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The best mattresses for back pain

Back pain is a very common ailment and usually is not a cause for concern, however if you also experience any of the symptoms listed here you should visit your GP or call NHS 111. 

The most common types of back pain are defined by the NHS as ‘non-specific’ - having no obvious cause, and ‘mechanical’ - originating in the joints, bones, and muscles around the spine. 

Occasional back pain will often go away on it’s own with gentle activity, good posture and time, however chronic or repetitive back pain may be caused by ongoing poor posture, or an unsupportive mattress.

Your mattress should keep your spine aligned and muscles relaxed while you sleep. Proper alignment lets your spine and muscles recover, giving you a fresh start to the next day. Poor alignment can cause headaches, fatigue, lower back pain, and neck pain. 

How to find the right mattress for your back

There are two layers you need to consider when choosing your next mattress. The support system, and the comfort layer. 

The support system

A spring or foam layer, the support system supports your weight and provides the spinal alignment you need for a restful night. A zoned support system is tuned to provide the right amount of support across your body. This allows the mattress surface to curve to your natural shape with even pressure across your body. Perfect for maintaining spinal alignment.

Support systems are rated by firmness, and we have to move past the age-old idea that extra-firm mattresses are best for solving a bad back. Choosing the right firmness for you depends on your body type. Softer mattresses are more suitable to smaller, lighter people, while people with a larger body type will feel more supported with a firmer mattress. 

Choosing the correct firmness can help prevent back pain and speed up recovery. 

A mattress that is too soft to support your weight will sag in the middle, distorting your spine and preventing complete recovery. Unsupportive mattresses also make you work harder to get comfortable, often leaving you feeling fatigued the next day. 

A mattress that is too firm will not have enough ‘give’ to support your spine’s natural curve. If your mattress is too firm for your body type, the zoning will be ineffective and the pressure uneven. 

Even as a perfect mattress ages, it slowly loses its ability to support you effectively. This is one of the reasons we recommend you replace your mattress every 7-8 years. Whether your mattress is too old, soft or firm, the results may be felt the next day, and may accumulate over time, causing chronic aches and pain.

Are you a couple with different body types? Having different support needs can make shopping for a mattress more challenging. Check out our article about the best mattress for couples

The comfort layer

Above the support layer is the comfort layer. The finishing touch to a comfortable, restful night. Each comfort layer offers a different experience. You can choose the sink-in sensation of memory foam, a more supportive bounce from latex and geltex or the breathable fibres of eco comfort breathe. Comfort is a personal choice, however three of our comfort layers are especially effective at preventing aches and pains:

latex

A relaxing layer made from a blend of natural and synthetic latex. This comfort layer is naturally flame retardant, hypo-allergenic and antibacterial without the need for added chemicals. Latex trees also contribute to environmental CO2 removal. Latex offers great pressure relief with extra durability and responsive bounce-back for the restless sleepers.

memory Foam

Developed with pressure relief in mind, memory foam offers excellent respite from achy muscles. Our sprung ranges feature odor free memory foam with quicker shape recovery. Memory foam softly moulds to your body like a warm hug.

geltex®

As an alternative to memory foam, we developed geltex to give the benefits of memory foam with better bounce back. You’ll use your muscles less to turn over and more quickly settle into each sleeping position. Geltex offers a slightly fresher sleep than latex or memory foam, but if you’re a hot sleeper there are cooler alternatives.

hot sleepers

If you’re a hot sleeper you may sleep more comfortably with a fiber comfort layer. Our eco comfort breathe mattresses feature a multi-layered microclimate system that wicks away moisture and filters out the heat. Staying cool and dry will help you to relax, and you’ll still have the benefit of spinal alignment from the spring system below. 

Try it out with our reassuring 60 night comfort guarantee

The best test of a new mattress is to sleep on it. It can take a little time to settle-in with a new mattress so when you buy directly from our website, we offer a comfort exchange that gives you 60 nights to get really comfortable before making a decision.

If you're still not loving your new mattress within 60 nights from delivery, you can exchange it for another mattress. Learn more about our comfort guarantee here.

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Liz

Silentnight Content Editor - Liz has over 7 years' experience in writing lifestyle, home, health, and eco content. Liz's mission is to make accessible our expert team's knowledge.