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Best Mattresses for Bad Backs in Australia

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Sleep helps your body heal and repair itself. However, you may doubt that if you’re constantly waking up with a strained back.

But guess what?

Maybe you just sleep on a wrong mattress!

Check this article, and you’ll find four best mattresses for bad backs in Australia suited for different occasions! Making a choice has never been easier! 

A Quick Preview

Emma Comfort
Best Overall - Editor’s Choice

Emma Comfort
Read more about this mattress
Ergoflex Memory Foam Mattress
Best Foam Mattress

Ergoflex Memory Foam Mattress
Read more about this mattress
Peacelily
Best Natural Mattress

Peacelily
Read more about this mattress
Koala Mattress
Best Versatile Mattress

The Koala Mattress
Read more about this mattress

Our Reviews of the Best Mattresses for Bad Backs in Australia (May 2024)

Best Overall - Editor’s Choice — Emma Comfort

Emma Comfort Mattress

Highlights

  • Breathable Airgocell foam to ensure cooler sleep;
  • Zoned support layer to aid proper spinal alignment and guarantee an even pressure distribution;
  • Removable and machine-washable cover for fuss-free cleaning, great for allergy-prone sleepers.

The Emma mattress is one of the best mattresses for back patients in Australia that won't cost you an arm and a leg. Despite its attractive price, the Emma Comfort mattress does not give up quality or comfort. This is an all-foam model that has a zoned support layer and uses close-conforming foam for cushioning. It has a well-balanced firmness similar to the Koala on its medium-firm side, which I tested to feel around a 6.5. This is soft enough for sinkage yet firm enough to support the spine. As a result, sleeping on this mattress made me feel almost weightless. Thanks to that, my lower back pain was gone after only a couple of nights. “While testing the Emma Comfort, I noticed it did a great job of keeping me lifted and supported,” stated Amelia Jerden, a Senior Staff Writer at Sleepopolis.

This mattress by Emma can also be an excellent solution for partnered sleepers, especially if one of them tends to be restless. The Emma Comfort responds slowly to applied pressure. It absorbs shock from movement instead of letting it travel across the surface. Such a construction creates perfect conditions for uninterrupted partnered sleep. According to my review, the Emma Comfort had 4.5 inches better motion isolation than the Peace Lily mattress. Even my significant other, a very active sleeper, did not disturb me during the night when we were testing this foam mattress.

Testing the motion transfer

Based on Our Review

I found that this mattress felt very cool during testing. I liked the firmness level, and the bed didn’t feel firm for my joints.

Emma Comfort Mattress's Cover
Emma Comfort Mattress Edge Support

Best Foam Mattress for Bad Backs — Ergoflex Memory Foam Mattress

Ergoflex 5G Memory Foam Mattress

Highlights

  • Top-quality high-density foam for reliable pinpoint support;
  • Extra-thick comfort layer to offer a generous hug and superb pressure relief;
  • Breathable transition layer for improved airflow and cooler sleep.

The next model I would love to share is the Ergoflex mattress. Being among the best mattresses for bad backs in Australia, it has a chance of improving your sleep and alleviating your back pain thanks to its smart construction. You see, the HD comfort foam is super adaptive, which means it’s going to cradle your body and fill in the curves, providing targeted support (and thus, maintaining your back in a healthy position needed for pain reduction). The Ergoflex also does an excellent job of distributing the sleeper’s weight. As a result, there’s no pressure build-up on certain body parts. And that means less pain and, naturally, better sleep.

From my tests, the Ergoflex 5G had a sinkage of 2.19 inches. This is enough cushioning that I felt my body weight redistributed and experienced supportive ‘cloud-like’ comfort. The Ergoflex 5G has 0.01 inches less sinkage than the Emma Comfort, making the Ergoflex 5G better for sleepers who want a firmer sleep surface with slightly less sinkage. However, this slight difference still makes both similar in their supportive feel.

All things considered, the Ergoflex can be a Godsend if you are suffering from back pain. This mattress is more on the firmer side, so it can deliver reliable support and prevent painful back curvatures during sleep. From my review, I felt this mattress was slightly firmer, and I rated it a 7 on my firmness scale. I experienced cushioning, yet the Ergoflex 5G had excellent bounce for an all-foam model that kept me buoyant and my spine neutral. This model is 2 points firmer than the Peace Lily, making it a better option for sleepers who prefer a more supportive and robust sleep surface. Plus, the Ergoflex foam works to help your tense body parts relax, which can aid pain alleviation.

