IF you suffer from a bad back then you know just how painful it can be, so it’s essential to buy the best mattress for back pain you possibly can.
A lumpy, uncomfortable mattress that offers no support is just the worst – guaranteed to give you a poor night’s sleep as well as exacerbate your back problems.
According to NHS England, back pain is the biggest cause of disability in the UK and it is estimated more than 80 out of 100 people suffer at some point in their lives.
If you’ve had your mattress for years then it’s probably time to buy a new one. The Sleep Charity advises you change your mattress every seven or eight years, by which time your mattress has had more than 20,000 hours of use!
What you buy depends on the position you sleep in. If you’re a side sleeper then a medium firm mattress is more likely to suit, if you sleep on your back most of the time then try a medium firm mattress, or for front sleepers, a firm mattress is generally best.
Materials also matter: memory foam is comfortable and shapes to you, but can make you sweat so look for breathable foam layers, however a spring mattress may offer more support. Hybrid mattresses offer you the best of both worlds and are a combination of the two. Some mattresses also have machine washable covers, which makes life just that little bit easier.
Look for a mattress that supports you, yet is comfortable. Generally firm rather than soft is better for back pain, but you could take advantage of the many offers from retailers to trial their mattresses to see what suits you. These range from 200 days to up to a year, so you’ve plenty of time to change your mind.
For ease, all prices displayed are for a double.
Best mattress for back pain at a glance:
- Best luxury foam mattress: Tempur Sensation Luxe Mattress
- Best spring mattress: Silentnight Eco Comfort Miracoil Ortho Mattress
- Best hybrid mattress with wool: Simba Hybrid Pro Mattress
- Best value foam mattress: Emma Original Mattress
- Best breathable hybrid mattress: Brook and Wilde Lux Mattress
We tested: Simba Hybrid mattress
- Simba Hybrid mattress, £647.40 from Simba Sleep – buy here
The Simba Hybrid mattress is designed to be supportive and breathable by combining the brand’s own spring system and breathable foam across five different layers.
The top layer is a knitted, breathable surface that keeps your mattress fresh while immediately below it is the Simbatex foam, an open cell graphite-infused material that’s up to 30 times more breathable than regular memory foam.
The third layer is made up of thousands of Aerocoil micro springs – made from titanium, these are durable and so small that you’ll never feel them poking into your back.
The bottom two layers are made from supportive foam that ensure full back support anywhere you sleep.
One happy customer writes: "Where has this been all my life…
"My quality of sleep has increased tenfold since buying this. I used to get back aches and neck pains all the time but they’ve now completely gone."
When we tried it, our tester enjoyed their best night’s sleep in years on their first night. Read our full Simba Hybrid Mattress review here.
- Best mattresses
- Best mattress deals UK
- Nectar Mattress review
- Emma Original mattress review
- Eve Sleep’s The Original Hybrid mattress review
Simba Hybrid Pro mattress
- Simba Hybrid Pro mattress, £959.40 from Simba Sleep – buy here
If you have a bigger budget, why not check out the Simba Hybrid Pro mattress?
It’s very similar to the original Simba Hybrid mattress except it comes with an extra wool layer under the breathable sleep surface.
Wool is known for being cool in summer and warm in winter and it’s hypoallergenic as well.
In fact, our reviewer found it extremely comfortable to sleep on even on the hottest nights. Read our full review of the Hybrid Pro here.
One customer commenting on their back pain said: "I’ve always suffered from sore hips and back but almost instantly slept better and woke without aches and pains feeling refreshed and ready for the day."
Eve The Original Hybrid mattress
- Eve The Original Hybrid mattress, £749 from Eve Sleep – buy here
Eve is so certain you’ll love their mattresses that there’s a one year trial period on them — one of the longest around.
This hybrid option combines five different layers in super breathable fabric to keep you cool while you sleep.
The top three layers are made up of different types of foam that give you much needed support while still being breathable.
Then you have over 800 springs that help to fully support your weight and move with your body.
Finally, you have another layer of foam to complete the support system.
Our reviewer thought this mattress was super supportive and retained its shape even after continued use. He said:
"For me that combination of feeling supported without too much pressure on my limbs and joints has improved my physical comfort, easing some mental restlessness too.
Waking up, I’ve not recently experienced aching as I did on my previous mattress."
Read the full Eve Original Hybrid mattress review.
Tempur Sensation Luxe mattress
- Tempur Sensation Luxe mattress, £2,939 from Tempur – buy here
The Tempur Sensation mattress is an all-foam option that’s designed to give firmer support.
There are four different layers, each giving a slightly different type of support for your back.
You can get the same mattress in a few different depths, but the Luxe version is the thickest at 30cm.
It doesn't come cheap but it does come with a 10-year guarantee.
Our Tempur mattress reviewer loved the fact that it was super supportive and the removable covers meant that it was easy to maintain bed hygiene.
"The Sensation Luxe mattress is on the firmer side and the material is designed to conform to your body to distribute your weight evenly and relieve pressure points, so it feels very supportive."
Emma Original mattress
- Emma Original mattress, £759 from Emma Sleep – buy here
The Emma Original mattress is a great option for those who want the comfort of foam but not the heat retention.
Sandwiched between two different layers of supportive foam is a layer that incorporates the brand’s Point Elastic Airgocell technology.
