What Types of Mattresses Are Best For Chronic Back and Neck Pain?
If you suffer from chronic back or neck pain, you know just how difficult it is to get a good night’s sleep. Being in pain, in general, is enough to keep you awake, but back and neck pain can be especially difficult to sleep with. Your sleep position, pillows and mattress type can all have an impact on how well you sleep and how rested you feel upon awakening. If you’ve tried everything else, including seeking help from a physician, to alleviate your back and neck pain, it might be time to try a new mattress.
Are firmer mattresses better for back pain?
The short answer is no. If a hard mattress is uncomfortable, then it’s generally not relaxing the muscle of our back and provide the necessary support. Many people wrongly believe that “extra firm mattresses” are the best mattress choices for chronic back pain. There is even an old wives tale that suggests sleeping flat on the floor is best for men with bad backs. In reality, an extra firm mattress is too firm for the average sleeper and may cause circulation issues and not properly support the curves of the human body in different sleep positions. Generally, a medium firmness is best to provide comfort and support to the curve of the human body in all of the positions we sleep in. Also, extra soft mattresses may cause a hammock affect, bowing instead of providing a neutral position to sleep in.
If someone is exclusively a back or stomach sleeper and like a hard mattress, then an extra firm mattress may be best. If someone is exclusively a fetal position sleeper and loves the extra soft feel, then an extra soft pillowtop mattress may be best. Otherwise, choose one with an in-between feel!
Have any scientific studies shown a mattress that is best for back pain?
Not exactly. The only company that has completed large-scale, scientific studies about their mattresses is Tempur-Pedic. Tempur-Pedic mattresses & adjustable beds have been shown to have a very high owner satisfaction rating. 94% of owners say they’re satisfied over-all with their Tempur-Pedic mattress (Blackstone 2011) and when compared to other companies it is very high indeed. Additionally, Tempur-Pedic mattresses include a trial period to test the mattress at The Bedding Experts. Other companies make ridiculous, unbelievable statements about their products solving back problems, none of which are backed by a real scientific study. Sleep Number, for example, claims that ‘93% experience back pain relief.’ This claim, used today in Sleep Number advertising, is based on a 1996 study of 30 individuals who were provided a Sleep Number adjustable bed to replace their coil mattress. The researchers reported “that most patients with chronic non-specific back pain will have improved sleep on the [Select Comfort] adjustable bed.” The Sleep Number Beds claims are misleading in the least. So, is there a scientific study that shows a mattress is the best for helping back pain? No, but some mattresses help people sleep better overall, including those with back pain. It’s about finding the one that is comfortable for you that provides pressure relief, support, and is durable.
What mattress types does Bedding Experts recommend for people with back pain?
Firstly, we recommend consulting with a physician about any back related issues before thinking that a mattress will solve your back problems. The mostly highly recommend bed in America though is…you guessed it: Tempur-Pedic. In general, we recommend pressure-relieving mattresses that support a neutral sleeping position.
Tempur-Pedic: Tempur-Pedic mattresses are the most popular mattresses in the world and have a very high consumer satisfaction rating. Not only do the statistics back up Tempur-Pedic’s claims, but in our personal experience we have had a lot of happy customers that were overjoyed with their Tempur-Pedic mattresses helping their back issues. Tempur-Pedic is also the mostly highly recommend bed in America.
Memory Foam: Memory foam is a very similar material to TEMPUR foam and is popular because it conforms to the shape of your body, providing comfort and support throughout the night. The Bedding Experts offers some of the best memory foam brands available today and we often recommend this memory foam mattresses if someone is interested in a pressure-relieving mattress, but don’t like the unique TEMPUR feel.
- Hybrid Mattresses: For our clients that don’t want to make the leap to an all-foam product and like the support structure and feel of a solid innerspring, but still want the pressure-relieving qualities of memory foam, we recommend a hybrid style Beautyrest or Posturepedic mattress. These products feature a supportive coil system below a comfortable layer of pressure-relieving memory foam.
Proper Alignment for a Better Sleep and a Better Back
Besides mattresses that offer a relaxing sleep surface for your back muscles to relax and your posture to be neutral, there are other options that really help with great sleeping posture.
Pillows – A pillow that is the right size is the most important. Choosing a pillow really takes two to determine correctly. Have the other person make sure your neck is straight while the curve feel supported. A pillow that is too thick or too thin can put pressure on neck and lower back. We also offer pillow fitting at our Chicago Mattress Stores.
Adjustable beds – an adjustable bed can elevate your torso or feet to get the best possible sleeping position, thus reducing strain on your lower back and other parts of your body! This can also be a wonderful product to rest your feet and may be beneficial for those with sleep apnea, chronic heart burn, inflammatory conditions, and other ailments that may benefit from elevation of the legs or torso.
Positional Pillows & Accessories – Other options include a knee pillows, wedges, body pillows, and other specialty sleep products that aid in proper sleep posture.
Combine your new mattress, pillows, and sleep position products with good bedtime routine for the best results in alleviating back & neck pain!