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A neuromuscular disorder, scoliosis causes an exaggerated curvature of the spine. Most cases of scoliosis materialize during adolescence and disappear 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. This article seeks to identify the best mattresses for scoliosis patients, with mattress recommendations, buying guidance, tips on improving sleep quality, and more.
Best Mattresses for Scoliosis
Editor’s Choice – Layla Mattress
Best Value – Nolah Original 10 Mattress
Best Hybrid – New Purple Mattress
Best Memory Foam – Tempur-Cloud Mattress
Best Latex – Zenhaven Mattress
Best Innerspring – Saatva Mattress
Designed from copper-infused memory foam, the Layla mattress was named best mattress for sleepers with scoliosis by our editors. The all-foam mattress is dual-sided, with a “Medium Soft” (4) level of firmness on one end and a “Firm” (7) level of firmness on the other. Both sides are made from memory foam infused with copper, an element believedf to enhance cooling, improve blood flow, and reduce inflammation.
The “Medium Soft” side also includes a layer of convoluted polyfoam beneath the memory foam for additional pressure relief. The support core of the bed is a high-density polyfoam; the cover a polyester blend infused with cooling thermogel.
As a memory foam bed, the Layla conforms to the body to minimize pressure on sensitive areas. The conforming memory foam helps ensure the spine is supported and prevents 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. Unlike many memory foam beds that trap heat, the Layla is able to help regulate the body’s temperature more effectively thanks to its copper infusion and thermogel cover. In addition, the Layla’s dual-sided firmness means the sleeper can experiment with two different firmness levels to determine which is most comfortable for their unique body type and preferences. Heavier sleepers may benefit from extra support from the Firm side, while lighter sleepers may appreciate the added pressure relief of the Medium Soft side.
For a luxury bed, the Layla is kept relatively affordable thanks to its direct-to-consumer availability. The Layla Sleep company offers free shipping to destinations within the continental U.S.
The Original Nolah 10 is built from the company’s proprietary AirFoam, a material engineered to better regulate temperature and relieve pressure than traditional memory foam. A layer of AirFoam sits on top of the mattress above a transitional layer of latex-like foam. The Original Nolah features a base of high-density polyfoam and a polyester-viscose cover.
Due to its soft AirFoam comfort layer, the Nolah Original is able to contour the body’s pressure points and support the spine. However, we’ve found many traditional memory foam beds are able to relieve pressure more effectively. Similarly, some memory foam mattresses may offer better motion isolation than the Nolah.
The Nolah does have some advantages over traditional memory foam, however: the bed is better at regulating temperature and allows greater freedom of movement than conventional memory foam. Like most memory foam beds, The Nolah Original makes no noise.
Compared to many of its bed-in-a-box competitors, the Nolah Original 10 comes with a lower-than-average price point. The company offers free shipping to destinations within the continental U.S.
The New Purple mattress has a support core of individually pocketed coils, not unlike the kind you’d find in a traditional innerspring bed. But unlike a conventional innerspring mattress, the New Purple is topped with a proprietary material called a “Smart Comfort Grid” — a hyperelastic polymer grid that bends and springs back as pressure is applied and released. The New Purple is wrapped in a cover made of polyester and spandex.
Uniquely suited to sleepers with scoliosis, the New Purple molds itself to cradle the sleeper’s pressure points, minimizing pressure on muscles, tendons, and ligaments, while supporting the curve of the spine. In addition to excellent pressure relief and support, the honeycomb-like upper layer prevents motion transfer while allowing the sleeper to move around the bed with minimal effort. The hyperelastic polymer does not retain temperature, and its grid-like structure allows exceptional airflow. The innerspring support core contribute durability and support without being overly noisy.
Compared to other mattresses in the bed-in-a-box sphere, the New Purple is on the expensive side. The company offers free white glove delivery with old mattress removal to destinations within the continental U.S.
Tempur-Pedic made mattress history when it unleashed the world’s first memory foam bed. Since the release of the first Tempur-Pedic mattress, the company has continued to experiment with new technologies and expand its offerings to include two stand-alone models and two collections. Within the Tempur-Cloud collection, there are six different models: the Cloud Prima (5), Cloud Supreme (4), Cloud Elite (3), Cloud Luxe (3), Cloud Supreme Breeze (4), and Cloud Luxe Breeze (3).
The models come with different heights, levels of firmness, and prices, but the same fundamental construction. The Tempur-Cloud beds feature memory foam upper layers with transition and foundation layers of denser, more durable polyfoams. The mattresses are wrapped in polyester-spandex covers.
The memory foam upper layers of the Tempur-Cloud beds closely conform to pressure points and the curves of the spine. Like many memory foam beds, the Tempur-Cloud offer good motion isolation but may sleep fairly hot.
Choosing the right model from the six Tempur-Cloud beds may depend on weight, personal firmness preferences, and budget. Heavier sleepers may need a firmer model, such as the Cloud Prima, for the extra support. Alternatively, lighter sleepers may need a softer model, such as the Cloud Elite, Cloud Luxe, or Cloud Luxe Breeze, in order to be able to exert enough weight on the surface of the mattress to pressure it into conforming to their body. It’s particularly important for those with scoliosis to choose a mattress that is not too soft for their body type, as an overly soft surface can make it difficult to shift positions during the night — a tendency among those with chronic pain problems.
Tempur-Cloud mattresses feature a higher price point than many competitors in the direct-to-consumer market. The beds include $25 white glove delivery with old mattress removal and waste disposal to destinations across all 50 U.S. states.
Though some latex beds may be too firm for sleepers with scoliosis, the Zenhaven, a natural latex mattress, manages to balance bounciness with pressure relief. The Zenhaven is built from five layers of natural American Talalay latex with an organic cotton cover over a layer of New Zealand wool. The Talalay latex is engineered with pinholes varying in size and location to provide targeted pressure relief and support around different zones of the body.
The Zenhaven is also a flippable mattress, with a softer, Luxury Plush (4) side and a Gentle Firm (7) side. Both sides are able to deliver good pressure relief and support, while helping regulate the temperature of the body. Heavier sleepers may want to opt for the Gentle Firm side, while lighter sleepers may benefit from the additional softness of the Luxury Plush side.
The Zehaven offers good motion isolation and is virtually silent. Like many all-natural latex beds, the Zenhaven comes with a slightly higher than average price point. The mattress includes free white glove delivery plus old mattress removal to destinations within the continental U.S. and Canada.
Crafted by the same manufacturers of the Zenhaven, the Saatva is a luxury mattress made from eco-friendly components. However, unlike the Zenhaven, the Saatva is an innerspring bed made from a European pillow top and layer of foam atop a coil-on-coil support system. The coil-on-coil construction features an top layer of individually pocketed springs and a bottom layer of hourglass tempered steel springs. The Saatva features a foam edge support encasement and cover made from organic cotton.
The upper layers of foam on the Saatva are able to provide adequate contouring and freedom of movement. The foam layers work with the spring system below to keep the body supported. However, the foam layers tend to trap heat, meaning the bed may be problematic for scoliosis patients particularly prone to sleeping hot. In addition, the coil-on-coil system may be noisy and less effective at minimizing motion transfer.
The Saatva comes with a higher price point than many of its direct-to-consumer competitors. The bed includes free white glove delivery with old mattress removal to destinations within the continental U.S. and Canada.
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: