Back pain is an extremely common complaint among adults, and whether you attribute it to poor posture, carrying too much weight, or a recent injury, you may find relief by investing in a better mattress. The difficulty with this, however, is that most of us claim to have a particular mattress preference – some swear by a soft mattress, while others insist that firm is the only way to go – but few base their preference on what type of mattress offers the greatest orthopedic benefits.
How can you determine what kind of mattress can aid your back pain? The best place to start is with the mattress you already have.
Firm Or Soft?
Much like in the fairytale Goldilocks, there are beds that are too firm, beds that are too soft, and then there is the illusive bed that’s just right. When your mattress is too firm, it creates pressure points along your joints and spine and can push your body out of alignment. Conversely, a mattress that’s too soft doesn’t offer enough support to keep your spine aligned while at rest. The ideal mattress falls somewhere in the middle – a medium firmness that cushions the body without yielding too much.
Memory foam mattresses tend to perform better on this scale because unlike traditional mattresses, there aren’t internal springs that can cause those irritating pressure points. Just be careful not to choose an overly soft foam. Mattress brands that allow you to select for firmness within a general model are a good bet – just stay towards the middle firmness among the available options.
Adjust For Comfort
While choosing a moderately firm mattress may be the best choice for managing back pain from a scientific perspective, be careful not to scale too far away from your personal preferences. If you normally sleep on the softest mattress available, jumping to a much greater firmness can disrupt your sleep and actually make your back worse. Sleep is an important part of your body’s ability to heal, so ease yourself onto a slightly more supportive mattress that won’t jeopardize your overall rest.
Test Drive Your Mattress
Don’t just buy a mattress because you read a good review or a friend swore it helped with their back pain. Everyone has different needs and it’s important to go to the store and test out different models.
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, talk to the mattress sales team to find out what their policies are. Many brands offer a limited guarantee – often for up to 100 days – allowing you to take home a mattress and sleep on it for a few weeks. If you’re not happy, take it back and exchange it for a more comfortable model.
You’ll know you’ve found the right mattress when you wake up feeling refreshed and pain free. Just remember – you didn’t develop back pain overnight, and it will take some time for it to go away. Buying a new mattress is just the first part of the journey towards improved health.