Mattress toppers are an additional layer of bedding placed on top of your mattress that have the potential to ensure correct spinal alignment whilst offering extra comfort and support. In addition, a topper designed specifically for back pain can evenly distribute body weight, providing pressure relief in the back.
The right mattress topper can be a good option for those battling back pain and unable to purchase a new mattress. However, there are some factors to consider, such as topper firmness, thickness, your bodyweight, sleep position, and of course, budget. Therefore, it is important to be clear on your personal needs and preferences and well-informed about your options to make the best decision.
(Important Facts, Studies, Advice, Considerations & FAQs In Conclusion)
|MATTRESS TOPPER||TYPE||TRIAL & WARRANTY||PRICE|
|Dormeo Octasmart Plus Mattress Topper||Memory Foam||60 Nights|
|Simba Hybrid Topper||Hybrid||NA Nights|
|Una Organic Latex Mattress Topper||Latex||100 Nights|
|Eve Mattress Topper||Memory Foam||30 Nights|
|Silentnight Impress Mattress Topper||Memory Foam||NA Nights|
|Tempur Mattress Topper 7||Tempur Foam||100 Nights|
1. Dormeo Octasmart Plus Mattress Topper
|• Open cell memory foam|
• Customised zonal support
• 8-year warranty
|• Those who prefer chemical-free products|
• People with allergies
• Hot sleepers
Dormeo refers to their Octasmart Plus mattress topper as the “smartest” topper they’ve ever created. This 7cm thick mattress topper offers 3 different zones providing customised support for your back, with more support for your hips and shoulders, allowing your spine to be correctly aligned and could be a good potential option for those with back pain.
The top layer consists of a high-quality open cell memory foam providing body contouring and comfort. Hundreds of 4cm Octasprings® make up the middle section of this topper which work together and adapt to support and cushion your body, providing the zonal support which alleviates pressure from the back, hips and shoulders. The bottom layer consists of Ecocell® foam, with a 3-dimensional permanent cell structure, which offers a supportive base.
In addition, this topper uses Dormeo’s patented Octavent™ Air system, which allows cool air to circulate in the topper and hot air to escape making the topper more breathable. Hundreds of comfort pockets are built into the cover, which facilitates air circulation. It is also hypoallergenic, removable, washable, recyclable, and free from harmful chemicals and emissions (OEKO-TEX Certified).
This mattress topper can be used on your guest best, sofa bed, futon or even directly on the floor if you wish. Manufacturers offer free delivery, a free pillow (check availability), a 60-night trial, and an 8-year warranty. This topper is on the upper side of the price scale; however, customers overall seem very happy with their purchase.
2. Simba Mattress Topper
|• Simba-pure foam|
• 2,500 Aerocoil™ spring comfort layer
• Made in Europe
|• Hot sleepers|
• Those who value sustainability
The Simba Hybrid mattress topper is made of both springs and foam and could be a good choice for those with back pain due to the combination of materials facilitating optimal comfort and support.
This topper has a soft, breathable sleep surface followed by the open-cell Simbatex air-flow layer and 3D mesh fabric, facilitating a cool, comfortable sleep, followed by the 2,500 Aerocoil™ spring comfort layer. These conical-shaped springs are enclosed in a 100% polyester pocket, ensuring that you are supported from all angles and aids in motion isolation. Under this layer is the Simba-pure support providing further support. The Simba Hybrid topper is also fitted with straps to prevent the topper from moving around.
It is made in Europe and from 100% recyclable material. Customers seem very happy with their purchase and comment specifically on it being cool and comfortable. Simba offers a 1-year warranty and is a good potential choice if you’re looking for a mid-range price tag.
3. Una Organic Latex Mattress Topper
|• Organic latex foam with 7 zones|
• Cotton and wool cover
• 100-night trial
|• People with a higher budget|
• Eco-conscious individuals
• Those weighing less than 14 stone
The Una Organic Latex Foam mattress is an all-natural soft latex foam with zonal support, making it a potentially good option for those experiencing back pain. The cover is composed of cotton (70%) and wool (30%), which is soft and thermoregulatory, allowing air and moisture to circulate. This 6cm topper has 7 different zones that gently support your body.
