We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our site. Cookies are files stored in your browser and are used by most websites to help personalise your web experience.

By continuing to use our website without changing the settings, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more
For more information, go to

Should I have a firm mattress if I have ankylosing spondylitis?

Q) I wonder if you have any advice for the degree of mattress firmness for someone with ankylosing spondylitis? My back aches first thing in the morning but improves as I become more physically active. I believe this is normal. Recently we had a holiday and my back was much better when I got up. I don’t know if this was due to a more suitable mattress or because I was free from my usual manual labour on our farm!
M K Milner, Wimborne, Dorset (Winter 2009)

A) Ah holidays! They always make you feel better. That's why we take them. I hear this many, many times a year, usually after the summer period. I don’t know of any studies on mattress firmness in ankylosing spondylitis. The symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis tend to be worse first thing in the morning. In fact, patients usually tell me the worse the night they have, the less stiff they are in the morning. So maybe that disco down below your hotel room was keeping you awake to good effect!
For more information, go to or call 0300 790 0400 to order the complete printed booklet.
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.