It’s already a problem if you have back pain because it can hinder your sleep. But it gets even worse if you’re laying down on the wrong mattress for you. Whether your mattress is giving you sleepless nights or you simply need a new mattress because your current one is old and worn, you want to make sure you will land on the right choice. With so many options available, you can easily fall into a marketing trap. Perhaps you think you don’t have enough money to buy a high quality mattress. These things can be easily remedied if you have the correct information with you.
The Importance of the Right Mattress for Back Pain
It may come as a surprise, but waking up with a back pain is not as uncommon as you think. In fact, it is the most common complaint of people when it comes to musculoskeletal discomfort. More than 80% of people will have this kind of complaint at least once in their life, whether it is upper, middle, or lower back.
A survey conducted by the British Chiropractic Association with over 2,400 participants has the following results:
The same group of people (BCA) urged the people to make sure that their mattress is good for their back complaints. They also conducted another survey which involved some questions about the participants’ mattresses and they discovered:
It is recommended that we should change our mattresses once every seven years. The BCA also encourages people to test the pillows they plan on buying. While it is true that there are several factors to consider before you decide on buying a mattress, which includes your weight and the condition of the mattress, it is imperative that you change your mattress the moment you realize that it is no longer supporting your back.
In America, there are over 31 million who suffer from backaches anytime and about 40% to 60% of them have trouble sleeping because of the pain, based on the findings of the American Chiropractic Association. It is easy to lose sleep if you have back pain and it gets worse if your mattress is the reason for it. Low-quality and uncomfortable mattresses have always been linked to pain and discomfort as we sleep. When you’re in chronic pain, this can prevent us from having a good sleep, which can eventually lead to sleep deprivation. This problem can bring up even more problems, such as sour moods, impaired immunity, and slower metabolism.
Back pain can lead to immobility as you grow older and even when you’re still young, it can keep you from doing any physical activity. People with back pain often struggle with their weight and maintaining their strength as a result. Balance and stamina also become a problem.
It’s not all bad news though, since the right mattress not only gives you a good night’s sleep, but can actually improve it as well. The right mattress can even reduce discomfort and pain – and even alleviate stress. In short, a bad mattress can hinder your sleep, while the right one can improve it. Invest time, effort, and money to obtain the best mattress for you and your back pain to sleep soundly at night.
Is Your Mattress Giving You Back Pains?
There are many causes of back pain and it is hard to pinpoint which exactly is giving you such problem. But there are some clues that can lead to confirming whether your mattress is the one to blame or not:
- If your back pain occurs when you first wake up
- If you start stretching and the pain is gone after 15 to 30 minutes
- If you’re having a hard time sleeping at night
It could be due to an old mattress, so it is generally recommended to replace your mattress after seven years.
Top Characteristics of Mattress to Look For
Needless to say, back pain sufferers have different requirements than people who don’t have such a problem. But there’s another problem to face and that’s finding the RIGHT mattress. There are a number of things to consider before you shell out cash for one particular mattress. You want to make sure that it has the following characteristics:
A. Firm enough
B. Right for your sleep style
C. With maximum spinal support
D. Conforming Ability
Here are some explanations of the above-mentioned qualities.
In the past, doctors would recommend their patients with a very firm mattress. However, times have changed and with enough research, it was proven that this type of mattress isn’t the solution. This may come as a surprise to you, but those who sleep on orthopedic mattresses or those that are considered very hard had the poorest quality of sleep, according to a survey. Meanwhile, those who prefer a medium firm to firm mattress had no difference in their sleep quality.
Aside from very firm mattresses, you should never go for a soft mattress as this can be problematic. It is true that a soft mattress easily conforms to the natural curves of the body, which is generally helpful in aligning the joints in your favor. However, because it is soft, you can also sink very deeply into the mattress, which can lead to twisted joints and this can be painful at night.
The truth of the matter is that firmness is subjective and it can be very misleading. A particular mattress can be firm for you, but not for other people and vice versa. Just remember to avoid a very firm mattress. The important thing is that your body is cushioned and the crucial parts of the body (back, feet and head) are lifted and given the right amount of support.
Here are some ways to know if the firmness of a mattress is right for you:
1. Take advantage of the trial period. Many of the mattresses today offer 30 days trial and this can be enough to evaluate whether the mattress is good for your back pain or not. If possible though, look for a mattress with longer trial period, which can even go as long as 90 to 100 days.
2. Put a plywood board under your current mattress. Before you buy a new mattress, find out if your old mattress is on the softer side and determine if you can sleep soundly on a firmer one than your current mattress. Place a plywood board under the mattress and this will lessen the movement of the bed from the bedsprings.
3. Place your mattress on the floor. If you don’t want to add a plywood board, here’s an alternative. Simply place the mattress directly on the floor and lie down. You can sleep there for a night to test whether you have back pain in the morning or not.
4. Test the mattress in the showroom. Go to a mattress showroom and start feeling the different firmness levels of the mattress. Note though that what could feel comfortable for you for a few minutes may not feel the same for one whole night.
Right for Your Sleep Style
Sleep style refers to whether you are back sleeper, a stomach sleeper, or a side sleeper. The mattress you will buy will depend on which sleep style you prefer:
- If you’re a back sleeper, it is recommended that you go for a “firm enough” mattress, which will give support for your lower back. It is not too firm and not too soft, so that it will be soft in parts that need contouring to your body. A too firm mattress will only push against your spine. Additionally, a too soft mattress will not provide your back with the support it needs.
- Meanwhile, if you’re a side sleeper, you will need a mattress that is slightly softer because it will help cushion the hips as well as your shoulders.
- Many people with back pain sleep on their stomach because they tend to believe that they are avoiding back pain with this style of sleeping. If this is your preferred style, go for a firmer mattress, which will help you stay afloat.
- If you don’t really have a preferred style or you just combine all those styles, this means you move a lot in bed. If this is the case, go for a memory foam mattress, which can provide high motion isolation. At the same time, this type of mattress can provide you with the medium firmness that you need since there are several options for memory foam mattresses.
Chiropractors though recommend that people with back pain sleep on their side or their back to help alleviate the pain.
With Maximum Spinal Support
When it comes to back pains, the most common complaint is in that it occurs in the lower area of the back. But there are also instances where the pain is felt anywhere along the spinal cord and sometimes starting from the neck all the way to the hips. It doesn’t really matter where the pain is because what’s really essential is that your body is flat when you’re lying down with constant support from the surface in an even manner. Your body should also have full contact with that surface in which your entire body weight is distributed uniformly, so as to alleviate stress on your spine.
Achieving the conditions above with your mattress can help maintain the right posture, while making sure that the spine stays aligned. When there’s correct spine alignment, your neck, shoulders, upper, middle, and lower back all remain healthy. In this case, you have to choose a mattress that will not allow any gaps between your body and the top cover’s surface. This way, you get the full support your body needs and you avoid having joint pains in the morning.
Another important factor that should influence your decision as you look for a new mattress is its ability to conform. What this means is that it should be able to conform or mold to the natural curves and contours of the body. When a mattress has excellent confirming ability, it also means that it can support the whole body equally.
The conforming ability of a mattress is important because if it lacks such, there are gaps when it comes to the support it can provide your body. As a result, a part of your body, which is typically the lower back, could become unsupported. When your lower back is unsupported by your mattress, it will be placed in an unnatural position, which can cause stress and pain. Lack of such ability also results to having your shoulders and hips (particularly if you’re a side sleeper) exposed to more pressure than your other body parts. This unequal support can be a significant source of discomfort and more pain.
Mattress Types and Pain Relief Chart
There are a number of mattresses available, which can easily make your shopping experience more difficult. But if you know what kind of mattress to go for as you take in your preferences as well, it will be a little less problem. The most popular these days are memory foam mattresses, but you shouldn’t limit your choice to them even though they are also recommended for back pain sufferers.
To help you identify which mattress type/s you should consider, here is a graph that shows the ability of the mattress types to relieve pain based on compiled data from their users:
Air or Airbeds
One of the major complaints with other types of mattresses is loss of support over time. Some of the mattresses would sag in just a few years and this can cause pains and aches in the back and other parts of the body. Air beds have air chambers inside, which actually provide exceptional conforming ability. What’s more, you can adjust the firmness of the airbed so that it would suit your preference, your sleep position, and the support you need.
Unfortunately, an airbed is not a favorite choice of many people with backache because it does not have the comfort layer present in other beds. As a result, it can be too firm on both the shoulders and hips, especially for people who are thin or up to average size.
The problem with futon mattresses is that they are very firm, especially to people with back pain. As mentioned, you should avoid this level of firmness as it can exacerbate your pain. Futon mattresses though are excellent when it comes to their conforming ability and they also offer good support. However, there are better mattress types out there that can give you more than fair support and conforming ability.
Hybrid mattresses are a combination of memory foam and spring mattresses. They usually provide excellent support for the body. However, it is a common complaint of users that such support actually diminishes. Many users have already reported that their hybrid mattresses only last for three years, particularly when it comes to the support they offer.
If you want a hybrid mattress, go for one that has at least two inches of memory foam, which gives it superb conforming ability. Additionally, check the variations when it comes to the firmness level and make sure that the brand you will buy has had no issues of short lifespan in their products.
