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Scoliosis is a neuromuscular disorder that causes an exaggerated curvature of the spine. Most cases of scoliosis are diagnosed during adolescence and symptoms decrease as the spinal curve straightens with growth. However, more severe curvature may lead to pain and other problems during adulthood.
Depending on the degree of curvature, scoliosis can include symptoms like chronic spinal and lower back pain, numbness, muscle spasms, heat sensitivity, and inflammation. At night, aches and pains can make it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position. Additionally, pressure may build on the spine and joints and cause the sleeper to wake up in pain. The wrong mattress can aggravate the symptoms of scoliosis, while the right mattress can play a major role in alleviating pain and promoting restful sleep.
Read on to learn more about sleep considerations for people with scoliosis. Below you’ll find our top mattress picks for people with scoliosis. Our choices are based on verified customer and owner reviews, as well as intensive product research and analysis.
Best Mattresses for Scoliosis
Editor’s Choice – Layla Mattress
Best Value – Nolah Original 10 Mattress
Best Luxury – New Purple
Best Mattress for Lightweight Sleepers – Zenhaven
Best Mattress for Average Weight Sleepers – Nectar
Best Mattress for Heavyweight Sleepers – Saatva
The Layla Mattress – our Editor’s Pick for sleepers with scoliosis – is a flippable bed constructed with comfort layers of copper-infused memory foam. One side of the mattress is ‘Medium Soft’ (4) while the other is ‘Firm’ (7); this range should accommodate most people with scoliosis regardless of their weight or preferred sleep position. The copper-infused foam also helps keep the mattress cool, increases bloodflow in sleepers with poor circulation, and helps reduce inflammation. The ‘Medium Soft’ side has an additional layer of convoluted polyfoam for extra padding. Heavier sleepers may benefit from extra support from the ‘Firm’ side, while lighter sleepers will likely experience more pressure relief on the ‘Medium Soft’ side.
The shared support core of the bed is made from high-density polyfoam for added reinforcement, and the cover a polyester blend infused with cooling thermogel. The Layla conforms evenly to the body on both sides to minimize pressure on sensitive areas, ensure spinal support, and prevens pain from building. The Layla is virtually silent and offers excellent motion isolation, reducing the likelihood that noise and motion will disturb the sleeper during the night.
The Layla Mattress has a below-average price-point compared to other memory foam beds, making it a top-value pick. Layla Sleep offers free shipping to destinations within the continental U.S. The mattress is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty.
The Original Nolah 10 is made from proprietary polyfoam material engineered to regulate temperature and relieve pressure better than traditional memory foam. This comfort layer is followed by a transitional layer of bouncier, more responsive foam. The Original Nolah 10 features a base of high-density polyfoam and a polyester-viscose cover, as well.
The mattress conforms closely to the sleeper’s body to alleviate pressure points and support the spine. The Nolah Original 10 also sleeps fairly cool, which is uncommon among all-foam beds. Other benefits include great motion isolation and no noise when bearing weight, which can be beneficial to couples.
The Nolah Original 10 is another great value pick due to its low price-point. A portion of the product price is also donated to wildlife conservation efforts. Nolah Sleep provides free shipping to destinations within the contiguous U.S. The mattress is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a 15-year warranty.
The New Purple is a hybrid mattress that combines Purple’s signature ‘Smart Grid’ comfort system with a supportive pocketed coil base. The mattress is available in three thickness options, each with a different corresponding firmness: the 11″ model is ‘Medium Firm’ (6.5); the 12″ model is ‘Medium’ (5.5); and the 13″ model is ‘Medium Soft’ (4.5). This range is ideal for sleepers weighing between 130 and 230 pounds, as well as people in other weight groups who prefer moderate firmness and conforming.
The bed’s Smart Grid consists of buckling-column gel dispersed over an elastic polymer grid. This material provides consistent conforming, above-average pressure relief for those with chronic pain symptoms, and great spinal support. Unlike similar materials such as memory foam, the grid withstands deterioration and will not develop indentations as quickly. The New Purple also offers exceptional temperature neutrality, and is an excellent pick for naturally hot sleepers. Other benefits include good motion isolation and minimal noise compared to other hybrids.
The New Purple is fairly expensive, but Purple offers free White Glove delivery – including in-home assembly and old mattress removal – within the continental U.S. The mattress is backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.
Though some latex beds may be too firm for sleepers with scoliosis, the Zenhaven by Saatva, a natural latex mattress, manages to balance bounciness with pressure relief. The Zenhaven is a flippable bed with one side offering a ‘Medium Soft’ (4) feel and the other a ‘Firm’ (7) feel. This allows most sleepers to find a comfortable setting regardless of their weight, and the bed is a good choice for people with fluctuating firmness preferences.
