The Best Mattress For Back Pain

Finding the best mattress for back pain can be a challenge, but it is essential for getting a good night’s sleep and waking up pain-free. 

Back pain can stem from various causes, including:

  • Muscle strain: Typically the most common cause of back pain, and is often caused by overuse or lifting heavy objects.
  • Herniated discs: This occurs when a disc in the spine ruptures and presses on a nerve.
  • Degenerative disc disease: A condition that causes the discs in the spine to break down over time.
  • Spinal stenosis: Caused by the narrowing of the spinal canal, which can put pressure on the nerves in the spine
  • Fibromyalgia: A chronic pain disorder that can cause pain all over the body, including the back.
Doctor pointing at anatomy model of the spine to show possible causes of back pain.

Choosing the right mattress can help mitigate the impact of these factors and potentially reduce the impact of insomnia, which is associated with chronic lower back pain (according to the global healthcare publication BMJ, 2015).

The most critical factors when buying a mattress to alleviate back pain is firmness and quality. 

The quality of a mattress depends on the materials used in the construction process, as well as the lifespan of the mattress. Lifespan is the length of time a mattress provides sufficient posture support.

The right firmness can make all the difference, and it’s essential to understand how your mattress can affect your posture and subsequent sleep quality.

Woman sleeping on her side on a mattress designed to relieve back pain

Mattress Firmness

A mattress that is too soft can cause the spine to sag, which puts strain on the muscles and ligaments in the back. This can lead to muscle spasms, and inflammation, resulting in hip, neck, shoulder and back pain.

For slimmer people, a firm mattress can put too much pressure on the shoulders, hips, and lower back.

It’s all about finding that balance for your body. 

Image illustrating the importance of spinal alignment when sleeping

Generally, if you’re having doubts about choosing the right firmness, or if you have a small or medium frame, the “go-to” would be a medium-firm mattress. 

If you have a larger build, a firmer mattress would be more suitable for your posture support and spine alignment.

Mattress-Related Back Pain

If you wake up with back pain, your mattress may be the culprit!

Many believe soft mattresses help prevent back pain, but this is not true. Softer mattresses and memory foam mattresses often lack the support needed to keep the spine in alignment. This can lead to muscle strain and misalignment, which can cause back pain.

Findings by Science Direct (2015) indicate that medium-firm mattresses are more comfortable and beneficial for people with chronic nonspecific low back pain than soft bedding systems. Additionally, studies have shown that medium-firm mattresses can improve sleep quality by up to 55% and reduce back pain by up to 48% in patients with chronic low back pain.

Woman experiencing lower back pain after sleeping on a soft mattress.

A good mattress for back pain supports your spine in a neutral position, regardless of sleeping position.

Why Memory Foam Mattresses May Cause Back Pain

Research findings have indicated that the appearance of backache is associated with sleeping on foam mattresses, according to the National Library of Medicine (2000). 

Essentially, the concept of memory foam is a paradox. This is because it requires heat to conform to the body; however, it is the necessary heat that breaks the material and fibres down. 

The result is that the mattress loses its ability to provide adequate support very quickly (while making you hotter as you sleep). This is why memory foam mattresses need to be replaced so frequently; even if the mattress is manufactured by one of the “big name” brands. 

Furthermore, when memory foam degrades, it releases toxic carcinogenic chemicals into your sleep environment. Inhaling these chemicals leads to a variety of long and short-term problems. For more information, refer to our post: Is your mattress harming you? Is memory foam toxic?

The sinking of memory foam is what makes it less supportive over a short period of time. This can make back pain worse, especially for people who are already prone to back pain.

Woman in activewear standing bent over in pain holding her lower back.

How Can a Mattress Help Relieve Back Pain?

The spine is a complex structure made up of bones, muscles, ligaments, and nerves. It provides support for the body and allows for movement. The spine has a natural curvature, which helps to absorb shock and protect the spinal cord.

Maintaining the spine’s natural curvature keeps it in a neutral position. This helps to distribute body weight evenly and reduces stress on the spine and the surrounding muscles.

