3 years ago

How To Choose The Right Latex Mattress Topper For Your Back 

A latex mattress topper can ease back pain by adding more firmness, spring, and support to a bed that's too soft. Here's what you need to know to pick a good one.

My Top Pick

Pure Green Natural Latex Mattress Topper - Medium Firmness - 2 Inch - Queen Size (GOLS Certified Organic)

The best latex mattress topper for back pain

The latex mattress topper from Pure Green is top dog here, as it's dense, breathable, and provides great spring and support for your body throughout the night

This article contains affiliate links from which we may earn a commission when you buy.

Sleeping on a mattress that is too soft can be a killer for your back, as your body can sink too far into it and throw your spine out of alignment.

Which places extra pressure and strain on your neck, back, and shoulders.

And can mean mornings where you wake up with all sorts of aches and pains.

However one way to correct the problem without breaking the bank on a new mattress is to use a latex mattress topper.

As this can add the firmness and support you need to keep you aligned and healthy during the night.

Which allows you maintain a healthy sleeping posture and relieve any pressure or strain on your back, hips and shoulders.

However not all latex mattress toppers are created equally.

So you need to know what to look for when buying one to make sure you get the best one to help get rid of your back pain.

And this is exactly what we'll show you how to do in this article.

The Benefits Of Using A Latex Mattress Topper

Latex mattress toppers are great for people with back pain, as they offer a good mix of support and comfort.

And this is especially important if your mattress feels too soft.

As by firming it up with a latex topper you can keep your spine aligned and relieve the pressure on your hips, shoulders, and lower back as you sleep.

Which will help to get rid of any aches and pains in the morning.

And this extra support and spring will also help you to get a better night's sleep, which allows your body to rest, heal, and repair itself during the night.

So your back should feel much healthier in no time.

And there are also plenty of additional benefits of using a latex mattress topper, such as:

  • The spring of the latex pushes back against your body weight as you lie on it, which helps you to maintain a healthy sleeping posture and relieve pressure on your body.
  • Latex is a durable and long-lasting material, so won't sag or lose it's shape.
  • They are cool to sleep on, being breathable and made with open cells so they won't trap body heat.
  • Most latex toppers are also healthy to sleep on and good for the environment (especially 100% natural latex).
  • There are no VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in natural latex, meaning less air pollution and healthier indoor air quality for your bedroom.
  • They are easy to move around on so you won't feel stuck during the night.
  • Latex is good for eliminating motion transfer so you won't disturb your partner during the night.
  • However when you do want to disturb your partner the spring and bounce of the latex can be a great assistant when it comes to having sex!

So latex mattress toppers sound pretty good right?

However while they can be great for those of us with back pain, there are a few downsides that mean they won't be for everyone.

  • Good quality latex mattress toppers can be quite expensive.
  • Some people may be allergic to latex.
  • Latex can feel a bit too firm for some people to sleep on comfortably.
  • Certain blends of latex may contain harmful chemicals (stick to 100% natural latex to be on the safe side).

But by making sure you are suited to them and choosing the right type of latex topper, you can reap the rewards for both the health of your back and your overall sleep quality.

However it's not as easy as simply going out and buying any old one.

As there are different choices you need to make, such as whether to go for natural or synthetic blended latex, or latex made by the Talalay or Dunlop process method.

And this can make things a little confusing.

So I'll go through both of these now to give you a better idea of what they mean.

Natural vs Synthetic Blended Latex

Milky sap is harvested from rubber trees to make natural latex.

There is a big difference between buying a natural latex topper or one made with a synthetic blend of latex, both in terms of overall quality and for your health too.

So if you can, always stick to buying only 100% natural latex.

Unfortunately many toppers are cleverly marketed as being 'natural latex' despite actually being made from synthetic blends.

So when shopping around you need to be aware of this and make sure you know exactly what is in the latex before you commit to buying your new topper.

Natural Latex

Constructed using only the milky sap harvested from rubber trees, natural latex is the healthiest option for both your bedroom and the environment.

This is due to the fact that unlike synthetic latex blends it contains no harmful chemicals or synthetic fillers.

Which means:

  • There isn't any off-gassing during manufacturing, which keeps air pollution down and is great for the environment.
  • It will be low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds) meaning the indoor air quality of your bedroom will remain healthy, warding off things like headaches, asthma and other respiratory problems.
  • There won't be the chemical odour that can come from synthetic latex.

So if you want a truly healthy and safe night's sleep then natural latex is the way to go.

And there are also advantages in terms of the quality you are getting.

As natural latex toppers are more durable, resilient​ and springy than synthetic latex toppers.