Testing the bounce

Based on Our Review

During my review, The Ergoflex memory foam mattress impressively contoured around my body. I also found the motion isolation to be top-notch and I didn’t feel excessive movement from my review partner.

Side sleeping near the edge on the Ergoflex 5G Mattress
The Ergoflex 5G Mattress under the weight

Best Natural Mattress for Bad Backs — Peacelily

Peacelily Mattress

Highlights

  • Natural latex model, non-toxic and safe;
  • Two firmness levels in one mattress, great for uncertain shoppers or someone looking for a versatile mattress;
  • Sleeps cool naturally, can help you deal with night sweats;
  • Organic cotton cover for extra breathability and moisture wicking;
  • Hand-sewn upholstered handles for easier flipping.

Another item I would like to share in my review of the best mattresses for bad backs in Australia is a 100% safe, natural option. The Peacelily is an excellent solution for those shoppers who want unparallel pressure relief and support but wish to feel completely safe using their mattress. And because the Peacelily is made of natural latex, it can guarantee that.

This mattress has a rather interesting feel, to tell the truth. It is conforming and helps with tension release but responds fast to applied pressure. With the Peacelily, you will feel like lying on top of your mattress rather than in it. With that being said, you will still enjoy proper weight distribution and pressure relief, which are so needed for painful backs.

From my tests, the Peace Lily had 0.2 seconds better response time than the Koala on its firm side and 0.33 inches less sinkage than the Emma Comfort. That means the Peace Lily is one of the better options for unrestricted movement in bed for a sore back. The less sinkage also makes the Peace Lily firmer, giving a more stable surface for spinal alignment.

Here’s the kicker though:

The Peacelily offers a bit more than comfort and support. This mattress is flippable, which means you get to test two firmness levels (medium and firm). It’s an awesome solution for those users who don’t exactly know what they need. Plus, if you want a plush feel, you can get an extra topper to go with your latex mattress.

Needless to say, the Peacelily is an impressive mattress that can satisfy a wide variety of sleepers. It’s safe, versatile, and reasonably priced. To me, that’s a winning combo of features.

Based on Our Review

The first thing that struck me about this mattress was the cool feel. The Peacelily provided a good amount of contouring during testing, and I felt more comfortable thanks to the organic cotton cover.

Peace Lily Mattress Edge Support
Peace Lily mattress on a bed frame

Best Versatile Mattress for Bad Backs — The Koala Mattress

Koala Mattress

Highlights

  • Adjustable firmness level to accommodate different types of sleepers;
  • Quiet Zero disturbance construction that provides excellent motion absorption;
  • Open-cell foam which promotes better airflow and temperature regulation.

The Koala mattress offers a versatile sleeping surface that will be comfortable for most sleeping types. This bed is made up of two layers. The comfort layer is the top layer and is made from a Koala-exclusive foam and latex blend.

The second layer is a firmer foam construction and the mattress felt more supportive during my review. As a result, I felt that the mattress offered a medium firm feel and excellent back support. According to my review, the Koala’s firm side was 0.06 inches softer than the Peace Lily’s firm side, meaning the Koala can provide slightly better support for the spine. “Koala uses materials that increase the supportive qualities of the base. This means side sleepers have more than enough support for their hips,” explained the staff at Vogue

This bed has cooling vents that promote better ventilation and heat dispersion. In addition, the Zero Disturbance Technology limits motion transfer, which will benefit people with restless sleeping partners. 

From my tests, the Koala’s firm side didn’t react to compressions 5.5 inches further away than the Peace Lily mattress. That means the Koala has a much higher ability to absorb motion from a partner and keep you less disturbed at night.

Testing the motion transfer

Based on Our Review

This mattress cradled my joints well during testing. I also like the cooling features on the mattress. I think combo sleepers will enjoy the feel of this mattress.

Koala Mattress's Cover

Edge support of the Koala Matttress

Why You Should Trust Me

We have extensively tested many mattresses and spent countless hours researching the mattress industry and its latest technologies. As a result, we know what makes up the best types of beds and which sleepers they suit best. Regarding bad backs, a mattress with excellent support and pressure relief makes all the difference. That’s why during our reviews, we looked for these aspects specifically. You can learn more about how we test mattresses here.

What Makes a Good Mattress for Back Pain?