The Una topper is designed and engineered in Germany. It is 100% biodegradable, recyclable, and carbon-neutral and can last up to 20 years. It is worth noting that the recommended maximum bodyweight is 14 stone (85 kg) per person. Customer reviews are positive, and people seem happy with their purchases. The manufacturers offer free delivery, a 100-night trial and a 5-year guarantee.
4. Eve Mattress Topper
|• Evecomfort® open-cell foam|
• Machine-washable top cover
• 30-night trial
|• Hot sleepers|
• Those who prefer British products
The Eve mattress topper could be a good potential buy if you’re looking for an affordable topper that offers comfort and the necessary support.
The unique and long-lasting evecomfort® foam layer is 2cm thick open-cell foam and CertiPUR® certified (safe for you and for the environment). In addition, the manufacturers emphasise the thermoregulatory properties of this foam and describe it as “ultra cool”. The base foam is 3cm of ultra-resilient reflex base foam. The top sleep surface and borders are 100% polyester, and the base panel is 100% polypropylene. This material is naturally flame retardant, so no additional fire retardant chemicals are required. In addition, this top cover is removable and washable. Straps have been fitted at both ends to ensure no slippage when moving around.
This brand is made in the UK, and there is a 30-night trial and a 2-year warranty offered on this topper. Customers are generally very satisfied with their purchases, with some complaints with regards to the straps slipping.
5. Silentnight Impress Mattress Topper
|• Soft and supportive memory foam|
• Machine washable cover
• 2-year guarantee
|• Those on a tight budget|
• People with allergies
• Those who prefer British products
The Silentnight Impress mattress topper is an affordable topper that may be a good option for individuals with back pain. It is a 5cm thick topper composed of memory foam, offering both comfort and support. The soft reactive memory foam can conform to your body's unique shape, thereby relieving pressure at the joints.
This topper is hypoallergenic making it a good choice for those with allergies or sensitive skin. It also has a removable and washable cover making cleaning easy. The Silentnight brand is made in the UK and offers a 2-year guarantee.
6. Tempur Mattress Topper 7
|• Unique TEMPUR® material |
• 100-night trial
• 10-year guarantee
|• People with a flexible budget|
• Individuals preferring a thicker topper
• Those with a standard size mattress
Those with a more flexible budget may enjoy the Tempur Mattress Topper 7, composed of the pressure-relieving TEMPUR® Material used in their mattresses. This viscoelastic 7cm thick topper moulds and adapts to the body's shape and is a good potential option for those with back pain. There is a soft jersey cover that is removable and washable, and this topper is available to fit all standard size mattresses.
The Tempur brand is made in Denmark and offers free delivery to the UK mainland. There is a 100-night trial and a 10-year guarantee if you are not completely satisfied with your purchase. Customers generally rate this topper very highly - some people commenting that it takes a little time to get used to.
Back Pain And Sleep
If you suffer from back pain, you are certainly not alone. It is one of the most common reasons people see a doctor and even something that school-age children can face. According to the NHS✓, back pain is the most significant single cause of disability in the UK, with 11% of the total disability of the population being due to lower back pain.
Interesting to note:
According to Statistica, Scotland has the highest prevalence of back pain in the UK (approximately 19% of the population).
The causes of back pain are vast, and intensity can range from slight discomfort to debilitating. Essentially, back pain can result from problems with spinal joints, muscles, discs, nerves. Causes may include slipped discs, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, pinched nerves, accidents or injuries (fractures, sprains, strains), lifestyle triggers (slouching, wearing high heels), arthritis, osteoarthritis, amongst many others.
Although people of all ages can suffer from back pain, research✓ shows that the rates of severe and chronic lower back pain increase with age. It has also been shown✓ that back pain can significantly affect our quality of sleep, which can negatively impact our quality of life. However, it’s not all doom and gloom for those with bad backs, and the correct sleep surface may offer some pain relief.
Mattress Toppers For Back Pain
Whilst, depending of course, on the cause, some back pain may be more difficult to treat and manage than others. Your bedding, however, may have the potential to minimise it, thereby increasing your quality of sleep. So, if buying a new orthopaedic mattress or mattress for back pain is, for whatever reason, not an option, a mattress topper might be worth a try. A mattress topper is essentially an extra layer of cushioning that can be added on top of a mattress to make it more supportive or simply more comfortable. They can also refresh or increase the life of old mattresses or adjust an existing mattress’s sleep surface to suit a person’s needs.
