Millions of people suffer from chronic back pain, making a restful night’s sleep improbable if not impossible.
If you have a bad back, choosing the right mattress can help to reduce pain and protect against further damage. The wrong mattress, however, can lead to misalignment of the spine, creating pressure points that make back pain worse and make a decent night’s sleep a distant dream.
Luckily, there are plenty of affordable, high-quality mattresses on the market that properly support the neck, back and pelvis while reducing pressure on bones and joints. This guide will identify five of the best, hand-selected by our team of experts.
When looking for a mattress to ease or prevent back pain, memory foam and latex are the most sensible choices as these provide cushioning comfort for aching bones and joints along with avoiding pressure on the neck, spine and pelvis. You should also choose a medium firm to firm mattress, as this can give you the support and good spinal alignment you need. Very soft mattresses should be avoided as these allow the shoulders, spine and pelvis to sink into unnatural positions, causing pain over time.
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A good quality mattress is a must for a great night’s sleep. This is particularly important for those who suffer from back pain, as choosing the wrong type of mattress, or a poor-quality product, can make your condition worse (and may even have caused it in the first place.)
Those who suffer from back pain should opt for a medium firm to firm mattress that provides good lumbar support and helps correctly align the spine. Memory foam and latex mattresses are also great choices for people with back pain, as these mould to the contours of the body, helping to reduce pressure on both bones and joints.
When looking for a mattress to help ease back pain, you should take into account the cause of your back condition, your preferred sleeping position (front, back, side or a combination) along with your weight, height and any other medical conditions you suffer from.
Mattresses can be soft, medium or firm, depending on the amount of sinkage / push back built into the design. Preferred firmness is largely down to personal choice, though it should be noted that a medium firm to firm mattress is the most sensible choice for those with back problems. Firmness can be affected by weight, height and body type and is highly subjective.
‘Universal comfort’ mattresses sit in the middle of the soft to firm range and have multiple foam layers to better accommodate variations in weight and body type. This kind of mattress therefore suits most sleeping positions and is a popular choice for those without back problems or other sources of pain.
Popular mattress types include memory foam, gel, pillow top, inner spring, water or air filled, latex, hybrid and adjustable base. Each have different properties, with memory foam and latex being recommended most often for those with back pain.
Buying from a well-established provider with great customer reviews is a must, as poor-quality mattresses can be a safety hazard and can also make back and joint pain worse – not to mention providing a poor overall sleeping experience.
his type of mattress is designed to follow the natural curves of the body, relieving the pressure commonly associated with back pain along with allowing tense muscles to fully relax. Memory foam mattresses are also recommended for back sleepers as it’s important to use a very responsive mattress that doesn’t allow the curve of the lower back to be exaggerated, leading to discomfort.
A more traditional mattress type, innerspring use an internal steel coil support system covered by padding and upholstery materials including various foams, fibres and even additional layers of smaller springs. Generally regarded as less comfortable and noisier than memory foam or hybrids, innerspring’s are often more affordable, providing solid medium firm to firm support.
A latex mattress combines natural latex foam with either springs or reflex foam to create a supportive and durable sleep surface. Natural latex offers cushioning for pressure points like hips and shoulders, while also providing enough support for natural spinal alignment – making this type of mattress a good choice for those with a bad back.
Hybrid mattresses combine two or more support systems, usually memory foam layers along with an innerspring system. They’re a great way to get the pressure relieving benefits of a memory foam mattress while keeping the firmness and classic feel of an innerspring mattress
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Yes, some sleeping positions can make existing back pain worse or even cause issues in the first place. Sleeping on your side or stomach can place unnecessary pressure on the neck, spine and back, allowing the body to become misaligned. The best position for back pain is, conversely, sleeping on the back (providing that you’re on a medium to firm mattress, preferably memory foam) as the spine is well supported and the shoulders and hips held in correct alignment.
If you’re sleeping on a mattress that’s too firm or soft, this could be contributing to or even casing your back pain. A mattress that’s much too firm could be pushing on pressure points, causing misalignment of the spine and pelvis. A mattress that’s too soft, on the other hand, could be providing too much sinkage rather than holding the spine in its natural curve. Correct posture while you sleep is as important as good posture during the day. The right mattress should make you feel like your body is floating, comfortably cushioned but safely supported.
Generally, very cheap mattresses are usually inferior quality to mid-range or more expensive models and won’t provide as much support or comfort. If you suffer from back pain, view buying a mattress as making an investment in your health, choosing a product that comes with great reviews and an extended trial period, along with a solid guarantee. The mattresses featured in this article are all sold with these options but don’t cost the earth.
Memory foam moulds to the body in response to heat and pressure, returning to its original shape once the pressure is removed. Not only does this make it an incredibly comfortable sleeping surface, memory foam also alleviates pressure on bones and joins, making it a great choice for those who suffer bodily aches and pains, including in the back area.
When you lie on memory foam, the heat from your body softens it at all points of contact, helping to support your body along natural curves and lines. This also stops you from moving around as much, which gives your back the chance to rest and recover. Memory foam is a particularly good choice for elderly people who suffer from joint and back pain.
It’s important for people with back pain to keep the spine in natural alignment while sleeping. Medium firm is therefore the best choice, as it provides the support the body needs without allowing the shoulders or pelvis to sink below the spine. A mattress that’s too soft will also prevent tense muscles from fully relaxing.
Those who suffer from back pain in the lumbar (lower) region may wish to consider choosing a firm rather than medium firm mattress, as this provides even more support, holding the body in a straight line.