Your back pain requires you to have a bed with enough support and innerspring may not provide you with that. It does have fair support, but there are also many complaints about it breaking down within two years. If your preferred mattress type is innerspring, make sure that it has adequate comfort layer, so that you can take advantage of its conforming ability, especially if you’re over the average weight.
Latex is actually a good choice for people with back pain because it can conform to the body, while offering the right firmness – although there are latex mattresses that are too soft. This type of mattress though tends to soften and develop some body impressions over time, but users report that this doesn’t really cause too much problem with their back. However, longevity of the mattress may be an issue for you, so always choose a high quality latex mattress.
Memory foam mattresses are known for their conforming ability, whether you are small, average, or large sized. There are also several options when it comes to the firmness levels, so you can choose whichever firmness will help you avoid back pain. If you’re smaller than average, you may want to go for a medium firmness mattress since you will not exert enough pressure on the mattress. As a result, a firm mattress will not conform to your body and may lead to excessive pressure points.
There are also some issues with memory foam mattresses when it comes to the support they give. They can sag, lose support, and may even become disproportionately soft. But these problems aren’t as grave or serious as with most mattress types, especially memory foam’s primary competition, innerspring mattress. You can also avoid such problems if you go for a high quality memory foam mattress.
When it comes to conforming ability, waterbeds are definitely superior to most mattress types. However, their support isn’t commendable. As a matter of fact, many people who use waterbeds complain about having a back pain in the morning. But if you really want to go for a waterbed, you can adjust the firmness somehow by removing or adding more water.
Mattress sagging is a big factor in back pain. If your mattress sags less than half an inch, you will still get the support you need. However, if it sags more than 1.5 inches, you should replace it because it can lead to more pain when you wake up.
The Best Mattresses for Back Pain
With all the factors considered, you will find below the top three picks when it comes to mattresses that are great for people with back pain. The three mattresses have all the characteristics mentioned above, such as excellent conforming ability and great support.
1. Amerisleep Revere
Amerisleep has been creating great sleep products, including mattresses using high quality materials for almost a decade now. The Revere mattress is just one of their memory foam mattresses that can give you pain relief for your back pain. What really sets the company apart is its dedication in providing excellent products without compelling the buyer to spend a lot of money. Revere starts at $899 and for an advanced and high quality memory foam mattress, you can’t get any better than that.
Amerisleep Revere Highlights
Expect the following features on the Revere mattress from Amerisleep:
|12 inches profile|
|Medium firm feel (great for back and stomach sleepers)|
|Three inches of Bio-Pur memory foam (cooling layer)|
|Seven inches of Bio-Core support layer (to avoid sagging)|
|Cover is infused with Celliant technology|
|Made in the USA|
Why is Amerisleep Revere a Good Choice for People with Back Pain?
There are a number of reasons why the Revere mattress is an ideal mattress if you have back pain, including the fact that it uses Celliant technology for the cover. The fabric is infused with Celliant, which has been proven to have many health benefits, including:
- Improved circulation: Celliant technology can help boost your blood flow to your tissues throughout the body. As a result, vital nutrients are carried to the right places, while increasing the levels of oxygen in the body. Improved oxygen levels can help lengthen your lifespan.
- Better cell performance: The same technology can also help your cells grow stronger. This leads to better performance on your part. Celliant helps stimulate the functionality of the cells as well as how they regenerate. And because it improves circulation as well, this results to nourished cells because of the high levels of oxygen. Therefore, cell health is even more enhanced.
- Faster healing: Celliant is also known for its use in sportswear because it can help heal the muscles and essential parts of the body quicker, while boosting stamina and endurance. If you have this technology in your mattress, you can experience reduced pain. In fact, one study showed that it can be very useful for people with lower back pain.
- Temperature regulation: Because Celliant can optimize your blood flow, it becomes easier for the body to keep the ideal temperature. You don’t have to keep adjusting your thermostat. Plus, Amerisleep Revere is known for its cooling effect, so you sleep soundly at night without feeling warm.
Celliant in Revere is also clinically proven to give you more restful sleep. The subjects in the study fell asleep 15 minutes quicker than in other mattresses. Warranty for Amerisleep Revere is extended to 20 years with 10 years of it featuring full replacement if the indentations are more than ¾ of an inch. The other 10 years provide prorated replacements.
2. Saatva Mattress
While Revere is a memory foam mattress, here’s an innerspring mattress for you to try. Saatva mattress is a premium mattress that can help you with deal with your back problems or at least not worsen it. The mattress comes from a company that specializes in luxury coil mattresses, building the product with coil on coil construction. This means that there are two sets of coils and they are individually wrapped, so they can provide great contouring to your body. The other type of coil is tempered steel, which helps prevents sagging of the mattress even if you use it daily.
