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Best mattress topper for back pain 2024: Get the support you need to sleep easier with these toppers

Our pick of the best mattress toppers to help banish back pain

Back pain can be a real, well, pain in the back. Thankfully, the best mattress toppers can alleviate that stiffness, helping you to sleep better and move more freely in the morning. No more rough nights and mornings spent hunching in pain over your coffee.

Unfortunately, buying a topper to tackle back pain isn’t as straightforward as we would like it to be. Depending on how you sleep, or how heavy you are, for instance, a topper that might aid one person’s back pain could make another’s worse.

Here at Expert Reviews, though, we’ve tested enough bedding to know the ins and outs of mattress toppers. We’ve put together a buying guide to help you find the best topper to curb that back pain, as well as a roundup of some of our favourites from brands such as Panda, Tempur and Dormeo.

READ NEXT: The best mattresses to buy

Best mattress topper for back pain: At a glance

  • Best all-round memory foam topper: Panda Mattress Topper | Buy now
  • Best cheap mattress topper: Silentnight Airmax mattress topper | Buy now
  • Best thick foam topper, if you can afford it: Tempur 7 mattress topper | Buy now
  • Best for breathability: Dormeo Octasmart Deluxe | Buy now

How to buy the best mattress topper for back pain

What type of mattress topper is best for back pain?

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to finding the right mattress topper for back pain. Indeed, there are a number of different things that could be at the root of your back pain. We spoke to Gary Jones, clinic director at PHYSIO 206, and he told us that, when you lay flat on your back, pressure should be spread out evenly between key pressure points. These include the back of your head, between your shoulder blades, the back of your elbows, the base of your bottom and at your heels.

Crucially, a mattress topper will only really be helpful in cases when your mattress is too hard, as a topper won’t ever add support. This makes a mattress topper best suited to those with “lumbar lordosis”, which describes a condition where an individual has a more pronounced curve in their lower back. As Jones explains in our best mattress for a bad back roundup, these people benefit from a softer mattress as a firm bed can exaggerate the curve. If, on the other hand, you have a flat back or “swayback” posture, you’re better off looking for a new, firmer mattress.

Of course, how you sleep can also be an important factor in which mattress topper, or mattress, is best for you. For example, if you sleep on your side (a very common sleeping position, with 41% of us lying in the foetal position), adding a thicker comfort layer will make your mattress better able to accommodate your hips, relieving pressure and helping to align your spine.

There are a range of topper types available, made from synthetic materials such as memory foam or microfibre as well as natural ones such as wool, down or silk. The important thing to remember is that, regardless of what type you choose, a topper will only make your mattress feel softer.

So what if I need something firmer?

If you’re on the heavier side and you’re suffering from back pain, it might be that you’re sinking too deep into your mattress and not getting enough support. If this is the case, slapping on a mattress topper will only make matters worse. Ultimately, you’ll need to buy a new mattress, perhaps something that’s a bit firmer and more supportive than your current one.

READ NEXT: The best mattresses for a bad back

How much should I spend?

As with mattresses, prices of mattress toppers vary significantly. A basic synthetic topper that will add a layer of cushioned comfort to your mattress, such as the Silentnight Airmax featured below, might only set you back around £50 (in a king size).

A memory foam topper, however, will inevitably cost a fair bit more: anywhere between £150 and £1,000 (king size). However, unless you want a luxury foam mattress topper from Tempur, there’s really no need to fork out a grand (in fact, we’d sooner recommend buying a new mattress outright). Instead, there are plenty of more affordable options available, including the Panda topper at £160 in a king size.

Anything else I need to consider?

While a mattress topper can help to alleviate your back pain and put some life into an old mattress, it’s not always going to be a quick fix. You should make sure you’ve got a decent mattress and bed frame, not to mention pillows.

Many of the mattress toppers you’ll read about in our roundup below also come with trial periods, at the end of which you can return your topper for a full refund if it’s not the right one for you. This takes some of the pressure off buying a new topper, and allows you to try it out before committing to it for good.

