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Best Mattresses For Back Pain

Ireland’s Best Mattresses for Back Pain (2022)

Nicky

Last updated: 28.06.2022 12 Min.

We’ve probably all struggled with back pain at some point in our life.

Whether the cause is work, stress, physical injury, or a bad mattress, being in pain is never fun. 😔

In this article, we explore how a quality mattress can help ease your pain.

We even recommend some of the best mattresses for back pain in Ireland.

Let’s get exploring. 🥳

Best mattresses for back pain

Our favourite best mattresses for back pain:

    Silentnight Ultimate Luxury Hungarian Goose Feather & Down Mattress Topper
    Price from €125

    Silentnight Ultimate Luxury Hungarian Goose Feather & Down Mattress Topper

    The Silentnight Ultimate Luxury Hungarian Goose Feather & Down Mattress Topper has been designed for superior comfort.

    Unlike most mattress toppers, the Silentnight luxury topper is fully machine-washable at 40℃.

     

    Silentnight Ultimate Luxury Hungarian Goose Feather & Down Mattress Topper

    The Silentnight Ultimate Luxury Hungarian Goose Feather & Down Mattress Topper has been designed with affordable luxury in mind.

    Silentnight Hungarian Goose Down Mattress Topper

    It combines extra-soft Premium Hungarian goose down with feathers for a quilted luxury feel.

    The 100% pure cotton cover is soft, comfortable, and naturally breathable. 💨

    This helps to improve airflow to keep you cool and refreshed all night long. 

    Elastic straps on each corner fit the topper securely to your mattress to prevent movement while you sleep. 

    The Silentnight goose down mattress topper is hypoallergenic and fully machine-washable at 40℃. 🧺

    The Silentnight topper comes with free standard delivery and a 2-year guarantee. 

    BUY GOOSE TOPPER€125

      Silentnight Hungarian Goose Down Mattress Topper
    Materials: Hungarian goose down & feathers
    Depth: 3 - 5 cm (1.2 inches - 2 inches)
    Trial period: None
    Guarantee: 2 years
    Available sizes: Ireland double, king, super king

    Emma Hybrid
    Price from €589

    Emma Hybrid

    The Emma Hybrid is a high-quality mattress combining memory foam and springs for superior comfort, support, and breathability.

    This hybrid mattress by the award-winning Emma brand is best suited to those wanting the feel of memory foam without excessive heat retention.

    All about the Emma Hybrid

    The Emma Hybrid is a unique mattress by the award-winning Emma Sleep.

    It combines high-quality memory foam with up to 2000 mini pocket springs for superior comfort, support, and breathability.

    Memory foam adapts well to the contours of your body. 🤗

    Emma hybrid mattress

    This relieves pressure adequately, allowing you to relax fully and enjoy a good night's sleep. 😴

    Pocket springs enhance overall breathability, ensuring a steady flow of air to carry away heat and moisture and keep you cool and comfortable all night long.

    This makes the Emma Hybrid particularly suitable for more hot sleepers or heavier sweaters.

    Like all Emma mattresses, the Emma Hybrid comes with free delivery & returns and a risk-free 200-night trial period. 🥳

    BUY EMMA HYBRID€589

      Emma Hybrid
    Composition: Memory foam with mini pocket springs
    Firmness level: Soft
    Height: 25 cm (10 inches)
    Trial period: 200 nights
    Guarantee: 10 years
    What makes this mattress special: Better breathability and ease of movement than standard memory foam

    IKEA Hövag
    Price from €129

    IKEA Hövag

    The IKEA Hövag is a budget pocket spring mattress available in two firmness levels.

    This is one of IKEA's most popular mattresses with dozens of favourable customer reviews.

    All about the IKEA Hövag

    The IKEA Hövag is a budget pocket spring mattress, and one of IKEA's most popular mattresses.

    IKEA Hövag

    The mattress features steel pocket springs and a polyurethane foam comfort layer, with a density of 33 kg/cu.m.

    It is available in two degrees of firmness, medium-firm and firm.

    The mattress has a white and dark grey mattress cover. Unfortunately, the cover is not removable or machine-washable. 😞

    It is a rolled mattress but, once expanded, it reaches a height of 24 cm (9.4 inches). This is just under the bed-in-a-box standard.

