Can A Mattress Cause Upper Back Pain

Good sleep is essential for our physical and mental health, and a comfortable mattress plays a vital role in ensuring a good night’s rest. But, have you ever woken up with upper back pain and wondered what could be the cause? Well, the answer may be hiding right under you. A mattress that doesn’t support your body’s alignment or doesn’t provide adequate cushioning where needed can contribute to upper back pain.

You may have heard that poor posture or a sedentary lifestyle can cause upper back pain. While these are valid reasons, your mattress may also be the culprit. Surprising, right? It’s time to dive in and understand how a mattress can cause upper back pain and discover ways to prevent it, so you can say goodbye to those mornings of waking up with a twinge in your upper back.

How a mattress can cause upper back pain

One of the most important factors for a good night’s sleep is the quality of your mattress. A mattress that does not provide adequate support can cause a range of problems such as upper back pain, shoulder pain, and stiff neck. Here are some ways in which a mattress can cause upper back pain:

Lack of support

An unsupportive mattress does not hold up your body correctly, leading to excess pressure on the lower back and upper back. If you are sleeping on a sagging mattress, your spine will be misaligned, causing upper back pain. Similarly, if you sleep on a mattress that is too firm, it will not adapt to the curvature of your back, resulting in discomfort and pain.

Poor alignment

When you sleep, your spine should rest in a neutral position, which allows the muscles to relax. If your mattress does not support your spine, it can cause it to bend unnaturally, leading to upper back pain. A wrongly aligned spine can also cause pressure on your nerves, triggering pain, numbness, and tingling sensations in your back.

Too soft or too hard

A mattress that is too soft may seem comfortable initially, but it gradually loses its supportiveness, and your body starts to sink into it. This can cause your spine to bend unnaturally, causing tension in the muscles, leading to upper back pain. On the other hand, a mattress that is too hard can put pressure on your joints, causing pain and stiffness.

It is essential to find the right level of firmness in a mattress to prevent upper back pain and promote good sleep posture. Now that you have an idea of how a mattress can cause upper back pain, let’s explore some ways in which you can prevent it.

Have you ever experienced upper back pain due to mattress issues?

Ways to prevent upper back pain caused by a mattress

Now that we have seen how a mattress can be a culprit for upper back pain, let’s look into ways to prevent it.

1. Proper mattress selection

Choosing the right mattress is the key to prevent upper back pain. While a soft mattress may seem comfortable, it may not necessarily provide the right support for your back. Similarly, a firm mattress may not be suitable for those who sleep on their sides.

When selecting a mattress, take into consideration your sleeping position, weight, and any underlying medical conditions. It’s recommended to opt for a medium-firm mattress as it provides the right balance of support and comfort for most people.

2. Regularly rotate and flip the mattress

As we sleep, our body weight and pressure get absorbed by the mattress, leading to wear and tear. Regularly rotating and flipping the mattress will help distribute the weight and pressure evenly, reducing the chances of developing pressure points that can lead to upper back pain.

Ideally, you should flip your mattress every few months. However, if you have a pillow-top or memory foam mattress, it’s best to rotate it instead.

3. Use pillows for added support

Pillows can also be useful in preventing upper back pain caused by a mattress. If you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your knees to align your spine and reduce pressure on your hips and lower back. For those who sleep on their back, placing a pillow under their knees can help alleviate pressure on the upper back.

Additionally, consider investing in a cervical pillow for added support to the neck and upper back.
By following these simple steps, you can prevent upper back pain caused by a mattress and ensure a good night’s sleep. However, if you continue to experience upper back pain despite these changes, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional.

Other causes of upper back pain

Apart from a mattress, there can be several other causes of upper back pain, such as poor posture, muscle strain, or skeletal abnormalities. In some cases, upper back pain can also be a symptom of an underlying medical condition such as arthritis, osteoporosis, or fibromyalgia.

If you experience persistent upper back pain, it’s advisable to seek medical attention and get a proper diagnosis to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment.

Other causes of upper back pain include poor posture, stress and tension, and physical activities. These factors can also contribute to discomfort and pain in your upper back, regardless of whether or not your mattress is the culprit.

Poor posture, such as slouching or hunching over a computer screen, can place excessive strain on your neck and upper back muscles, leading to pain and discomfort. Thankfully, practicing good posture by sitting up straight, keeping your shoulders relaxed and your feet on the ground can help prevent upper back pain.

Stress and tension are also common culprits of upper back pain. When we experience stress, our muscles tend to tense up, leading to muscle knots and pain in the upper back and neck region. Combatting stress with methods such as meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises can help prevent and alleviate upper back pain caused by stress and tension.

Lastly, engaging in physical activities such as heavy lifting or contact sports can lead to upper back pain due to strain on the muscles and spine. Practicing proper form while lifting weights, wearing appropriate gear during sports, and taking care to stretch before and after exercise can all help prevent upper back pain caused by physical activity.


In conclusion, we have seen how a mattress can cause upper back pain, and the ways we can prevent this from happening. Remember that a good mattress is not just about being comfortable; it should also provide the necessary support for your spine. So when choosing a mattress, keep in mind that firmness alone is not enough to prevent upper back pain. Also, keep an eye out for other factors that could be causing your pain. In the end, investing in a quality, supportive mattress is crucial for your overall health and wellbeing. So, let’s sleep soundly and pain-free!