What Type of Mattress Is Best For Back Pain

Considering that you spend about a third of your life lying in bed, it is wise to ask yourself the following question, “What type of mattress is best for back pain?” A few studies provide some guidance. According to NCBI, there are no statistically important differences between a foam and waterbed mattress. However, very soft mattresses can lead to the increase of lower back pain.

Conventionally, most people will consider buying the hardest mattress they can find for their backs. That is actually the common wisdom, but there is no irrefutable research that suggests the firmest is the best. There is no specific mattress that is ideal for everyone, especially people with chronic back pain To some extent, personal preference seems like the ideal guide for you to select what feels comfortable for your back.

If you cannot figure out what type of mattress is best for back pain, you can try sleeping on many different mattresses. This way, you can find out a type or design that feels most comfortable. You should always take note of how you feel whenever you sleep on someone else’s mattress, such as in a hotel or at your friend’s.

A good rule of thumb is to settle for a mattress with the ideal thickness or firmness. Your back will receive more support and you can choose firm, medium or soft.


So, What Type of Mattress is best for Back Pain?

First and foremost, if you are going to get a mattress, what you are really looking for is support and comfort for your back. The mattress you choose has to keep your body pretty much in neutral position. If it is too firm, it can cause pressure points and cause pain from compression in the hips and on the shoulders. And if it is too soft, your body will sag into the mattress leading to back pain.

According to US-Mattress, you can better decide on the ideal mattress for your back if you know the comfort scale. The basic comfort scale has a rating of 1 to 10, with 1 being the hardest and 10 the softest. Statistically, not everyone would prefer a comfort scale of 1 or a comfort scale of 10 for specific individual reasons and preference.


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A scale rating of 1 to 3 covers very firm mattresses; they have less padding and rigid back support for your spine. A range of 5 to 6 includes medium mattresses; they have some form of padding, but offer a rigid sleeping surface. A range of 9 to 10 covers the softest mattresses made from the flabbiest comfort materials for a lavish sleeping surface.

If you have back pain, you will feel much relieved when you sleep on a mattress with a comfort scale rating of about 5 to 6. The available research suggests that medium mattresses improve the quality of sleep by about 60% by reducing back stiffness by approximately 59% and back pain by approximately 57%. With that said, the following are the major types of mattresses you can choose for managing and preventing back pain problems.


1.      Spring Mattresses

There are two types of spring mattresses that you can choose: innerspring and pocket spring mattresses.

Innerspring Mattress

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As far as innerspring mattress are concerned, there are a lot of different rates of how many springs are within a mattress. You really do not need any more than 390 springs. Any more than that and you may probably not be able to tell the benefits of the mattress. An innerspring mattress with the ideal number of coils is more supportive, especially for overweight people.A good choice should offer: support for all sizes and shapes, correct spinal alignment and superior pressure relief.

Pocket Spring Mattress

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A pocket spring is one of the best types of mattresses for managing back problems. This is so, since a pocket spring mattress can mold to the contour of your body, supporting you around the waist. You can sleep with your partner on the same mattress without bumping into each other because one pocket spring does not affect the other. The most recommended model should have more than 1000 pocket springs for optimum back pain relief and comfort.


2.      Memory Foam Mattress

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The memory foam mattresses are very well-known. You must have heard, come across and even use memory foam mattresses and memory foam toppers. The memory foam technology is very supportive to the contours of your body. The memory foams can be very comfortable for everyone. The problem with memory foam mattresses is that they can be too hot because they tend to hug your body. If you are using one in a hot climate, it can heat up your body. Apart from the heat in hot climate, a memory foam mattress is the best for anyone with back pain, since it gets you close to weightless sleeping as possible.


3.      Latex Mattress

This is one of the best choices of mattress for back problems. Latex mattresses do not only support, but also pushes up to your body as well. Unlike the other types of mattresses, you can effectively alleviate or prevent back pain with a latex mattress as long as you choose the ideal ILD (Indentation Load Deflection) firmness rating.

In summary, not every type of mattress is suitable for back pain relief. Innerspring and pocket spring mattresses are not entirely effective for tender backs. This is particularly the case if you choose a mattress with inadequate number of innersprings or pocket springs. Also, painful pressure points will not farewell on springs. So, the choices are narrowed down to memory foam and latex mattresses.

Of the two, latex mattress offers the best performance for back pain. You can still settle for spring and memory foam mattresses, depending on preference, but you should settle for latex because of the following reasons: latex is naturally resistant to mildew and mold, latex material has a long life, latex avoids motion transfer when sleeping with your partner, and latex has adequate holes for breathability.


About Dr. Brent Wells

Dr. Brent Wells has been a practicing chiropractic physician in Anchorage, Juneau & Wasilla, Alaska since 1998. He is the founder of Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab, a multi-disciplinary clinic that utilizes a team approach to provide a full range of effective, conservative treatments, including chiropractic care, rehabilitative therapy and massage therapy, as well as other advanced high-tech complementary therapies. His clinics have successfully addressed pain and spine-related conditions without addictive drugs or invasive surgeries for more than 15,000 patients.