    The mattress is very supportive and durable, and has even received 70% in the Which? Consumer Association tests.

    It's a good budget mattress, but there are many other budget mattresses that are much, much better.

    We'd recommend the Eve Lighter Hybrid instead, which features higher-quality materials. 

    Read our full Ikea Hövag review.

    BUY IKEA HOVAG ON AMAZON€129  

      IKEA Hövag
    Composition: Steel pocket springs with polyurethane foam
    Firmness level: Medium-firm & firm
    Height: 24 cm (9.4 inches)
    Cover: Polyester & viscose
    Available sizes: IKEA mattress single, small double, double, king, super king, 90 x 200 cm, 140 x 200 cm, 160 x 200 cm

    Can a bad mattress cause back pain?

    There are many reasons someone might struggle with back pain.

    Back pain, especially lower back pain, is exceedingly common, and an estimated 80% of adults struggle with it at some point or another.

    According to a clinical study by the Allied Health Research Unit of the University of Central Lancashire, the number one cause of lower back pain relates to poor posture, which can have a variety of root causes.

    Perhaps the cause is too many hours stuck in front of a laptop, typing away at work tasks or studies. 👨‍💻

    Perhaps it’s strenuous exercise and a tad too much physical activity.

    And, perhaps, it’s simply just because you have an old mattress that's sagging or unsuitable for you and your needs.

    Bad posture
    Bad posture is a leading cause of back pain

    Regardless of the cause of back pain, a good mattress can help alleviate pain and ease some tension.

    Why?

    A good mattress will allow for even pressure distribution and alleviate pressure points, which allows your muscles to relax fully while you sleep.

    The right mattress will also allow for optimal spinal alignment. 🦴

    Regardless of your sleeping position, a good mattress will ensure that the heavier parts of your body sink in a little more and the lighter parts of your body receive more support.

    This allows your spine to remain in its natural position.

    Optimal spinal alignment
    The right mattress will allow for correct spinal alignment

    So how do you know if your current mattress isn’t good enough for you?

    The British Chiropractic Association recommends that you look at the following:

    • The age of your mattress.
    • Whether you feel well-rested or tired in the mornings.
    • If you have a spring mattress, whether the mattress’s springs squeak.

    You can also look at when your pain is the most pronounced.

    If you feel the most pain in the mornings after waking up and it decreases during the course of the day, then you definitely know your mattress is at fault.

    A poor mattress that causes back pain will also create various knock-on effects. 🧮

    Back pain sufferers will know how chronic back pain can affect the quality of your sleep - and your life.

    That's why finding a quality mattress for back pain that allows for a good night’s sleep is so important.

    Wake up feeling refreshed
    You should wake up feeling refreshed

    Of course, if you’re struggling with upper back pain, you’d also need to consider the pillow you use.

    The best pillows will keep your upper spine in alignment, preventing the build-up of tension and pressure points.

    We’ll look at pillows in a little more detail further down in this article. 👇

    Most common types of back pain

    There are many types of back pain.

    You can classify back pain as acute (directly tied to a specific event or injury) or chronic (lasting a few months and difficult to get rid of).

    You can also classify back pain according to location. 📍

    Lower back pain

    This is the most common type of back pain, usually tied to muscle strains, but it can also be due to more serious issues.

    Lower back pain is commonly associated with poor posture.

    If you're sleeping on the wrong mattress, you're likely to experience lower back pain.

    Back pain
    Back pain can pop up anywhere

    Middle back pain

    This type of back pain is less common, but can be caused by anything from a muscle injury to nerve compression.

    It can also be linked to more serious problems, like tumours or organ problems.

    Stiffness and aching are generally due to poor posture and spinal support, which can be caused by a bad mattress. 🛏

    Upper back pain

    Pain in the upper back and shoulders is usually caused by poor posture.

    It is commonly associated with a pillow with the wrong height or firmness. 🧱

    Neck pain

    This can be classified as back pain as it’s commonly related to spinal issues, including poor posture and poor pillow choice.

    Neck pain
    Neck pain can be linked to wrong pillow usage

    If you're struggling with a sudden onset of severe back pain, we'd recommend you visit your doctor or nearest orthopaedic or spinal clinic for advice. 👩‍⚕️

    For emergencies, call NHS 111.

