Individuals suffering from chronic back pain may begin to wonder if their outdated mattress contributes to their discomfort. The average human spends one-third of his or her life sleeping on a mattress; thus, one can safely assume that resting on the wrong mattress attributes to back pain to some extent. The only time muscles and ligaments in the spine can completely relax occurs during periods of slumber. So individuals with chronic back pain will greatly benefit from a good night’s sleep on an adequate mattress.
While individual preference is the most important factor in determining the best mattress for each person, some general rules of thumb can lead customers to a more reliable brand, size, and mattress style. First and foremost, individuals should search for a mattress that offers ample support to the spine. For instance, a mattress should have enough coils to provide adequate support and allow for the natural curves of the spine. In general, a higher quality mattress holds more coils and thicker padding. Unfortunately, these components will result in a more expensive mattress. But the most expensive mattress does not guarantee improved sleep quality or reduced back pain.
Another factor one should consider when purchasing a mattress is the level of comfort it provides. The thick padding on top of the mattress – also known as “pillow top” – provides the comfort. While a mattress should provide an adequate level support to the spine, personal preference and comfort are the deciding factors when choosing a mattress.
In general, most people prefer a firm mattress, which offers spine support. Needless to say, one will automatically assume that purchasing the firmest mattress on the market will help alleviate back pain. While that belief may seem like common sense to most people, solid research supports this claim. Despite what the salesperson at the mattress store claims, a “perfect” one-size-fits-all mattress, especially for individuals with chronic back pain, does not exist. Instead, people need to choose a mattress that fits and supports their natural sleeping posture. But just because a mattress feels good when testing it out in the showroom, doesn’t guarantee customers will enjoy sleeping on it every night for the next several years. Choosing the right mattress can be a challenge, so people will want to conduct as much product research as possible before investing in a quality mattress.
While it’s easy to place blame on a mattress for chronic back pain, it isn’t the sole perpetrator of discomfort. In fact, posture and sleep position greatly contribute to back pain. The muscles and ligaments in the spine need to relax and rejuvenate as people snooze. Although no concrete rules exist, a few general guidelines regarding sleep positions can boost spinal comfort. Generally speaking, the best sleep position involves resting on one’s back with a small pillow tucked underneath the knees. This position helps diminish the daily stress placed on the spine and allows for the natural curve of the lower back to rest properly. For individuals preferring to sleep on their side, a well-placed pillow between the knees can help keep stress off the hips and lower spine. For people opting to sleep on their stomach, positioning a flat pillow beneath the stomach and hips can drastically reduce stress on the spine.
Chronic back pain results from many causes, and some conditions respond better to specific types of mattress and sleep positions. When searching for the best mattress, remember that “good” mattresses largely depend on personal preference. Since no mattress type works well for everyone, no single mattress will solve or help all types of back conditions. Ultimately, any mattress that helps a person wake up feeling refreshed without pain and stiffness will suffice. While a better mattress may help reduce discomfort, it will not eliminate chronic back pain completely. More importantly, chronic back pain may merely be a symptom of a more serious condition. To determine the underlying cause of chronic back pain, individuals should contact an expert spine surgeon in the nearby area.