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The top mattresses for back pain: Sleep easy with added support

Whether pocket sprung, foam or hybrid, invest in a mattress that has your back

Ali Howard
Friday 14 May 2021 08:09
<p>From traditional to high-tech designs, we’ve found options to suit every sleeper and budget  </p>

From traditional to high-tech designs, we’ve found options to suit every sleeper and budget

There’s nothing like niggling back pain to keep us awake at night, which is why it’s always worth investing in a decent mattress that offers suitable support – and that goes for preventative care, too.

Modern mattresses fall into three camps: pocket sprung, memory foam, and hybrid, the latter being a combination of springs and foam.

We’ve found a number of hybrid mattresses that support the spine with innovative technologies and smart materials, alongside the more conventional springs.

While you might prefer a soft and bouncy bed – and that’s a matter of taste – for back pain, firmness is key. Some bed and mattress brands offer a handy firmness rating and will allow you to choose a product that’s right for you based on your weight, and that of your partner’s if you’re sharing a bed.

With so many new and dynamic mattress brands popping up, there’s competition to offer us enticing deals with interest-free finance options, 10 year guarantees, and lengthy trial periods with no-quibble returns if we’re not completely happy.

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All of this, of course, attests to the fact that a mattress is a really important purchase – and that’s even more pertinent when it comes to back pain.

We put our best back-friendly mattresses to the test, from traditional to high-tech, and from superior quality to supportive but surprisingly affordable.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism acrossThe Independent.

Brook + Wilde the elite mattress

Sizes: Single, double, king, super king

Depth: 28cm

Boasting support at the neck, shoulder, hip and leg, Brook + Wilde’s “wave” technology ensures exactly the right level of pressure distribution to keep our spines nice and straight as we slumber – whether that’s on our back, front or side. One of the exciting new breed of mattress-in-a-box products, this one’s on the more expensive side but well worth the investment. The elite model combines layers of pocket springs with memory foam, giving us the best of both worlds. A nifty design feature is the mattress’s removable and washable top cover – great for the occasional but inevitable coffee spill.

Happy Beds signature crystal 3000 pocket sprung orthopaedic natural fillings mattress

Sizes: Small single, single, small double, double, king, super king

Depth: 25cm

This hand-crafted pocket sprung mattress is a dream to sleep on – and it’s certainly one for those suffering with niggling aches and pains. We loved the personal touch; enter your weight (and your partner’s) on the site and Happy Beds will recommend a firmness rating for you. This is another mattress that uses luxurious natural materials including silk and cashmere, while its high pocket spring count ensures it feels comfy and, importantly, really supportive. As a double sided mattress, this one should be flipped and rotated every six weeks to maintain its quality and prolong its life.

Otty the Otty hybrid mattress

Sizes: Single, EU single, small double, double, EU double, king, EU king, super king, emperor

Depth: 25cm

This is another new generation mattress that combines springs and foam to ensure the most comfortable sleep – and while it’s a great all-rounder, it’s one for back pain sufferers too, thanks to its multiple layers of support. The hybrid mattress comprises 64 per cent pocket springs to 36 per cent foam: the springs offer support while the foam layers are for comfort. If you don’t like your mattress to feel too hard, this one’s rated a respectable seven out of 10 for firmness. It also minimises motion transfer, which is music to the ears of bed-sharers of different weights and sizes. The Otty hybrid also has a handy removable and washable top layer.

Tempur cool touch original supreme mattress

Sizes: Single, double, king, super king

Depth: 21cm

Made from premium memory foam, Tempur’s supreme mattress proves great for pressure relief. Unlike some of the harder pocket spring products on offer, this one boasts gentle but firm support, cleverly conforming to our body shape as we shift around in bed. That said, the mattress claims to reduce tossing and turning at night thanks to its intelligent materials. It also comes with a removable and washable cool touch mattress cover, which regulates body temperature and can be kept fresh and hygienic. At £1,399 for a double, it is on the more expensive side, but we found it worth the price tag for night after night of blissful slumber – without the back niggles.

Emma original mattress

Sizes: Single, small double, double, king, super king

Depth: 25cm

With its super supportive deep layer of HRX foam, the Emma original mattress cleverly works to keep your spine aligned with necessary counter pressure. This also means you’ll be happily unaware of your partner shifting about at night – a bonus if you’re dealing with back pain insomnia yourself. Add to that a pressure-relieving visco-elastic layer of memory foam, as well as a temperature-regulating top layer called airgocell – which both absorbs moisture and keeps air flowing through the mattress. The cover is also breathable and, we found, pleasantly cool. This one’s a great all-rounder, not just for back pain sufferers, but for those investing in preventative back care, too.

Argos Home elmdon open coil deep ortho mattress

Sizes: Single, small double, double, king

Depth: 22cm

At such an affordable price you’d be forgiven for thinking that Argos’s orthopaedic mattress can’t possibly offer the kind of support you’d need for back pain, but scepticism aside, this one really does what it claims. It features a sprung interior with its supercoil plus technology giving the body extra support in the areas that you need it. It’s reliably firm, but it offers a comfy padding, too, ideal if you don’t like a mattress that’s too hard. This one’s a no turn mattress but it can be kept at its best with regular rotation.

Silentnight eco comfort miracoil ortho mattress

Sizes: Single, small double, double, king, super king

Depth: 24cm

If it’s firmness you’re craving, Silentnight’s back-friendly mattress really does the job. This one features the brand’s miracoil system, which claims to give sleepers superior spinal alignment. We found the single sided mattress offers edge-to-edge, even support, which is great for couples of different weights. It’s also surprisingly lightweight and offers a cool, hypoallergenic and breathable sleeping surface. The second best bit (next to saving your back) is that it’s made from 100 per cent recyclable materials, so you can sleep soundly on the sustainability front, too.

Button & Sprung southdown mattress

Sizes: Single, double, king, super king

Depth: 32cm

Starting at £1,200, Button & Sprung’s offering isn’t cheap. But once you delve into its intricate makeup, you soon realise why. The handmade southdown boasts a natural sleep surface and layers of luxurious fillings, namely Egyptian cotton, mohair and silk. Both the Egyptian cotton and the mohair provide breathability while the strength of the silk gives the mattress its important durability. The quality is palpable, but what about support? Here, thousands of pocket springs are spread over four layers of mini springs, plus there’s a layer of the brand’s own “IQ spring” in the centre to ensure a firm feel and a comfy sleep. This one comes in two tensions: regular and firmer – go firmer for extra back support. Delivery for this mattress takes five to seven weeks.

The verdict: Mattresses for back pain

Brook + Wilde’s elite is a great hybrid mattress that works to properly support the spine thanks to its innovative “wave” technology. It’s not cheap but it ticks a lot of boxes, mixing luxury with innovation. On the more affordable end, we were impressed with Silentnight’s eco comfort miracoil ortho mattress, which not only had our back but it scored best for sustainability.

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