    Of course, severe back pain requiring medical attention is not the type of back pain we’re talking about here.

    But if your back pain is due to poor posture or spinal alignment, a change in the mattress you sleep on can help.

    Different mattress materials for back pain

    If you’re looking to buy a mattress to help you with back pain, one of the prime factors to consider is the composition of the mattress.

    The type of mattress you choose will impact both its level of firmness and the level of comfort it can provide.

    Mattress materials

    Memory foam

    Memory foam is a very common choice for anyone struggling with bad back.

    This is because memory foam adapts extremely well to your body shape and has pressure-relieving qualities.

    This promotes optimal spinal alignment, which, as we’ve seen, can help with back pain relief.

    Memory foam is also hypoallergenic, which is great for people struggling with allergies. 🤧

    Nectar memory foam mattress
    Memory foam mattresses like the Nectar adapt well to your body

    Our favourite memory foam mattress is the Nectar mattress.

    It features three layers of high-density foam and offers excellent back support.

    BUY EMMA PREMIUM€373.99

    Pocket sprung mattresses

    Pocket spring mattresses are often the first choice for people struggling with back pain.

    In pocket sprung mattresses, springs are wrapped in individual pockets, meaning they can respond to the body individually.

    This increases body contouring and provides pressure relief.

    In addition, the space between the springs creates natural ventilation channels, enhancing airflow and making pocket sprung mattresses very breathable. 💨

    This is great for hot sleepers.

    Pocket springs
    Pocket springs are housed in individual fabric pockets

    Most pocket sprung mattresses also feature comfort layers or a pillow top layer to enhance comfort.

    The Silentnight Mirapocket 2000 Deluxe Box Top Mattress, for example, is a hand-tufted pocket sprung mattress with 2000 zoned springs and a luxurious pillow top for optimal support.

    BUY MIRAPOCKET 2000€699

    Spring mattresses usually offer extra support and greater edge support than all-foam mattresses.

    This makes them very suitable for pure stomach or back sleepers and people of a larger build.

    You’re also likely to find other types of innerspring mattresses on the market, like open coil mattresses, that are much cheaper than pocket sprung mattresses. 💷

    These may offer the same levels of breathability but won't provide adequate pressure point relief, so we wouldn't recommend these.

    Latex mattresses

    Latex mattresses are similar to memory foam mattresses in that they give you that “hugging” feeling - but they are often more supportive. 🤗

    They are best described as moderate contouring mattresses.

    This means they provide some cushioning, without giving you that ‘sinking-into-the-foams’ feeling commonly associated with memory foam.

    The Sealy Nostromo Latex 1400 is an excellent latex mattress that even featured pocket springs for superior breathability.

    BUY SEALY NOSTROMO€520

    Latex foam

    Latex foam mattress

    Natural latex mattresses are a great choice for anyone concerned about sustainability and environmental impact. 🌱

    Hybrid mattresses

    Hybrid mattresses are among the top mattresses to choose from. 🥇

    They incorporate a combination of different materials and often consist of pocket springs and various layers of foam, latex, cotton, down, or wool.

    The foam layers will allow for high contouring and good relief of pressure points, while the springs add in additional thermoregulation properties. ❄️

    Eve Premium Hybrid

    Pocket sprung memory foam mattresses are very popular hybrid options.

    These combine the best features of pocket springs and memory foam, ensuring optimal comfort, support, and spinal alignment.

    The Simba Hybrid Luxe is one of our favourite hybrid pocket sprung memory foam mattresses, combining multiple layers of memory foam with pocket springs.

    BUY PREMIUM HYBRID€978

    Mattress firmness for back pain

    The number one factor to consider when buying the best mattress for back pain is its level of firmness.

    The wrong mattress that's too soft or too firm will greatly increase pains and be detrimental to your sleep quality.

    People often think that a firm mattress is the best mattress for a bad back.

    But, a 2003 study concluded that medium-firm mattresses are often the best to help ease tension and alleviate back pain. 👍

    Most of the top picks in our buying guide are medium-firm mattresses.

    To judge mattresses on Sleep Hero, we’ve devised the Sleep Hero firmness scale.
    Mattresses are given a firmness level on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is the softest and 10 is the firmest.

    Most mattresses can be described as soft, medium-firm, or firm.