However while natural latex is clearly the best option in my opinion, it's also more expensive to manufacture and make latex this way.

Which is why many makers of latex choose to mix the sap from the rubber trees with synthetic fillers to cut costs and make it go further.

Synthetic Blended Latex

While diluting the natural latex sap saves manufacturers money and leads to cheaper toppers, it also lowers the quality of the latex and can lead to increased health risks.

This is because synthetic latex blends are mostly made from petroleum-based chemicals and fillers (usually a 60/40 or 70/30 ratio with rubber tree sap).

Which reverses a lot of the good points of the natural latex and creates a topper that:

  • Gives off a lot of off-gassing during the manufacturing process which is harmful for the environment.
  • Contains VOCs from the petroleum-based chemicals, which can emit harmful fumes in your bedroom that cause health problems over time, especially for your respiratory system.
  • Has more of an unpleasant chemical smell.

And on top of this a blended latex mattress topper will also be less durable and resilent than a natural latex one.

However they do have a couple of things going for them.

As blended latex has a greater consistency and will be a bit more dense and firm as a result, which can be good in certain circumstances.

But I'd still strongly recommend paying the extra and making sure you are getting a 100% natural topper instead.

Although I do recommend one synthetic blended latex topper, as the blend in question doesn't contain harmful chemicals so it's much safer than others.

So there are a few 'healthier' blended ones on the market.

Should You Go For Dunlop Or Talalay Processed Latex?

Talalay and Dunlop are not different types of latex, they simply refer to the different processing methods used to actually make the latex.

These methods can be used for processing both natural and synthetic blended latex and make a few subtle differences to the end product.

So it's good to be aware of these differences so you can decide which one you prefer the sound of.​

Because neither is better than the other as such, they just serve slightly different purposes.​

So in short, Dunlop processed latex will be slightly more firm and durable, while Talalay processed latex will be slightly softer and more breathable.

The trick is to pick the one that will suit your needs the best.

But remember to still make sure only 100% natural latex is used if you want to get the healthiest and best quality topper.

Dunlop Processed Latex

To make latex using the Dunlop method the rubber tree sap or blend is poured into a mold and baked.

And no chemicals are added during this process, so when using just rubber tree sap you get a completely natural latex.

The end product is a firm and dense latex that is extremely durable.

Which makes Dunlop processed latex more springy than Talalay processed latex and therefore it can provide a bit more in the way of support.

So if you want an all natural (as long as it contains 100% rubber tree sap), firm and supportive topper, then Dunlop latex is a great choice for your back.

Talalay Processed Latex

Talalay latex on the other hand goes through a slightly different process, as it's poured into a vacuumed mold and flash frozen before being baked.

This gives it a more consistent texture and an airier feel, which makes it softer and more cushioning than Dunlop processed latex.

So Talalay processed latex feels really comfortable to sleep on and is a great option for relieving pressure on your body as you sleep.

And this extra airiness also makes it more breathable so it will sleep cooler too.​

However no latex processed through the Talalay method can ever be 100% natural, as a small amount of chemicals needs to be added to stabilise materials during manufacturing.

So when choosing between Dunlop and Talalay you need to weigh up how important firmness, comfort, coolness, health and eco-friendliness are to you.

But as I said before these differences are very subtle so don't stress out too much about them.

Latex Mattress Toppers We Would Recommend

My Top Pick

Pure Green Natural Latex Mattress Topper - Medium Firmness - 2 Inch - Queen Size (GOLS Certified Organic)

The best latex mattress topper for back pain

The latex mattress topper from Pure Green is top dog here, as it's dense, breathable, and provides great spring and support for your body throughout the night

So now you know how to choose a latex mattress topper that will suit you and be great for the health of your back.

However if you want some specific recommendations from us, then check out our article on the best latex mattress toppers for people with back pain.

Or if you don't want to read through the whole article, you can see which ones came out on top below.

Rounding Up

Using a latex mattress topper is a great way of getting more spring and support from a mattress that is too soft.

And this will make a big difference to the health of your back.

As it will keep your spine in alignment and help you to maintain a healthy sleeping posture during the night.

Which will relieve pressure on your body, as well as allowing you to drift into a deeper, more restorative sleep.

However you need to make sure you get the right latex topper to get the full benefits.

And by understanding the differences between natural and synthetic blends, and the Dunlop and Talalay processes, you can do just that.

Ending up with one that is environmentally friendly, safe to sleep on, and great for your long term health.

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I'm a psychology graduate and a veteran of 5 spinal surgeries. I want to help people learn how to fight back against persistent back pain just like I have.

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