Good to know!
A recent meta-analysis✓ showed that although back pain can negatively affect our sleep, improving sleep can be a preventative against back pain, and interventions to reduce sleep disturbances can help to improve health.
Mattress toppers for bad backs can help by evenly distributing weight, relieving susceptible pressure points and providing the necessary support and cushioning along our spines, promoting good posture, thereby allowing for a comfortable sleep. They may be ideal for those who suffer from back pain, and the support offered should, in theory, be more “specialised” than that of a regular mattress topper. Toppers for bad backs may have similar features to orthopaedic mattress toppers.
The choice of topper may come down to a person’s specific requirements and preferences. For example, a lighter person may receive adequate support from a softer mattress topper, whilst a heavier person may prefer a firmer mattress topper. Choosing the proper mattress topper is crucial, and an incorrect choice may have the opposite effect and exacerbate existing pain. Please note that if you are unsure of the cause of your pain or the pain is persistent or severe, it’s advisable to consult your doctor.
Mattress Toppers For Back Pain: Considerations
Between all the available options, marketing claims, and information overload, you may feel a little overwhelmed about picking the right topper. Hopefully, we can offer some insight into what you may want to consider to help you make the most well-informed decision. However, like with all bedding, the choice may often come down to a person’s specific requirements and preferences.
- Current mattress: Your existing mattress and your mattress topper work better synchronously, and the topper should complement the mattress.
- Sleeping position: The position in which you sleep is crucial. It will determine which body parts press into the mattress, where pressure may build up, and ultimately how the spine is aligned (more on this below).
- Price: Prices may differ due to the quality of materials used and the construction of the topper. More expensive high-quality toppers typically use more durable materials that are less likely to deteriorate and may have additional beneficial characteristics (like temperature regulation and anti-allergenic properties). Cheaper toppers may offer the required comfort; however, they may have a shorter lifespan and not provide the additional benefits.
- Firmness: The function of most mattress toppers is to provide additional body-contouring support, which may depend on the firmness of the topper. Those who find their existing mattress too firm might want a softer topper, whilst those who have a mattress they find too soft, may wish for a firmer topper.
- Bodyweight: Generally speaking, heavier people (more than 230 pounds) may find that a soft or medium-firm density does not offer enough support to help with back pain, and a firmer option might be best. On the other hand, a lighter person may find a medium-firm or firm option that suits them fine - offering them enough support and comfort, as well as keeping the spine correctly aligned.
- Thickness: Usually, the thicker the topper, the more potentially altered the sleep surface. For example, a thinner topper is more likely to provide a little added comfort but conform less, whilst a thicker topper may offer significantly more conforming, cushioning and pressure relief.
- Size: When choosing the best topper, be sure to take the correct measurements of your bed beforehand to find the perfect match. Generally, there is a range of sizes available, and finding the correct one for your mattress shouldn’t be too difficult.
Back Pain And Sleep Surface
Whether sleeping on a firmer or softer surface is better for back pain is one of the most common questions asked by patients. It is also a question with no definitive answer, with some patients with back pain reporting that they feel better after sleeping on a hard sleep surface whilst others feel worse.
It is unclear whether sleeping on a hard or softer surface provides better relief from musculoskeletal pain. Furthermore, studies have been mainly conducted on mattresses and rarely extend specifically to mattress toppers. However, by inference, we can apply these results (and lack of) to mattress toppers. This limited available literature shows conflicting results, and it is unclear whether sleeping on a hard or softer surface provides better relief from back pain.
In the past, doctors recommended a firmer surface, and many mattresses and mattress toppers advertised as best-suited for those with bad backs are on the firmer side. Literature, however, remains, for the most part, inconsistent on this.
One survey✓ on those with back pain showed that very firm mattresses had the poorest sleep quality, and no difference in sleep quality was found between those who used medium-firm or firm mattresses. More recently, research✓ shows the use of medium-firm mattresses for adults with and without back pain improved sleep quality, pain reduction, and spinal alignment. A systematic review✓ looking at improving outcomes on chronic back pain concluded that there is no high-quality evidence currently available that supports using a particular type of mattress to treat chronic low-back pain.