The mattress features organic-cotton covers and top layers of organic wool on each side, followed by a Talalay latex comfort layer and a shared latex support core. The latex layers are ventilated, providing good temperature neutrality and targeted pressure relief to different zones of the body. The Zenhaven offers great motion isolation and does not make any noise. And because it is crafted entirely from natural latex, the bed is considered eco-friendly and carries a longer-than-average expected lifespan.
Like other Saatva models, the Zenhaven qualifies for free White Glove delivery throughout the contiguous U.S. The mattress is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty.
Those who weigh between 130 and 230 pounds usually feel most comfortable on mattresses with moderate firmness and body conforming. These settings ensure they won’t sink too deeply, which can lead to added aches and pains for people with scoliosis, and that they will experience sufficient body contouring and pressure relief. Our pick for this weight group is the Nectar, a four-layer memory foam mattress that provides targeted pain and pressure relief in the neck, lower back, and hips.
Two memory foam comfort layers offer moderate yet consistent conforming that supports all areas of the body, particularly the shoulders, waist, and other places where weight is concentrated. The bed is reinforced with two layers of high-density polyfoam to ensure a flat, sag-free sleep surface. Other benefits include great motion isolation and no noise when bearing weight, which can be helpful for couples. The Nectar is also fairly lightweight and easy to move, even by foam bed standards.
Nectar offers free shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S., and White Glove delivery – including in-home assembly – is offered at an additional charge. The mattress is backed by a 365-night sleep trial, which is one of the longest trial periods available anywhere.
Most innersprings do not provide enough support or cushioning to accommodate sleepers with scoliosis, but the Saatva is a notable exception. This coil-on-coil bed is crafted with comfort layers of memory foam, polyfoam, and pocketed coils that offer above-average conforming compared to other innersprings. Bonnell coils in the support core reinforce the bed nicely to help maintain an even, sag-free surface and minimize sinkage around the edges.
The Saatva is available in three firmness settings – ‘Medium Soft’ (4), ‘Medium Firm’ (6), and ‘Firm’ (7.5) – as well as 11 1/2″ and 14 1/2″ profiles. This comfort and thickness range makes the bed suitable for most sleepers regardless of their weight or sleep position. Side sleepers with scoliosis and lighter people may find that the ‘Medium Soft’ setting is most suitable, while those who sleep on their backs or stomachs and those weighing 130 pounds or more are likely to prefer the firmer designs. The Saatva sleeps very cool, as well, due in part to its breathable organic-cotton cover and good airflow through the coil layers.
Saatva offers free White Glove delivery with old mattress removal anywhere in the contiguous U.S. and Canada. The mattress is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a 15-year warranty.
The term ‘scoliosis’ refers to a lateral curvature of the spine that typically develops in children prior to their puberty growth spurt. According to the Mayo Clinic, most cases of scoliosis are considered mild. However, the condition can cause lead to spinal deformities that severely worsen with age.
Several symptoms of scoliosis — including neck and lower back pain, muscle spasms, numbness, and heat sensitivity — can affect sleep quality for people with the condition. Choosing the right mattress is an important decision for scoliosis patients. The right mattress can alleviate the chronic pain associated with scoliosis, and allow these individuals to remain cool and comfortable throughout the night. The wrong mattress, on the other hand, can exacerbate these issues to a significant extent.
This guide will look at how scoliosis affects sleep, as well as some mattress buying considerations for people with scoliosis and our top mattress picks for these individuals. First, let’s look at the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for scoliosis.
Scoliosis causes the spine to curve to one side, rather than running down the back in a straight line. The angle of this curve may be slight or severe, but any spinal curvature that measures 10 degrees or more is officially considered scoliosis. The shape of the curvature may also vary, and many physicians describe it using the letters ‘C’ and ‘S.’ Pronounced spinal curves are more likely to increase over time than minor ones, but each case is different.
Physicians today categorize scoliosis into three groups, depending on the root cause of the condition. Non-structural scoliosis refers to spinal curves that do not affect how the spine functions; these curves can usually be corrected with different types of treatment, including surgery. According to WebMD, causes of non-structural scoliosis include:
Structural scoliosis, on the other hand, greatly impacts how the spine functions and cannot be corrected using any currently available means. Causes of structural scoliosis include:
Lastly, the term idiopathic scoliosis refers to spinal curvatures for which the cause is unknown. Roughly four out of five individuals are diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis; it may or may not be correctable.