Physiotherapist helping patient achieve neutral spine alignment on a mattress.

A good mattress should support the spine in a neutral position, regardless of your sleeping position. If you sleep on your back, the mattress should support your lower back. When sleeping on your side, the mattress should support your hips and shoulders. If you sleep on your stomach, the mattress should keep your spine in a neutral position.

When the spine is not in a neutral position, it can lead to a number of issues, including back pain. For example, sleeping on a soft mattress lets your body sink down, causing your spine to fall out of alignment, which puts too much pressure on the lower back and leads to pain. 

A very firm mattress can put too much pressure on pressure points, causing pain in slimmer people.

If you have a larger stature, a firm mattress will help to distribute the weight of the body more evenly and reduce pressure on the spine. This can help prevent back pain and improve sleep quality.

Man sleeping comfortably on his side on a mattress that is designed for back pain relief.

Choosing a mattress that provides good support for the spine is one of the most important things you can do to relieve back pain. When your spine is in a neutral position, it is less likely to experience pain and inflammation.

A good mattress should help you to relax, thereby relieving tension. When you are relaxed, your muscles are less likely to put stress on the spine. 

Your back pain will worsen if you consistently sleep on a mattress that does not alleviate tension.

How to Choose the Best Mattress for Back Pain

When choosing a mattress for back pain, it is important to consider the following factors:

  • Firmness: A firm or medium-firm mattress is often the best choice for people with back pain.
  • Sleeping position and weight capacity: Choose a mattress that keeps your spine neutral in any sleeping position.
  • Materials: Check what materials are used materials in the construction process, and be cautious of memory foam. 

If you are suffering from back pain, Naturelle’s organic latex and pure wool mattresses can be your ticket to a pain-free, restful night’s sleep. Organic latex conforms to the body’s curves, supporting the spine and relieving pressure.

Woman with back pain holding her inflamed neck.

Proper spinal alignment and pressure relief also promote better blood circulation, which can prevent numbness and tingling sensations in your limbs. This improved circulation can contribute to better mobility and posture when you wake up.

If you’re constantly tossing and turning on an uncomfortable mattress, you’re more likely to wake up with aches and stiffness, which can hinder your posture and mobility.

Say Goodbye to Back Pain With Naturelle Beds

At Naturelle Beds, we are proud to be the only mattress manufacturer in South Africa that uses a combination of organic latex and pure wool in our mattresses. We chose these materials for their unique properties and incredible benefits.

Organic latex is naturally supportive and responsive, providing pressure relief and spinal alignment for all sleep positions. Pure wool is a natural temperature regulator and moisture wicker, helping you to stay cool and comfortable throughout the night.

Together, these materials offer unparalleled comfort and support, promoting a deeper, more restful sleep.

Our beds are also built to last in excess of 25 years, providing superior spine alignment throughout the lifetime of the mattress.  We can confidently say that our beds are the perfect solution for anyone looking for the best mattress for back pain. 

Don’t let back pain wear you down. It’s time to sleep better and live better by waking up with improved posture and enhanced movement. 

Woman waking up smiling and pain-free after sleeping on the best mattress for back pain

Proper sleep is an essential component of overall well-being and quality of life. The benefits associated with pure wool and organic latex will improve your sleep quality, allowing your body to heal and regenerate during the night.

Invest in a superior sleeping surface that’s comfortable, durable, free from harmful chemicals and made from sustainable materials – the best choice for you, your family, and the environment!


BMJ Journals. (2015). The burden of non-specific chronic low back pain among adults in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: a protocol for a mixed-methods study.  Available from: <>. [Accessed October 2023].

National Library of Medicine. (2000). The foam mattress-back syndrome.  Available from: <>. [Accessed October 2023].

Science Direct. (2015). Effect of different mattress designs on promoting sleep quality, pain reduction, and spinal alignment in adults with or without back pain; systematic review of controlled trials. Available from: <>. [Accessed October 2023].