What is the Best Mattress Firmness for People Who Suffer From Back Pain?
January 18, 2019
Most of us have heard that a person who has back pain should use the firmest mattress on the market. But it seems that there is no real research behind this statement. Today, the latest wisdom is that there is no hard and fast rule about mattress firmness and back pain and what works well for one person does not work for another.
Sleeping on the Wrong Mattress
Sleeping on the wrong mattress can worsen and actually cause lower back pain. Anytime there is a lack of support, it can lead to poor sleeping posture and will not keep the spine aligned.
The most important consideration when choosing a mattress for back pain is how it keeps the spine aligned while you sleep. Muscles and ligaments in the back will need to be able to relax at night yet they need the proper support to keep the spine in alignment. The firmness of the mattress will depend on individual needs and physiology.
If Unsure, Choose a Medium-Firm Mattress
If one is unsure what firmness of mattress to choose, getting a medium-firm mattress is suggested. In one study, researchers assigned new mattresses to more than 300 lower back pain sufferers. These mattresses were labeled both firm and medium firm. The ones receiving the medium-firm mattresses reported the least amount of discomfort.
Sleep comfort is as important as back support in order to allow the spine to relax during the night. Achieving the balance between support and comfort seems to be key for most sufferers of back pain.
Memory Foam Mattresses Can Be Good for Back Pain Sufferers
Although consumers have believed that firm mattresses are the best for back pain, the National Sleep Foundation finds that the more “giving” mattresses such as memory foam mattresses can lead to better sleep for these people. Memory foam mattresses may be particularly good for people with back pain as these mattresses relieve painful pressure points.
Donna L. Arand, PhD, a sleep specialist and clinical director at the Kettering Sleep Disorders Center in Dayton, Ohio says, “When you lie on the memory foam, the heat from your body softens it in appropriate points, so this helps to support your body along the curves and natural lines of the body.”
Memory foam mattresses have innovated in recent years to include zoning. The Snuz mattress by SleepChoices is a memory foam mattress that has incorporated zoning into their mattress. The mattress has 7 zones wherein the zones by the shoulders and hips are softer and the zones in between are firmer therefore this mattress does not have only one firmness. This provides superior support to the body while relieving pressure in key areas, resulting in pain relief for the back.
When you consider that you spend nearly a third of your life asleep, it is important to choose the right mattress, particularly if you are one of the many people who suffer from back pain. Make sure to try a mattress that has a lengthy trial period in order to have adequate time to decide if the mattress is good for you and supports your spine properly.
With the vast variety of mattresses available on the market today, choosing the right one can be difficult. If you have questions about how a mattress should support your spine and alleviate pressure points, see our website for more information.