Back pain can be triggered by literally everything.

Everyday slouching at the office desk, having excess weight, being exposed to vibration, or simply training too actively at the gym can lead to sore back (1).

In fact, even your mattress might be the culprit of the bad back. Old beds (7 years and up) often have indentations and uneven surface that fails to properly support your spine and can lead to strains in deep muscles.

However, the mattress can also be the cure for your pain.

If you choose a suitable one, that is. But what makes a good mattress for a bad back? And how can such a simple bedroom “accessory” help you alleviate the pain?

Well, there are a couple of aspects that may play a huge role when it comes to back pain:

  • Support. A mattress that can properly support you will make sure that your back doesn’t curve during the night. Instead, a supportive mattress should keep your spine aligned properly and in a neutral position, reducing the stress and aiding pain alleviation. It’s a high level of support, usually from a firmer feel, that marks some of the best mattresses in a box in Australia.

In my opinion, the ideal mattress support should be tailored to your sleeping position.

  • Conforming. Close conforming means that the mattress material can fill in the natural curves of your body. This typically leads to pinpoint support and proper weight distribution. And when the weight of your body is evenly distributed, there’s less (or even no) pressure building up in certain parts during sleep. As a result, pressure relief often allows for less strain on sore parts of one’s back and pain alleviation.
  • Cradling. If your back pain is accompanied by sore pressure points or tender joints, your ideal mattress for a bad back should be cradling enough. In this case, the top comfort layer will gently hug the tender body parts and won’t be likely to cause any more pain.
  • Durability. This aspect is crucial not only because a new mattress can be a rather pricey purchase. Less durable models can develop premature sagging, body indentations, and an uneven sleeping surface. As a result, you won’t be able to receive proper support anymore, which may be responsible for a few unpleasant “side effects”. They can include back curvature during sleep, strain, pressure-build-up, stiffness, and of course, increased pain levels. Good mattress thickness, as well as reinforced coils or dense memory foam, can help combat a saggy mattress and increase durability.

On top of that, there’s a big chance of you starting to sleep better once you get a new mattress. And as your sleep quality improves, it may also positively affect your pain levels (since poor sleep is often associated with aggravated pain) (2).

Best and Worst Mattress Types for Bad Backs

A mattress type is the first factor people pay attention to, and there’s a reason for that:

The materials used for making the mattress will directly influence its qualities and durability.

So, how do the most common mattresses for bad backs in Australia work for pain relief?

Let’s see!

  • Memory foam. Traditional viscoelastic foam invented by NASA is well-known for top-notch pressure relief. Memory foam mattresses are a great pick for a variety of back issues, as they can adapt to your body curves in any sleeping position. However, traditional memory foam is temperature-sensitive, which means it uses your body heat to soften, thus becoming prone to hot sleeping.

I think hot sleepers can enjoy the benefits of memory foam by using a bed with cooling features or a gel-infused topper.

  • Foam. Polyfoam is a more modern alternative to viscoelastic foams. It has an open-cell structure and feels more like a sponge. You can meet polyfoam padding in the sofas or medical chairs, and its use in the mattresses has become pretty common in recent years. Polyfoam traps less heat than memory foam and offers roughly the same amount of cradling, so it can work for bad backs as well.
  • Latex. Latex is basically a vulcanized rubber tree sap. It also has a foamy structure but the feel is very different from synthetic foams. Latex is denser and more springy, however, it can instantly adapt to your body shape and support the spine. Also, latex has an open-cell structure, so you can expect refreshing sleep. Latex materials are some of the best mattresses for hot sleepers due to their natural heat-dispersing qualities.
  • Hybrids. Hybrids are the mattresses that combine coils and foams in different variations. Typically, hybrids have at least 2 comfort layers above the coil core, which contributes to good cradling and pressure relief. The core layer also perfectly distributes weight across the mattress surface, thus eliminating pressure points.
  • Innerspring. Spring mattresses belong to the cheapest ones, and that can be explained by their simple construction. Most innerspring mattresses have a coil core and a comfort layer (typically quite thin) on top. Innerspring mattresses can deliver bouncy, responsive support and usually work great for hot sleepers thanks to their increased breathability. However, when it comes to back pain, spring mattresses might not work for everyone. Why? Because this type doesn’t offer that much cradling or cushioning, which might cause tender pressure points (especially in side sleepers). Due to that, a spring mattress may work the best for stomach or back sleepers who prefer firmer and resilient sleeping surfaces.

