What sort of mattress should you get if you get back pain? Simba, Emma, Nectar and Tempur reviewed

Best mattresses for back pain: Simba, Emma, Nectar or Tempur?Best mattresses for back pain: Simba, Emma, Nectar or Tempur?
Best mattresses for back pain: Simba, Emma, Nectar or Tempur? | Best mattresses for back pain: Simba, Emma, Nectar or Tempur?

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Lower back pain and general aches can be exacerbated by the wrong mattress. And while you need to see a doctor for chronic back pain, the right mattress can alleviate nightly strains and help aid good sleep

One in six adults across the suffer from back pain - an issue that can start as a painful inconvenience and devolve into a serious disability. Compounded by bad posture, long days hunched over keyboards, and bad back support while in bed, sufferers turn to myriad solutions to try and fix it. Our first recommendation, of course, is to seek medical advice, but secondarily it to ensure you have a sufficiently supportive mattress.

Why? Sleeping slows our heart rate, and subsequently circulation. This means any inflammation will accumulate in one area, making the pain worse in the morning. A good sleep position can alleviate this.

Sleeping with your spine in correct alignment is key. If you are a front sleeper or a back sleeper, it’s easy for an unsupported spine to settle into a U-shape - this is not good.

As to side sleepers - their spine can fall out of alignment if the pillow is too high or too low, or the mattress too soft.

Soft or firm - which mattress is better for back pain?

First of all - there’s no standardised system for firmess - so that which one manufacturer calls firm, could be medium-firm by another’s reckoning. That said, the prevailing advice for back pain is to seek out a medium-firm mattress.

If you weigh more, though, you’ll need a firmer level of support than a lighter person. If you’re a co-sleeper, and different sizes, you’ll need to look for a mattress with zoned support - luckily you can find mattresses these days designed to provide differing levels of firmness on each side.

If you’ve seen people mattress shopping by bouncing down up and down on one, this is really a perfunctory exercise where back pain is concerned - you’ll have to sleep on a mattress in order to tell if it will alleviate your discomfort.

The trial period an orthopaedic mattress offers can be an excellent indicator of quality. The longer the trial period offered, the more likely the mattress will perform well. 200 night trial? That’s a manufacturer who has faith in their product - you should, too.

Which type of mattress is best for back pain?

Hybrid mattresses - also known as memory foam mattresses - contain a layer of mouldable foam, to contour to your body, allowing both support and a soft, yielding feel from the mattress. Because they use multiple layers of foam, they offer sufficient ventilation to help regulate body temperature. While a regulated body temparature doesn’t affect back pain, specifically, it does, according to research, help “sleep continuity” - i.e. unbroken, restful slumber.

By contrast, pocket-sprung mattresses are generally firmer and provide better weight distribution.

Arguments can be made for both of them - mattress technology is advanced enough these days that leading manufacturers create both hybrid and pocket-sprung mattresses that can help with back pain - so it generally comes down to personal preference on feel and trialling that mattress for at least 30 days to see if it works.

How else can I ease my back pain?

If you’re a side sleeper, it’s thoroughly recommended to sleep with a pillow between your knees to help the alignment of your spine. Also, regularly rotating or flipping your mattress will help it stay at it’s supportive best - think of it as ‘resetting’ the filling.

And if you’re a co-sleeper - get the biggest bed/mattress you can afford. If you have back pain, you’ll need to move around - the best chance you can do that without disturbing your partner is a huge bed - superking if you can. Research supports the argument that the bigger the mattress, the better the sleep.

We’ve rounded up the best mattresses to buy below if you are suffering from muscle tension or pain in your back.

All the prices we have included below are for double mattresses.

Emma Original Mattress - 45% off mattresses now

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

Mattress depth: 25cm

Trial period: 200 nights

Guarantee: 10 years

Free delivery

The Emma mattress - an award-winning, best-selling boxed mattress made in the UK, is a great option for people who want support, but still want a super soft, fluffy feel.

It’s doughy and soft, yet feels supportive on your frame thanks to the HRX foam - high resiliency foam, which is particularly durable, and offers different levels of density in different zones, the better to align with your spine and support it.

