Cotton / Polyester Blend – Not effective for back pain relief
Cotton alone is a very poor choice of material for a mattress topper, as it shifts under your weight and will soon sag and lose support. Combining it with polyester helps to keep everything in place, however. These are still the least supportive of the mattress pads, but they’re also the most inexpensive — a twin can be had for less than $100, while a king will generally run less than $200. We do not recommend this type of topper for back pain relief.
Down -not effective for back pain relief
There are very few beds that are actually filled completely with down; usually a “down bed” is a standard spring mattress with a good down topper over it. The feathers come from ducks and geese, and the down industry claims that they are mostly collected from birds that were slaughtered for food. They are not overly transparent about this process and significant quantities may actually come from birds that are “live-plucked,” which is widely regarded as a cruel practice.
Setting aside ethical issues for the moment, down is comfortable, warm and provides the best support of the non-synthetic options. However, it also tends to clump and has to be periodically shaken out. Full feathers (not just actual down) also have to be included for filler to keep the pad from being too thin, and these will gradually escape by poking their way through the topper over time. And while down is not known to cause any allergies, it is unfortunately a favorite home for dust mites.
Latex – a great natural option for back pain relief. Highly supportive.
Latex toppers are extremely supportive. They’re very easy to maintain and have a long lifespan. Latex bedding materials come naturally from the rubber tree and are free of chemical additives and are hypoallergenic. The only downside to latex products is that their price point tends to be the highest of any material and is certainly the most expensive mattress topper money can buy.
Memory Foam – amazing pressure relief and support
Memory foam was originated by NASA and has become one of the most popular sleep materials put in mattresses due to its superior pressure relief capabilities and support. This very thick material is renowned for comfort. When it comes to memory foam it is important to purchase a quality product, as many knock off low quality versions are imported from Asia and do not provide the same lasting comfort or support.
It is important to note that memory foam can get firmer in extremely cold weather and can become softer in warmer weather or bedrooms.
If you sleep on your stomach, you may find yourself sinking into a memory foam topper in a way that is uncomfortable. There are thinner-than-usual memory foam toppers designed for those who like to sleep on their stomach, however. Modern memory foam toppers have what is called an “open cell” design to prevent permanent impressions from forming.
Wool – not supportive enough for back pain relief
Though wool has a reputation for being warm and scratchy, it actually conducts heat away from the body very well and is very comfortable in a topper. As with down or cotton, they will clump over time and need to be shaken out periodically. It’s also possible to be allergic to wool, and these toppers also sometimes have a “barnyard” odor about them. If you are looking for support in order to relieve back pain then a wool topper is not the best option on the market.
Polyurethane foam – varies in levels of quality, can be a great option for back pain relief.
Polyurethane foam is one of the most common and longest used foams in the mattress industry. A polyurethane topper is foam made from a chemical process and can be a great option for utilizing in a topper to relieve back pain. It is important to purchase a polyurethane topper from a reputable manufacturer with a higher density in order to get the support and lifespan you need out of the product. There are many low quality polyurethane foam manufacturers offering their products for low prices that you should stay away from.