Memory foam and related products have claims like

TEMPUR Mattresses create a custom fit for your body, virtually eliminating painful pressure points and reducing your body’s need to toss and turn in search of a comfortable, pain-free sleeping position.


Visco-Elastic memory foam mattresses are commended by medical professionals across Scandinavia and used in the health sector throughout mainland Europe due to their widely recognised therapeutic benefits.

Many of these mattresses are also sold as "orthopedic", implying some kind of beneficial effects. There are some notes about memory foam and pressure ulcers, but little about back pain.

I have only been able to find two very small, potentially relevant studies, and I can't even tell what the "selected bedding system" is in the second article without access.



So: Is there any evidence that memory foam mattresses help reduce back pain? Either during night-time or during the day after sleep.

  • 1
    Would your answer be dependent on the source of the pain? Anecdotally, I've found that using a foam roller is a much better reliever of back and knee pain than any change in bedding, but that's because my pain is muscle-related. If the source of the pain is something else (herniated disk, for instance), then the effect of the bed may be different.
    – mmr
    Jan 22, 2013 at 17:45
  • 1
    Interested in any source of pain
    – YXD
    Jan 22, 2013 at 18:20
  • I have no data, but anecdotally: I have various damage to my lower spine from a car accident many years ago so have tried all manner of mattresses, including memory foam. Memory foam causes me more pain - I find a really hard bed is better for my particular condition, so I think this may be variable as @mmr commented.
    – Rory Alsop
    Feb 19, 2013 at 8:57
  • I have a memory foam mattress and don't see any special benefits. Also, don't Japanese sleep (almost) on the floor without problems?
    – algiogia
    Aug 17, 2017 at 15:21

2 Answers 2


Here is another list of studies, crosschecked with a PubMed search that yielded only a few relevant hits (see this for example).

In review, the results appear mixed and sometimes contradictory. The sample sizes are small and lack controls. The field of chiropractics where such research is often published itself borders on being a pseudo-science. In addition, I would want to make sure that none of these studies are sponsored by the mattress companies.

The answer to your question, then, is ultimately: no, there is no good evidence that memory foam mattresses help reduce back pain.

The studies are few, the terms are ill-defined, and the results are inconclusive. Much depends on the type of back pain, its underlying cause, the preferred sleeping position, sleeping habits, age, weight, and medical history of the subject. In short, it looks like a messy (and unprofitable) thing to study (too many variables), which would perhaps explain the lack of convincing results.

Please note that this answer does not constitute medical advice. It is only meant to summarize published research related to the topic and limited to the cited sources. Consult your physician about what these results may mean for your health.

  • Hey - thanks for the answer. Your two links are the same, by the way (I think the list of studies is missing). It does seem a very ill-defined thing, and it's such a big industry that it's surprising that there's not much evidence either way
    – YXD
    Jan 24, 2013 at 0:57
  • Yeah agreed. I wish there was a better answer. I fixed the link too, thanks!
    – denten
    Jan 24, 2013 at 1:05
  • I've opened a bounty to see if anyone else can add to the bits of info we've got so far...
    – YXD
    Jan 25, 2013 at 15:19

The memory foam mattress are temperature sensitive and molds according to the body temperature. This will give enough support needed to spine. It also rests the hips and shoulders reducing the stress, therefore, reducing backpain. The memory foam mattress becomes softer when the body temperature increases making it comfortable for people with back pain.So, many prefer memory foam mattress for back pain



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