Saatva Mattress Highlights
Here are the features you can find in the Saatva mattress:
|Coil on coil construction|
|Steel coil base support layer|
|Lumbar support enhancement|
|Individually wrapped coils in the upper layer|
|Dual perimeter support for the edges|
|Euro pillow top with organic cotton for the cover|
|Free from chemicals|
Why is Saatva Mattress Good for People with Back Pain?
One of the best features of Saatva mattress is that it allows breathability. You don’t have to worry about nightly sweats, which is actually common in other innerspring mattresses. But how the Saatva mattress is constructed enables the coils to improve airflow, so water evaporates quickly. It also promotes cleanliness for your mattress, so dust mites and germs won’t be that much of a problem. Although a little pricier than Amerisleep Revere with $1,299 as its price, it has features that you can find in many luxury mattresses.
Aside from the mentioned features Saatva mattress can provide the following health benefits for people with or without back pains:
- High Density Layering System: The mattress provides extra support, particularly in the middle of the mattress. This way, you can get the support you need for your lumbar region. The mattress has pre-compressed cushioning, which targets the lumbar area and helps to eliminate the breakdown of the mattress. As a result, the user gets additional support.
- Added Foam Layer: The mattress also has an added layer that is comprised of viscoelastic memory foam, so that pressure relief is more improved. This is especially helpful if you sleep on your back, but the Saatva mattress is also recommended for stomach and side sleepers.
- Pillow Top: Whether you have back pain or hip pain, you will feel the difference with a pillow top because it enhances the comfort level of the mattress. It has nice contouring and can even help reduce pain in your shoulders, joints, hips, and back as it serves as a cushion for these parts of the body.
The Saatva mattress comes in three different levels of firmness: plush soft, luxury firm, and firm. Those who have back pain can go for the luxury firm and firm mattresses, especially the former. Luxury firm is recommended for couples who have differing firmness preferences. Firm for the Saatva mattress isn’t too firm either and is ideal for back and stomach sleepers.
3. DynastyMattress Grand Atlantis Breeze
The DynastyMattress Grand Atlantis is just like Amerisleep Revere as it is also a memory foam mattress. Priced at $1,696.16 for its California King sized mattress on Amazon, this mattress offers pain relief for people with back pain with its “just right” level of firmness.
DynastyMattress Grand Atlantis Breeze Highlights
These are the things you can expect from this mattress:
|15.5 inches profile|
|1.5 inches of five pound quilted top|
|Two inches of four pounds of gel memory foam for great comfort|
|Two inches of three pounds of gel memory foam|
|Two inches of airflow layer|
|Six inches of high density foam|
|Six layers for support and durability|
Why is the DynastyMattress Atlantis Breeze Good for People with Back Pain?
Many users of the Atlantis Breeze model agree that it is a very comfortable mattress. Because it has 15.5 inches thickness, you don’t have to worry about feeling like the mattress is too thin. What’s even better is that it uses a cool HD gel memory foam, so you sleep coolly even during the hottest summer months.
The mattress is not only thick, but also durable and has ample support, so your body is cushioned properly, while the memory foam hugs you enough to help with the alignment of your spine. While it is true that the main selling point of the mattress is its HD gel memory foam mattress (which is thicker than the average mattresses with 5.5 inches vs. two to four inches of the same material), the Atlantis Breeze is really durable. It’s all thanks to its base and how it is constructed. The base allows the mattress to provide superior support, making it firm and sturdy.
The durability of the mattress is not only for the benefit of your money. Granted, it can last for years and years to come without losing its firmness, but this can also help your back pain in a good way. The mattress is quite popular for its ability to remain firm for years, fighting sagging even with daily or nightly use. Even those who are quite heavy can’t complain about the sturdiness of the mattress.
Another reason why the mattress is good for people with back is that it is a medium firm mattress that can help you sleep better at night. As it relieves pressure points, especially at the back, you will feel that the mattress softens right at the correct points. As a result, you feel instant pain relief and you can sleep quicker and more peacefully.
The Right Mattress
Consider the three mattresses above as you shop for a new one that can help you find relief for your back pain. It is true that there is no single best mattress for those who have a bad back, but it is also true that there are mattresses that do the job of relieving pain better than others. Every person is the same and there are different types of back pain, ranging from chronic to severe pains. Others can find easily get rid of the problem with simple exercises.
One thing is for sure, if the symptoms reappear in the morning after you wake up, it’s the bad mattress. It’s time to change it to see an improvement on your back pain symptoms and even enhance your back function as you enjoy better sleep quality.