Some of the most common risk factors for scoliosis include:
Furthermore, the medical community has determined that the following factors do not cause scoliosis.
Symptoms of scoliosis will depend on the severity of the spinal curve, but they generally include the following:
Children with scoliosis may also exhibit warning signs of the condition, such as poor posture or wearing clothes that fit loosely on one side. Many parents identify the spinal curve itself when their child’s shirt is off.
Scoliosis can also cause physiological complications that may alert parents and physicians to the presence of the condition, such as:
Scoliosis cannot be prevented, but for most people the condition is mild and treatable. Doctors begin the diagnostic process by performing a physical exam on the child. This includes asking them to bend over at the waist, in order to see if they tilt to one side. Doctors also inquire about numbness, muscle weakness, and unusual reflexes. However, scoliosis diagnoses are normally made following an x-ray exam, which clearly shows the curvature in most cases.
Most scoliosis cases do not require treatment. The following factors can help physicians determine whether or not treatment is necessary:
When treatment is necessary for scoliosis, physicians typically turn to at least one of the following methods:
Brace: Braces are particularly beneficial for children whose bones are still growing. Although a brace will not prevent or cure scoliosis, it can effectively reduce the rate of progression in the spinal curve. Most scoliosis braces are made from soft plastic that contours to the patient’s body. They are most effective when worn at all times, but they are not restrictive and cannot be seen when worn underneath clothing. Children with scoliosis typically wear the brace until one of the following occurs:
Surgery: Surgery is considered the last resort for scoliosis, and typically reserved for severe cases.
In addition to surgery, children and adults with scoliosis may be able to treat scoliosis using the following ‘alternative’ means:
People who live with scoliosis typically deal with chronic spinal and lower back pain on a regular basis. If the condition worsens over time, sleepers may experience added aches and pains in other parts of their body, such as the neck, shoulders, and/or hips. Pressure points may also develop around the spine and other sensitive areas. These increased levels of pain and pressure can greatly impact sleep quality for scoliosis patients.
Scoliosis also limits sleep positions for most individuals with this condition:
Additionally, chronic pain and pressure can cause people to be more sensitive to noise and motion when trying to fall and stay asleep.
When shopping for a new mattress and comparing different brands and models, here are a few important factors for people with scoliosis to consider:
Support: This is arguably the most important mattress consideration for scoliosis patients. Mattress ‘support’ refers how flat and even the sleep surface is. Supportive mattresses maintain a level surface throughout the night, whereas unsupportive mattresses sag in certain areas. Mattresses that are too soft or too firm may also lack adequate support for people with scoliosis.
Conforming ability: Some mattresses are designed to mold closely to the sleeper’s body, forming a contoured impression that helps align the spine, target pressure points, and alleviate aches and pains. Other mattresses offer little to no conforming, and provide less pain and pressure relief as a result. Conforming is tied directly to support; mattresses that conform closely tend to evenly support all areas of the body, while those that do not conform closely may support some areas more than others. Because inconsistent support can exacerbate pain and pressure, most people with scoliosis prefer mattresses that conform closely.
Firmness: Although ‘support’ and ‘firmness’ are often used interchangeably in the mattress industry, these two terms are technically different. While support refers to the evenness of a sleep surface, firmness refers to how the mattress feels to different sleepers. Today’s mattresses offer a wide range of firmness options, but firmness can be broken down into these three general categories:
Durability: Most mattresses are designed to perform for at least six years, and some may last as long as eight or nine. However, certain mattress types tend to deteriorate somewhat quickly, particularly in surface areas where the sleeper’s weight is centered, and this can lead to sagging and indentations that exacerbate back pain and pressure.
Motion isolation: People with chronic pain — including scoliosis patients — are often sensitive to movement on their sleep surfaces. The term ‘motion isolation’ refers to how well a mattress absorbs movement when someone gets up or shifts positions, and isolates this movement to one area of the mattress. Responsive, bouncy mattresses typically offer minimal motion isolation, while mattresses that are slow to respond tend to offer the best motion isolation.
Noise: As with motion, people who experience chronic pain may also be sensitive to noise when trying to fall asleep. While some mattresses are virtually silent when bearing weight, others tend to be loud due to squeaky internal parts or electrical components.
Ease of movement: Individuals with chronic pain may roll over in bed or adjust their sleep position rather frequently in order to become comfortable. Some mattresses offer little resistance to movement, while those that cause people to sink deeply may hinder position changes.
