What’s the Best Mattress for Back Pain?

Last Updated May 05, 2022

Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals. Recommendations made in this article are not a substitute for proper health advice. If you are experiencing regular back pain, it’s recommended you seek medical help. 

Did you know humans spend about a third of their lives sleeping? That’s a lot of snooze-time and also a lot of time spent lying on a mattress. Did you also know that roughly 4 million Aussies have back problems? While there are many things you can do to help with back pain (once any major underlying issues have been ruled out by a medical professional), one crucial aspect is finding the perfect mattress. It can be the difference between a restful night’s sleep and waking up pain-free in the morning, or a night of tossing and turning and not being able to function the next day.

Finding the right mattress is a bit like Goldilocks trying to find the perfect bowl of porridge – it often comes down to the individual. You might think if you have a bad back you should buy the firmest mattress you can find, right? Well, not necessarily. It might be common wisdom, but there’s not much scientific research behind it. On the other hand, too soft a mattress can also be problematic as you might sink in so deeply your joints twist and become painful during the night,

So, what’s the answer? Really, it comes down to personal preference and whatever feels right for you and your back pain. However, with so many products on the market, how do you make a decision? In this article, we’ll be providing our best advice to finding the right mattress for back pain, so let’s get stuck in! 

Mattresses and Back Pain

Once a doctor has ruled out any medical reason behind your back pain, the next thing to think about is your mattress and sleeping position. Do you toss and turn during the night? Do you feel stiff and sore when you wake up? Well, your mattress might have a lot to answer for. An old, sagging mattress won’t give you property back support, but it’s possible a new and firm mattress won’t do you any good either. 

A survey conducted by Harvard Medical School found people with back pain who slept on very hard mattresses had the worst quality sleep. However, it also found soft mattresses weren’t much better for back pain. The survey also found, however, there wasn’t much difference in sleep quality between those who used a medium-firm and firm mattress. 

Sleeping Position Matters

If you have back pain, your sleeping position also plays a large role in how well you sleep, and how you feel waking up. As you sleep, your spine needs to be aligned and supported properly, allowing it to rest. Lying on your stomach is typically the worst position for your spine, with many health professionals recommending lying on your back for the best support. If you choose to sleep on your side, it’s recommended to sleep with a pillow between your knees to reduce stress on the lower spine and hips. And, if you must sleep on your stomach, use a flat pillow underneath your stomach and hips to help support the natural alignment of the spine. 

How Firm Should a Mattress for a Bad Back Be?

Everyone has different needs when it comes to finding the perfect mattress, but there are some important things to consider when choosing a mattress that will support a bad back

Soft: Soft mattresses offering the most cradling and mobility. They’re ideal for lightweight sleepers because they don’t create sore points. Side sleepers and small back sleepers with back pain will probably enjoy a soft mattress. 

Medium/medium-firm: Medium/medium-firm mattresses are the most universally enjoyed mattress and typically ideal for most sleepers regardless of weight and sleeping position. They’re firm enough to support the spine without making painful curves, while also offering a nice “hugging” feel and pressure relief. 

Firm: Firm mattresses make you feel like you’re floating on top, often offering little to no cradling. Firm mattresses are usually made from dense foam or thicker coil layers, meaning they can withstand more weight. This makes them ideal for heavier sleepers. Meanwhile, a firm mattress can help support the natural curve of your spine, no matter what position you sleep in. 

The 5 Best Mattresses for Back Pain

How We Picked the Top 5

As we’ve mentioned, finding the best mattress for back pain is certainly a personal choice. As such, you might be wondering how we made this list of the top five best mattresses for back pain. We looked at a few things, such as the firmness, mattress type, layers, customer reviews and trial period. We think the trial period is super important because you’ll only get a feel of the mattress is good for your back pain after at least a month of sleeping on the mattress, so it’s good to have the peace of mind that you can return the mattress if it’s not right for you. 

So without further ado, here are our five best mattresses for back pain. 