    Firmness and comfort levels

    There is no right or wrong degree of firmness, but you will have to find the right degree of firmness for you.

    Part of this is related to personal preference and the type of feel you want from your mattress.

    But your height, build, body weight, and sleeping position also influence which degree of firmness is right for you.

    For example, if you’re of petite build, you’ll probably be more comfortable on a softer mattress that will allow you to sink in more deeply.

    In contrast, if you’re of a very large build, a firmer mattress that offers more stability & support will be better. 🏋️‍♀️

    Similarly, people who sleep purely on their backs or stomachs will do better on a firmer mattress.

    Side sleepers will do better on a slightly softer mattress that offers both sinkage and support, allowing for optimal spinal alignment.

    Firmness according to sleep position

    How do you know if the degree of firmness you’ve chosen is right for you?

    You may not know if your mattress is too firm or too soft for you.

    Here’s a simple test:

    • Lie flat on the mattress.
    • Do you feel equal pressure along the length of your body?
    • Are any parts of your body sinking in more than other parts?

    You shouldn’t feel any specific pressure points or any areas of more sinkage.

    Mattress firmness

    It’s important to remember that mattresses do wear out.

    Even if you’ve bought a very firm mattress that offered excellent support, this will diminish as the years pass.

    An old, worn-out, or sagging mattress is very commonly associated with back pain.

    You should change your mattress every 8 - 10 years. 🗓

    Most quality mattresses for a bad back will also come with a 10-year warranty.

    Best mattress density for a bad back

    If you’re struggling with back pain, you not only want to look at the materials a mattress is made from, but you’d also need to consider the density of these materials.

    The density of a mattress refers to:

    • The amount of foam in a cubic metre.
    • The number of springs in a mattress.

    Generally, the higher the density, the better the quality of the mattress and the more support it can give.

    Conveniently, higher-density mattresses will also last much longer. 🥳

    You can use the below table as a rough guideline to density and lifespan:

    Density in kg/m³ Quality indicator Expected lifespan
    Under 30 Inferior quality Up to 3 years
    30 - 40 Average quality 3 - 6 years
    40 - 50 Good quality 6 - 8 years
    50 - 60 Very good quality 8 - 10 years
    Over 60 Excellent quality 10 years and more

    Best sleep position for back pain

    You may think that the sleep position you choose won’t affect how you feel in the mornings, but the position of your body while you sleep actually has long-lasting effects.

    Stomach sleepers, for example, are very likely to struggle with more severe neck and shoulder pains.

    This is primarily because their heads will be turned to one side all night long, which creates tension.

    Sleeping on your side is a good alternative, especially if you create a pain-free environment with one leg bent or a pillow between the knees.

    This foetal position will allow for optimal spinal alignment and avoid pelvic rotation.

    Pelvic rotation

    The best sleep position, though, is sleeping on your back.

    When combined with a medium-firm mattress and a good medium-loft pillow, this position ensures a tension-free sleep.

    If you struggle with severe pains, we'd recommend you start sleeping on your back.

    Should you choose an orthopaedic mattress for back pain?

    Many people struggling with back pain will want to choose an orthopaedic mattress.

    Orthopaedic mattresses are great but they are not always necessary.

    If you’re struggling with an actual physical injury, such as a herniated disc, then an orthopaedic mattress is a great choice. 👌

    Orthopaedic mattress
    Orthopaedic mattresses offer stability, support, and comfort

    These are often much firmer than other mattresses and are designed to offer excellent support.

    But, nowadays, many brands throw around the term “orthopaedic” without any medical or professional assessment. 👨‍⚕️

    Many brands simply use the term orthopaedic to describe their firmest mattress.

    Firm mattresses can be great for some people - but they’re not great for all people.

    If you’re of a very small build, for example, you won’t be able to sink into a firm mattress enough, which will lead to improper spinal alignment.

    This, in turn, will lead to increased lower back pain. 😩

    It’s more important to look for a great mattress that’s right for you than to settle on an orthopaedic mattress.

    What if you’re sharing your bed with a partner?

    If you’re sharing your bed with a partner of notably different body size, your mattress requirements will change.

    The standard British double mattress is 135 x 190 cm.

    But this is too small for couples where one partner is significantly larger, as the extra weight will create an imbalance in the mattress.

