What Type of Mattress Is Best for Lower Back Pain?
Do you have trouble sleeping at night due to your lower back pain? Luckily, the type of mattress you choose to sleep on can have a significant impact on helping to alleviate this pain because just a little relief (especially when sleeping) can go a long way when it comes to lower back pain.
In fact, poor sleep can also contribute to worsening lower back pain. Thus, choosing the right mattress can provide more benefits than you’d expect!
While identifying the single best mattress for back pain remains a controversial topic, there are specific types of beds that are preferable for those with lower back pain and looking for pain management.
In this article we’ll talk about:
- How a poor mattress choice can affect your back pain
- The best type of mattresses for lower back pain
- How to find long-term back pain relief with or without a new mattress
What Does Back Pain Have to Do With Mattresses?
Back pain can be caused by sleeping on a hard or uneven surface. Overtime from several nights of sleeping in this fashion, it can develop into a serious problem.
Despite the prevention efforts focused on daytime habits and exercise, one commonly overlooked area is sleeping habits. It’s equally important to pay attention to reducing back pain in bed since poor sleep can worsen your back pain symptoms.
Since sleep disturbance is a top complaint among patients dealing with back pain, it only makes sense to consider the type of mattress you’ll be spending every night on.
The good news is that you do have control over your sleep quality. Investing in the right mattress is one step in the right direction towards alleviating your lower back pain and enhancing your wellbeing when you’re awake.
As you sleep on your mattress, your spine and the various muscles supporting it are rested on the surface of the mattress. As you settle into your sleep position, proper alignment and support from your bed are essential to reduce and avoid soreness in your back.
What to Look for in a Mattress for Lower Back Pain
Sleeping on an unsupportive surface or a mattress that sinks too deeply can negatively affect your spinal alignment and worsen your lower back pain. On the contrary, sleeping on a very firm mattress can also provide the same effect.
The specific types of mattresses that rank best regarding pain relief are usually memory foam mattresses or latex mattresses of good quality. Beds that are very thin and relatively inexpensive tend to have poor long-term satisfaction concerning comfort.
The reason foam mattresses work better is that they conform to the sleeper’s body shape. This means the material allows wider parts of their body (like the butt and shoulders) to sink in while the other areas just lay atop.
The memory foam also allows the spinal cord to rest in its natural curvature. Mattresses that are too firm don’t allow this, and beds that are too soft don’t allow this either. Both force the body to rest in an unnatural angle which further tenses muscles overnight.
However, it’s important to note that the ideal mattress will also be based on each person’s preferences. Some prefer the feel of a memory foam mattress whereas others prefer the feel of other types of mattresses.
The specific material, thickness, and firmness of your mattress will depend on the individual. Thus, it’s recommended that you at least try your mattress out before purchasing it. Also, here are some extra tips to help you in your search.
How to Choose the Right Mattress for Your Lower Back Pain
Traditional mattresses are flat and stiff. This causes the sleeper to lay uneven regardless of what position they’re in. This prevents the lower back from decompressing properly, and you’ll often find yourself waking up with various pains.
Alternatively, medium-firm memory foam mattresses or latex mattresses are a better choice. They don’t force you into unnatural positions while you sleep. However, there are a few concerns people have with memory foam mattresses.
Regarding its safety, it’s true that some memory foam mattresses are manufactured with hazardous materials. But many types of memory foam mattresses are made with safe materials that are often plant-based.
So it depends on which brand you choose. If you have a memory foam mattress, you’re thinking about purchasing, and it’s recommended that you do your research beforehand to ensure it’s made of safe materials. Directly contacting the manufacturer of the mattress if a great option as well, as you’ll be able to tell if they know what they’re talking about or not.
Regarding whether you’ll overheat in a memory foam mattress, this is one of the potential downsides of a memory foam mattress. They can trap heat and leave you too warm during the night. Thus, even though your back pain might feel better throughout the night, the extra heat will be keeping you up and defeating the purpose.
Some memory foam mattresses are now made with synthetic materials that can trap heat and leave you warmer than usual. However, luckily this isn’t the case with all mattresses. Those that are made with plant-based materials not only tend to be safer but also tend to be cooler and more comfortable to sleep in. This is especially beneficial for those living in hotter environments.