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Anyone living with back pain understands how important a good night's sleep can be and, on the other hand, how damaging it is when you wake up feeling uncomfortable. While there are many causes of back pain, no matter how it started, you need to make sure that the mattress that you sleep on every night is tailored for your needs . But finding the one that works for you is often easier said than done.
'There is no' best kind 'mattress for back problems, so you may need to do some trial and error, ”says Dr. Gregory Funk, chiropractor and owner of Ideal Health Chiropractic in Denver. "At the end of the day, you should look for a mattress that not only suits your personal preferences, but can also provide adequate support for natural curves and spinal alignment ."
Here are the best mattresses for back pain on the market.
Those who suffer from back pain who want to appreciate the design and choice should pay attention to the Saatva Classic mattress ( Saatva view ). The hybrid composition of the mattress combines the best of memory foam, pillowcases and dual coil systems to maintain a healthy spine and relieve back and joint pain. It's available in three different reliability levels and comes with a 180-day trial, so you can safely test it before making your final decision.
If you are looking for an option that is a bit more affordable but still offers great support, Linenspa's Memory Foam Hybrid Mattress (see Linenspa ) is another great option.
What to look for in a mattress for back pain
Memory foam has become extremely popular. Although most of us associate this material with Tempur-Pedic brand, it is widely used by other mattress brands.
Aptly named, memory foam sinks wherever you apply pressure and forms that shape, bouncing when you remove it. As a result, these mattresses provide uniform support for the entire spine, ”says Steve Knauf, Executive Director of Chiropractic and Compliance, The Joint Chiropractic . It's also great for isolating movement, meaning you won't be disturbed when your partner or dog is moving around in the middle of the night. In addition, it is hypoallergenic.
Memory foam mattress can be made of several different materials, which have their pros and cons:
Traditional memory foam is a petroleum-based polyurethane foam. It is temperature sensitive, so it softens with your body heat and stands firm in a cool place, making it ideal not only for keeping your body in shape, but also for isolating movement. However, it also retains body heat, which can disrupt sleep for some .
Plant-based memory foam is made from coconut, soy, and other plant materials, making it vegan, sustainable, and environmentally friendly. These materials also tend to return to their original state more quickly, making them great for shaping around your body as you move around at night.
Memory effect gel mattresses are covered with a gel layer. This adds comfort and breathability. Although memory foam can be quite hot from your body heat, the gel allows more air to circulate, making the sleeping surface cooler. They also return to their original shape very quickly after weight loss.
Coil mattresses (also called springs) are the most traditional and most common mattresses available. This is largely because they have almost always been the leading mattress type.
The mattress consists of a series of steel coils that contract when you sit or lie on them. The shape, size, and number of coils vary from mattress to mattress, and there are several coil options: continuous, Bonnel, offset, and pocket. But in general, the more coils, the higher quality and support.
The main advantage of this type of mattress is that it is the most affordable option (except for an air mattress). Knauf notes that it is also very durable and keeps you cool because it has more space for air to circulate.
However, coil beds also tend to wear out faster, so while you can get them cheaper, you'll need to replace them sooner to maintain proper column support. Also, spiral beds can squeak, so it's not an ideal choice if you or your partner move around a lot at night.
Like mattresses, bedspreads themselves are made from a variety of materials, weights, and thicknesses. Polyester blends are a decent option and tend to be the cheapest, but they don't provide much support and deteriorate quickly over time. Feathers, often called down quilts, look very soft and luxurious, but they don't provide much support for the spine (and many people are allergic to them).
For more spinal support, latex and memory foam are often the best. They add softness or firmness, provide good joint support and control of movement for others in bed.
Natural latex is derived from the sap of the rubber tree, making it a great choice for those concerned about chemicals and environmental impact.
On a mattress, it acts in the same way (but to a lesser extent) than memory foam, due to its ability to follow the contour of your body and return to normal. But it does offer a bit more bounce than full memory foam, so it's good if you don't want the feeling of total immersion. It also retains less heat than memory foam, which can be beneficial for sleep hygiene . In addition, it is hypoallergenic.
Mattresses come in different levels of firmness, from soft to hard like concrete. While many people think that the stronger the better, it is surprising that there is no perfect hardness that can alleviate back pain, says Harrison Linder, MD, a pain specialist at the Center for Interventional Pain Medicine at Mercy Medical Center. in Baltimore. … In fact, one study found that when people were given seven different hardnesses to test, there was no overall favorite. Some people like to sleep on a harder surface, others like a softer one. Dr. Linder says that, in general, people tend to prefer the "medium size" option. "They are generally firm enough to support the sleeper and front sleeper, but still offer some pillow for those who prefer to sleep on their side."
In fact, an analysis of a 2015 Sleep Health study found that medium firm mattresses were the most ideal for quality, comfortable sleep and spinal alignment.
However, this level of firmness was subjective, so it really comes down to what is most comfortable for your body. It is best to check the beds in person.
