Does Firm Mattress Cause Back Pain? (3 Best Ways To Check It)

Are you wondering – why my new bed is killing my back? Is your mattress feeling too firm to you? Does firm mattress cause back pain after all? Well, I have the answers for you. Read on to find out more.

Does firm mattress cause back pain?

Yes. A firm mattress may cause back pain because our spine is not aligned naturally during sleep. As firm mattresses are not responsive, our body weight does not get evenly distributed when we lay down. The firmness of the mattress creates pressure on the spine. The pressure causes back pain.

There you have the answer!

But let’s dig into this a bit more.

How do I know if my mattress is causing my back pain?

First, let’s see how to understand whether your mattress is really causing back pain or not.

Here is a checklist –

  • How long are you having back pain?
  • Have long have you been sleeping on this mattress?
  • Does your back pain become worse in the morning?
  • Are you having a disturbed sleep?

Now let’s see each of these cases briefly

1. How long are you having back pain?

The number one reason for back pain is the wrong posture.

If you have a desk job or if you drive for long hours, it can trigger back pain.

So, before blaming your mattress check on other things first.

2. Have long have you been sleeping on this mattress?

If you are not sitting for long hours at your job, then probably the back pain may have been triggered by your mattress.

Have you bought a new mattress recently?

Are you having pain after that?

If the answer is yes, then that’s the confirmation.

3. Does your back pain become worse in the morning?

If the back pain becomes worse in the morning, after waking up, that is a second confirmation too.

Remember, the wrong posture can happen during sleep too.

So, if your spine does not get proper support during sleep, it can cause back pain.

4. Are you having a disturbed sleep?

There are many reasons for having disturbed sleep.

An uncomfortable mattress can also cause disturbance in your sleep.

So, if you wake up frequently during the night and are not stressed out over something else, then you should probably check your mattress.

Is a firm mattress good for your back?

No, a firm mattress is not good for your back.

Firm mattresses are not responsive. 

As such it cannot provide adequate support to all the curves of our body. 

Without proper support, our body, especially the spine, bends unnaturally during sleep. 

This causes back pain, joint pain, fatigue, etc.

What mattress firmness is best for back health?

There are many types of mattress firmness.

There are very firm or hard, firm, medium-firm, soft, and very soft mattresses.

The mattress firmness that is best for back health is medium-firm.

A medium-firm mattress is neither too firm nor too soft.

Hence, it can provide proper support to all the parts of our body.

However, you must also ensure that the mattress is responsive too.

Responsiveness is the ‘bounce’ of the mattress.

The responsiveness should not be too much or too less.

The firmness and responsiveness of the mattress are based on the material and the construction of the mattress.

Is it better to sleep on a soft or hard mattress?

It is neither better to sleep on a soft nor a hard mattress.

It is better to sleep on a medium-firm mattress.

Why would a doctor recommend a firm mattress?

Doctors used to recommend a firm mattress in the past, but not anymore.

It has been found that a mattress that is too firm can cause back pain.

How do I know if my mattress is too firm?

The only way to know whether a mattress is too firm for you is to actually sleep on it.

Every individual has their own level of tolerance when it comes to sleeping on a mattress.

A person who is comfortable sleeping on a very firm mattress, may not like to sleep on a soft mattress and vice-versa.

And you can off-course just apply pressure by hand on the mattress to check whether it feels too firm to you.

Also, check that the mattress is not very old.

Old mattresses get sunk and become hard.

This is especially true for coir mattresses.

Do firm mattresses soften over time?

No, firm mattresses do not soften over time.

Mattresses that are firm are made of materials such as coir and bonded foam.

Coir mattresses have natural gaps in the coir, which diminishes under pressure.

As such, coir mattresses get firmer over time.

Mattresses made of bonded foam are made of scrap foam that is bonded under high pressure.

So, they have no gaps and are not responsive at all.

So, they cannot get soft over time.


So, can you get back pain from a hard mattress?

Yes, you can get back pain from a hard mattress.

Is there any firm mattress for back pain?

Well, there are many firm mattresses, but they are not good for your back.

So, if you want to avoid back pain, you should –

  • First, try and sleep on different kinds of mattresses and test which feels more comfortable to you.
  • Check that your mattress is not very old, as old mattresses are generally not very responsive.
  • Buy a medium-firm mattress.

About Umesh Tiwari

Avatar for Umesh TiwariUmesh Tiwari is an avid writer for many years. He was suffering from back pain and a visit to the doctor led him to believe that his mattress may be one of the reasons for it. This led him to research a lot of mattresses before he bought one. He started this blog to share his findings and help others who are in a dilemma as to which mattress to buy.