I think heavy sleepers weighing over 250 pounds will like the stability and support of innerspring mattresses

Bottom line:

Any mattress type can become your ally in relieving back pain, as long as you learn about its weak and strong points and know what to expect.

How to Choose a Mattress for Bad Backs?

We all have different sleeping preferences and the meaning of a perfect bed. Especially when the back pain messes with our slumber.

That’s why choosing a top-rated mattress for a bad back in Australia only by its type might work for some but others may need a more detailed approach.

So, here’s the list of important considerations that will ease your shopping.

Firmness

It’s no surprise that different back issues may require different mattress firmness. For example:

  • People with degenerative disc disease are advised to sleep on their stomach and choose a firmer mattress.
  • Those with osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis feel most comfortable on their side, so the mattress should have enough cushioning to cradle their hips and shoulders.
  • People with herniated discs may choose between different sleeping positions, depending on which part of the disc is affected, so they may choose a mattress that feels good for mixed sleepers (3).

However, choosing the right model depends not only on your health problems — although it’s surely a priority — but also on your weight and preferred sleeping position.

Here are the general recommendations:

  • Soft. These are models with the most cradling and moldability. Soft mattresses are perfect for lightweight sleepers, as they don’t create sore points. Side sleepers and small back sleepers with back pain may also benefit from a soft bed.
  • Medium/medium-firm. These mattresses are the best pick for most users regardless of their weight and sleeping position (4). They’re firm enough to support your spine without making awkward curves and ensure a good hug and pressure relief for protruding parts of your body.
  • Firm. Firm mattresses have a rather floating feel with little to no cradling. These mattresses are typically made of denser foams or thicker coil layers, which means that they can withstand the larger weight and make a great pick for heavy users. Also, a firmer mattress can support the natural curve in your lumbar area if you sleep on your stomach.

Thermoregulation

You already know that heat removal during sleep is the guarantee of restorative sleep. So, if you need a truly cooling mattress, here are the features to pay attention to:

  • Breathable core. Pocketed coils, natural latex, or open-cell polyfoam are a good choice. These materials allow some air inside the mattress and wick away body heat.
  • Infused foams. Opt for comfort layers made of the same natural latex, gel-infused foams, or memory foam with copper or graphite particles. Comfort layers with convoluted design may also work for you.
  • Natural or semi-natural fabrics. Natural cotton, Tencel lyocell made of eucalyptus leaves, or bamboo rayon are highly breathable and can absorb high amounts of moisture without feeling wet. Also, look for removable covers that make it easier to maintain a fresh look of your mattress.

Now, allow me to explain why getting a temperature-neutral mattress is important. First of all, sleeping with pain is super uncomfortable, to say the least. But if you add night sweats to the equation, you can probably forget about normal sleep for a while. Additionally, certain health conditions (that are often accompanied by back pain) can actually worsen when the temperature is uncomfortably warm (5), which also refers to your sleeping environment.

Edge Support

When sleeping with back pain, it can be hard to find a comfortable position. A mattress with strong edges can give you more chances of finding a suitable position (as you get more sleeping space and extra legroom). Plus, it may come in handy if you share your bed with a partner, especially if they enjoy playing starfish in bed. Typically, mattresses with coils have more pronounced edge support than all-foam beds but you can always find a model with a denser core or pair your chosen mattress with a sturdy bed base. Latex mattresses are also a good choice, assuming you don’t have a strict budget.

Motion Absorption

Another essential quality for couples or overly active sleepers is low motion transfer. Because you don’t want to wake up every time your bedmate decides to shift their position.

Foam mattresses, especially those made of closed-cell memory foam, block unwanted disturbances pretty successfully, so you may want to consider them an option. 

Natural latex is a bit more responsive and springy, so it can make a great pick for those who need just a bit of motion absorption. Finally, coil mattresses might be not the best pick for active sleepers, however, their bounce makes a perfect sex-friendly bed, so the final decision is up to you.

F.A.Q.

What is the best type of mattress for a bad back?

The best mattress for a bad back is the one that can aid proper spinal alignment and pressure relief. Memory foam and latex mattresses are the most popular options in this case, followed by hybrid models.

Is a firm mattress better for a bad back?

