If you’ve been suffering from back pain, your mattress may be the culprit — whether it’s not suited for your sleeping position or body type, or whether it’s just old and worn out. But if you’re not ready to buy a new mattress, a mattress topper can be a good fix at a much lower price.
We’ve rounded up five of the best mattress toppers for back pain. The Sleepopolis Team has personally tested all of these toppers, so we can tell you everything you need to know.
Best Mattress Toppers for Back Pain 2023
- Editor’s Pick – Nolah Mattress Topper
- Best Cooling – ViscoSoft Select High Density Mattress Topper
- Best Memory Foam – Saatva Mattress Topper
- Best for Side Sleepers – TEMPUR-Adapt Topper
- Best for Back Sleepers – Layla Mattress Topper
- Best Budget – Brooklyn Bedding Gel Swirl Memory Foam Mattress Topper
Editor’s Pick – Nolah Mattress Topper
Nolah Mattress Topper
The Nolah Mattress Topper is a high-quality product boasting a CertiPUR-US certification. Nolah's signature foam is described as more durable, plush, and cooling than other foams on the market.
4.90 / 5Read Full Review
The Nolah Mattress Topper is made with proprietary AirFoam, which is said to be more pressure-relieving, cooling, and durable than traditional memory foam. For those with back pain, this is great news. After all, these folks need a balance of comfort and support. The AirFoam should provide enough contouring for pain points while also supporting the sleepers.
Why We Love It
- It comes in two options, Plush and Luxury Firm, so you can choose which firmness is best for you.
- Nolah’s AirFoam should help cool down hot sleepers by wicking away moisture.
- The AirFoam used in this topper has a CertiPUR-US certification.
Read our full Nolah mattress topper review to learn more.
Best Cooling – ViscoSoft Select High Density Mattress Topper
ViscoSoft Select High Density Mattress Topper
The ViscoSoft Select High Density mattress topper features high-density gel-infused foam with perforations for airflow, as well as a bamboo rayon cover and adjustable no-slip straps.
4.50 / 5Read Full Review
The ViscoSoft Select High Density mattress topper is made with high-density, gel memory foam, and a bamboo rayon cover. The bottom of the cover is made with slip-resistant mesh and features elastic straps to secure the topper to your mattress.
Why We Love It
- The high-density foam used in the ViscoSoft Select High Density mattress topper offers a mix of pressure relief and support that’s great for relieving back pain.
- The gel infusions in the memory foam help to draw heat away from the body, plus the bamboo cover regulates temperature, making this topper a great pick for hot sleepers.
- The cover of this topper is removable and machine washable, which is a nice perk for ensuring the topper stays clean.
Read more in our ViscoSoft Select High Density Topper review.
Best Memory Foam – Saatva Mattress Topper
Saatva Mattress Topper
This high-quality topper is made with an organic cotton cover, graphite-infused memory foam, and elastic straps.
4.80 / 5Read Full Review
This topper comes in three different versions: graphite, latex, and memory foam. We chose the graphite version because it’s a three-inch thick memory foam topper with cooling abilities. The foam is soft and slow-moving, making it great for pressure relief. It should contour pain points yet also provide support, since the foam is on the denser side.
Why We Love It
- Eco-conscious shoppers should appreciate this topper’s organic cotton cover.
- The graphite infusions in the memory foam help to draw heat away from the body, resulting in a cooler sleep experience. Plus, the organic cotton cover is breathable — another pro for hot sleepers.
- Elastic straps in the four corners of the mattress topper help to secure the topper to your mattress, so no worries about it shifting if you toss and turn.
Read more in our Saatva Graphite mattress topper review.
Best for Side Sleepers – TEMPUR-Adapt Topper
TEMPUR-Adapt Mattress Topper
The TEMPUR-Topper Supreme is a great mattress topper with a soft memory foam feel that offers impressive pressure relief!
4.50 / 5Read Full Review
The TEMPUR-Adapt Topper is made with three inches of Tempur-Pedic’s signature TEMPUR Material foam, shrouded in a soft polyester blend cover. This topper has that classic Tempur-Pedic feel: thick, slow-moving foam that takes time to sink into, but once you do, you get the ultimate pressure relief.
Side sleepers need lots of pressure relief, since the entire weight of their body is supported on one side. The TEMPUR-Adapt Topper’s thick foam offers lots of room to sink in and body contouring to ensure there’s no pressure buildup.
Why We Love It
- The cover of the TEMPUR-Adapt Topper is removable and machine washable, a big pro for anyone with allergies or anyone who wants to ensure a clean sleep space.
- The cover also wicks moisture, making it a great fit for anyone who sleeps hot.
- Like many of Tempur-Pedic’s other products, this topper feels very high-quality and Tempur-Pedic backs that up with a 10-year warranty.
Read more in our TEMPUR-Adapt Topper review.
Best for Back Sleepers – Layla Mattress Topper
Layla Mattress Topper
A memory foam topper from Layla is a great way to extend the life of your current mattress.
4.20 / 5Read Full Review
The Layla mattress topper is made with two inches of copper-infused memory foam and a cover made from a blend of polyester, viscose, and lycra. The cover also has straps in each corner to secure the topper and prevent it from shifting on the surface of the mattress.
Why We Love It
- We love this topper for back sleepers because it provides nice pressure relief for back sleepers without enveloping them in foam and ensures they stay fully supported.
