What is an Orthopedic Mattress?

The information in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. [Read our full health disclaimer]

Updated on February 16, 2023

If getting out of bed in the morning is a painful experience, consider purchasing an orthopedic mattress.

What is an orthopedic mattress? An orthopedic mattress offers support to joints while you sleep, taking away aches and pains in the morning and throughout the day. They can also result in more restful, pain-free sleep, so they’re recommended for anyone who experiences pain or could benefit from joint support, including active adults, athletes, and senior citizens. 

Orthopedic mattresses first were sold in the 1950s as a remedy for back pain. Once the mattress industry saw how well the orthopedic name sold, especially among those with bad backs, mattress manufacturers put orthopedic on their labels, too. 

Here at Best Mattress will review the term and provide a review for those who want a mattress that has orthopedic benefits and not just the marketing term on its label.

What Is Orthopedic Mattress?

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A true orthopedic mattress provides proper support and promotes the alignment of the spine. Not only will that make you more comfortable as you sleep, but you’ll wake up without back pain, too. These mattresses also cradle pain points, providing pressure relief, improving blood circulation, and reducing or eliminating joint pain.

Look for certifications and approval from medical experts or organizations, which can lend credibility to orthopedic claims.

Benefits of Orthopedic Support Mattress

An orthopaedic mattress is designed to provide superior support and comfort for your body while you sleep. It is made with special materials that are designed to conform to the contours of your body, providing optimal spinal alignment and reducing pressure points.

This type of mattress can help reduce pain in the back, neck, shoulders, and hips by providing a more comfortable sleeping surface. Additionally, an orthopaedic mattress can help improve circulation throughout the body and reduce tossing and turning during sleep.

The benefits of an orthopaedic mattress go beyond just improved comfort. An orthopaedic mattress can also help reduce snoring by providing better air flow throughout the night. It can also help improve posture by encouraging proper spinal alignment while you sleep.

Furthermore, an orthopaedic mattress can be beneficial for those who suffer from allergies as it is often made with hypoallergenic materials that are resistant to dust mites and other allergens. 

White Bed With Bedspread Near Window

The mattress also helps to reduce pressure points by evenly distributing weight across the surface of the bed. This can help alleviate pain caused by arthritis or other joint issues.

Additionally, an orthopaedic mattress is designed with breathable materials that allow air circulation throughout the night, keeping you cool and comfortable while you sleep.

Disadvantage of Orthopaedic Mattress

Orthopaedic mattresses are designed to provide extra support and comfort for those with back pain or other medical conditions. However, there are some potential drawbacks to consider before investing in an orthopaedic mattress.

The first drawback is that these mattresses can be quite expensive. Orthopaedic mattresses are typically made from high quality materials than regular mattresses, which can drive up the cost significantly. Additionally, because it’s a supportive mattress, it may require special bed frames or foundations that can also add to the overall cost of the mattress.

bed with white linen and wood bed frame

Another potential drawback is that orthopaedic mattresses tend to be firmer than regular mattresses. This can be beneficial for those with back pain as it provides more support, but it may not be comfortable for everyone. If you’re used to a softer mattress, you may find an orthopaedic mattress too firm and uncomfortable.

Orthopaedic mattresses are designed to provide support for the spine and joints, which is why they are often quite firm. This can be beneficial for those who suffer from chronic back pain or joint issues, but it may not be suitable for side sleepers. Side sleepers need a softer mattress that will contour to their body shape and provide cushioning. An orthopaedic mattress may be too hard and uncomfortable for them, leading to a bad sleep quality.

It’s important to try out different types of mattresses before making a purchase so you know what type of mattress will work best for your needs and preferences.

Types Of Orthopedic Mattress

Orthopedic mattresses are designed to provide support and comfort for those suffering from chronic pain or other orthopedic issues. While any manufacturer could put “orthopedic bed” on their label, there are actually many kinds of orthopedic mattresses.

That said, here are some of the most popular types of orthopedic mattresses and their features.

Memory Foam Orthopedic Mattresses

First developed by NASA research in the 1970s, typically memory foam is known for how the body sinks into it and how it cradles the body and its pressure points. For this reason, some memory foam mattresses can reduce body pain.

Since everyone is different, try out several mattresses including memory foam options to see which ones are best for you. 

woman lying on bed with white Siberian husky

This viscoelastic material also has less motion transfer, meaning that any tossing and turning won’t awaken your partner. Latex foam mattresses, like some innerspring mattresses, can be hypoallergenic, which will lessen respiratory issues while sleeping. However, because body weight makes a sleeper sink into the latex foam, memory foam may not be best for heavier people or are hot sleepers.

Foam mattresses you order online usually have a warranty and can be returned within a certain period such as 100-night sleep trial, so you can sleep on a memory foam mattress to see if it works for you.


Pocket Spring

Pocket-sprung mattresses are a popular choice for those looking for an orthopaedic mattress that offers superior support and durability. The mattress is made up of individual pocket springs, which are wrapped in fabric pockets to provide extra cushioning and comfort.