Ideal resilience is subjective, but support is not. Curves are important for the back: 'Your spine has a natural curve and your mattress should support that natural curve, as well as your whole body,' explains Knauf. When you lie down, there should be no place where your body will not touch the bed.
But we don't all sleep in the same position, so support can look different for everyone. "The goal is to reduce pressure for adequate rest and recovery, while maintaining the correct position of the spine and important structures," says Dr. Linder.
Hard mattresses are often uncomfortable for side divers, Knauf said: They can put pressure on the shoulder and hip joints, leading to restless sleep, stiffness and muscle pain the next day. But people who sleep on their backs or stomachs like it better.
Meanwhile, if you sleep on your back or back, soft mattresses can cause heavier parts of the body (like the pelvis) to sag, causing the upper body to go out of alignment, Knauf explains. Softer mattresses help relieve pressure on the hips and shoulders of side sleepers, Dr. Linder adds.
In a perfect world, we could always test mattresses before buying them. But for various reasons, shopping is not for everyone in person, which leaves us wondering if we would like the mattresses we buy online. For this reason, be sure to read the company's return policy. It's also worth checking to see if the mattress comes with some kind of a set trial period, for example when you can test it for a certain number of nights and return it for a refund if it doesn't work. Also, look for the company's warranty on the mattress. Mattresses can be a great investment and you need to make sure that you can get a repair or replacement if your product is defective.
Mattresses can be incredibly expensive, but there are good, affordable options too. Get one sleep every night, and getting a good (or bad) sleep can make a big difference in the quality of your sleep, so you should invest in one that will help you manage your back pain for years to come.
Frequently asked questions
There's no need. "While experts have recommended a sturdy mattress as the ideal choice for adequate back support, this guide is outdated and largely canceled," said Neil Anand , MD, professor of orthopedic surgery and director of spinal injuries at the Cedars-Sinai Spine Center. in Los Angeles explains. "Instead, you should look for a mattress that supports the natural curve of your spine when you are lying on your side."
So what kind of support should you look for based on the curves of your spine ? "Those with a flatter spine and less spinal curvature are generally better suited for a firmer mattress, while those with a wider spinal curve generally do better with more cushioning," said Dr. Jordan Duncan. , Chiropractor and owner of Silverdale Sport & as reported by Get Meds Info , Spine Clinic in Silverdale, Washington.
And while people with back pain may prefer to sleep on an especially firm mattress, this is not always the case. 'A hard mattress can cause discomfort in the neck, shoulders and pelvic area, as it puts unnecessary pressure on these points of the body, "explains Dr. Funk.
Ultimately, it depends on the type of mattress you have, but according to Duncan, a good rule of thumb is to replace the mattress every eight to ten years. "Worn and sagging mattresses do not provide the right level of support for people with back pain," he says.
Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. "If you've reached a certain point where you constantly wake up with back pain , then it's time to think about buying a new mattress," explains Dr. Funk. "However, there are many factors that contribute to back pain, so your mattress may not always be the cause."
To help you determine if your mattress is causing you back pain , Dr. Funk recommends developing the habit of analyzing your sleep and evaluating the condition of the mattress approximately every six months using the following questions:
- Are there signs of wear on the mattress?
- Has your sleep quality declined recently?
- Do you wake up with recurring pain?
- When you sleep in a different bed away from home, how does your sleep change?
Mattresses are an investment, so be sure to take care of them. "The mattress should last seven to ten years," says Knauf. You can increase its shelf life by:
- Change your mattress every six months. Raise your head to toe from time to time to avoid bulging or compression in certain areas.
- Don't jump on the bed. Obviously this can speed up the loading on the coils or help compress the foam and latex.
- Place a waterproof mattress cover between the mattress and the sheets to prevent dirt or water from getting in and mold from forming.
What the experts say
'If you are considering investing in a new mattress, the number of options and the amount of conflicting information on choosing the' right 'type can be overwhelming, especially if you are likely spending a significant amount of money. It's a decision you don't want to be wrong because you will have to live with it for years to come. And if you're looking for a bed for yourself and your partner, the choice becomes even more difficult because you're trying to make two people feel comfortable. " – Neil Anand , MD, professor of orthopedic surgery and director of spinal injuries at the Cedars-Sinai Spine Center in Los Angeles.
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Camryn Rabido regularly participates in outlets such as Martha Stewart, InStyle, Food52, Taste of Home, USA Today, The Spruce and others. She also regularly writes product reviews for Reviewers, reviewing today's hottest gadgets and essentials. She earned her BA in Textiles, Merchandising, and Design from the University of Rhode Island.
Additional information to this story by Rachel Schultz and Elizabeth Yuko
As a seasoned health writer and editor, in addition to insomnia and recurring back pain, Elizabeth Yuko understands how important the right mattress is. She is always looking for new (and research-backed) products, methods, and services that can help people deal with sleep problems, stress, and other health issues.
Rachel Schultz is a freelance health and nutrition writer. His articles have appeared on several other health websites and he has a degree from Savannah College of Art and Design. He specializes in turning scientific and medical jargon into digestible information.