Sciatic pain can be an unrelenting, disheartening condition that may reflect from your lower back, your buttocks and the back of your leg. In mild cases, it’s annoying, and in extreme cases, it can be near-crippling. According to the American Chiropractic Association, half of all working Americans experience back pain symptoms each year. In this guide, we’ll look at sciatic nerve pain, what causes it, and why these top six mattresses might improve sleep quality for those with sciatica.
We should acknowledge that we are not doctors. We consulted Dr. Ranvir Sahota from Synapse Chiropractic to assemble this best mattress for sciatica list for guidance and insight. In addition to discussing sciatica nerve pain, we experienced an in-person demonstration of proper spine alignment and sleeping positions.
Any of the recommendations or assertions we make in this post are based on his professional opinion. Of course, along with working with Dr. Sahota, we conducted our own tests related to support, firmness, motion transfer, edge support, and more.
Top 6 Mattresses For Low Back Pain
- Best Mattress For Pressure Relief :Purple Hybrid Premier 3Starting at $2299 Shop Now
- Best Chiropractor Recommended Bed :Casper Wave HybridStarting at $1595 Shop Now
- Best Memory Foam Mattress For Sciatica :Loom LeafStarting at $989 Shop Now
- Best For Heavy People With Lower Back Pain :WinkBeds ClassicStarting at $1149 Shop Now
- Best Latex Foam Mattress For Sciatica :AwaraStarting at $1398 Shop Now
- Best Supportive Mattress For Sciatica :Helix Midnight LuxeStarting at $1099 Shop Now
- Best Flippable Mattress for Sciatica :PlankStarting at $699 Shop Now
Best Rated Mattresses for Sciatica & Lower Back Pain Video
Swipe to see why these made our lists
Swipe to see why these made our lists
Why we chose these mattresses
Sciatic pain can be an unrelenting, disheartening condition. In mild cases, it’s annoying, and in extreme cases, it can be near crippling. According to the American Chiropractic Association, half of all working Americans experience back pain symptoms each year. In this guide, we’ll look at sciatic nerve pain, what causes it, and why these top six mattresses might help improve sleep quality for those with sciatica.
Compare The Best Mattress for Sciatica
Best Mattress For Pressure Relief
Purple makes some of the most unique beds that you will ever encounter. They aren’t for everyone, but if you end up liking Purple, it has a number of advantages that you won’t get with other beds.
For example, Purple beds are soft and firm at the same time. They are also some of the best cooling mattresses since they allow for a tremendous amount of airflow. And all of this is because the top layer on the Purple Hybrid beds and the Original Purple is a proprietary material called Hyper-Elastic Polymer. It’s laid out in a grid format that reduces surface area, promoting airflow and providing support and pressure relief simultaneously.
It’s difficult to fully explain the feel of these beds, but they’re somewhere between medium-soft and medium-firm, depending on the sleeper and the model.
Why we picked this bed – We selected Purple for this best bed for the sciatica list for many reasons, including its ability to make you feel like your buoyant, on top of a supportive yet pressure-relieving bed. If no foam mattress has worked for you in the past, Purple might be worth a try. It offers a comfortable experience many people really enjoy, including Owen and Matt on our team who sleep on it themselves.
Best Chiropractor Recommended Bed
The Casper Wave mattress is unique in its “Zoned Support System,” which, in more basic terms, means that the bed is constructed to provide more support and more pressure relief in the appropriate areas.
The center third, for example, has more support for your trunk and hips. The top and bottom thirds of the bed are a bit softer in order to provide more pressure relief for your shoulder, which is critical if you spend a lot of the night on your side. It’s subtle, but it’s a clever way to construct a bed.
It also has a hybrid design meant to suit all body types, and it provides an ultra neutral and comfortable feel that’s pressure-relieving like memory foam but quick to respond to pressure. Additionally, it suits all sleeper positions thanks to its medium feel.
Why we picked this mattress – The Casper Mattress Wave has actually been endorsed by the American Chiropractor Association, and we couldn’t keep it off of our best bed for sciatica list. We aren’t aware of many other beds that have this stamp of approval. Perhaps the biggest knock against Casper Wave is just the price. It is a little expensive for an online mattress, but then again, it is in the luxury tier and we really like the design concept for those who suffer from sciatica.
Best Memory Foam Mattress For Sciatica
The Loom and Leaf brand has been built, in part, off of the notion that they offer more than just beds — they offer wellness products. As such, much of their branding has to do with their products’ luxurious nature and how they work to improve sleep.
The main Loom and Leaf bed mixes dense core foam (for support) and memory foam (for pressure relief, support, and comfort) and has a unique gel-cooling strip under the cover to help draw body heat away. This keeps you at a comfortable temperature through the night.