This type of mattress is designed to contour to the body’s shape, providing support where it’s needed most. As each spring works independently, it helps reduce motion transfer between partners, making it ideal for couples who share a bed.

The pocket sprung mattress also has a longer lifespan than other types of mattresses due to its construction and materials used. The individual springs help absorb shock and wear over time, meaning the mattress will last longer than other types of mattresses. Additionally, the pocket sprung mattress can be flipped over regularly to ensure even wear on both sides. With proper care and maintenance, this type of mattress can last up to 10 years or more.


A hybrid mattress is a great option for those looking for a medium-firm mattress. It combines the support of springs with the comfort of foam, making it an ideal choice for those who want to experience both. Hybrid mattresses are often more affordable than latex mattresses, but they can’t provide the same level of support.

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The combination of springs and foam helps to reduce motion transfer, making them great for couples who share a bed. They also provide good edge support, which is important if you like to sleep near the edge of your bed.

Hybrid mattresses are available in a variety of firmness levels, so you can find one that suits your individual needs. They are also usually made with breathable materials such as memory foam or latex, which helps keep you cool during the night.

Hybrid mattresses are generally durable and long-lasting, so you can expect them to last for many years without needing to be replaced. If you’re looking for an affordable mattress that offers both comfort and support, then a hybrid mattress may be just what you need.


Latex mattresses are becoming increasingly popular for their superior comfort and support. Made of either natural or synthetic latex, these mattresses provide a firm surface that is designed to contour to the body’s shape and provide maximum support.

Latex mattresses are also known for their durability, as they can last up to 10 years with proper care. In addition, latex mattresses are often resistant to dust mites and other allergens, making them an excellent option for those who suffer from allergies.

cat lying down in bed

However, one downside of latex mattresses is that they can be quite expensive. Prices vary depending on the type of mattress you choose and the quality of materials used in its construction. Additionally, some people may find that a latex mattress is too firm for their liking. If this is the case, it may be worth considering a hybrid mattress that combines foam and springs with a layer of latex for the perfect balance of comfort and support.

How to Make Orthopedic Mattresses Last?

An orthopedic mattress is an important investment, so it’s essential to do everything you can to extend its lifespan. To start, rotate the mattress regularly; depending on the type of orthopedic mattress you have, you’ll need to rotate it every few months to prevent permanent body impressions from forming.

Additionally, use a mattress protector; not only will this prolong the life of your orthopedic mattress, but it will also keep it clean and free of dust mites. Furthermore, avoid sitting or standing on the edge of the mattress as this can damage the coil system and cause irreversible sagging.

By following these simple tips, you can help your orthopedic mattress last for years. Regularly rotating and using a mattress protector are two easy ways to ensure that your orthopedic mattress remains in good condition for as long as possible. Taking care of your orthopedic mattress now will save you money in the long run by avoiding costly repairs or replacements down the line. Investing time into caring for your orthopedic mattress now will pay off in the future!


Opting for an Orthopedic Mattress

No matter which mattress type you choose, orthopedic or hypoallergenic, foam or innerspring, or a combination, you’ll most likely find that a high-quality orthopedic mattress lasts for about 10 years. After that point, you’ll want to replace your orthopedic mattress for optimum results and to limit dust mite build-up.

As you review orthopedic mattress options, remember that the term orthopedic may not mean it will deliver greater comfort and pain relief for your body type. Instead, look for the best mattress for your overall body that will provide great support. Consider your sleep style, sleep position, 

The right level of firmness can result in restorative sleep and less pain throughout the day.

Depending on your unique needs, a spring mattress or latex mattress could provide help for your back issues and be the right mattress for you.

Article Sources

  1. Garfin, S. R., & Pye, S. A. (1981). Bed design and its effect on chronic low back pain—a limited controlled trial. Pain, 10(1):87-91. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/030439598190049X
  2. Caggiari, G., Talesa, G. R., Toro, G., et al., (2021). What type of mattress should be chosen to avoid back pain and improve sleep quality? Review of the literature. Journal of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, 22(1):1-24. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s10195-021-00616-5
  3. Buckle, P., & Fernandes, A. (1998). Mattress evaluation—assessment of contact pressure, comfort and discomfort. Applied Ergonomics, 29(1):35-39. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0003687097000239
  4. McInnes, E., Jammali-Blasi, A., Bell-Syer, S., et al.,(2012). Preventing pressure ulcers—are pressure-redistributing support surfaces effective? A Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis. International journal of nursing studies, 49(3):345-359. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0020748911004111?via%3Dihub
  5. Marin, R., Cyhan, T., & Miklos, W. (2006). Sleep disturbance in patients with chronic low back pain. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 85(5):430-435. https://journals.lww.com/ajpmr/Fulltext/2006/05000/Sleep_Disturbance_in_Patients_With_Chronic_Low.00003.aspx
Bree Taylor - Lead Editor

Lead Editor

Bree is an interior designer with a passion for helping people improve their sleep quality.

She specializes in creating comfortable and functional bedroom spaces that promote a good night’s rest.

When she’s not testing mattresses or helping people get the best rest possible, Bree loves to travel and explore new cultures.

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