- The copper infusions in the foam disperse body heat for a cooling effect, as well as make the foam antimicrobial.
- Plus, the cover is removable and washable, so it’s easy to keep clean.
Read more in our full Layla mattress topper review.
Best Budget Mattress Topper – Brooklyn Bedding Gel Swirl Memory Foam Mattress Topper
Brooklyn Bedding Gel Swirl Mattress Topper
The Brooklyn Bedding Gel Swirl Topper is made with a 2.5-pound layer of gel memory foam pairs ultimate optimal pressure point relief with just the right amount of responsiveness.Read Full Review
The Gel Swirl Memory Foam mattress topper from Brooklyn Bedding is a solid block of memory foam infused with gel for cooling. It’s available in 2-inch and 3-inch thicknesses, making it a versatile option for different sleeping positions and body types. This gel memory foam mattress topper doesn’t have a cover or straps, but it does come at a budget-friendly price!
Why We Love It
- The gel infusions in this mattress topper help to keep it sleeping temperature neutral, a pro for any hot sleeper who wants a memory foam topper.
- This topper works well for both side and back sleepers to find comfort and pressure relief. We recommend back sleepers go for the 2-inch topper and side sleepers go for the 3-inch topper to ensure they have more room to sink into the foam.
- A queen size topper is priced at less than $100, which is considerably less expensive than many other mattress toppers on the market.
Read more in our full Brooklyn Bedding Gel Swirl mattress topper review.
How to Choose a Mattress Topper for Back Pain
Mattress toppers can be a great solution for fixing an uncomfortable mattress. Whether you just bought a new mattress that isn’t quite as comfortable as you’d hoped or you’re sleeping on an old mattress that became unpleasant to sleep on, a mattress topper can make a big difference in your sleep quality — particularly if you’re struggling with back pain.
To ensure you get the best topper for your back problems, you’ll want to consider what position you primarily sleep in and pick a topper that is a good fit for that position.
If you sleep on your back, you may either want a mattress topper that can provide extra support or more cushioning. For those experiencing lower back pain, a soft foam topper may work best, as the foam can fill in the lumbar region to provide back pain relief. For those who are feeling unsupported, a high-density foam or latex foam topper could work well to provide additional support and maintain spinal alignment.
For side sleepers, pressure relief is especially important. Shoulders and hip pain are common for side sleepers, which makes soft, conforming toppers a great option. But when it comes to back pain, it’s important for side sleepers to have some sinkage around the shoulders and hips to ensure spinal alignment. Thick foam toppers are a great option for providing that deep body contouring.
Stomach sleepers often get back pain around the low back, usually caused by a too-soft bed that lets the hips sink down out of alignment. For that reason, we would only recommend stomach sleepers use a very thin mattress topper or a firm mattress topper that doesn’t allow sinkage. If you want some additional comfort or plushness without altering the firmness of your bed, a mattress pad could work well.
Aside from your sleeping position, there are other factors to consider when choosing a mattress topper: your body weight, if you are a hot sleeper, whether you want natural or organic materials, and desired features like a washable cover, straps, etc.
Heavy Sleepers: When it comes to body type, heavier sleepers, who weigh 250 pounds or more, will sink through a mattress topper more than light or average-weight sleepers. Therefore, it’s important for heavy sleepers to find a mattress topper that is thick enough to allow room to sink in without “bottoming out.” We’d recommend looking for a topper in the three to four inch range.
Hot Sleepers: If you tend to sleep hot, we suggest either a latex mattress topper, as latex maintains a naturally cool temperature, or a foam topper with a cooling gel, graphite, or copper. These are all materials that can draw heat away from the body. Perforations in the foam can also allow for more airflow.
Additionally, covers made with materials like cotton can promote breathability and fabrics like Tencel and bamboo can assist with temperature regulation.
Eco-Conscious Shoppers: For shoppers who want a natural or organic product, toppers made with materials like latex, cotton, wool, or down will often be the best option. Additionally, look for third-party certifications on the brand’s website to ensure you fully understand the necessary qualifications they meet and which materials count as being truly organic.
Mattress Covers: Finally, a washable cover is a nice perk for anyone, but particularly those who have allergies or who are prone to messes. This can include those with small children or even pets that could cause a spill on the mattress topper. Straps are also a nice option to ensure a mattress topper integrates seamlessly and won’t shift on top of your mattress.
Mattress Topper FAQs
How thick should a mattress topper be for back pain?
Choosing the thickness of a mattress topper that is best for you will depend on your sleeping position. For side sleepers, I would recommend a thick topper between three and four inches. For back sleepers, I would recommend a topper between two and three inches. And for stomach sleepers, I would recommend either a thin topper, around an inch tall, or a very firm topper of any thickness.
Can a mattress topper make your back hurt?
Potentially, a mattress topper can make your back hurt. Like choosing a mattress, it’s important to be sure your mattress topper is well-suited to your body type and sleeping position. For example, if you sleep on your stomach and add a soft, thick, cushy foam topper to your bed, it could cause your hips to sink, leading to lower back pain.
Is memory foam good for back pain?
Yes, memory foam can be good for back pain. As a back sleeper, I like how memory foam can fill in the lumbar region to provide relief. For side sleepers, memory foam can relieve pressure and maintain spinal alignment.
Are pillow top mattress toppers good for your back?
Like other toppers, pillow top mattress toppers could help your back, depending on your sleeping position and body type.