How Thick Should a Mattress Topper be For Back Pain – 2024 Guide

About 80% of adults experience back pain at least once in their lives, and for many the problem becomes chronic. Pain most often occurs in the lower back and neck. There are many reasons for back pain. You may have been injured during a workout at the gym, playing tennis, or carrying boxes during the move.

Maybe back pain is a consequence of a sedentary lifestyle because your body cannot be in great condition when you sit for more than 10 hours every day. But if the pain doesn’t go away even after you have rested, gone to therapy or changed your lifestyle, then your bed is probably one to blame. Check your mattress.

It may have been very comfortable for you for years, but everything has a service life and if you have been using it for over a decade, you probably need to change it no matter how good it was. If the problems occurred after you bought a new mattress, then you have certainly bought one that does not suit your sleep position.

But there is one way to fix both the old mattress and the current mattress that doesn’t suit you without having to buy a new one. And that is to buy a mattress topper. How thick should a mattress topper be for back pain, as well as other important things to consider when buying a topper, read in our 2024 guide.

What is a mattress topper?


Let’s first make it clear what a mattress topper is because many people have never used one. It is an additional layer that is placed on top of a mattress in order to improve support, comfort, and other features.

Mattress topper is easily removable, some of them you attach to the mattress using elastic straps, and some other toppers you just put on the mattress and that’s it, you can sleep on it. The topper is significantly thinner than the mattress, which we will talk more about in the next paragraph.

It is made of different materials and with different characteristics because mattress toppers have become very popular in recent years so demand is huge and every one has its one preferences.

How thick should a mattress topper be for back pain?

Most toppers are between 5 and 8 cm thick, but there are also thicker and thinner toppers than that. When the mattress topper is very thin, for example, 2cm, then it is generally called a mattress pad and not a topper. Very thick toppers are 10 or 12 cm tall.

Which one you choose depends on the extent of your problem, preferences and the material from which the topper is made. Generally, you should aim the topper about 8 cm, because it will significantly relieve pressure points, and you will still feel all the characteristics of your mattress. If you have a major back problem or an old mattress, then go with a mattress topper of at least 10 cm, to completely change your current sleep surface and make your night’s sleep better.

Other things to consider when buying mattress topper


Thickness is very important, but there are certainly many more things to consider before choosing the ideal mattress topper for yourself.


Memory foam has been the most important material in the sleep industry for decades, so it is very likely that you will buy a memory foam mattress topper. Hybrid toppers, which have springs made of memory foam and not metal, are increasingly appearing on the market, which significantly differs in performance.

When buying memory foam, it is important to check that no hazardous substances have been used during production. As you can see at best toppers are OEKO-TEX certified so always look for some type of certification of that kind. Memory foam is certainly not the only material, so you can choose between latex, microfiber, wool and many other materials.

Sleep position


There are three sleep positions – back, side and stomach (front). Side sleeping is the most common sleeping position, and many people are so-called combination sleepers, which means that they change positions during sleep.

The sleep position has perhaps the biggest impact on the choice of pillow, mattress and mattress topper. Side sleepers need a softer topper than stomach sleepers, to avoid hip and shoulder pain. While stomach sleepers need a firmer, more supportive topper. Back sleepers can choose both.


If you suffer from back pain you should choose a medium-firm topper. On a firmness scale of 1 to 10, somewhere between 6 and 7 is ideal as it will give you both support and relief. Stomach sleepers can go with even firmer, while side sleepers may consider 5.5 for example.



Of course, the price plays a major role in the selection of each sleep product, including the mattress topper. You should not choose the cheapest topper because its durability is probably very bad, and the topper should be functional for at least 5 years and give you comfort. But you also don’t need to spend a fortune on a topper, because if a topper costs like a mattress, then you can buy a new mattress as well.

Warranty and trial

It takes the body about 30 days to get used to the new mattress topper, so a trial period is necessary. The first night, no mattress or topper will be comfortable for you, but that will change. However, you can’t take risks, you need a trial period. Also, pay attention to the warranty which should last at least 5 years, and it is best if it lasts 10 years.


Whether you are struggling with back problems or just want to make your bed even more comfortable, a mattress topper is a great choice. In many cases, a topper is what you need, because why spend 2 or 3 times more money to buy a new mattress when you can take advantage of a new mattress topper. It is important to buy from reputable manufacturers and to choose the appropriate thickness as well as the material, which affects breathability.