Whether lower back pain stops you from sleeping or wakes you every morning with lower backache that progressively fades, changing your mattress can help. A good mattress will support your spine for improved alignment, resulting in a good night’s sleep for a better day ahead. What kind of mattress is best for lower back pain? Let’s find out.
How Lower Back Pain Affects Your Sleep
Any pain will disrupt your sleep. Low back pain, in particular, causes sufferers to wake up throughout the night. Aching and discomfort can even prevent you from falling back to sleep. As you turn to try to find relief, the pain reinstates itself. Pain causes anxiety and stress, and your lack of sleep further compounds it. If you leave this vicious circle unchecked, it can also lead to depression and a weakened immune system.
Lower back pain is widespread. The NHS estimates that approximately 80% of people will experience back pain during their lifetime. It tends to affect the lumbar region, mainly the five lowest vertebrae. Causes of low back pain can be extremely varied, from simple muscle strain to fractures, ruptured disks, or even spinal stenosis.
Don’t suffer alone with back pain. If your back pain is continually affecting your sleep and daily life, make sure you get it checked out by your GP.
According to my many of my patients, their mattress is the cause of their long term back pain
— sam f (@sammyfoster21) March 20, 2021
Can Changing Your Mattress Help to Relieve Back Pain?
If your backache is non-specific and due to a sprain or other minor muscle or ligament problem, it should improve within several weeks. On the other hand, you may experience chronic lower back pain that can continue for several months.
Whether your non-specific lower back pain is short-lived or chronic, light exercise is most effective at increasing the blood flow to your tissues for healing and strengthening your muscles. While you’re on the road to recovery, you must adequately support your back when you sleep. If your mattress provides insufficient support, you might unintentionally be prolonging your agony.
Changing your mattress can help to relieve lower back pain by helping to realign your spine. Unless your back pain is due to an accident or specific strain, your current mattress could even be the cause of your pain. Since an unsuitable mattress can be responsible for low back pain, it makes sense to rectify the problem by changing your mattress to alleviate your current pains and prevent future ones.
Gentle exercise and increased mobility, combined with a supportive mattress that’s great for spinal alignment at night, can give you restorative sleep and may even help you recover from low back pain sooner.
In this week's episode of 35-Year-Old Man Learning to Become Human, I bought a new mattress and bedframe. It turns out that a proper mattress relieves back pain and induces proper sleep. And Jake Barnes, River Dog, has enough room to not crowd my feet. It's weird to feel rested.
— Clayton Bradshaw-Mittal (@WriterClaytonB) February 9, 2021
Which Type of Mattress is Best for Lower Back Pain?
Before you order a new mattress to help relieve your low back pain, take a moment to research the different types of mattresses and find out how they can help you choose the best mattresses to suit your sleeping style while relieving your lower backache.
Foam mattresses compress to provide you with a comfortable level of support. Memory foam mattresses give extra cushioning, which helps with pressure relief. This feature is essential for side sleepers.
Look out for a multi-layer foam mattress to relieve your back pain at night. It will provide you with more support, whereas cheaper versions made from just one foam type are more likely to sag and deform, increasing pressure in sensitive areas. Your memory foam mattress needs a strong, firm core combined with softer, compressible upper layers.
Latex is a natural substance that is springy and inherently anti-allergen. Although being costly and hefty, latex mattresses are preferred by certain patients because they provide the ideal balance of comfort and support.
Coil mattresses do not provide the best type of support. They are generally unsuitable for back pain sufferers. While they do tend to be cheap, they also sag and deform fairly easily. As the springs move about as one unit, you’re less likely to be able to lie down with your spine correctly aligned comfortably.
Pocket Spring Mattress
Pocket spring mattresses have grown in popularity in recent years. Unlike coil spring mattresses, an individual spring has its fabric pocket. It means each spring can react directly to the amount of pressure that is put upon it, depending on your sleeping posture. Pocket spring mattresses tend to provide good support levels, although they are best when combined with other more cushioning materials.
Hybrid mattresses combine two or more kinds of mattresses to create excellent support and enhanced comfort levels. A hybrid mattress with a pocket spring core offers excellent levels of support for various sleeping positions. When you combine this with layers of foam or latex, you get more pressure point relief and body contouring which’s great for lower backache.
We got a new mattress yesterday because our HS music department does a mattress sale fundraiser. We got a "latex hybrid" which sounds so weird. It was WAY too hot in our room for me to have slept well, but my husband woke up with no back pain for the first time in years.
— Shannon Stacey (@shannonstacey) July 9, 2018
Is a Firm Mattress Better for Lower Back Pain?
According to a registered charity and experts, Backcare, ‘hard mattresses are not necessarily the best for bad backs.’ Like most things, mattress firmness levels are subjective, and what works for you isn’t necessarily going to work for the next person. That said, when it comes down to selecting the best mattress firmness for back pain relief, medium-firm is the most recommended.
Get a mattress that’s too firm, and you risk too much force on pressure points. Medium-firm gives you the right amount of support that your spine needs while accommodating your shoulders and hips.
Additionally, it would be best to consider your body weight when choosing a mattress for your low back pain. Heavier people need a firmer mattress, whereas lighter people can benefit from softer mattresses.
How Does Your Sleep Position Play a Role?
Likewise, your sleeping position is also important to mattress firmness. People who prefer front or back sleeping positions can benefit from firm mattresses. If you’re a side sleeper, you’ll need a softer mattress to accommodate the added pressure on your shoulders and hips.
However, everyone has their preferences, and these are just general guidelines and observations, not rules.
Deciding on a Mattress
While a medium-firm mattress is generally recommended for people with back pain, choosing a reputable brand with a sleep trial is the best option. There’s no need for you to go to the shop and test a mattress for only a measly few minutes. You’ll be able to test your mattress at home for at least several nights. That experience may help ensure you’re getting a mattress compatible with your sleep position and health conditions.
Is it a coincidence that I just woke up with incredible back pain or does my old mattress know it's getting replaced today?
— Amanda Whitby (@awhitby) March 19, 2021
A Mattress That’s Got Your Back
For severe and chronic back pain, don’t delay. Make an appointment for a check-up with your doctor today. Increased fitness and exercise can strengthen your back and speed up recovery from backache, but sleep is also essential to a swift recovery and general good health. So, if you’ve tried everything and the pain persists, you might want to think about switching your mattress. Your current one may not be giving you the comfort and support that your spine needs for optimal recovery.
What kind of mattress is best for lower back pain? Choose a new mattress for lower backache based on your individual needs. While experts recommend a medium-firm mattress as one of the best mattresses for back pain, your individual preferences may vary. Most importantly, choose a reputable brand with a good no-quibble sleep trial period so you can test out your new mattress in the comfort of your own home.
Do you have a lower backache story? How did your mattress help alleviate it? Tell us your story.