If you have nagging back pain, you’re in good company. Millions of other Americans do, too. It’s one of the most common reasons for doctor’s visits and lost time at work, and it’s a common cause of long-term disability. Your doctor is your best source of information about treating your bad back and coping with it on a day-to-day basis. However, some simple lifestyle changes can also be helpful, such as getting a new mattress. It’s often thought that firm mattresses are best for bad backs, but is this really true?
Clearly, a firm mattress will offer your back more support than a soft mattress, and that’s why very firm beds were recommended to back pain sufferers for decades. However, current knowledge indicates that very firm mattresses might actually make back pain worse. Firm beds don’t offer any “give;” they don’t conform to the curves of the body. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that soft beds are great for back pain sufferers, either.
The problem with very soft beds is that they might not offer enough support for the back. Plus, they may have so much “give” that the spine still can’t maintain a neutral position during sleep. To find the best mattress for your back, a compromise is in order.
Everyone’s individual needs and preferences are unique, but in general, most people with chronic back pain do well on a medium firm bed. A medium firm mattress offers the right amount of support for the back, but also conforms slightly to the contours of the body to ease pressure points and enhance comfort. Of course, you’ll need to try out the mattress models in a showroom to determine which one is really the best choice for you.
Many people with back pain prefer to sleep on their backs. Some also sleep on their stomachs, although doctors generally don’t recommend this. Your sleeping position will inform your mattress choice. You’ll probably do well on a firmer mattress if you do sleep on your back or stomach most of the night.
But if you tend to move around a lot in your sleep, or if you just prefer sleeping on your side, then a softer mattress may support you better. A medium firm or softer mattress will provide the right amount of “give” for your pressure points as you rest on your side. Your pressure points are your hips and shoulders. Side sleepers may prefer a softer innerspring mattress, pillow top, Euro top, or hybrid memory foam.
Mattress World Northwest has 13 locations around the Portland area for your convenience. Our sleep specialists are keenly familiar with the ins and outs of the various mattress models for people with specific health concerns, including back pain. We’ll be happy to discuss your sleep needs and preferences with you, and offer some recommendations.
Take as long as you need to test drive our firm and medium firm mattresses by top brands. And be sure to ask us about our brand new Sealy Hybrid Mattress with advanced inner spring coils and Posturepedic memory foam!