Are Adjustable Beds Good for Back Pain?

So, you have back pain. Is an adjustable bed the right solution for you? Adjustable beds have a variety of heights and settings in order to help the user sleep better, and they’re not just handy for watching tv before going to sleep!

They help by changing the angle your body is at according to your personal preference, so they can alleviate back or neck pain caused by sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress or in a bad position. Read our reviews of the best adjustable bases here.

Using an Adjustable Bed for Back Pain Tips and Benefits

How Do You Use an Adjustable Bed for Back Pain?

An adjustable bed allows you to control how much pressure is put on your spinal cord. The principle is to help reduce back pain and stiffness by positioning your body into a neutral position for weight bearing, which can relieve pressure on the spine (plus help with good spine alignment). Extra support under the knees can also help alleviate pain in the lower back.

Adjustable beds are a great solution for anyone who suffers from chronic pain due to their ability to reduce strain on the joints and muscles. Not only do adjustable bed users report less stiffness, but they also experience better sleep quality as well!

Sleeping in an inclined position can help with blood circulation and reduce swelling in the feet, whereas lying on a flat surface with better support in the neck area can help with neck pain, which is often ‘referred’ from a problem elsewhere in the back.

Adequate support in the right place can even provide maximum comfort for other medical conditions like shoulder arthritis. Making sure you have the right neck positions can make all the difference and stop unnecessary additional pain.

Gray adjustable bed frame

Benefits for People With Other Conditions

Adjustable beds are also beneficial for people who have trouble getting out of bed because they can adjust their position without having to get off of it. Mobility issues such as arthritis or other joint problems can make it difficult to get up from a bed, and adjustable beds offer the perfect solution.

One more benefit is that adjustable beds often come with massage settings too! Massage therapy has been shown to significantly reduce pain and stiffness throughout your body, having it available in bed at the push of a button is a great way of getting a massage in the comfort and safety of your own home.

It is a bit of a common misconception that an adjustable bed will solve back pain all on its own, but in reality, it will only help relieve some of the stress and pressure placed upon your spine when sleeping.

However, for sufferers who are seeking permanent relief from chronic back pain, an adjustable base may be one part of a more comprehensive treatment plan. Its possible to rent adjustable beds for trial purposes, and in some cases they are available through Medicare too.

The benefits of an adjustable bed are clear for sufferers who want a good night’s sleep in various positions without having to move their whole body or mess around trying to modify their mattress. 

Types of Back Condition That May Be Helped by an Adjustable Bed

There is a range of underlying conditions that can lead to back pain, ranging from poor posture to excessive strain caused by injury. It’s common to develop symptoms after neck surgery, for example.

An adjustable bed can play a large part in effective back pain relief, as it can be set to the user’s need, be that a reclining position, flat position, or anything in between. People suffering from any type of upper-body injury should be able to find sleeping positions that work for them.

So, what types of back pain can be helped by sleeping on an adjustable bed?

Types of Back Condition that an Adjustable Bed Can Help With
  • Lumbar Spinal Stenosis – Lumbar spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal stiffens and narrows. When this happens, there is less room for the spinal cord and nerve roots to pass through which can cause back discomfort and numbness. The best sleeping position for this condition is on your side.
  • Spinal Herniated Disc – A herniated disc occurs when a crack or tear forms in the outer layer. The best bed position for this is on your back. Joint compression can also be relieved by sleeping on your side.
  • Lower Back Pain – General lower back pain is often caused due to an injury or overuse and can be relieved by lying on your side.
  • Lumbar Strain – Lumbar strain is often caused by using improper lifting techniques, sitting for long periods of time without being active, and other physical activities that put undue stress on the lower spine.

An adjustable bed can help by providing a comforting support for the lumbar region.

  • Degenerative Spondylolisthesis – Degenerative spondylolisthesis can be caused by a congenital defect in the spine. It results in the vertebrae in the spine slipping out of place. This condition can also be caused by a traumatic injury which results in some degree of dislocation. The best adjustable bed position here is to lie on the side with your upper body propped up in a slightly inclined position.
  • Osteoarthritis – People with osteoarthritis may experience chronic pain in the joints and inflammation. While there is no cure for this condition, an adjustable bed can help relieve some of the pressure on your back by supporting your lumbar region when you sleep
  • Lumbago – Lumbago is a term used to describe the unpleasant lower back symptoms caused by muscle spasms. Sleepers with lumbago should find relief by staying in a prone position on their adjustable bed.

What's the Best Adjustable Bed Position for Back Pain?

Most adjustable beds can be set to three different basic positions: flat, raised up on one end and raised up on both ends. The angle of your head is important too because you want it aligned with your spine which means that a normal flat position may not work for everyone.

Whichever bed you go for, there will some combination of the above positions available to you. The best split king adjustable beds also allow you to set your own position, separately from your sleeping partner. All available beds will allow you to get comfortable and reduce weight on those pressure points, whether you prefer to sleep in the fetal position, at a slight angle, need more support under the knees, or any other specific requirements you may have.

Some of the Normal Adjustable Bed Frame Settings:

  • The patient may be positioned in a supine, prone, or lateral position.
  • There is often an air pump that adjusts the height of the head to allow you to sleep comfortably on your back or side.
  • Many beds have a preset “zero gravity position”, which is specifically intended to simulate weightlessness. This position is achieved by laying on your back with slightly bent knees and a head that gently rests in the air or against an incline
  • Semi upright position, which may be preferred for people who have difficulty in lying on their backs
  • Slight incline, which may be preferred for people who have difficulty lying on their stomachs
  • Flat postion, for those who have difficulty maintaining a sleeping position for an extended period
  • The mattress firmness level can also be adjusted according to need and preference. perfect for those who prefer a softer mattress, or need additional support to a regular mattress.
The zero gravity sleeping position

Reasons an Adjustable Bed May Not Suit You Right Now

Adjustable beds offer many benefits but they do have their drawbacks as well. They’re usually not recommended if you’ve had recent neck or back surgery, or if you’ve just recovered from a spinal cord injury. In situations like these you don’t want to alter how much weight is put onto your spine at any given time, which could lead to additional pain than there was before using an adjustable bed.

Another disadvantage would be those who have a bed partner because the whole bed usually changes position, so you’d both need to be on board with the configuration that works best for the person affected.

Lastly, the adjustable bed can only be adjusted to so many positions before there are no more available. It may be the case that the adjustable bed doesn’t offer a perfect fit for your back pain, or you may need to change mattresses in order to get some relief.


Sleeping on an adjustable bed may have great health benefits, but not everyone wants to feel like they’re condemned to a life of hospital beds! If you’re interested to learn about the best adjustable beds don’t forget to check our review article of the best on the market today.

The back pain relief benefits of an adjustable bed are undeniable, though. They’re perfect for those who have trouble with chronic pain in any number of ways and can accommodate many different positions which will make you feel more comfortable when trying them out. Patients feel better when they’re well rested – add a good memory foam mattress and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a good night’s sleep!