The best mattress toppers to buy for back pain

1. Panda Memory Foam Mattress Topper: Best all-round memory foam topper

Price: From £90 (single) | Buy now from Panda

Panda’s memory foam mattress topper costs £160 in a king size, making it one of the best-value foam toppers we’ve tested, beaten only on price by the Silentnight Impress (£140 in a king size). If you have the budget to spare the extra £20, we’d definitely recommend opting for the Panda topper: it’s very comfortable, regardless of the position you sleep in, and it isn’t so spongy that you feel like you’re sinking through it. Instead, it offers ample levels of support while accommodating your body’s curves and relieving pressure.

The topper’s cover is made from bamboo, which is a naturally breathable fabric with hypoallergenic and antibacterial properties. Bamboo is also widely considered to be sustainable and eco-friendly. While this claim is sometimes overstated, Panda ensures its bamboo is ethically sourced, grown free from pesticides and free from harsh chemicals.

Not only is this a great-value mattress topper, but it also comes with a 30-night home trial period. If you’re looking to make your first foam topper purchase, it’s a fantastic choice.

Key features – Filling: Memory foam; Machine washable? Cover only; Thickness: 5cm; Sizes: Single to super king, plus EU sizes; Warranty: Ten-year guarantee, plus 30-night home trial

Buy now from Amazon

2. Silentnight Airmax mattress topper: Best cheap mattress topper

Price: From £38 (single) | Buy now from Amazon

Silentnight’s Airmax topper is our favourite budget option and, at less than £50 in a king size, is by far the most affordable option in this roundup. It’s also the only non-foam option here, but the polyester hollowfibre filling adds a decent layer of cushioning on top of a hard mattress.

The Airmax has been designed with mesh sides for improved breathability so you won’t get too hot at night. The whole thing is machine washable, and it also has elasticated straps to secure it in place on your mattress.

Key features – Filling: Polyester; Thickness: 5cm; Machine washable? Yes; Sizes: Single to super king; Warranty: 2 years

Buy now from Amazon

3. Tempur Mattress Topper 7: Best thick foam topper, if you can afford it

Price: From £679 (small single) | Buy now from Tempur

Representing the other end of the spectrum is the Tempur 7 memory foam mattress topper. You can probably buy a new mattress at this price point, but if you’re after a luxury memory foam mattress topper, it doesn’t disappoint.

The 7cm of dense memory foam does an excellent job of molding to your body and providing pressure point relief. Of course, it’s the last thing you’d want to put on a mattress that’s too soft. But if your firm mattress is giving you grief, it’s a great choice. The removable cover can be machine washed at 60°C and, although it hasn’t got corner straps to hold it in place, it’s heavy enough that it won’t budge throughout the night. And although it’s expensive, you do get a lengthy 100-night trial to find out if it’s right for you.

It’s worth bearing in mind, though, that if you’re prone to getting too hot in bed, a memory foam topper as thick and dense as this might not be your best option.

Key features – Filling: Memory foam; Thickness: 7cm; Sizes: Small single to super king; Machine washable? Cover only; Warranty: 10-year guarantee, plus 100-night home trial

Buy now from Tempur

4. Dormeo Octasmart Deluxe: Best for breathability

Price: From £460 (single) | Buy now from Dormeo

As far as memory foam mattress toppers go, Dormeo’s Octasmart Deluxe is rather unique. The 7cm topper contains a layer of foam springs, between two layers of open cell memory foam. These 4cm long springs are designed to provide even support throughout your whole body, with each individual spring responding and adapting to your weight.

Dormeo also claims that its “Octavent” system makes the Octasmart Deluxe eight times more breathable than traditional memory foam. It’s a bold claim but, while testing the topper, it did make for a comfortably cool night’s sleep.

Key features – Filling: Memory foam Octasprings, open cell memory foam; Thickness: 7cm; Sizes: Single to super king; Machine washable? Cover only; Warranty: 8-year warranty, plus 60-night home trial

Buy now from Dormeo

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