Upper back Pain

Hey my name is Ben and I’m brand new to this website. I’ve had upper back pain (between spine and shoulder blade area) for just under two years now. I originally had an old mattress that was roughly 20 years old and sagging and I finally got a new mattress about two months ago. It’s a Medium firm Avenco. My pain really hasn’t diminished since I got my new mattress and I actually started sleeping without a pillow because it seems to not hurt as bad the morning after. For those who have dealt with this pain I sympathize with you because it is something that is so depressing and demoralizing to deal with. I don’t want to go to sleep at night, I hate getting out of bed, the pain makes me not want to do much of anything anymore. I’ve tried everything. Stretching, strengthening, laying on the ground for nights at a time, new pillow (memory foam/contouring). I received a cortisone shot back in February of 2020 and that only lasted so long. If anyone has any recommendations please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Thank you.

Ben, when you have pain like your describing it’s always important to ensure it’s actually mattress related and not a medical issue. Assuming it is actually mattress related then I would strongly urge you to take some photos at bed level in a side sleeping position to verify your spinal alignment. Then take the photo and draw a line from the top of your head through the base of your neck and down to your tailbone. If it’s not a straight line then that’s an issue and you’ll need to address it to fix your problem.


Thanks for the response. I added a couple of pictures if you don’t mind looking at them. I drew the best lines I possibly could. They aren’t perfectly straight but they don’t seem that bad. Do you think that me having a medium firm mattress could be a possible issue as well? There is definitely a little sinking that occurs on this bed since it’s memory foam. Most articles I come across that discuss back pain after sleeping refer to lower back pain instead of upper back pain so I have a hard time pin pointing what my issue may be. As a side note I’d like to also add that I am primarily a back sleeper and I’ve heard that’s the best position for not having back pain.


Looks like you have sort of a swimmers build (broad shoulders) which makes perfect sense why you are having issues because your shoulders are not sinking into the mattress like you need to in order to actually be comfortable. You can see in the photo how your spine curves upward. It’s an issue because instead of sinking into the mattress your shoulder is being jammed back towards your chest. It also puts your neck at a bad angle, all of which will lead to upper back issues exactly as you describe.

You may end up needing zoning on the mattress to solve your issue because most mattresses don’t have enough travel for folks with a build like that (I’ve run into the same issue myself). Unfortunately there aren’t alot of off the shelf zoned mattresses that work well but there are still a few (Flobeds, Level Sleep, etc) out there worth trying. Some have resorted to DIY builds to fix this issue (like me) since it allows you to customize it to your specific build/BMI but it can be expensive and time consuming to go this route.