What is the Best Mattress for Back Pain?
Today, about 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain ranging from headaches to low back pain. According to a National Institute of Health Statistics survey, low back pain(27%) was the most cited listed out of four common types of pain.
The survey also found that Americans between the ages of 20-64 experience frequent back pain on a daily basis.
And although about 92% of people agree that a comfortable mattress is important to a restful night’s sleep, many don’t take the time to research or invest in a quality mattress for their back pain.
Instead, many people rely on mattress salespeople to direct and guide them to the best mattress for their specific sleep needs. Unfortunately, not all salespeople have your best interest in mind. It’s better to consider asking your doctor first for their recommendations for the best mattress for your back pain.
Which Mattress Types are Best for Back Pain?
There are several types of mattresses but the most common ones are innerspring, memory foam, memory foam hybrids, and latex. Of these four mattresses, innerspring is the most popular – representing over 80% of the mattress market.
Mattresses should have 3 main components: Support, Comfort, and Durability.
Innerspring mattresses vary according to the types of coils and materials used. Some are sold at a higher price due to the number of coils used but there have been no studies that have proven that more coils equate to better sleep.
Instead, it’s better to look at the types of coils used in the mattress and the gauge number. If you can’t budget for the other types of mattresses, then choose a medium firm innerspring mattress. It’s the best bang for your buck and it meets the criteria of support, comfort and durability.
Memory foam mattresses, short for visco-elastic memory foam, consist of slow, forming foam. Overtime, these mattresses have evolved from one comfort feel to a spectrum of squishy soft to very firm. They have grown in popularity mainly due to their ability to conform to one’s unique body shape and provide pressure relief.
If you are weary of sleeping hot though, these might not be the best option for you. But if you are a fan of very minimal motion transfer, natural alignment and pressure relief on your joints and back then this is a good option for you. Keep in mind though that you might have to save up since these mattresses tend to sell at a much higher price point than innerspring mattresses.
Memory foam hybrid mattresses consist of two main components: innersprings and memory foam. If you like the bounce and support of innerspring and the pressure relief that memory foam offers then this is the mattress for you. This mattress comes in many different styles and offers a wide selection of varying comfort levels. They are also very durable because they have a base of innersprings for support.
It can be difficult to find the right style for your sleep needs though because there is such a wide selection so make sure to research and familiarize yourself. Since these mattresses tend to sell in the ultra-luxury/luxury category, they can easily run up to $5,000.
Latex mattresses, made from natural or synthetic rubber, provide firm uniform support and bounce. This mattress is very firm and supportive and provides comfort similar to memory foam.
They differ from memory foam mattresses in terms of support though. Latex actually pushes back on you and provides more support in doing so. Another key, distinctive difference is that latex is naturally biodegradable – it tends to be very durable and lasts longer than all the other conventional mattress types. Latex does tend to be on the firmer side though so if you can’t stand the thought of sleeping on a very firm mattress then it might not be a good choice for your back pain.
Have Back Pain? Keep these Mattress Questions in Mind
Since there are several types of mattresses on the market today, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what mattress you need. Here are some key tips to keep in mind when shopping for a new mattress:
- Firm isn’t always better. Research has pointed out that medium firm mattresses are actually better for back pain than firmer models.
- Consider investing in an adjustable bed since they can help alleviate pressure on your back.
- Try out the different options and variations for one specific brand. Most mattresses range from plush soft to table top hard. Knowing what you like and don’t like can help guide you to the right one for your back pain.
- Inquire about money-back guarantees. It’s best to try to opt for a mattress that allows you 30-60 day home trial.
- Check the warranty — should be at least 10 years or prorated.
- Don’t buy a pillow top just because they say it’s more comfortable. Lighter people don’t need one because they don’t weigh enough to compress the foam. Pillow tops are a great option for heavier people though.
- Don’t take your mattress salesperson’s word on everything. Be smart and research beforehand and come equipped asking the right questions.
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