The mattress we sleep on affects us more than we realize. Many of us wake up after a seemingly sufficient night of sleep only to feel stiff, sore, and fatigued in the morning. A mediocre mattress can often ruin the quality of one’s sleep, and can often result in increased back and shoulder pain throughout the day. One of the most painful consequences of sleeping on a low-quality mattress is increased lower back pain.
Are you tired of feeling stiff and tired? If so, check out our guide to finding the right mattress for relieving chronic pain in the lower back.
How to Choose a Mattress for Lower Back Pain
Though nearly 4 out of every 5 people will suffer from back pain during their lifetime, no one mattress can universally address the needs of all back pain sufferers. The mattress that best suits you will depend on a number of personal characteristics and preferences.
Most medical professionals offer one universal suggestion for finding a good mattress for lower back woes: try out a variety of mattresses in a mattress store. Ordering a mattress online without trying it out in-store almost guarantees that your new mattress will not be the best fit for you.
Finding the mattress best suited to your needs is a very personal matter. Consider asking yourself the following questions before beginning your mattress research.
Do I want/need a whole new mattress, or can I improve my current one?
* If your mattress is 10-20 years old, you are likely overdue for purchasing a new mattress. In a recent study at Oklahoma State University, patients who suffered from minor back pain and sleep disturbances and had mattresses with an average age of 9.5 years tracked their sleeping habits and pain for a month. After a month, all participants received a new mattress; most noticed a drastic improvement in their symptoms almost immediately.
Most professionals advise that back pain sufferers, especially those over the age of 40, consider replacing their mattress ever 5-8 years on average. If, however, you are still pain-free on your mattress after 10 or more years, it is perfectly fine to keep it until a replacement is needed.
If you mattress is relatively new but is still causing you trouble, consider trying out a mattress pad before opting for an expensive new mattress. Mattress toppers come in a variety of materials and firmness levels, and can be an ideal solution for patients experiencing back pain from an overly-firm mattress.
What part(s) of my current mattress are causing me discomfort?
* Before opting for a new mattress, consider evaluating the problems you are having with your current mattress. Is your mattress sagging with weak or broken springs? If so, consider opting for a new mattress, perhaps made of foam or latex materials. If your mattress is causing pain in your pressure points, consider opting for a mattress that is medium-firm rather than firm. Though some back pain sufferers prefer soft mattresses, most individuals find that medium firmness provides their spines with optimal support without placing excess stress on the back. If your mattress’ firmness is the major cause of your back pain, a mattress pad may also provide you with relief.
Which position(s) do I generally sleep in?
* Believe it or not, the position you prefer to sleep in generally affects the type of mattress you prefer.
- Stomach sleepers often prefer relatively firm mattresses that provide their head and torso with an even level of support.
- Back sleepers generally prefer medium-firm mattresses that provide firm spinal support along with form-fitting curvature to support the lower back.
- Side sleepers may desire medium-firm or soft mattresses that best support a side-sleeping position. This will generally reduce pressure-point pain for these individuals, and may provide them with more restful and restorative sleep.
Patients suffering from chronic back conditions ought to consider what sleeping positions are most beneficial to relieving their pain.
Individuals with a herniated disc may find sleeping on their side or stomach most comfortable, depending on the location of the problematic disc. Mattress firmness should suit the patient’s ideal sleeping position.
For conditions like sciatica, finding the right mattress will depend on the firmness you desire. Some patients find side-sleeping on medium-soft mattresses ideal, while others prefer sleeping on their stomachs on firm beds.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A MATTRESS
- Mattress Support and Firmness
Your preference for mattress support will depend on pre-existing health conditions as well as your favorite sleeping position(s).
- Overall Comfort
The best sign of good back support is overall comfort. Consider opting for a free trial for a mattress, if your top local store offers such a program. If you wake up well-rested and pain-free, the mattress is right for you.
- Mattress Material(s)
Beds have radically changed in the past 20 years. Mattress materials now range from memory foam to latex, water, air, gels, and traditional spring coils. Some of these beds have a permanent firmness, while others, like water beds and air mattresses, often offer adjustable levels of support.
- Customization/Modification of Bed
If your back pain requires that you sit or sleep in a number of different positions, consider opting for a bed that can be easily modified. Such beds can often be raised, lowered, bent, softened, or firmed up depending on the individual’s needs. This is also a great choice for couples who prefer different levels of mattress firmness.
- Price, Brand, and Warranties
Mattresses can be pricey, and often cost over a thousand dollars. Aim for a mattress that is optimal in comfort without “breaking the bank.” Whether or not you’re investing in an expensive mattress, consider the brand and warranty options on the bed. If the mattresses loses its support or your back pain worsens, a trusted company should be able to help you resolve your problems.
REVIEWS: The Top 5 Mattresses for Lower Back Pain
As one of the top-rated mattresses on the market, this memory foam mattress will go easy on your budget and on your back. Customers rave that their lower back pain disappeared within a day of using this mattress, which provides the quality of a high-end memory foam mattress at a much lower price. For those who have suffered with bad sleep on an inner spring mattress, consider switching to this DreamFoam bed. You won’t be disappointed.
This latex mattress is a perfect choice for back pain sufferers who know what level of spinal support they want. Made-to-order, these mattresses can be customized to whatever support level you desire, from soft to firm. The orthopedic support provided by this mattress is excellent, and is practically guaranteed to reduce your back pain. For those who can afford to invest a little more in their mattress, this is a premium option.
For those back pain sufferers who need varying levels of spinal support or are unsure of what level of firmness they prefer, the DreamFoam Customizable Mattress is by far the best bed on the market. This mattress comes with three interchangeable memory foam pads which can be layered in different ways until optimal comfort is achieved. If you have a chronic back problem that may require different levels of firmness on different nights, this is the best mattress for you.
This Lucid mattress is a top pick for individuals suffering from herniated discs. This gel-based memory foam mattress is guaranteed to provide you with support all along your back, neck, and spine, resulting in fantastic nights of pain-free sleep.
If you’re seeking an affordable mattress with medium firmness, the Brentwood Finale is a great bed to consider. This traditional inner spring mattress also has a layer of plush foam on top, making it both supportive and comfortable. For back pain sufferers looking for a straight-forward solution to their pain, this mattress is worth considering.
Though there is no single best mattress for lower back pain, all back pain sufferers can find the right mattress for them if they research mattresses carefully and methodically. Read reviews online and test out mattresses in-store to find a bed that will best suit your personal sleeping style. In doing so, you can reduce your pain and improve your health for years to come.