    This, in turn, doesn’t allow the mattress to give adequate support to the lighter-weight partner, who may then struggle with back pain.

    It is thus essential to choose larger mattress sizes.

    We would recommend looking at king-size or super king mattresses. 👑

    You can also read our article on choosing the best mattress size for more guidance.

    UK mattress sizes

    It is also possible to buy two single mattresses and combine these so that each mattress is perfectly suited to the respective partner.

    A bed bridge can help make this more comfortable.

    Alternatively, customisable or dual-sided mattresses are becoming more popular.

    With these, each half of the bed is customised to meet the needs of each partner. 👩‍❤️‍👨

    The Silentnight Yours & Mine Dual Firmness Mattress, for example, allows you to choose two different support layers uniquely customised for each half of the mattress.

    This ensures that both partners receive the support they need to wake up pain-free.

    BUY YOURS & MINE€999

    Silentnight Dual Firmness mattress
    The Silentnight Dual Firmness mattress allows you to customise the support layer

    Best mattress toppers for back pain

    If you’re sleeping on a mattress that’s too firm for you and waking up with back pains, then a mattress topper could be your saving grace.

    Mattress toppers are thin layers of additional padding that can be placed on top of your mattress to add extra comfort and softness.

    They are primarily used to make firm mattresses feel a little softer. 🐑

    Of course, if you've just bought a new mattress, and you're still within your trial period, you can return the mattress and receive a full refund.

    This is a better option.

    Most quality bed-in-a-box mattresses come with a risk-free trial period. 📦

    This gives you the chance to test the mattress in the comfort of your own home for 100, 200, or even 365 days!

    But if your trial period has expired, then a mattress topper can help.

    Our favourite mattress toppers in Ireland:

    Best pillows for back pain

    Pillows also have a huge effect on your sleeping comfort.

    The wrong pillow is very likely to lead to increased neck, shoulder, and upper back pain.

    This is because a pillow that’s too high or too low will cause upper spinal misalignment.

    Pillow alignment

    The right pillow for you will often depend on your sleeping position.

    We can recommend the following:

    Sleeping position Pillow loft
    Back Medium
    Side Medium or high
    Stomach Low

    Pillows are also handy in supporting other parts of the body.

    Side sleepers, for example, may find it particularly comfortable if they place a pillow between their knees.

    This reduces pressure on the hips and lumbar area and prevents pelvic rotation.

    Full-body pillows can also be very comfortable - and not just for pregnant women!!!

    Our favourite pillows in Ireland:

    What's the best mattress for back pain?

    Several factors will influence which mattress will be best for a bad back.

    These include:

    • Mattress materials
    • Mattress density
    • Mattress firmness

    Ultimately, the best mattress for back pain will guarantee optimal pressure relief and keep your spine in perfect alignment.

    This ensures you wake up refreshed and tension-free!

    All of our recommended mattresses feature high-quality materials and have been specifically designed to enhance comfort, stability, and support.

    Frequently asked questions

    • Is a firm or soft mattress better for back pain?


      There is no right or wrong here as the right degree of firmness for you will depend on several factors - including your height, build, and weight.

      For example, if you're petite, a softer mattress may be a better option as it'll offer more cushioning support.

      But if you're of a very large build, you'll need a firmer mattress that can offer the support you require.

      In general, though, medium-firm mattresses are the best choice to help alleviate back pain.

    • How do I know if my mattress is too firm?


      A mattress that's too hard can cause back pain, so you'll definitely want to soften it up a bit.

      But how do you know if your mattress is too firm?

      Here are a few tell-tale signs:

      • You're waking up with back, neck, or shoulder pains.
      • You feel a numbness or tingling in your arms and hands in certain sleep positions.
      • You wake up feeling tired - a sign of restless sleep.
      • You feel that the mattress doesn't contour your body or give way to your hips and shoulders.
      • You sleep better when visiting friends or hotels.

      Luckily, if your mattress is too firm, a mattress topper can help soften it up.

      If your mattress is too soft, on the other hand, you may experience some of the same symptoms but will have to buy a new mattress to solve the problem. 

    Nicky

    My mum calls me "bear" because I like to sleep so much. I never knew that, one day, that would be a very useful skill. Can you tell that I've found my calling? 

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