped impression around the sleeper’s body. This can help align the spine and alleviate pressure points. Materials that do not conform closely may not provide pressure relief — and in some cases, may cause more pressure to build up.

Firmness: Most toppers are designed to make mattresses feel softer. However, excessive softness can be problematic for heavier people with back pain because they tend to sink too deeply. That can make the surface uneven, which compromises how supportive the sleep surface feels, and may lead to more aches and pains. By the same token, excessively firm toppers can cause stiffness and discomfort in lighter people. Individual preferences vary from sleeper to sleeper, but most people of average weight (130 to 230 pounds) find that ‘medium firm’ toppers offer the right balance of cushioning and support for their bodies.

Density: Density, which is measured in pounds per cubic foot (PCF), is normally used to assess the firmness of foam. High-density foams can be quite firm, whereas low-density foams tend to be excessively soft. Average-weight sleepers with back pain tend to feel most comfortable on foams with a density ranging from 3 to 5 PCF, which is considered medium density. Heavier sleepers may feel more comfortable on surfaces with a density of 4 to 6 PCF, while lighter sleepers tend to prefer a density of 2 to 3 PCF.

Indentation load deflection (ILD): ILD, like density, is used to evaluate the firmness of a sleep surface. However, this measurement is most commonly associated with latex toppers. ILD specifically refers to how much weight is needed to compress a mattress surface by 25%. Common ILD measurements for latex include 18 to 22 for softer latex, 24 to 30 for medium latex, and 34 to 45 for firmer latex.

Thickness: Toppers may measure anywhere from one inch to six inches thick, but thicker does not necessarily mean better. This is because thicker toppers tend to be very soft, which can cause excessive sinkage and uneven support for heavier people. Thinner toppers tend to be firmer. In most cases, people with back pain prefer toppers that measure two to three inches thick.

Sizing: Topper sizing depends on the size of the mattress beneath it. For sleepers who do not share their bed with anyone, the topper’s size should match that of the mattress. Those who sleep with a partner may choose to use a topper that only covers their side of the bed; this is particularly useful for couples with differing firmness preferences.

Composition: A wide range of materials are used to make mattress toppers. The table below compares the pros and cons of the six most common materials used in toppers. To read our analyses of each topper material, visit the links in the top row of the table.

As the table shows, latex and memory foam are usually the most suitable topper types for people with back pain.

Important Considerations for Mattress Topper Buyers

If you are shopping for a new mattress topper and comparing different brands and models, here are a few factors to keep in mind:

  • What is your topper budget? The average memory foam topper is priced between $100 and $250, while latex toppers may cost up to $400. However, less expensive options are widely available. Be sure to calculate your budget and browse available toppers in different online and brick-and-mortar locations.
  • Do you prefer memory foam or latex? Memory foam conforms more closely than latex and sleepers tend to experience more pain and pressure relief. However, foams may sleep hotter and emit unpleasant off-gassing odors. Memory foam toppers have shorter lifespans, as well. Latex toppers are highly durable, fairly cool, and less prone to off-gassing smells — but these models tend to be more expensive, and sleepers do not experience the same level of conforming.
  • What is the density and/or ILD of the topper? This is an important question because, in many cases, the topper specifications will include density or ILD — not both. Density is normally used for foams while ILD is normally applied to latex, but some models may provide both measurements. Understand that density and ILD can both be used to evaluate topper firmness.
  • How much do you weigh? People who weigh less than 130 pounds typically prefer softer toppers with lower densities and/or ILD measurements. These toppers allow them to sink deeply and conform closely to their sleep surface. On the other hand, those who weigh more than 230 pounds may be more comfortable on a firmer, high-density topper. These toppers will not sink too deeply and provide even support. Most sleepers who are considered average weight (130 to 230 pounds) will be best suited for a medium firm topper with average density and/or ILD measurements.
  • What topper thickness do you prefer? People with back pain generally feel more comfortable on toppers measuring two to three inches thick. However, toppers may range from one to six inches thick, depending on the brand, model, and material composition. Many topper models are available with multiple thickness options.
  • What size is your mattress? If you sleep alone, your topper should cover the entire width and length of the mattress surface; topper sizes generally correspond to mattress sizes. If you share your bed with someone, then a Twin-size topper that covers your side of the mattress may be more suitable.
  • Do you sleep hot? Memory foam tends to absorb more body heat than latex, and sleepers often complain of excessive warmth. Gel-infused foams can feel cooler than standard foams. Additionally, a cooling mattress topper made of materials like gel memory foam will not sleep as warm for most people.
  • How long does the warranty last? Mattress topper warranties generally cover defects in the product for two to five years. However, some toppers do not come with any sort of warranty.
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