This bed is best for memory foam lovers that want a slightly firmer feel. That said, Loom and Leaf can be found in a “Relaxed Firm” and “Firm” model. If you’re spending more of the night on your side or rotate positions, the Relaxed Firm might make more sense. If you’re a strict stomach or back sleeper, the Firm model is the way to go. Though, we don’t suggest it to strict side sleepers.
Why we picked this bed – Loom and Leaf offers a luxury bed experience for those who love a conforming, memory foam mattress feel. While it doesn’t have a hybrid construction, it’s particularly thick, supporting, and especially pressure-relieving for people who struggle with sciatica.
Best For Heavy People With Back Pain
Those are the major boxes the WinkBeds checks, but that’s not it. We also like that WinkBeds offers a Plus option for heavier individuals that uses a triple-zone pocketed coil system for extra support. They recommend this mattress for heavy sleepers that are over 300 lb.
All of their mattresses have a layer of extra supportive pocketed coils and a puffy, soft pillow top. We can’t imagine anyone complaining about the support and construction of WinkBed mattresses.
Why we chose WinkBeds – This bed, in short, really has no cons. WinkBeds calls their bed a “Luxury Hotel Mattress,” and we’d have to agree. It’s akin to a mattress you’d find at the presidential suite at the Ritz-Carlton, and it’s a great mattress for sciatica because of its happy medium between second-to-none support and fluffy pressure relief.
Best Latex Foam Mattress For Sciatica
Awara is a natural and organic hybrid latex mattress from Resident Home, the same company that makes Nectar and the DreamCloud Mattress. This bed is constructed with pocketed coils and a latex foam top layer, and that’s about it. While the construction is fairly simple, its benefits are great for individuals with sciatica. We think it’s comfortable for those who like a supportive yet bouncy feel.
Overall, we rate the firmness at about a medium-firm (maybe a touch firmer), which means it should accommodate back, stomach, and combo sleepers. Heavy side sleepers may get away with it, but petite to average side sleepers might consider it too firm.
Why we chose this mattress for sciatica – Natural and organic latex beds offer hypoallergenic and antimicrobial properties, which is the cherry on top of what we think is a supportive and responsive mattress. As such, if you suffer from sciatica and you’re in the market for a firm hybrid bed because you have a heavy body type or sleep on your back/stomach, Awara may be a good choice.
Best Supportive Mattress for Sciatica
Helix is known for its quality and versatility. You have six options under the Helix Luxe mattress line. That sounds overwhelming, but Helix has a really good sleep quiz that helps you determine which Luxe model is right for you.
Any of the beds on the list give sleepers with back pain what they need. Helix Luxe mattresses are super supportive; the coils have zoned support designed to keep your back in a neutral spinal alignment. Helix Luxe is designed for every body type and every sleeper style. No matter how you sleep, there’s a bed for you.
The Luxe models are a little more expensive than the traditional Helix mattresses, but they are thicker, have zoned lumbar support coils, and have a thick, quilted pillow top. With a Helix Luxe mattress, you get support and pressure relief.
Best Flippable Mattress for Sciatica
As the name suggests, the Plank mattress is for people looking for a truly firm mattress. There’s no double about it. This is a mattress that’s best suited for back and stomach sleepers that like a firm mattress. It will give you the support you need to keep your spine aligned throughout the night.
What’s unique about the Plank mattress that you don’t get from other beds is its flippable design. Each side of the Plank mattress has a different firmness – firm and extra firm. The softer side does have some contouring, so if you still want a little pressure relief, go with the firm side. Make no mistake about the extra firm side; it is one of the firmest beds you can get. If you’re looking for a mattress that you can sink into like a cloud, then Plank is not the bed for you.
You can get a queen for under $1,000, which makes the Plank mattress one of the cheaper alternatives on this list. As a bonus, Plank is pretty aggressive when it comes to discounts, so there’s almost always a sale to take advantage of.
What Is Sciatica Pain?
Let’s pause and briefly discuss what sciatic pain is. According to Harvard Medical School, sciatica affects as many as 40% of people, though it is frequently misunderstood. The sciatic nerve is your body’s largest nerve and is about the thickness of your finger. It starts from the lower lumbar area of your spine at the L4 spinal nerve. Smaller nerves come out from your spine and connect to travel down your buttocks and the back of each of your legs, all the way down to your feet.
Sciatic pain can form several issues, but the most common cause is a herniated disc where the nerve roots are pinched or irritated. You may feel anything from slight numbness or tingling all the way up to a stabbing sensation or throbbing pain. And the pain can be anywhere along the sciatic nerve, whether that be the lower back, buttocks, or the back of your leg. As such, you should consult your doctor before you make any decisions about a mattress or your daily habits.
