Tips On Selecting The Best Mattress For Back Pain



We had a grandfather in the bed business. He loved beds the way an artist loves paintings or an actor loves the theater. He talked about beds and their importance to a healthy back constantly, always reminding us how one-third of our lives was spent in bed.

One time, he was visiting and had to sleep on a bunk bed mattress that he thought was improperly made. He complained endlessly and critiqued the bed’s poor manufacture for days. We didn’t believe him but he swore he awoke with his first backache in years.

We should have given the old man a bit more credit. The fact of the matter is that selecting a bed can very definitely make the difference between days of torturous pain and none at all. Here are a few guidelines on making sure the bed you sleep in is as good to your back and spine as possible.

1. You need a good foundation. One of the problems grandpa complained about was actually beneath the bunk bed mattress, it was the box spring. These large bases for beds are not always well made and may tend to become seriously out of whack over time, and that will never be good for your spine. Make sure your bed has a good box spring or other type of base first.

2. Medium-firm is the message. We all have our personal preferences regarding firmness of mattresses, but most experts suggest that one that is neither too squishy soft nor excessively hard and unyielding will work best when it comes to preventing or easing back issues. Once upon a time, doctors often suggested the hardest, firmest possible mattress for back pain. The thinking has reversed itself somewhat and medical professionals now believe that an excessively firm mattress can do some harm as well. The idea is to find a firmness that allows it to blend in with your spine without allowing it to sink too low.

3. Give yourself some space. You may have noticed that you never wake up in exactly the same position as you were when you fell asleep. While it’s true that “sleep” and “rest” are nearly synonymous as words, the fact of the matter is that most of us humans are surprisingly active as we slumber.  In fact, it seems that most of us move around scores of times in a single evening.  Apparently, if we have a partner, we can end up getting into some rather spinally unfriendly positions. If you and your significant other are sleeping in a relatively small bed, you may need to consider moving up in the world to the largest bed that’s practical for your situation. Consider the royalty of bedding, i.e., king and queen sizes.

4. “Something old” is for wedding, not bedding. There was another problem with that bunk bed mattress grandpa hated so much. Perhaps he should not have said so many mean things about it since they both were of a somewhat advanced age, but he was not wrong. A fine wine may be kinder to your tongue as it ages, but even a fine mattress will be no kinder to your spine as the years roll on. Most experts suggest that the life of a typical mattress is absolutely no more than a decade. In other words, don’t even think about buying a used mattress unless it’s from someone you know very well and has only been used for a reasonably short time.

5. Talk to your doc. If there’s one thing that’s clear, it’s that every one of us is built at least slightly differently from each other. Sometimes the differences are very dramatic. Especially if your back pain is severe and/or chronic, you really want to talk with someone who will understand all the issues involved, in other words your family doctor who, if needed, will refer you to an appropriate specialist. Depending on your opinions regarding complementary or alternative medicine, you may also want to speak to a chiropractor or a doctor of Chinese medicine for advice, but please don’t leave a traditional doctor out of the mix.

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2 Responses to Tips On Selecting The Best Mattress For Back Pain

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  2. Jerald Piek says:

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