Poor study design, small sample sizes, and lack of quantifiable parameters (for example, “medium-firm” is largely subjective) are some of the limitations to this type of research and conclusions should be drawn with caution. Ultimately there is no “one size fits all” solution. The best-suited mattress topper will be determined by several factors, including the type of back pain, severity, sleeping position, and personal preference. In general, the best topper choice will be firm enough, offering the necessary support where needed and soft enough so that there is adequate weight distribution, cushioning and pressure relief in critical areas, but not so soft that you sink in and battle to move.
Back Pain And Sleep Position
The correct mattress topper has the potential to minimise back pain and optimise your chances of restful, comfortable sleep. Different sleep positions, however, result in pressure points in various body parts. The correct mattress topper should relieve pressure in the necessary spots and keep the spine in the proper alignment.
- Side sleepers with back pain: Side sleepers often prefer a slightly softer surface with a balance of comfort and support. A too-firm topper will not allow enough cushioning for the shoulders and hips, whilst one that is too soft will not provide enough. A side sleeper with back pain who finds their existing mattress too firm may opt for a thicker, softer mattress topper, and someone who finds their mattress too soft can opt for a firmer topper to offer more support and prevent sinking.
- Back sleepers with back pain: This position is supposedly the best sleeping position for back pain. Back sleepers tend to prefer a firmer surface with support, but as mentioned before, this is dependent on the mattress. A firmer topper on a soft mattress may be ideal, although not too firmer, so there is a gap between the bed and the lumbar region. A slightly softer topper on a very firm mattress or medium firm mattress may be ideal, too, although not too soft that the hips sink in and the spine is incorrectly aligned.
- Stomach sleepers with back pain: Sleeping on the stomach is generally regarded as the worst position for back pain. However, people who do may sink in around the hip and stomach area, causing strain on the spine. A thinner, firmer mattress topper may be a good idea for someone who feels they’re experiencing any “sinkage” with their existing mattress.
Types Of Mattress Toppers For Back Pain
Any type of mattress topper may have potential pros and cons, and the choice may often come down to a person's specific requirements and preferences.
|Latex||✓ High rebound, comfortable, self-ventilating, durable, pressure relieving, breathable, ideal for stomach sleepers||✗ Often expensive, might feel too firm for some|
|Memory foam||✓ Low rebound, comfortable, body-contouring, flexible, motion isolation, good balance of pressure relief and support, good for side sleepers or back sleepers||✗ Some models retain heat (some have special features for cooling such as gel and graphite infusions), low rebound (more likely to sink and sag), changing position may be difficult|
|Polyfoam||✓ High rebound, some softness and support, breathable, retains its shape better than memory foam, budget-friendly||✗ May have a shorter lifespan, less pin-pointed support|
|Wool||✓ Durable, soft, thermoregulatory, hypoallergenic, antibacterial, may offer sufficient cushioning, support and pressure relief (thicker toppers), may work for stomach sleepers||✗ Can be on the pricier side, may not provide sufficient spinal support or pressure relief for sore backs|
|Down or feather||✓ Soft and malleable, fluffy, regulates body temperature, plush sleep surface, often more affordable||✗ Doesn’t provide much support, tend to trap dust mites (not ideal for those with allergies), generally not recommended for those with back pain|
|Cotton||✓ Soft, breathable, cool, less expensive||✗ Doesn’t provide sufficient spinal support, generally not recommended for those with back pain|
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best mattress topper for back pain?
This will depend on individual needs and preferences. Those who suffer from back pain generally need a topper that can mould to the shape of their body, provide support and comfort whilst relieving pressure, and keep the spine in optimal alignment. Memory foam and latex toppers may be a potentially good choice.
Is memory foam good for back pain?
Memory foam mattress toppers provide a good balance of pressure relief and support, as well as deep body contouring, and may be well-suited to side or back sleepers with back pain.
Is a thicker mattress topper better for back pain?
Thicker mattress toppers have the potential to alter the sleep surface more than thinner ones. A thicker topper may therefore offer significantly more conforming, cushioning and pressure relief than a thinner one. Depending on the sleepers’ needs, this may be a good option for individuals with back pain.