In this guide, we will offer advice on how to choose the best mattress for back pain. We will cover the most important features that you need to take into consideration including the likes of firmness, spinal support and type of mattress. We will also take a brief look at the link between backpain and mattresses.
Table of Contents
What Causes Back Pain?
About 80% of people will experience lower back pain at some time in their lives. There are various different causes of back pain and many of them relate to sleep. Stress and anxiety is a major contributor to back pain. If you are under stress you are more likely to have trouble sleeping and may become restless.
When you are tossing and turning you are at more risk of either pulling a muscle or falling asleep in a position that puts strain on your spine. Another common cause of back pain is injury to the lumbar disc and surrounding muscles. You may also experience back pain if your spine is not properly aligned either due to some kind of spinal abnormality or from bad posture.
What Does Back Pain Have to do With Mattresses?
There is a strong link between back pain and mattresses. Not only can the mattress you choose help you alleviate your back pain, but if you have an inadequate or old mattress then it could be the root of your problem. Sagging is one thing that can really contribute to back pain. This occurs when one part – usually the middle – becomes over compressed and sits lower than the rest of the mattress.
This can put your spine out of alignments which will cause pain. The greater the depth of the sag the more likely it is to cause back pain. Similarly, if your mattress lacks conforming ability then it can also create pressure points or can put the spine in an unnatural and unsupported position resulting in discomfort.
One of the most important factors when it comes to choosing a mattress for back pain is going to be the level of spinal support that it provides. It is important to note that support and firmness are two different factors. In order to keep your spine properly aligned as you sleep you need a mattress that has adequate support.
You will also need to look at the firmness of a mattress when choosing one that can help to alleviate your back pain. The firmness will depend on the individual, but generally speaking the ideal range for someone with back pain is medium to firm. If firmness was rated on a scale of 1 to 10 you would want a mattress that is between a 5 and a 7 in firmness. This level of firmness will offer just the right amount of resistance while also being soft enough to relieve pressure points.
Flipping & Rotating
Did you know that flipping and rotating your mattress on a regular basis can be beneficial to those suffering from back pain? If you flip and rotate your mattress regularly you will extend its lifespan and stop one area becoming compressed over time. If you are sleeping on the same spot month after month it can gradually start to sag or soften which will have a negative impact on support. However, if you take the time to rotate and flip the mattress it will help to distribute wear and tear more evenly across the whole mattress rather than in the one spot where you usually lie down.
Using a Mattress Topper
A mattress topper can be a great way to make an existing mattress a little more comfortable if you have back pain. If you find that your mattress is too firm then adding a memory foam topper of 1.5 to 2.5 inches thickness could help alleviate some of the pain, but only if the mattress is not sagging. However, while a mattress topper can offer some degree of relief, it will not give the ongoing benefits of having a mattress that is supportive of your spine. A mattress topper can only do so much, and it is not a long term solution to reliving back pain.
|Product Name||Alexander Signature Hybrid||Loom & Leaf Relaxed Firm||Leesa|
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|Owner Satisfaction||Durability||Conforming||Back Pain Relief||No Odor||No Noise||Not Hot||Motion Isolation||Edge Support||Easy To Move On||Low Maintenance|
Different Types of Mattress and How They Affect Back Pain
Latex mattresses usually have a medium to firm level of firmness, although there are soft versions out there, so do look carefully at the firmness rating if you are thinking about getting a latex mattress. The amount of support that is offered is going to depend on whether the support layer makes use of Dunop or Talalay latex. Dunlop latex is known to offer much better support than Talalay. Latex mattresses do usually have a decent amount of conforming ability, but not as much as memory foam. On the downside, latex is known for developing body impressions and softening over time which can undermine the support offered.
Memory foam could be a great option if you have back pain. Memory foam has good conforming ability which will help to support the body without creating pressure points. The majority of memory foam mattresses are medium to medium firm, which is about right for those with back pain. You will also find that they offer a good level of support. However, memory foam mattresses are prone to sagging, softening and loss of support – although not to a huge extent.
A innerspring mattress will usually offer a fair amount of support, but sagging is a major issue with 20% of innerspring mattress owners saying sagging to an extent that support is compromised occurs within the first 3 years of owning the mattress. Since support is so important in relation to back pain this may not be a good choice if you have a bad back. Conforming ability varies, but those with a thick enough comfort layer can offer a decent amount.
How to Evaluate a Mattress
When you are choosing a mattress that is suitable for someone with back pain, there are a number of things that you need to evaluate. The main priority is going to be that the mattress offers enough support to keep your spine in alignment. A good level of compression support is going to be the best possible option to help with back pain. You will also want to evaluate the firmness level, looking for a medium-firm option that ranks between 5 and 7 on a scale of 1 to 10.
A decent amount of contouring or conformity is preferable as this can improve how much support is offered. It is also worth noting that a restful night of sleep will prevent tossing and turning, so look out for mattresses that perform well in terms of heat retention too as this will help to avoid discomfort through the night which can also result in pain.
In conclusion, finding the right mattress could really help to alleviate that back pain you have been suffering from. It is important to look for mattresses that target the key factors that can contribute to back pain. Look for great support, conformity to the body and a medium to firm level of firmness. No two people are exactly alike, so there really is no ‘perfect’ mattress for back pain, but looking at these areas is going to help you to better evaluate what you need and find a mattress that is comfortable for you.