How to Choose a Mattress For Back Pain

Updated on April 26, 2022

Image by Anastasia Gepp from Pixabay

There is an ongoing debate on which is the best mattress for people with back pain. The choice is between a soft and firm mattress. Actually, most health experts say that it all comes down to your needs and preferences. Therefore, you should choose the mattress that makes you the most comfortable. Well, according to research, a mattress with medium firmness will result in the most painless sleep. 

In 2015, a review gathered information from 24 trials where the participants slept on medium, soft, custom inflated and firm mattresses. From the review, self-adjusted and medium-firm mattresses were the best choices for sleep comfort, spinal alignment and quality. Health experts say that a medium-firm mattress is the best choice. Of course, every person’s preferences are different and a lot of factors play a different role. Read the Sleep Junkie Australia mattress buyer guide to get an idea of the various options out there

These include the following. 

1. Your Medical Status 

You need to choose a mattress that’s suitable enough for your spinal condition. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about how soft or hard it might be during purchase. If you have a severe condition, consult your doctor before buying a mattress. That way, you should be able to find the best one for your needs. 

Before buying a mattress, you need to consider the following. 

• Do you suffer from any medical conditions? 

• What is your current diagnosis?

• Have you been treated for anything serious in the past? 

These answers will make a huge difference when you are buying a mattress. For instance, you are likely going to suffer symptoms of spinal stenosis when you walk or stand but not when you are lying down. Note that the question of a firm mattress is not a huge issue for anyone with spinal stenosis. You should choose a mattress that makes you comfortable. 

On the other hand, if you suffer from degeneration together with your stenosis, it’s another issue altogether. For instance, if you have spinal arthritis but not spinal stenosis, non-specific back pain or disc problems you need to consider the firmness or softness of your mattress. If you suffer from any of these conditions, you need more support. Yes, everyone needs a lot of support when they sleep but people who have undergone any type of back surgery need less support. 

Note that, after a few surgeries on your back, the tissues have undergone a lot of alterations and will become stiffer. Therefore, a soft mattress will be more comfortable than a stiff one. 

2. How Old Is Your Mattress?

You should know that mattress springs break down with time. As such, your bed is likely going to become softer and it will start aggravating your back. As such, it’s a good idea to buy a new mattress rather than adding on to the stiffness and pain from the old one. Well, this might be different for most people but there is research to back this point. 

A recent study measured the quality and comfort of sleep for 27 patients suffering from stiffness and pain in their lower back. The patients recorded their comfort and quality of sleep in their own beds for 21 days and followed suit with a new bedding system for 12 weeks. The study discovered that the patients showed a lot of improvement in their back pain and stiffness on the new mattresses. Also, their sleep quality improved significantly. 

3. Sleeping Position 

What is your sleeping position? If you know your sleeping position, you should be able to identify the type of support you need from your mattress. Whether you are a back, stomach, fetal or side sleeper, here are some recommendations on the best type of mattress for your sleeping needs. 

• Side Sleepers – Most people are side sleepers. They often sleep in a fetal position where their knees drawn up to their chest. However, the position puts a lot of pressure on their shoulders and hips. If you are a side sleeper, you should buy a softer mattress. Choose a mattress that conforms to your body especially around the lumbar and thoracic region. 

• Stomach Sleeper – If you love sleeping on your stomach, a soft mattress will irritate your back. It makes your abdomen sink into the bed. As such, it results in an increased arch in your lower back causing a lot of pain. As such, a medium-firm mattress is the best choice in this case. You should have a lot of support from a medium-firm mattress without your abdomen sinking. If you have a larger abdomen, the sinking effect will be amplified but for thinner people, the sinking isn’t a huge issue.

• Back Sleepers – If you love sleeping on your back, you should place a thin rolled towel or pillow underneath your knees to guarantee lower back support. You should be able to add extra comfort as you sleep. 

Another research done in 201o involved 27 patients who suffered from lower back pain and stiffness when they woke up. Participants were divided according to their sleeping positions. Next, they were assigned a medium-firm mattress with a latex and foam layering combination according to their sleeping positions. The research discovered the above points about sleeping positions and the type of preferable mattress. 

The research was conducted for a period of 3 months with the researchers checking sleep quality and comfort every day. They identified that the patient’s back pain or stiffness improved when they slept on the new mattresses. As such, they concluded that sleep surfaces don’t cause discomfort. You can easily reduce the amount of pain you feel by replacing your mattress with one that’s good enough for your spinal condition. 

Final Thoughts

When looking for a new mattress, there are numerous things to consider but you should always prioritize getting proper support. If you have a lot of back pain, you should buy a mattress that eases your back pain rather than making it worse. Therefore, don’t buy a specific mattress because someone else said it. 

It’s ideal to shop for a mattress physically at a store so you can have a trial run before taking the mattress home with you. Even better, you should opt for mattress stores that give you a trial period so you can test the mattress before paying it off. That way, you should be able to choose the right mattress for your sleeping needs. Take this advice when shopping for a new mattress for the best results.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.