It’s meant to absorb your sweat and then allow it to evaporate, keeping you cool in the process.
It's also supportive. One happy customer wrote:
"I pursued the Emma original mattress after struggling for months with a bad back. It has made a huge difference in such a short time. Great value for money and cheaper than paying a chiropractor every week to sort my back pain. I couldn’t recommend this product enough."
This feature works a treat when you're trying to stay cool. You can read more in our full Emma Original Mattress review.
Nectar memory foam mattress
- Nectar memory foam mattress, £484.50 from Nectar Sleep – buy here
Nectar’s memory foam mattress is another one that combines breathable foam with memory foam to offer your back support without trapping in the heat.
This is coupled with a quilted top layer that’s designed to draw heat away from your body.
Plus, the mattress is designed to minimise motion so your partner’s movements won’t disturb you.
One satisfied customer said: "Am so thrilled with my Nectar mattress – no more back ache and sleeping like a baby."
When we reviewed the Nectar mattress, we thought that it was comfortable and supportive – plus, it came with free gifts that made it great value.
Brook and Wilde The Lux mattress
- Brook and Wilde The Lux mattress, £359.60 from Brook and Wilde – buy here
Brook and Wilde’s The Lux mattress makes combining memory foam and springs an art form.
Under the breathable cover, you have a cooling memory foam, followed by a layer of 2,000 mini springs.
Then you have a second layer of foam for support, with a layer of 1,000 bigger springs underneath for bounce.
Finally, you have a support foam base to complete the mattress.
Our reviewer of the Brook and Wilde mattress found it to be almost too comfortable, especially when it came to getting up in the morning.
One happy customer said: "I had back/neck pain due to my previous mattress being too firm, after sleeping for a couple nights on my Lux mattress all the pain and stiffness was gone."
Silentnight Eco Comfort Miracoil ortho mattress
- Silentnight Eco Comfort mattress, £399 from Silent Night – buy here
For those looking for more back support, this extra firm orthopeadic mattress from Silentnight makes an affordable option.
Its Miracoil springs help stop you rolling into your partner while also supporting you. The mattress has a damask finish and wicks away moisture, keeping you cool as you sleep.
Together, they create a breathable and zoned support system that makes it easier for your spine to maintain the right position.
OTTY Original Hybrid mattress
- OTTY Original Hybrid mattress, £524.99 from Otty – buy here
This hybrid mattress from OTTY is designed to keep you cool and reduce motion transfer when you’re lying in it.
It can be placed on any bed frame, or even directly on the floor, while the layers of temperature regulating foam and extra tall springs provide a medium firm support.
Thanks to the machine washable cover, your bed will benefit from improved hygiene as well.
One reviwer wrote: "Years of waking with back pain has disappeared overnight along with no more tossing and turning. It’s so comfortable I’m over the moon."
Could my mattress be causing back pain?
In short, yes. If you wake each morning with stiffness or pain in your lower back then it could well be because of your mattress. Over time your mattress will give, sagging in certain sections, so your body won’t be properly supported and your spine may not be aligned. Equally, if your mattress is too hard or too soft then your spine will not be properly supported, which could also result in back pain.
How to choose the best mattress for back pain
Choosing the best mattress for back pain is all about finding the right level of support for you.
In general, you need a mattress that’s firm enough to help your spine align in the right position while you sleep, but not so firm that it puts pressure on your back.
According to one study, this is medium firm for most people – this is also recommended for back sleepers.
However, for side sleepers and those who are lighter, a softer mattress will provide the give and cushioning on pressure points they need to sleep comfortably.
While for those who sleep on their fronts or are a little heavier, a firmer mattress will offer better support as you won’t sink in the wrong places.
Things like the material it’s made from matters too (more below).
The best way to find a mattress that suits your needs is to test one out and fortunately many of the top brands offer long trial periods so you can do just that.
What type of mattress is best for back pain?
In general, foam mattresses are better at supporting those with back pain as they can offer more targeted support and conform to the curves of your body.
However, if you’re heavier, they may not offer enough support for your spine – a sprung mattress is better for this.
A good compromise is a hybrid mattress that combines the best features of the two types of mattresses.
Another thing to consider is whether you’re sleeping with a partner as their movements can also affect how well you sleep.
There are mattresses that reduce movement and feature different levels of firmness for different sides of beds specifically designed for this.
What firmness of mattress is best for lower back pain?
There is limited research in this field but one study has suggested that a medium firm mattress is a good starting point for most people.
To get the right fit, you really need to test out a mattress for yourself – and ideally you need to do it over several weeks or even months.
Many top mattress manufacturers offer trial periods of up to three months specifically for this reason.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that whatever mattress you choose, it will sag over time.
How often should I change my mattress?
Experts recommend replacing your mattress every seven years or so and turning your mattress regularly to keep it in shape.
How much do mattresses cost?
The mattresses in our roundup cost from under £400 up to almost £3,000. Of course there are less expensive and more expensive mattresses you could buy, depending on your budget.
Where to buy mattresses for bad backs
All of the companies mentioned in our round up sell firm mattresses, which are suitable if you have a bad back – Emma, Silent Night, Eve, Simba, Nectar, Brook and Wilde, OTTY and Tempur.
Other retailers to check out include Amazon, Very, Argos, Wayfair and John Lewis, and don’t forget bed specialists such as Dreams, Hypnos and Bensons For Beds.
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