In many cases, sciatica goes away by itself relatively quickly, in a matter of minutes, hours, or days. There are some more long-standing cases, but a lot of sufferers find that applying ice to the area and taking an anti-inflammatory drug can help reduce the pain. Physical therapy and some home exercise programs that include stretches, such as piriformis stretching, can also offer relief over time. Even so, often, the root cause remains. As a result, you may consider taking proactive steps with your doctor to treat the issue.
What Causes Sciatica Pain?
Your back is a complex structure of muscles, nerves, joints, and ligaments, and therefore I can’t say what causes pain for everyone. In the section above, we covered sciatica frequently due to a pinched or irritated nerve root. However, sciatic pain can come from a car crash, sports injuries, poor posture, obesity, arthritis, and countless other incidents. You can experience pain from pulled muscles, ruptured disks, sprained ligaments, aggravated joints, and more. This is why it’s so important that you consult with your doctor as soon as the pain starts. A physical therapist can also help you find the best sleep positions and discuss strategies to ease the pain.
What To Consider When Looking For A Mattress For Sciatica
Before you start your mattress review search, ask yourself: What kind of pain are you experiencing? How heavy are you? What type of sleeper are you (back, stomach, side, combo)?
Clearly, all back pain is not created equal. You may experience soreness or the pain may virtually paralyze you. I don’t know your situation, but I can tell you that lower back pain and upper back pain are entirely different beasts. If you’re experiencing upper back pain, I’d suggest looking at our Best Mattress for Back Pain list. It overlaps a little with this list, but we discuss the upper back in more detail there.
For sciatica pain (and again, I don’t know your specific situation), you generally want a firmer mattress to help keep your spine in proper alignment. You’ll probably be choosing anything from a medium to medium-firm or even a firm mattress. But even more than the firmness, you should look into a supportive mattress, especially if you’re heavy or overweight.
The Best Mattress Type For Sciatica Nerve Pain
In many of our reviews, we acknowledge a reality that everyone is different and there is no one-size-fits-all mattress. That is, indeed, the case for sciatica pain sufferers, but we can highlight, based on what we know from research and consulting with experts, here is a list of what we consider to be the best mattress for sciatica and back pain.
- Coil/Hybrid Mattress – a good combination of softness and support
- Zoned Support Design – provides extra support in the center of the bed to keep your body level
- Memory Foam – a nice blend of softness and support
- Pillow Top
- Latex Mattress – a comfortable blend of support and pressure relief
- Polyurethane Foam – designed to reduce pressure points without the viscous feel of memory foam
- Premium Air Bed – doesn’t have traditional springs, rather, inner air coil channels to provide full-body support
You may also want to take a look at these best pillows and sleep positions for sciatica. In short, those who suffer from sciatica want to consider:
- Plump pillows
- Pillows on the side
- Contoured pillows between your knees
- Large, customizable pillows
- Pillow below your hips
Heavy Individuals With Sciatica
Because you’re heavier, you will wear down an all-foam mattress relatively quickly and the support will basically vanish. Therefore, innerspring beds and mattresses with pocketed coils are probably your best bet, as coils tend to be more durable and supportive. They also have the added benefit of letting in great airflow and keeping you cool, which is an issue that many heavier individuals have to deal with. And they’ll give you a little of that bounce that you’re probably used to with a mattress.
If you’re a heavy-set sciatica pain sufferer, you should almost certainly stay away from soft, thinner beds. You should probably look for a bed in the 12” to 15” range with coils (innerspring or pocketed coils). Having said that, we understand that sometimes your budget doesn’t permit buying an expensive, thicker mattress. And in this case, we would implore you to go no thinner than a 10” mattress.
Your Sleeper Type Is Important As Well
In general—regardless of your weight—it’s probably best to look at a bed with coils or dense support foam. That said, your sleeper type is crucial to know. For example, if you sleep on your back, you’ll be looking at a slightly different mattress than you would if you slept exclusively on your side. Remember that firmness is a relative term, which is why we try to depict firmness on a spectrum. You’ll want good support either way, but someone that’s 95 lbs can get by with a much thinner, softer bed than a 300 lb sleeper—a totally different ballgame. Also, keep in mind that all beds soften up. Therefore, the mattress you get on day-1 will always be firmer than it will be after you’ve slept on it for six months.
Back sleepers will want to consider a bed that’s medium-firm to firm to keep proper spinal alignment. You may want a bed that’s a tad softer if you sleep on your back, simply because you want to support the natural curvature of your spine. For example, if you sleep on a hardwood floor, you’ll feel a gap between your low back and the floor. You want the mattress to cradle you, almost as though you’re floating. It should fill that space under your low back, but your hips should not feel as though they’re sinking in too much. Pillows are equally important, and we suggest you check out our list of the best pillows for back sleepers.
