Buyer Guide

Why You are Getting Back Pain from your Mattress

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Many factors contribute to a bad back. As per the study conducted by the better sleep council, 73% of people quoted back pain from a mattress as a reason to buy a new mattress.

Industry Survey - Infographic-Triggers Mattress Replacement

In today’s article, we will try to find the correlation between back pain and mattress. How a mattress contributes to restful sleep and helps you wake up relaxed free from any back issues. We also look at some common related questions that come up in our minds when we are not happy with our mattress.

Let us start with a very common question.

Can a mattress give you back pain?

Yes, a mattress can give you back pain if it lacks support. The common causes for back pain due to the mattress are choosing a too soft or firm mattress, sagging issues, and lack of spine alignment.

It is not a hidden secret that a mattress that does not support your back will lead to pain eventually. But how do we end up on a mattress that is not suitable for us?

Why a friend recommending a mattress may be a recipe for disaster?

In our study, we found that most of us rely on mattress recommendations in our immediate circle of friends. Marrisa from our team bought a mattress based on the real-life review of her cousin. She was confused and felt cheated when the mattress did not live up to her expectations.

Honestly, her cousin did not mislead her. It makes sense to get feedback on buying experience or after-sales support. Marrisa made an emotionally biased decision instead of an informed decision. Marrisa’s body type and sleeping habits are very different from her cousin's. 

Picking up the best mattress for your back pain is not complicated. All you need to understand your body type and sleeping habits.

A soft mattress may not be a supportive option for someone who sleeps on the back or stomach. Similarly, a side sleeper will wake aching shoulder and lower back if he regularly sleeps on a firm mattress. Swap that firm mattress to a back sleeper and soft mattress to a side sleeper and chances are they both will wake up fresh without any pain.

A mattress will give you back pain if you don’t consider your body type and sleeping position. A heavy person or someone with more weight around the hip area requires a mattress designed to support the lumbar region.

Can memory foam hurt your back?

A memory foam mattress can hurt your back if your spine is not aligned properly while you are sleeping. Look for a medium-firm memory foam mattress rather than a one where your body sinks in deep.

Let’s take a look at a few related common questions on buying a mattress.

What mattress do chiropractors recommend?

The chiropractors recommend buying an orthopedic mattress if you develop chronic back pain. Orthopedic mattresses are built and designed for extra support for your joints and back.

What mattress firmness is best for back pain?

Medium-firm is best for most people suffering from back pain. But as stated earlier, don’t discard the importance of your body weight/type and sleeping position that varies from individual to individual.

What mattress is best for a bad back?

A hybrid mattress is best for a bad back as it provides better support, contouring, and pressure relief with the combination of coils and comfort layers.

How do you tell if your mattress is hurting your back?

It is important to notice and avoid ignoring the fact if you often wake up with some backache. Some vital signs can tell you if your mattress is hurting your back. 

  1. Check if there are some mattress indentations or signs of sagging.
  2. Does your box spring or bed make some squeaking noises when you move on the bed?
  3. Do you toss and turn in the night?
  4. Have you developed any new allergies or you often sneeze/cough in the night? It can be a sign of allergens in the mattress.
  5. Is your mattress too old?
  6. Is your mattress firmness has changed?
  7. Do you wake up with some joint pain, stiffness, numbness, or tingling?
  8. Frequent feeling of tiredness or fatigue when you wake up can be a sign of a bad mattress.

Many people wait for a breaking point to trigger a new mattress purchase. They tend to save money by spending money on a mattress topper instead of buying a new bed. One of the common questions we get is:

Will a mattress pad help back pain?

A mattress pad can help in back pain if your existing mattress is good in providing support but the top comfort layer is not adequate. It can help in pressure relief by providing proper contouring. If the mattress base fails to provide support, adding a mattress pad will be futile to revive the mattress.

Is it better to sleep on a hard or soft mattress?

To alleviate the back pain, it is better if back and stomach sleepers sleep on firm or hard mattresses whereas a side sleeper should prefer a soft mattress for proper support around shoulders and hips.

How should I lay in bed with lower back pain?

One should lay on the back in bed with lower pain as a neutral spine while sleeping is the key to getting relief. In some cases, keeping rolled towels below knees to raise the legs help in spine alignment. However, for better comfort, we recommend using a wedge pillow under the knees.

How do you relieve back pain from a mattress?

Here are some proven tips that will help you get some relief from back pain from a mattress.

  • Use the right pillow under your head and knees to elevate your legs for proper positioning of the spine if you sleep on the back.
  • Stomach sleepers can use a thin pillow under the tummy whereas the side sleepers can put a pillow between the knees.
  • Avoid sleeping on an extra firm or soft mattress.
  • Invest in a good mattress topper for back pain if the mattress is supportive but lags behind in comfort levels.
  • Don’t immediately get up from bed after sleep. Slowly get up on the side with some support so that there is less pressure on the back.
  • Add light stretching exercise once you are up so that the muscles loosen up especially the hamstrings.
  • Make changes in your daily diet and add food that helps in reducing inflammation. For eg: fatty fish, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, use olive oil, etc.
  • Lastly, If you suffer from chronic back pain, we highly recommend switching to a good adjustable bed if possible.

Mattress Recommendations due to Conditions related to Back Pain

There is no one “best mattress” that can solve every individual’s back pain-related problems. People who ignore their back problems often develop issues or disorders directly related to back pain. At SMHQ, constantly strive to provide updated and relevant information.

We have dedicated articles and recommendations for common back-related problems. We urge you to have look at the below articles for a specific issue you are facing right now.

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Lead Researcher at Sleep Mattress HQ

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