Learn how to find the best mattress for a bad back.
Are you trying to find a good mattress for back pain? One of the hardest medical conditions to cure and treat are those relating to back pain, and it’s something that affects millions of people around the world every day.
Over and over, you find people searching the ends of the world for the best mattress for a bad back in order to get a little relief. Mainly because, along with debated chiropractic treatments, having a comfortable place to get great sleep seems to aid the most when it comes to preventing and reducing back pain.
While identifying the single best or most perfect mattress remains a hotly contested topic, opinion polls and sleep professionals have indicated that specific types are better than others when it comes to pain management and support.
Our #1 Mattress Pick for Back Pain: Amerisleep Revere Bed
What Does Back Pain Have to Do With Mattresses?
It has been reported that the majority of back pain is caused by either an injury, occupational strain, the daily stresses of sleeping on a hard or uneven surface, or a combination of the above. Even amongst younger people, it’s is a big problem, being the top cause of disability in people under 45 years old.
While a lot prevention efforts focus on daytime habits, while a person sleeps many things go on in their bodies that are related to their backs. For instance, while sleeping, pressure is gradually released from the vertebrae. This is because the person is lying; not standing, therefore the upper portion of the body is not applying pressure to the spinal cord.
Under these conditions, when a person initially awakes, they can be up to one inch taller compared to their height at the end of the night. As they progress through the day, pressure returns with gravity and with things like poor posture, which compress the spine throughout the day.
Your spine and the muscle supporting it rest while you sleep at night. As you settle into a horizontal sleep position, proper alignment and support is essential to reducing and avoiding soreness over the several hours you’re in bed.
There is also a pain and sleep paradox of sorts. Pain can certainly make it harder to get comfortable and enjoy a great night’s sleep, while at the same time, getting poor sleep can increase the severity and perception of pain. Choosing a comfortable bed thus yields several important benefits: easing current soreness and pains, reducing pain severity, facilitating better rest, and preventing new aches.
Which Type of Bed is Best for a Bad Back?
|Average Owner Satisfaction (all brands)||81%||80%||64%|
|Support||Good||Excellent||Fair to Good|
|Pressure Relief||Excellent||Good to Excellent||Poor to Good|
|Durability||Good||Excellent||Poor to Fair|
Sleeping on a lumpy, unsupportive or too-firm surface can interfere with the spinal cord reaching its proper posture. The types that tend to rate best on pain relief tend to be either memory foam or latex of good quality, with spring beds performing less well in reviews. Beds that are very thin and inexpensive also tend to have poor long-term satisfaction when it comes to comfort.
High-quality foam mattresses conform closest to the sleeper’s body shape. Conformity means the material allows the wider parts of their body, like the hips and shoulders, to sink in while the lighter areas of the body, such as the waist and neck just lay atop.
Sleeping with a straight, natural alignment relieves the pressures commonly associated with many back pains. This allows the spinal cord to adjust correctly and align itself straight. A sleep surface with poor conformity or support forces the body to rest at an unnatural angle, and prevents tense muscles from fully relaxing.
Now the ideal bed will be based on each person’s situation and preferences. Some people have a preference for the feel of memory foam, while others prefer the feel of latex. Things like materials, layer thickness and firmness will all depend to some degree on your body weight, sleep style, and other factors. But, there are a few basic guidelines that can help inform your search
What makes memory foam the best for a bad back?
Traditional spring mattresses are flat, plank-like. The stiff springs cause the sleeper to lay uneven, whether they are side or back sleepers. Plank-like surfaces, when it comes to a back sleeper, force the person’s spine to arch and the inner knee to be unsupported. This prevents the lower back from decompressing and causes a hosts of strains and pains.
Why is this? Let’s take a mental picture and envision this sleeping situation. The buttocks and the upper shoulders are the parts of the body that protrude the most; the heel of the foot does as well. While lying on the back, the buttocks touch the mattress, the shoulders do, and the heels dig in, all making contact with the springs. However the lumbar region is arched, firmer beds there might be noticeable space between the lower back and the bed, inner knees barely hase a supported surface and the head falls backward.
This type of body position causes strain and tension on the muscles. It also discombobulates the alignment of the spinal cord. Medium-firm memory foam or latex tends to perform well because they allow the parts of the body that need to sink in to do so, and while still giving support in the places that require it. Hips and shoulders are cushioned, while the lower back is fully supported and able to relax.
#1 for Bad Back: Amerisleep Revere Bed – $1299 in Queen Size
Based on our recent look at top rated beds in 2016, the Amerisleep Revere mattress is a great pick for people concerned about pain relief, particularly for back sleepers. It combines medium firm support with good conformity, and durable medium density foams.
Plant-based foams minimize environmental impact and negate the concerns of VOCs in indoor air. It also uses a unique fiber, Celliant, designed to enhance pain relief during sleep. Reviews of this bed tend to be significantly better than average, with over nine in ten people being satisfied and a significant proportion mentioning less pain as a benefit.
Is the Best Mattress for Back Pain Soft, Medium, or Firm?
Maybe it’s neither or a combination of two? It has long since been believed that a firm bed was the best choice for people who suffer from back pain, however, a study conducted in Spain in 2009 on 313 adult individuals, revealed that the sleepers generally reported less pain on a medium-firm bed versus a firm bed.
This has been a long debate between orthopedic doctors and chiropractors. Orthopedic doctors recommend firm mattresses, while chiropractors recommend medium-firm mattresses. The study revealed that the majority of chiropractors were probably right. Since then, other studies have supported their conclusion.
In a general sense, medium-firm mattresses are the most recommended, especially for back sleepers. People with preexisting conditions sometimes require a moderately firm sleeping surface in order to heal properly from strains, and other injuries. Side sleepers might prefer options more in medium ranges to better cushion hips and shoulder.
Can a Mattress Topper Help?
An additional point to highlight is that many chiropractors believe that if the sleeper does not own a memory foam bed or if their current bed is too firm the best thing to do is to lay a 1 ½- 2 ½ inch thick memory foam padding on the sleep surface. Make sure the mattress isn’t sagging yet or your pain may not be alleviated with a topper.
While a mattress pad aides comfort and can help with support to some degree, it does not give the sleeper the deep advantages a memory foam or latex mattress does. All foam beds offer more pressureless support, mold/dust mite resistance, and longevity. The breathability and comfort advantages of memory foam make it an overall good choice for pain, and it’s most likely to be comfortable to the largest percent of the population.
A whole mattress is tall enough to allow the sleeper’s body to sink in the proper distances in the right spots. A 1 ½ -2 ½ inch topper can only do so much.
Quality memory foam or latex foams are hypoallergenic, meaning they are less likely to cause allergic reactions in people. Also, all natural models of latex and low-VOC memory foams can drastically reduce chemical exposure, which is important for those with sensitivities.
So, the big question: what bed will yield your best chances of pain-free days and nights?
Medium-firm memory foam mattresses assist vertebrae alignment, reduce muscle tension and aid the body’s natural processes. Visco foam beds rate well with more than 4 in 5 owners, are easy to find both online and in stores, and prove durable. These factors, along with affordability, makes memory foam the best mattress for a bad back or to aid in soothing or prevention of pain.