Sleep trial: Many mattress brands and retailers allow customers to participate in sleep trials, which may last anywhere from 30 to 365 nights. Purchasers are able to test out the mattress in their home for as long as the trial is valid, and usually have the option of returning or exchanging the mattress if they are not satisfied with its size, firmness, or other characteristics. A sleep trial can be quite beneficial for people with scoliosis who are unsure which model will work best for them — and the longer the sleep trial, the better.
Warranty and indentation depth: Virtually every mattress sold today comes with a manufacturer’s warranty to repair or replace the item if a defect arises. Most warranties include an established ‘indentation depth’ used to determine whether or not the bed is defective. If the sleep surface develops indentations that exceed the listed depth, then the manufacturer will repair or replace the mattress. If the indentations are not deep enough, then the manufacturer will not cover the cost of these services. According to most sleepers, indentations become quite uncomfortable when they measure deeper than one inch — but some warranties will not cover indentations unless they measure one and a half inches or deeper. People with scoliosis may want to consider a mattress with a warranty indentation depth of one inch or less; otherwise they may face high repair and replacement costs that the manufacturer won’t cover.
Next, let’s evaluate the five most common mattress types in terms of suitability for people with scoliosis.
|Construction||Foam comfort layer(s)
Steel coils in the support core
|Polyfoam and/or memory foam layer(s) in the comfort system
Polyfoam layer(s) in the support core
|Latex layer(s) in the comfort layer
Latex or polyfoam layer(s) in the support core
|At least 2″ of memory foam and/or latex in the comfort layer, as well as other components (such as polyfoam or minicoils)
Pocketed coils in the support core
|Foam comfort layer(s) or no comfort layer
Individualized adjustable air chambers in the support core
|Support||Fair to Good||Fair to Good||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good|
|Firmness Options||Fair to Good||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good|
|Conforming||Poor to Fair||Good to Very Good||Fair to Good||Fair to Good||Fair to Good|
|Durability||Poor to Fair||Fair to Good||Good to Very Good||Fair to Good||Poor to Fair|
|Light Sleeper Rating (Less than 130 lbs)||Fair to Good||Fair to Good||Good to Very Good||Poor to Fair||Fair to Good|
|Heavy Sleeper Rating (More than 230 lbs)||Poor to Fair||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Poor to Fair|
|Motion Isolation||Poor to Fair||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Fair to Good||Fair to Good|
|Noise||Poor to Fair||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Fair to Good||Poor to Fair|
|Ease of Movement||Good to Very Good||Poor to Fair||Fair to Good||Fair to Good||Good to Very Good|
|Rating for Sleepers with Scoliosis||Poor to Fair||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Fair to Good||Fair to Good|
|Explanation||Deteriorate and sag easily
Limited support in the neck, waist, lumbar, and hips
Few firmness options
High noise potential
Easy to move on
|Close conforming and good pressure relief
Multiple firmness options
Strong motion isolation
Hard to move on
|Exceptional support and durability
Adequate conforming for most
Multiple firmness options
Strong motion isolation
Somewhat difficult to move on
|Minimal conforming and pain/pressure relief
Multiple firmness options
Below-average motion isolation
High noise potential
Somewhat difficult to move on
Customizable firmness options, though some are excessively firm
Strong sagging potential
Minimal motion isolation
In addition to selecting the right mattress, people with scoliosis can improve their pain and pressure by making informed pillow and mattress topper choices.
Pillows: As mentioned above, sleeping with at least one secondary pillow can be beneficial for people with scoliosis who sleep on their back or side. An important quality to consider is pillow loft, or thickness, when choosing primary and secondary pillows. Pillows that are not thick enough can create gaps that lead to inconsistent support, while pillows that are too thick can cause spinal misalignment.
Some pillow types are considered most suitable for people with scoliosis because they conform closely and alleviate aches and pains. These include buckwheat, latex, and memory foam models. Pillows that may not be comfortable for those with scoliosis include down alternative and polyfoam models. For more information, please visit our Best Pillows: Buying Guide and Information page.
Toppers: A mattress topper is an individual cushioning layer that rests on the sleep surface, either freely or fitted around the edges like a top sheet. Most toppers are designed to make the sleep surface feel softer, although some may actually increase the firmness. Toppers can improve support, as well.
For people with scoliosis, a latex or memory foam topper will usually be most comfortable because these materials conform closely and alleviate aches and pains. Toppers that measure three inches thick or more are considered best. Alternatively, toppers made from materials like convoluted polyfoam may increase pain and pressure in people with scoliosis.
A latex or memory foam topper will be most suitable for someone with fibromyalgia because these products conform closely to target pain and pressure points. To learn more, please visit our Best Mattress Toppers guide.
For more information about mattress options for people with chronic pain and pressure issues, check out the following Tuck.com pages: