Orthopaedic Mattresses

Best Orthopaedic Mattresses UK (2024)

Last updated: 02.11.2023 Reading time: 7 Min.

Almost everyone will be familiar with back and neck pain.

Of course, day-to-day stresses and the way you sleep influence this, but the mattress you choose also plays a significant role.

One of the best ways to combat back and neck pain effectively is by choosing a high-quality orthopaedic mattress.

In this article, we elaborate on common causes of back and neck pain.

We also guide you in choosing the best orthopaedic mattresses to help with back and neck pain.

Orthopaedic Mattresses

The best orthopaedic mattresses in the UK

Best For Side Sleepers

Simba Hybrid

The Simba Hybrid mattress is a high-quality pocket-sprung mattress with multiple layers of foam.
  • Simbatex & Aerocoil springs
  • 25 cm (10 inches)
  • Medium-firm 

Tell me more about the Simba Hybrid

The Simba Hybrid is an award-winning hybrid pocket sprung foam mattress by Simba Sleep. 

This is a medium-firm mattress that's an excellent choice for a wide range of sleepers but is particularly suited to side sleepers. 

The Simba mattress is supportive enough to prevent a build-up of tension but also soft enough to allow your body to sink in where necessary.

This allows for optimal spinal alignment. 

The Simba Hybrid mattress comes with an antibacterial hypoallergenic cover, which is removable and machine-washable.

The Simba comes with free delivery, a 200-day risk-free trial period, and a 10-year guarantee. 

Reasons to buy

200-night sleep trial

10-year guarantee 

Excellent support for side sleepers 

Washable cover 

Reasons to avoid

May be too soft for larger builds

Best For Back Sleepers

Emma NextGen Premium Mattress

The Emma NextGen Premium Mattress offers excellent 7-zone support.
  • Halo memory foam, Airgocell foam & pocket springs
  • 25 cm (9.8 inches)
  • Medium feel

Tell me more about the Emma NextGen Premium mattress

The Emma NextGen Premium mattress includes pocket springs for improved airflow and support, a 7-zone design for adaptive support, and a Halo memory foam that responds to your body's shape. 

While the mattress promotes enhanced airflow, our tester observed that its breathability might not suffice for particularly hot sleepers.

Unfortunately, the foam layers on our test mattress didn't fully expand,  causing some springs to be felt when pressure was applied.

However, Emma's customer service team promptly resolved the issue by sending a new Emma NextGen Premium mattress. 

The mattress also has limited edge support, meaning you may experience a roll-off feel if you sleep on the edge of your bed.

Despite this, the mattress was still comfortable and provided a great night's sleep. 

Reasons to buy

200-night trial period 

10-year guarantee

Machine-washable cover

Reasons to avoid

Limited edge support 

The mattress didn't expand fully during our test 

May be too warm for some sleepers

Luxury Option

DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid

The DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid mattress is a 5-layered premium mattress.
  • Memory foam & pocket springs
  • 28 cm (11 inches)
  • Medium-firm

Tell me more about the DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid

The DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid is a premium mattress from the same company that makes the Nectar memory foam mattress.

It combines high-quality memory foam with full-size pocket springs (called ActiveEdge coils), each measuring 15 cm (5.9 inches).

This is an orthopaedically designed mattress with medium-firm support to help eliminate back, neck, and shoulder pains.

The mattress offers enhanced breathability to help keep you cool and refreshed all night long. 

It also has low motion transfer and great edge support, making it an excellent choice for couples.

Reasons to buy

365-day trial period

Lifetime warranty

Excellent motion isolation for couples

Reasons to avoid

Extra deep sheets required 

Too firm for lightweight side sleepers

The cover is not removable 


Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

The Nectar is a luxurious memory foam mattress suitable for most people and sleeping positions.
  • Memory foam & cold foam 
  • 25 cm (10 inches)
  • 365-day trial period
  • Made in the UK

Tell me more about the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

The Nectar memory foam mattress is one of our favourite mattresses.

It features 3 layers of high-quality, high-density memory foam for optimal spinal alignment, pressure relief, and comfort.

The base layer also has 7 contour zones to enhance its ergonomic design and keep your body in a healthy sleeping position. 

The Nectar mattress features a breathable, cooling cover, but it isn't machine-washable.

We'd suggest using a mattress protector to safeguard your mattress against stains, spills, and bacteria.

The Nectar mattress comes with free delivery & returns, a revolutionary 365-day trial period, and a "forever warranty". 

