How to Choose a Mattress for Back Health and Wellness

Choosing the right mattress is the one of the most overlooked but important parts about decorating your bedroom. Keep reading to find out why!


Photo: Cindy Barganier

If you experience back pain, you are not alone. A recent study revealed that eight out of ten Americans will experience this problem during their lives, and that the risk increases as they age. While these issues can have many causes, a common factor is sleeping on the wrong type of mattress. Depending on your health and body type, your mattress may be causing you aches and pains and that is why it could be the time for investing in an adjustable bed. If you are ready to choose a new bed or mattress, there are several tips you can keep in mind when it comes to achieving optimum health, wellness, and great sleep.

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Consider Current Health Issues

Before you choose a mattress, it is a good idea to consider what health issues you may be suffering from currently and how they affect your sleep. For example, if you already have back pain and your current mattress is making matters worse, you may want to consider buying a brand that is designed to support and cushion your spine and relieve pressure points that may cause pain.

One way to narrow down your mattress choice is to ask your physician for advice. He or she can advise you about how different types of mattress might help or hinder your current pain issues. You may want to let your doctor know about your sleeping patterns and how many days out of the week you wake up with back pain so he or she can gauge whether your current mattress is a major factor in the discomfort you feel. A physical may be necessary to better understand the source of your pain.

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Think Body, Not Brands

While it might seem impossible to choose a particular mattress brand out of all that are available, the good news is that brand names do not have to be a major factor in your decision. While you might gravitate toward a certain brand because you have enjoyed a product in the past or it has favorable consumer reviews online, your body’s individual needs, not the mattress name, is what counts.

As you shop for mattresses, consider how a soft or firm brand might affect your back pain. For example, a mattress that is too firm may not have enough give where you need it the most and put pressure on your spine or put it out of alignment. As a result, you may wake up with back pain. Test possible mattress choices at your local mattress retailers to gauge your body’s individual needs and keep in mind that firmness is usually in the eye of the sleeper.

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Research Before You Buy

While your doctor can help you understand what type of mattress might help alleviate back pain, you can also perform research on your own before you start shopping. Learning about different types of mattresses might help you understand whether a memory foam or coil style is a better choice for you. The more you understand the differences between what types are available, the easier shopping can be.

If you choose to perform research online and look into consumer reports, it is important that you keep your individual needs in mind. Even if a mattress has excellent reviews, its construction or type may not be effective for helping to manage your back pain. You may want to discover what type of mattress best suits your needs before you read these reports.

Choose the Right Accessories

The accessories you buy for your bed, from good pillows to sheets, can contribute to sleep wellness and preventing back pain.  Mattress extras, such as memory foam pads, must be carefully considered. While these mattress toppers can provide extra softness and protect your mattress from stains, they can also raise your body temperature during the night. If you are sensitive to temperature changes, you may want to forego them to have a more comfortable and restful sleep.

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Browse Adjustable Beds

One way to alleviate back pain and get the ultimate in mattress comfort is to invest in an adjustable bed. These beds, which allow you to change the angle and firmness of the mattress, might go a long way in helping you manage chronic pain. Some brands include heat and massage features; however, beds with multiple accessories may eclipse your mattress budget.

Chronic back pain can interfere with daily activities, cause restless sleep, and make you miserable upon waking. The right mattress can help reduce some of this pain; however, proper research, understanding how the differences in mattress construction can affect your sleep, and your body’s individual needs are all important in helping you make the best possible choice for health and sleep wellness.