What Women With Back Pain Should Consider When Looking For A Mattress:
Firmness. Though you’ll definitely want something that’s more firm than soft, exactly how firm should be determined by your body weight, says Carleara Weiss, PhD, and a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “For example, medium firmness seems ideal for people weighing approximately 130 pounds and satisfactory for back and side sleepers under 230 pounds.” The higher your body weight, the more firm you may need your mattress to be, thought it really depends on the individual, as sleep preferences differ from person to person .
Where you experience back pain also impacts what kinds of firmness you should look for. “The general concept when thinking about buying a mattress is that low back pain can be alleviated with a mattress that is on the firmer end of the spectrum rather than softer or squishier,” Dr. Hanke explains. If you don’t wake up with low back pain and you like a softer experience, you can prob get away with a less-firm mattress.
Stomach sleepers put pressure on their neck, in addition to the lumbar area, so they may prefer a firm mattress since it’s ideal for spine support and helps alleviate neck tension .
For side sleepers, Weiss also recommends a medium-firm mattress. “Shoulders and hips are pressure points for side sleepers. A medium-firm mattress would be ideal for this sleep position while still flexible to the body curvature.”
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A Flippable Mattress That Offers Two Levels Of Firmness
- Materials: Memory foam, support foam
- Firmness level: Soft on one side, medium-firm on the other
- Trial period: 120 nights
Laylas mattress has a four layer construction, including a 4.5-inch layer of support foam thats specifically aimed at keeping your back aligned. This layer also combats the sinking feeling that you get with other memory foam mattresses, so you dont feel like youre dropping too far into the mattress when you sleep. The mattress is flippable, with both a soft and firm side . That said, back pain sufferers will likely feel the most comfortable on the firm side.
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The Mattress Is More Than 7 Years Old
Most mattresses tend to have an average expected lifespan of around 5-7 years with the correct care, whilst some of the best quality hybrid and latex foam anti-sag mattresses could last up to 10 years or more.
So if your mattress is more than 7 years old then it could be that your back pain is being caused by a worn-out support core, sagging top layer, and/or uneven upper surface.
In which case you should check out the upcoming section that walks you through the process of buying a new mattress to combat back pain.
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Buy A Firm Mattress Topper
If your old mattress is too soft and/or has body impressions/indentations in the upper comfort layer then you may be able to fix this by buying a firm mattress topper to place over the surface and stop you from sinking too far into the mattress.
You could use this strategy in isolation or in conjunction with the plywood/floor techniques but again, I wouldnt really consider this as a viable long-term solution if the fundamental integrity of the mattress has been compromised.
Flip Or Rotate Your Mattress
Most mattresses should be rotated every three months to spread out wear and tear and to prevent deep sagging in one particular spot. However there are a few mattresses that cant be rotated usually models that have areas of specific lumbar support . Precious few, such as traditional innerspring mattresses, can be flipped.
If your memory foam or hybrid mattress can be rotated, do this first as the softness you’re currently feeling around your back and hips will then be at the bottom of the bed. Our article answering how often should you flip or rotate your mattress has extra tips.
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It Takes Time To Adjust To A New Mattress
Like a new pair of shoes, your body needs time to adjust to a new mattress. Many of us become accustomed to the feel of an old mattress and may develop poor sleeping posture. So when you transition to a new mattress, it may feel uncomfortable at first or even cause back pain while your body adjusts to it.
It can take at least a month to adjust to a new mattress. It may feel firmer than initially expected but will soften with use. Memory foam mattresses may take longer to adjust to than other mattresses due to the unique material.
You may find that your new mattress feels different to the one you tried in the showroom. Keep in mind that store mattresses are generally more worn-in due to the number of people lying on them.
If your back pain persists, it could be due to changes in your lifestyle. But if youre waking up feeling sore each morning, it could be a sign that your new mattress fails to provide the comfort and support you need and may not be suitable for you.
How Can Sleep Help Chronic Pain
Now that weve gone over my picks, I want to take a second to talk about the purpose of this guide. While it may seem like the focus is on finding a mattress thatll make falling asleep with pain easier, its actually about finding the bed thats going to help you use sleep to actively deal with said pain.
Sleep is very important for restoring balance to the nervous system and improving coping strategies for pain, Dr. Poorbaugh told me during our chat . Normally, our central nervous system is downplaying or ignoring stimuli from multiple sources simply because the information is not important. A person with chronic pain, however, loses this important dampening ability, so many activities that were once well-tolerated now become pain-provoking.
Dr. Poorbaugh went on to cite a recent study, which showed that poor sleep patterns were directly related to higher rates of pain, poor mood, increased pain catastrophizing, and overall reduced physical function.
So what can be done? In order to get the kind of sleep you need to help deal with your chronic pain, consider the following when choosing the right mattress to deal with pain.