Reasons to buy

Lifetime warranty

Exceptional comfort for average-weight & lighter sleepers

Free 3-day shipping 

Reasons to avoid

The cover is not washable 

May be too warm for hot sleepers 

Why should you choose an orthopaedic mattress?

There are numerous reasons people suffer from back and neck pain.

It can as easily affect the elderly as it does a student hard at work, studying for tests bent over at his desk, or a middle-aged employee working a 9-5 office job.

It is safe to assume that each age group has its own reasons for suffering from back pain - but we can all do something about the reasons that are actually in our control, like a bad mattress or an old slatted frame.

To ensure pain-free sleep, it is important that you are well supported by a mattress that takes the pressure off your back and keeps your spine straight.

This is definitely something a good orthopaedic mattress can help with.

It may not be the only solution to the problem, but it is already a first step in the right direction.

Specifically designed to offer excellent support and superior comfort, an orthopaedic mattress has many advantages.

These include:

  • Optimal support and comfort
  • Firm surface to help reduce rotational movements
  • Uniform body weight distribution to prevent the build-up of pressure points, particularly in the neck, back, and hip areas
  • Correct spinal alignment to help relieve stress on the spine and reduce back pain
  • Helps you adopt a good posture during your sleep, promoting healthier blood circulation throughout the night

Can an orthopaedic mattress eliminate the causes of back pain?

The way you sleep is not the only reason you may suffer from back pain.

Therefore, mattresses alone won't solve the problem entirely.

Let's discuss some of the main reasons for back pain.

You'll see that, for many of these, a good mattress will offer little help.

  • Stress: This often triggers neck and back pain. The best way to relieve this pain is to relax, pay attention to a healthy diet, play a sport, or get a massage.
  • Muscle problems: Back pain is often due to strains, slipped discs [1], and other muscular problems. In this case, it is best to seek out medical advice.
  • The curvature of the spine: Many people have bad posture by nature, and many more adopt it in their everyday office life. Uneven posture can, in worst-case scenarios, lead to permanent back pain. In such cases, you should discuss the right orthopaedic mattress with a doctor.
  • A mattress or slatted frame that has been worn out: This is a very common cause of neck and back pain. Many people go years without changing their mattress, which is a huge mistake. Sometimes, they buy products of inferior quality. A bad mattress or a bent slatted frame can both lead to back pain as the spine will be brought into an uneven alignment. This creates pressure points and leads to tension.
  • The wrong mattress: Even if you invest in a decent mattress, it is possible to get one that's not right for you. The mattress may be too firm or doesn't offer enough sinkage. Or, it may be too soft and allow for too much sinkage, which creates a hollow back. An area-elastic mattress, which cannot reduce pressure points, may also lead to tension.

Criteria for choosing an orthopaedic mattress

A good orthopaedic mattress can relieve or even completely eliminate back pain.

Ideally, a quality orthopaedic mattress is made of pressure-reducing materials and offers sufficient bounce, sinkage, and support to keep your spine in a healthy alignment and relieve tension.

The right degree of firmness to relieve pressure

The right degree of firmness will depend on your body type and preferred sleeping position.

In general, though, people sleeping on their side need more sinkage than those sleeping on their backs or stomachs and thus need a softer mattress.

Heavier-weight people or those sleeping solely on their backs or stomachs need more support, especially in the pelvic area, and should thus choose a firmer model.

A high-quality orthopaedic mattress not only has the right degree of firmness but it also incorporates pressure-reducing materials.

Ideally, it should be very point-elastic. That way, the spine will remain in a healthy, straight alignment, which will aid tension release.

Orthopaedic mattress


A good orthopaedic mattress needs to be very comfortable.

Yet, it must support the body sufficiently, especially on pressure points such as the shoulder and pelvic regions.

When purchasing, pay attention to the density of the mattress (weight per m³).

The higher the density, the better.

The right size

Choosing the right mattress size is essential for superior comfort.

The right size depends on your needs and preferences.

Do you sleep alone or with your partner? Are you tall or short? What is the size of your bedroom?

The most common mattress sizes for couples are 135 x 190 cm, 150 x 200 cm, 180 x 200cm, and 200 x 200cm.

The most common mattress sizes for singles are 90 x 190cm, 135 x 190 cm, and 150 x 200cm.

The choice and quality of the material

A good orthopaedic mattress relieves pressure points.

Anti-pressure material, such as memory foam, latex, gel foam, or cold foam, is particularly suitable.

All of these materials have a high elasticity to relieve tension.

Look for point elasticity in your mattress. This means that the mattress only gives way where the body exerts direct pressure on the mattress.

This helps relieve tension.