Like back sleepers, stomach sleepers should consider a bed that’s medium-firm to firm to maintain proper spinal alignment. Stomach sleepers also can get away with a slightly firmer mattress since you really want to avoid your hips or trunk sagging in too much. In general, sleeping on your stomach isn’t the best for avoiding back pain. You’ll more typically experience pain in your upper back, shoulder, and neck, but it can irritate your low back, as well. Stomach sleepers will want to pay close attention to their pillow. That affects the angle of your neck and can either help you out or make things much worse. Also, consider these best pillows for stomach sleepers.
Side sleepers dealing with sciatica or low back pain will still want a supportive mattress, but they may prefer one that’s a bit softer. You’re probably looking at something in the medium to the medium-firm range, although this depends on your weight. You want a bed that has good support but lets your shoulders and hips sink in a bit. You need good pressure relief in those areas; otherwise, you’ll wake up feeling sore or stiff, especially in your scapula (shoulder blade). You don’t want a bed that’s overly soft or firm. The bottom line is that you will have to determine how it feels. If you feel too much pressure on your shoulders, move on to the next. Side sleepers should also consider sleeping with a firm pillow between the knees to take some tension from the hip.
Couples Dealing With Sciatica Nerve Pain
Finding a bed for one person is tough, but adding a second person really throws a wrench into the equation unless you have the same body types and sleeping preferences. Your best bet here is to pay attention to motion isolation with your mattress, which refers to how efficiently a bed deadens motion. Once you fall asleep, the last thing you want is your partner waking you up because they move around a lot in their sleep. Pocketed coils and foams tend to be better than traditional innerspring when it comes to motion transfer.
Also, edge support is worth testing. Edge support refers to how supportive the bed is around the perimeter. If you find yourself sleeping along the edges of the bed, you’ll want to make sure you don’t get a roll-off sensation. That can be annoying and detrimental for someone with back issues. Typically, coil/spring mattresses are better than all-foam beds for edge support. That’s not always the case, but more often than not, you get better edge support on a bed with innerspring or pocketed coils.
Couples have three options:
- Go with a split king or split California king. This way, you basically have two different beds. You can also use certain adjustable bed frames here.
- Compromise. Consider everything that you and your partner want and compromise where you can. As long as it’s close, you should be fine.
- Get a custom mattress. A few brands, such as Helix Sleep, allow you to customize each side of the bed or create a blend.
Treatment Options For Back Pain And Sciatica
We’ve talked with many people and with Dr. Sahota to help us understand a little bit better about how it feels for those who suffer from back pain and sciatica. First of all, we want to say that we’re on a mission to help you find alleviation for that pain; through this post, looking at the best mattresses for sciatica and back pain.
- Muscle relaxants
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Anti-seizure medications
If medications don’t work, your doctor may look to:
- Physical therapy
- Steroid injections
- Surgery, in extreme cases
For less extreme cases, some at-home everyday care tips include:
- Cold packs
- Hot packs
- OTC pain relievers, such as Motrin or Advil
According to the Mayo Clinic, back pain can be chronic or acute. Chronic back pain typically lasts more than three months and is less common than acute back pain, which lasts no more than six weeks. Acute back pain can be caused by a fall or heavy lifting, though, can often occur with no cause. A visit to your physician will likely result in imaging and tests to determine just where your pain is:
- Muscle or ligament strain
- Bulging or ruptured disks
- Arthritis, osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis
- Skeletal irregularities, such as scoliosis
- Osteoporosis, when your bones become porous and brittle.
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The Review Team
It’s not so much about the “type” of mattress, but rather the support the mattress offers. This is the reason that we so often recommend coil mattresses that have a firmer profile. They just tend to offer a lot of back support.
As we’ve discussed through our website, a mattress should provide the support you need to keep your spine aligned, but it’s heavily dependent on your sleeping style. So, it’s not even that a bad mattress could lead to back pain; rather, the wrong mattress could. Our goal with this post is to help you find the best mattress for your unique needs.
Again, this depends on your preferences and needs. Stomach sleepers and back sleepers, for example, will opt for a medium-firm or firm mattress, while side sleepers might like a medium to medium-soft mattress. The main takeaway is finding a mattress that will keep a proper spinal alignment.
Most of the time, yes. About 90% of the online mattress brands will offer totally free returns during the trial period.
Interestingly, shipping is almost always free when you buy a mattress online. It takes about a week for the bed to get to you, but you shouldn’t be paying anything extra for delivery.
Most brands offer a 10-year warranty, however, there are plenty that offer even longer warranties.