  1. Ergoflex 5G
  2. Ecosa
  3. Noa
  4. Sleeping Duck
  5. Emma Original
BrandErgoflex EcosaNoaSleeping DuckEmma Original
Price (Queen)$1,529$1,099$1,099$1,649$1,099
Mattress type Memory foamMemory foamHybridHybridFoam
Trial period 30 days100 days100 days100 days 100 days 

1. Ergoflex 5G

The Ergoflex 5G is one of the original mattress in a box companies. And, it’s one of the highest-quality memory foam mattresses on the market, and arguably the most comfortable. It’s definitely earned its place as the best mattress for back pain. A typical memory foam mattress is designed to adapt to your unique body comforts, offering a well-supported spine and better posture. Not many memory foam mattresses truly offer all these features – except the Ergoflex 5G that is made from high-density foam.

Similar products in the market typically use memory foam blends, which are low-density. Not to mention the memory foam layer on the Ergoflex 5G is 9cm thick, which is almost twice as thick as many competitors. Where it loses points is its 30 night trial period, which is significantly lower than most other mattress in a box brands, which offer 100+ nights. However, that’s not to say it will definitely be the perfect mattress for you. You might not enjoy the sinking feeling of memory foam and would feel more supported and comfortable with a spring-base. Although Ergoflex only offers a 30 night trial, that should be enough time to figure out if the Ergoflex 5G offers enough support and pain-relief for your back problems

What Customers Have to Say

Reviews have been edited for length and clarity. 

“I brought this mattress just over a week ago. I’ve been having shocking back pain for years, waking up every morning in terrible pain. Ever since I brought this mattress, my back pain has disappeared. I’m sleeping right through the night.”

Lucy, August 2021, www.productreview.com.au

“We purchased this mattress after a friend with severe arthritis recommended it, saying how soft it was. She says she sleeps extremely well and wakes up without pain. After sleeping on it for a month, I admit to being disappointed. It IS a comfortable mattress but not as soft as I was expecting – I still feel pressure on my tender hips.”

Dianne, July 2021, www.productreview.com.au

Read more about the Ergoflex 5G mattress here.

2. Ecosa

Ecosa comes in at number two on the best mattress for back pain thanks to its customisable design, meaning no matter what kind of mattress firmness you prefer, the Ecosa mattress can accommodate.

Ecosa lets you adjust the firmness level for the perfect fit – you can choose from a medium, medium-firm, or firm setting simply by switching the layers. While this is a common feature in hybrid mattresses, it’s rare in an all-foam design. Ecosa uses memory and high-density foam for pressure relief and support, making it a great choice for back pain sufferers. The customisation feature makes the Ecosa mattress work for most sleepers, but typically back and side sleepers will enjoy it the most as the foam supports the natural curve of the body, with a comfort layer offering cushioning for pressure points. Many customers suggest they wake up with less back pain and neck stiffness. And, with a 100 night trial, there’s no reason you shouldn’t give Ecosa a go.

What Customers Have to Say 

Reviews have been edited for length and clarity. 

“The mattress is very comfy and adjustable as per my need so I’d rate it 10/10. I usually have back pain and after sleeping on the Ecosa mattress the pain is literally gone and I love it.”

Puneet, July 2021, www.productreview.com.au

“This mattress was fine for the first couple of months, then our 100 night trial ran out and the problems started. I wake up every day with incredible hip, back, rib and neck pain every day and my partner suffers from back pain too after sleeping on the…”

Marissah, October 2020, www.productreview.com.au

Read more about the Ecosa mattress here.

If you have back pain and prefer a hybrid mattress, you can’t go past the Noa mattress. With great support and nice bouncy pressure relief, the Noa will look after your back by keeping it in proper alignment and reducing tension (without making you feel like you’re stuck in the bed). The Noa mattress is a universally comfortable mattress that’s ideal for all sleeping positions and body types.

If we’re looking at a firmness scale, the Noa mattress would be somewhere around the 7 (not too hard, not too soft!) With its signature pocket spring system, sleepers receive great spinal support. There are multiple comfort layers that combine foam and latex, which give the Noa mattress extra padding that helps with easing pressure on your body’s sore points. As far as hybrid mattresses go for back pain, the Noa is certainly one of the best on the market – and it’s reasonably priced too. If you’re used to a softer mattress, it might require a short adjustment period, but overall the Noa mattress provides a healthier, longer sleep that works with your body – not against it – for the long term.

What Customers Have to Say 

Reviews have been edited for length and clarity. 

“Extremely supportive and comfortable. I used to have regular lower back pain, but it really hasn’t recurred for the past 4 months since I’ve been sleeping on my Noa.”