Springs offer great support, memory foam promotes relaxation, and latex is number one in terms of elasticity.

A popular variant of an orthopaedic mattress is the 7-zone cold foam mattress.

Its integrated comfort zones ensure that you sink deeper into the mattress in heavier body areas, such as the loins and pelvis.

You are simultaneously supported in lighter areas, such as the head and neck.

But even mattresses without zoning often have excellent ergonomic properties.

Is an orthpaedic mattress suitable for me?

An orthopaedic mattress would be suitable for most sleepers as it provides great support and pressure relief to help reduce aches and pains.

It will be especially suitable for you if:

You suffer from back and joint pain

The firm surface of an orthopaedic mattress promotes healthy posture, spinal alignment, and pressure relief.

You like a firm sleeping surface

If you simply prefer the feel and support of a firm mattress, then an orthopaedic mattress will be a good choice.

Note, though, that firm mattresses aren't for everyone.

It is important to choose the right degree of firmness and support for you.

What density should I choose for my orthopaedic mattress?

It is important to consider the density of a mattress.

This is important for the mattress to properly maintain your body weight and prevent back pain.

  • 24 kg / m³ mattresses are for children under 10 years of age.
  • 35 kg / m³ mattresses are for medium-weight sleepers.
  • Mattresses over 40 kg / m³ are for ideal heavier-weight people to properly maintain healthy spinal alignment.
  • Mattresses over 80 kg / m³ are for couples with a large build and chronic back pain.

When choosing your mattress, you should also look at the contour or support zones.

In general, mattresses sold in specialised stores have only 3 support zones: head, back, and legs.

It is easier to find online mattresses with five support zones - head, shoulders, back, thighs, and feet.

The latest technology mattresses offer two additional support zones, the calves and the kidneys, bringing the total to 7 contour zones.

How long should I keep a mattress for?

A good mattress can help eliminate back pain.

Choosing the right mattress is important but you also need to pay attention to its lifespan and gradual deterioration.

A synthetic mattress should be changed every 6 or 7 years. A natural latex mattress can be kept for 10 - 12 years.

A new mattress offers innovative materials with good support, which will help to reduce back pain.

However, over the years, your mattress will age and its contour zones will sag.

No matter the quality or material of your mattress, it is important to change your mattress at least every 10 years.

Not sure what to do with your old mattress? We have detailed ways to dispose of your old mattress.


In our opinion, the Emma Original mattress is a wonderful orthopaedic model.

It offers excellent value for money, adapts well to the body, and reduces overall tension in the body.

That said, it a little on the soft side.

Choose an orthopaedic mattress that's right for you, depending on your budget and sleeping preferences.

If you do suffer from chronic back pain, you may want to seek the advice and guidance of a medical professional.

And remember that it is always worth investing - this does affect your health and wellbeing, after all.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is an orthopaedic mattress?

    An orthopaedic mattress is a mattress designed to support the spine and back muscles.

    It will support your body well and distribute the weight of your body over the entire mattress.

    By sleeping on a good orthopaedic mattress, you'll experience more restful sleep and be less likely to suffer from back pain. 

    Overall, an orthopaedic mattress is a mattress that's good for back pain.

  • How do I choose a good orthopaedic mattress?

    To choose a good orthopaedic mattress, we would recommend that you look at the composition of the mattress in question, the quality of materials used, and the density of those materials.

    We would recommend a high-density foam mattress.

    The higher the density, the greater the support the mattress can offer.

    If you don't want to invest in a new mattress, you could also add an orthopaedic mattress topper to your existing mattress.

  • Why is my mattress giving me back and neck pain?

    A mattress can cause back and neck pain if it is worn out, of poor quality, or not the right fit for your body.

    Your sleeping position may also be at fault, especially if you're sleeping on your stomach

  • Is a firm mattress better?

    A firm mattress isn't necessarily the best choice.

    If a mattress is too firm for you, your body won't sink in easily enough, which can cause misalignment of the spine and create tension.

    This, in turn, can lead to back and neck pain. 

  • Choose the right pillow to prevent neck pain

    In addition to choosing a good orthopaedic mattress, it is also necessary to pay attention to the pillow you're using.

    Neck pain can be caused by a bad sleeping position or a bad pillow, both of which can create a misalignment between the neck and the spine, resulting in tension.

    An orthopaedic pillow can help prevent neck pain.

  • References



Editor & Certified Sleep Therapist

Nicky is an experienced writer and editor with numerous qualifications. As a certified sleep coach, her interests lie in understanding how sleep problems arise from hormonal and environmental issues, particularly as part of stress and anxiety management.

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