A firmness rating of 6-7 out of 10 makes Emma’s Original Mattress ideal for lower back pain - as we noted, medium-firm is the what you’re after.

It generally takes 2-4 hours for the Emma Original to fully inflate, though on occasion it can take up to 48 hours to expand completely.

A 200-night trial means you have the better part of a year to test if it will help with your aches and pains. If it doesn’t, you’re allowed to return it for a full refund, no questions asked.

It is worth noting that the Emma Premium Mattress is even better at offering back support, but rather more spendy - a double starts at £528. If you’ve got the money for, it offers additional layers of support, but for those with a more modest budget, the Emma Original is still a fabulous choice.


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

Mattress depth: 25cm

Trial period: 365 nights

Guarantee: Forever

The Nectar’s Memory Foam boxed mattress has a three layer foam construction, (two of viscoelastic foam and a base layer of support foam), and is designed to relieve pressure points and promote better spine alignment.

Although it’s promoted as ‘medium-firm’; we found it slightly firmer than other similarly billed mattresses. Those three layers help provide a comfortable night’s sleep - the top layer is temperature-regulating (especially crucial if you’re a ‘hot’ sleeper), and has a delightfully cushy feeling.

The next layer is sturdier - providing support for your spine and helping distribute the weight across your hips and shoulders. The bottom layer is castellated foam to allow extra compression.

With an impressive 365 trial period too to make sure it’s right for you (the longest trial period we’ve found) and a lifetime guarantee, Nectar have put their money where their mouth is - this is a risk-free purchase for the achey of back.

Simba Hybrid Pro Mattress

Sizes available: single, double, king, super king

Mattress depth: 28cm

Trial period: 200 nights

Guarantee: 10 years

The Hybrid Pro mattress has a firm feel about it, so it’s a popular choice for those who experience back pain and individuals who require more support.

It’s still super comfortable, but it’s just less fluffy and more firm. If you don’t like the feeling of sinking in to bed and prefer to have a more solid and stable mattress then this is the one for you.

There’s absolutely no motion transfer either, so you can snooze soundly even if you share a bed and your partner moves a lot during the night.

It’s ready to use three hours after unboxing but, as with all vacuum-packed mattresses, it can take a few days to reach full expansion.

There’s a 200-night trial, during which time you’re welcome to change your mind and return your mattress.

Mattress Next Day

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

Mattress depth: 26cm

Guarantee: 5 years

This Silentnight mattress is rated as a medium-firm mattress, though it’s on the firmer side.

The core of this mattress is made up of 800 individual Mirapocket springs that respond to your body for complete support during the night. They’re designed to minimise movement, so this is great if you want to avoid annoying your partner during the night.

Add Eco Comfort Fibres that are hypoallergenic, sustainable, and breathable and you’ve got a great all-round mattress.

It’s also a cheap mattress - though that comes with a catch. The trial period is only 60 days, and there’s no option to return it - just exchange it. But if money is tight and you need firm support - this is a great choice.

Order before 5pm, and your new mattress will be dispatched on the same day for free next day delivery so there will be no hanging around and waiting for your new mattress to arrive.

Mattress Online

Sizes available: single, double, king, super king

Mattress depth: 37cm

Guarantee: 5 years

This mattress might have a high price tag, but it’s worth it. Harrison Spinks is a luxury bed manufacturer - and this mattress is incredibly decadent. It’s made of cashmere, silk and mohair combined with a gorgeously plush pillow top that will soothe you to sleep.

It features over 13,000 pocket springs to provide back support, and it’s deliciously deep - 37cm - proffering ‘hotel style’ luxury as well as helping align your spine.


Sizes available: double, king, superking

Mattress depth: 20cm

Trial period: 100 nights

Guarantee: 10 years

Designed to provide the perfect balance between support and comfort for a restful night’s sleep, this mattress is available in 3 feels: soft, medium and firm - though for help with your back pain we would recommend choosing either the medium or firm option.

What you get is superior comfort and fullly responsive body support at the same time, so you’ll wake feeling refreshed.

Tempur mattresses are designed to be easy to take care of and all have removable mattress covers that can easily be washed (by the same

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