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Best Mattresses for Back Pain as Recommended by an Occupational Therapist

Best Mattresses for Back Pain as Recommended by an Occupational Therapist

If you find yourself waking up in the morning with back pain after sleeping, it’s likely that it’s not due to what you were doing the day before but because you don’t have the best mattress for a bad back.

Whilst posture and daily tasks do impact your overall back health, there are also particular sleeping positions that can contribute to sleeping back pain and ensuring you have the right type of mattress for you can certainly help.

Our independent Occupational Therapist Julie Jennings Dip COT HCPC, has said:

“Having good sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle and will benefit both the mind and body. Researchers have identified that sleep plays a critical role in the body’s immune system, metabolism, memory, learning, heart rate and other vital functions.”

Back pain affects 8 in 10 of us at some point, and whilst there’s no such thing as the ‘perfect’ mattress for everyone – you can find the perfect one for you with the help of HSL.

Read on to discover the best way to sleep with lower back pain & our top recommendations for finding the best mattress for back pain that will work for you.

The best sleeping positions for back pain

The position that we sleep in can have a real effect on our back health. If you typically sleep on your back, then it’s best to opt for a medium-firm mattress to follow the contours of your spine. You could also place a pillow or two behind your knees and beneath your lower back to ensure it gets enough support.

If you tend to favour your side, then consider placing a pillow under your neck and between your knees for comfort. The more you twist your spine, the stiffer and more painful it will feel – so avoid doing this where possible.

Front sleeping is not a particularly good idea, and in general we wouldn’t recommend it. It can contribute to worsened back pain, arthritis symptoms and muscle tightness.

If you do tend to change position during your sleep, opt for a hard mattress for back pain so you can support your spine.

Top tip: Take a look our article on good and bad sleeping positions for more detailed information about the effect our position can have on our sleep quality.

Why is your mattress type important when it comes to back pain after sleeping?

There are various reasons for back pain, but one that is often overlooked is that people don’t have the right mattress when they’re sleeping. Our independent Occupational Therapist Julie Jennings Dip COT HCPC, has said:

“You should sleep on a mattress that is flat or very slightly angled at the head end and has the degree of firmness that allows the natural slightly S-shaped curve of the spine to be maintained. You want it to that the spine is kept too straight, and not so soft that it sags like a hammock. This is key to aiding in supportive rest”.

Occupational therapist approved mattresses

Are soft or hard mattresses better for back pain?

When it comes to finding the best mattress for back pain for you, there are several factors to take into consideration:

What it’s made from

You want to be sure that the mattress you are sleeping on is made from the best material possible. For example, synthetic fibres may not be completely breathable, and they could cause you to overheat during the night – meaning you’ll wake up intermittently.

Along with having less sleep, it will also mean that the good posture you have started the night in might change as you toss and turn trying to get comfortable.

Try to find a mattress that is made using cotton: this helps to wick away moisture from you when you are sleeping – ensuring you keep cool and creating a soft and delicate feel. Another excellent material for mattresses is wool. This natural fibre is the perfect regulator of body temperature. Wool is incredibly soft and buoyant, enhancing the comfort levels of the mattress.

Softness and buoyancy

The best mattress for bad back pain should be one that is medium firm, but it needs to be soft enough for your body to relax into in the correct position. Julie Jennings says:

“If the mattress is too soft the spine will not be aligned, and you will notice an arching downwards, creating increased pressure around the lower back and hips. The mattress should offer support and even weight distribution to keep the spine naturally aligned in a fully relaxed position. If the mattress is too firm you will notice the spine curving upwards creating increased pressure around the knees, lower back and shoulders.”

Spring count

High pocket spring mattresses are designed to allow you to move around with minimal movement in the mattress itself, which means it can contour to your body whilst you rest. If your body is comfortable and not forced into unnatural positions, then your posture is more likely to be in the correct position – therefore helping to relieve any sleeping back pain you may experience.

Your body type

If you weigh less, then a softer mattress would likely suit you better as you are less likely to sink into it. However, a heavier person will put more pressure on the mattress, so a slightly firmer model would be more appropriate.

If it’s suitable for an adjustable bed

Adjustable beds can benefit anyone who suffers from a stiff or a painful back. These electric powered beds give you the ability to: sit up, lay flat, raise your legs or flex the knees. Through doing this, you can improve your circulation, in turn reducing joint pain the next day.

With less pressure on your head, neck and spine, these fantastic adjustable beds encourage a healthy spine alignment too; meaning your posture is given a helping hand. And if we’ve not mentioned it enough… good posture is a great remedy for developing back pain.

Don’t just take our word for it, there are countless reviews on our Trustpilot page expressing the benefits they’ve found with an adjustable bed, here’s just one of the many:

“What a wonderful company offering life-changing quality… I have had poor health with my back, hips and knees. Initially the chair was the only place I could get a half decent night’s sleep.  I have now bought a bed and OMG what a difference.

Thank you for living up to your reputation. Thank you for building products which do what they say. Looking forward to more restful nights letting nature take care of my aches and pains. I love the fact that I haven’t had to rely on codeine to give me some sort of sleep!”

For more information about which bed might be right for you, check out our adjustable beds buying guide.


Adjustable beds for bad backs

The best mattresses for back pain

Here at HSL, we have a selection of expertly designed mattresses available to support your entire body through the night. Handmade exclusively to form to your body shape, our mattresses are made from a blend of the finest wool and cotton for a luxuriously comfortable night’s sleep.

Silver pocket 1750

Supported by 1,750 springs, our Silver Pocket model offers a deeper level of comfort for a sumptuous night’s sleep. Soft and buoyant, this mattress is made with British wool, cotton and hemp to provide a hygienic experience – as it will help to wick away moisture and keep you cool during the night.

Gold pocket 4250

Providing even more support, the Gold Pocket mattress combines 4250 springs with a blend of Egyptian Cotton and smaller HD springs that contour around the body for a greater level of pressure relief. An excellent choice of mattress for a bad back, this model is available in various sizes.

Platinum pocket 8250

For a luxurious sleeping experience, our Platinum pocket mattress is one of the best mattresses for back pain as it’s supported by an incredible 8,250 springs with a combination of fibres including a blend of the finest Egyptian Cotton and Alpaca Fleece. Offering a superior level of support, here at HSL we’re offering a 7-year guarantee as we are confident in the high quality of our products.

Platinum pillowtop pocket 8250

For the ultimate sleeping experience, go for our Platinum Pillowtop Pocket mattress. Combining a traditional mattress core with a fixed topper, you can sink into the soft and sumptuous pillowtop whilst the mattress cradles you. If you’re looking for a good mattress for bad back pain, this is it.

Alongside the thousands of springs in the topper, the mattress is also supported by 8,250 springs and this combination is truly one of the best for mattresses and offers a superior level of support.

Why HSL?

When it comes to a good mattress for a bad back, our showrooms will have different styles for you to try out. Our Comfort Specialists have been trained to give you a personalised seating assessment to check your posture and ensure your mattress maintains your natural spinal alignment. They’ll check that:

  • Point 1 – the spine is in line and neutral
  • Point 2 – knees and hips are supported without any gaps
  • Point 3 – head, shoulders and hips are aligned and supported


For more information, visit our mattresses page. Or, if you would like to learn more about how maintaining good posture can help your back pain, then please read our complete back pain guide.

Tested. Trusted. Recommended.

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