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Can Sleep Help With Back Pain
Sleep has rejuvenating capabilities. It can heal your body and mind. Quality sleep for 7 to 9 hours at a stretch can prevent or reduce your back pain. Heres how sleep can help:
- Growth hormone released during deep sleep stages repairs muscles and relieves pain
- Sleep disruptions make your nervous system over sensitive to pain, reducing pain threshold
- Insufficient sleep causes depression, and depression can trigger or increase back pain
Can A New Mattress Cause Sciatica
Sciatica refers to sharp, radiating pain that usually generates from the sciatic nerve and runs down your hips, legs, and buttocks. To manage sciatica, you need a sleep surface that offers optimal and ample cushioning and sturdy support. This implies that the best mattress for sciatica should conform to your body without sagging excessively. This will help to align your spine thus alleviating sciatica-related pains and aches. A new, high-quality mattress should help curb but not cause sciatica.
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Why Does My Lower Back Hurt After Sleeping
lower back painsleepingpainsleepinglower back painbackBest Mattress For Hip Pain
- Hybrid Mattress For Side Sleepers Ã¢â¬â Nest Alexander.
- Best For Shoulder And Hip Pain Ã¢â¬â Nolah Mattress.
- Memory Foam Mattress Ã¢â¬â Layla Sleep.
- Best For Back And Hip Pain Ã¢â¬â Level Sleep.
- Heavier Individuals Ã¢â¬â Brentwood Oceano.
Sleeping On Your Stomach
Dr Smycz said that your sleep posture is an additional factor to back and neck pain. Stomach sleepers, take note!
Sleeping on your stomach is the worst position to sleep in because you have to turn your head, which puts a strain on the neck and upper back, said Dr Smycz. Sleeping on your stomach compresses the solar plexus, and digestion is affected as well. It doesnt allow you to properly rest and repair throughout the night.
So whats the ideal sleeping position to avoid back pain?
The ideal sleep posture is lying on your side, explained Dr Smycz. When lying on your side, imagine a line going all the way from the neck through to the spine. You want that line to be straight. A nice, supportive mattress will keep that spine aligned.
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How To Tell If Your Mattress Is Causing Back Pain
If youve recently started to develop back pain then you should go and see your doctor to see if you can pinpoint the exact cause of your back pain and then devise a suitable treatment plan.
However, if one or more of the following conditions are true then it could point to your mattress being the source of your back pain:
#reason : Your Mattress Is Too Soft Or Too Firm
If you are using a mattress, you know the common factor firmness. It determines how soft or hard the mattress is. Mainly, two common types of firmness are available on the market such as soft and firm. Some people like soft mattresses and some prefer firm mattresses. Sometimes, the firmness may be one of the major reasons for causing your lower back pain.
If you are using a too firm mattress, it does not sink enough and you feel discomfort and pain on the hips, back, spine, neck, and shoulder. On the other hand, if your mattress is too soft, it cant hold your spine perfectly and aligned it in a wrong position which may cause your lower back pain.
Solution 1: Pick The Right Firmness of Your Mattress
So, you have to choose the right firmness while buying a new mattress. Here are some helpful tips for you to choose the perfect firmness of your mattress.
Soft mattresses are perfect for side sleepers because it removes the pressure on the hips and shoulders while sleeping on the side. This is why a side sleeper can get more comfort and perfect support to the back & spine in the side sleeping position. The lightweight sleepers and slim sleepers can use the soft mattress for better pressure relief, ultimate comfort, and great back support. Do not use soft mattresses if you are a heavy sleeper like over 200 lbs. It may sink more and aligns your spine incorrectly and cause lower back pain.
#Medium Firm Mattress
Solution 2: Make Your Firm Mattress Soft
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Sleeping On A Cheaper Mattress
Mattress shopping can be confusing, and with so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to recognise a good mattress from a bad one.
As with most things in life, you generally get what you pay for with mattresses. Whilst they may seem similar, there are vast differences in the quality. A cheaper mattress may seem like a bargain, but it is unlikely to provide the support you need.
With cheaper memory foam mattresses, you wont necessarily know how much memory foam is inside or how deep its layers are.
Similarly, it may be unclear how many springs are in the mattress. A bed may be described as having 1000 pocket springs, but the actual number of springs in the mattress may be far less if the manufacturer includes the springs in the bed base as part of the overall spring count. So, if you buy a new mattress separately, it may not be as supportive as you initially expected.
Some mattresses contain mini springs to provide an additional comfort layer. These springs are not as supportive as full height springs. Many manufacturers include mini springs in the mattresss specification to exaggerate the overall spring count. This can be misleading when comparing pocket spring mattresses, as you wont necessarily know whether youre comparing mini springs with full height springs.