It would depend on your preferred sleeping position and body type. For example, side sleepers are recommended to pick softer mattresses in most cases. If you are a back sleeper, you might benefit from using a medium or a medium-firm mattress. As for the least popular position - stomach sleeping - firm mattresses are the most common choice in this case. However, if you are a bit heavier than average (above around 230 pounds), you can try going one step higher for each sleep position to get proper support. And petite individuals (less than 130 pounds) may want to give their preference to slightly softer mattresses for each of the mentioned sleep positions to avoid developing painful pressure points.

Is memory foam good for your back?

Yes, memory foam can adapt to the shape of one’s body and contour it nicely to prevent pressure accumulation and, potentially, pain.

Can a mattress cause back pain?

Yes. If your mattress cannot support your spine in a neutral position, it can cause too much stress on some of its parts, tension build-up, or strain, each of which may lead to pain. This can happen when your mattress is either overly soft or too stiff for your sleeping position and weight.

Conclusion

Sleeping with a bad back should not be something you just have to bear.

Instead, you can create favorable conditions for healthier sleep and pain alleviation by simply getting a proper mattress. And yes, finding the right one can seem challenging, but if you stick to certain guidelines, you’ll be fine.

Make sure you choose the suitable firmness level for your weight and favorite sleep position. Also, think about which mattress type would seem the most comfortable to you. For instance, in case you want a deeper hug, go with memory foam. For fans of resilient pressure relief, latex might be the best choice.

And if you want a nice combination of bouncy support and cradling, consider a hybrid mattress. And don’t forget to check the duration of the in-home trial. After all, it’s better to have more time to test your new mattress and figure out whether it works for you or not. And if the list of options seems too overwhelming to you, allow me to share my absolute favorite - the Emma Comfort Mattress. This model provides unparalleled support and can help make your back feel completely tension-free.  Plus, the Emma Mattress is very well-made and comes in different comfort variations. So, there’s a big chance you will not be disappointed with this mattress.

So, are you ready to “pamper” your bad back and give it a new mattress to sleep on? Which one from the list is your champion? Share your thoughts in the comments!

References

    1. What Causes Back Pain? (n.d.) Retrieved from https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/what-causes-back-pain
    2. Patrick H. Finan, Ph.D., Burel R. Goodin, Ph.D., and Michael T. Smith, Ph.D. (2014, December 1). The Association of Sleep and Pain: An Update and a Path Forward. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4046588/
    3. Richard Staehler, MD. (2017, October 25). Mattresses and Sleep Positions for Each Back Pain Diagnosis. Retrieved from https://www.spine-health.com/wellness/sleep/mattresses-and-sleep-positions-each-back-pain-diagnosis
    4. Hard Mattresses Fail Test for Bad Backs. (2003, November 15). Retrieved from https://www.smh.com.au/national/hard-mattresses-fail-test-for-bad-backs-20031115-gdhs95.html
    5. Colleen Doherty (2020, July 05). How Summer Heat May Worsen Your Chronic Pain. Retrieved from https://www.verywellhealth.com/how-summer-heat-may-worsen-chronic-pain-4140691

Our research

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Mattresses Considered

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Hours of Research

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Sleep Experts Consulted

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4 comments

  1. Is there a specific thickness range that’s proven to be effective for people with bad backs?

    1. The ideal thickness for mattresses when dealing with back issues can vary from person to person. However, many experts recommend a medium-firm mattress in the 8 to 12-inch range. This range tends to provide a good balance of support and comfort for those with bad backs. Still, it’s essential to test different thickness options and see what works best for your unique needs.

  2. I’m concerned about mattress durability. Are there mattresses that can provide long-term support for bad backs without sagging or losing firmness?

    1. Hybrid mattresses, which combine innerspring coils with foam layers, often offer a good balance of support and durability. The coil system provides robust support, while the foam layers contour to your body for added comfort.

      Additionally, latex mattresses are known for their exceptional longevity. Natural latex, in particular, can maintain its firmness and support for many years, making it an excellent choice for those with back concerns.

      When shopping for a mattress, consider checking customer reviews and expert opinions on the specific models you’re interested in. These reviews often provide insights into the long-term durability of a mattress. Keep an eye out for certifications like CertiPUR-US or OEKO-TEX, which can indicate the use of quality materials.

      Lastly, don’t forget to follow the manufacturer’s care and maintenance instructions to ensure the longevity of your mattress. Proper care can significantly impact how well a mattress maintains its firmness and support over time.

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