Andrew, July 2021, www.productreview.com.au

“We were very excited with our new mattress and for the first weeks it was perfect. We researched a lot of options as we were suffering from back pain. Firmness was just right and I couldn’t feel my partner moving. The material is soft and comfy. After a while the mattress started to get sag, losing a bit of firmness and I started to feel my husband moving again! It is still better than our old mattress but it was very disappointing.”

Roberta, January 2021, www.productreview.com.au

Read more about the Noa mattress here.

4. Sleeping Duck

Look at any online reviews of the Sleeping Duck mattress and you’ll quickly come to realise it’s one of the most popular mattress in a box products in Australia. While it wouldn’t be classified as a budget mattress, it certainly makes up for the bigger price tag in features, comfort and customisation. The Sleeping Duck mattress allows you to choose between two firmness levels – medium or firm. You can then swap foam layers for a softer or firmer feel, meaning you can find a firmness option that will best support your back pain. Thanks to its personalised firmness features, the Sleeping Duck mattress is good for all sleeping positions. Side sleepers will enjoy good spring support and cushioned top layer, while back sleepers can choose a firmer top layer to keep their spines aligned. Meanwhile, stomach sleepers will enjoy the gel-infused memory foam layer which relieves pressure on the sore spots.

What Customers Have to Say 

Reviews have been edited for length and clarity. 

“I was having a terrible night’s sleep on a mattress that was sinking and uncomfortable. My back was in absolute agony when I got up. Since changing to my Sleeping Duck mattress, my back on waking has massively improved as has my quality of sleep.”

Kerrie, May 2021, www.productreview.com.au

“I’ve had the Sleeping Duck mattress for around 9 months or so. Have had increasing back pain and didn’t attribute it to the mattress until I slept somewhere else for a few weeks and my pain went away. One night back on the Sleeping Duck and woke up with back pain all over again and pins and needles in my hand. Also, I sleep on one side and I’m certain it’s started to sag slightly. Not happy at all. Now having to contemplate a new mattress in less than twelve months!”

Fi, July 2020, www.productreview.com.au

Read more about the Sleeping Duck mattress here.

The Emma Original Mattress was replaced in 2021 by the new “Emma Comfort Mattress” which has a simpler two-layer construction.

5. Emma Original

Founded in Germany in 2015, the Emma mattress has made waves across the globe – 21 countries to be exact – and is an award-winning triple-layered foam mattress. It offers exceptional value for money – especially for those on a budget. It’s incredibly comfortable while also providing fantastic support for all sleeping positions. The Emma is a great choice for sleepers who want superior quality in foam design that’s made to relieve pressure and minimise partner disturbance.

The Emma Original mattress has been tried and tested in Europe with multiple awards won (in fact, it’s the most awarded mattress in Europe). As far as support for back pain goes, the Emma Original mattress offers 7 zones of support, making it noticeably softer around the hips and shoulders. This makes it an excellent option for side sleepers who have back pain. Meanwhile, it offers a firmness around the spine to ensure property alignment and support for back and stomach sleepers. Despite being a foam mattress, the Emma Original can be described as feeling more soft and responsive rather than rigid. It’s a very well-balanced mattress, which is why we certainly recommend giving it a go if you suffer from back pain.

What Customers Have to Say 

Reviews have been edited for length and clarity. 

“We bought this mattress 2 months ago and immediately I could feel a difference in how my back felt in the morning when I got up. It’s firm but not hard, molds to your body so perfect for people with low back pain. Very happy with my purchase.”

Raveena, July 2021, www.productreview.com.au

“First of all, the mattress has creases/dips across each side. The top and bottom areas are extremely soft but the middle part is so firm. My shoulder sinks into the mattress and the middle part of the mattress is pushing my back up. I have terrible back pain and a headache every morning now.”

Jerry, July 2021, www.productreview.com.au

Read more about the Emma Original mattress here.

We hope this buying guide has given you some greater insight into the best mattress for back pain! If you have any questions about your mattress, please leave a comment below or get in touch with us today. We’re happy to help and answer any questions you may have. 

Ally Burnie Head Dreamer Ally Burnie
Journalist, presenter and host based in Sydney with a passion for cooking, outdoor adventures, hiking, humanitarianism, and travel.


Leave a comment