Also, spring counts are usually based on the king size model to allow easier comparison between mattresses, so smaller sizes will have fewer springs.
#reason : Your Mattress Cant Give Enough Support
Another reason for creating back pain is that your mattress cant provide you adequate support to your back, spine, hip, and other joints of your body.
Solution: Choose The Mattress That Provides Perfect Support
Support is an essential part of all kinds of sleepers such as heavy sleepers, light sleepers, side & back sleepers, stomach sleepers, etc. The memory foam mattress that gives you a lack of support can cause lower back pain. You must choose a mattress for the right support. If you are a heavy sleeper like over 200 lbs, you must sleep on a mattress that has high-density base foam. It will give you the highest support and prevent sinking and safe your spine and back.
Most memory foam mattresses use multiple layers for different purposes such as top foam layers for comfort or feel, the base support foam layer for providing adequate support, etc. When you choose a new mattress that has high-density support foam, it will give you more support than others. If you feel your mattress sinks, you should change it quickly and get a good high-density supportive mattress. So, I recommend you choose a mattress that will give you enough support. You can check my researched list of top-rated highest supportive memory foam mattresses.
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Pain Radiates From The Back Or Lower Back:
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the pain that a person experiences can vary depending on the location and severity of the back pain. However, it is generally believed that pain can radiate from the back or lower back in several ways.
Some people may experience pain that radiates down their spine or into their hips and legs. Others may experience pain that spreads across their back and down their arms. In some cases, pain may also be localized to one specific area, such as the lower back.
Can Memory Foam Cause Back Pain
A memory foam mattress can cause back pain if you dont find the firmness level best suited for you. The ideally firm mattress for your sleep position keeps your spine in neutral alignment while relieving your pressure points.
Side sleepers will be most comfortable on a medium, medium-soft, or soft mattress. Stomach and back sleepers will sleep comfortably on a medium-firm or firm mattress.
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Your Mattress Is Too Firm Or Too Soft
While a cozy mattress might seem inviting at the end of a hard day, if its too soft then it can throw your spine out of alignment. The exact same thing can also happen if the mattress is too hard for your body weight and frame.
The key? To find a neutral sleeping position that is comfortable for your spine. In order to properly support your body, the ideal mattress should be medium-firm. If a mattress is too firm, it will push the shoulders and hips out of alignment causing the back to ache. Harvard Health reported that, one survey of 268 people with low back pain found that those who slept on very hard mattresses had the poorest sleep quality.
If your mattress is too soft then it will drop the spine into the mattress without any proper support, leading to bad alignment and body ache. Harvard Health also states: You might sink in so deeply that your joints twist and become painful during the night.
Reduce Inflammation Through Diet And Exercise
When your joints are already inflamed from your daily activity and eating habits, youre sure to experience pain during the night. To help eliminate your back pain in bed, try reducing or eliminating foods that cause inflammation, such as refined bread and other carbohydrates, fried foods, sugary beverages, and red meat.
Instead, aim to eat foods that help you sleep and that fight inflammation, such as fruit, tomatoes, olive oil, leafy greens, almonds, and fatty fish like salmon and tuna. You may be surprised at how your morning back pain is improved after just a couple of weeks of eating well.
Muscles and joints that are stretched regularly can also improve pain levels when youre lying in bed, so try doing yoga several times per week.
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How Long Does It Take To Air Out New Mattress
Before you start sleeping on your new mattress, you need to take great care of your new investment and airing it out is an essential step in mattress care. The time it takes for your new mattress to completely air out may vary. However, the average amount of time needed for your mattress to air out is 24 hours. During the day when you are not using the mattress, make sure you position it in a manner that enables every side to air out.
Mattress Firmness Suitability For Back Pain
Mattresses can potentially be available in any of the following firmnesses .
Extra soft mattresses are typically best for side sleepers that weigh less than 130 lbs because they allow you to sink more deeply into the mattress materials to remove pressure on your hips and shoulders.
This means that an extra-soft mattress may be suitable if you have back pain thats primarily triggered by surface pressure such as sciatica or nerve-related back pain because the softer surface is less liable to create pressure points.
Soft mattresses are often preferred by side sleepers and lighter weighted sleepers under 150 lbs again due to the greater give afforded by the upper comfort layers that may also provide relief for back pain that is brought on through pressure points.
Softer mattresses are often best avoided by heavier weighted sleepers over 230 lbs especially if you sleep on your front because youre more likely to sink into the mattress and experience back pain due to spinal misalignment and bad posture.
Medium-soft mattresses are often enjoyed by side and back sleepers in the 130 230 lbs range, whilst front sleepers under 200 lbs who prefer more pressure relief may also feel well supported.
A medium firmness mattress is the most popular mattress firmness and is typically best suited to front, back, and side sleepers in the 130 230 lbs range .
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