You’ve probably heard it said that a firm mattress is the best mattress for back pain. Before you go spend a fortune on an expensive bed that resembles a hardboard plank, we’ve done our homework on the matter and can offer some balanced insight.
When sleeping on a mattress that’s too soft, your spine bends like a banana – a bit like trying to sleep on your side in a hammock. Yeah – awkward. This makes movement difficult and places strain on the spine, and the muscles down your back. Even if you sleep on your back, you’re likely to suffer middle and lower back pain, as the buttocks sinks in deeper than your upper body. Your shoulders may also sink too deep, straining your neck.
A bed that’s too firm can also have a negative effect on your back, causing the spine to curve into an S-bend. Because your shoulders and hips can’t sink into the bed, the spine bends, and you’ll experience a night of pressure and pain in your shoulders and hips. In the long run, your back pain will only worsen, and you won’t be getting any sleep either!
The best mattress for back pain is one that is medium-firm – one that Goldilocks would call “just right!” This mattress would be on the firm side, but would still have a soft upper layer to absorb the pressure from your shoulders and hips, thereby promoting a straight, aligned spine, and also ensuring minimal strain on your neck.
The best example of this kind of a bed would be a high-density foam mattress, which is essentially topped with a high-quality memory foam layer that moulds to your body. Full spinal support doesn’t get better than that!
Are You Blaming Your Bed Instead of Bad Habits?
Before you spend thousands on a new bed or mattress, take a moment to examine whether there are other possible causes for your back pain. Try to implement some of these healthy habits to strengthen your back and alleviate pain naturally:
- Stand up and stretch – sitting for prolonged periods of time places unnatural pressure on your back. Take regular breaks.
- Sit up straight – Your mama wasn’t just being mean when she yelled at you for slouching – bad posture causes long-term aches and pains.
- Get enough sleep – ironically. When you lie down, you take all the pressure of gravity off your spine, and the discs in your back are able to rest and reabsorb all the fluid that’s drained during the day. It’s like a spinal “reset” at the end of every day.
- Reduce smoking – this is a huge surprise to most, but smoking reduces blood flow to the disk cells and starves them of oxygen. The result? A back-ache!
- Buy the right shoes – Just like the people who walk on them, all feet are different. High arches, low arches, in-steps, pigeon-toes… depending on your feet, you need to find shoes that provide the right support, so that you’re not over-supporting yourself using your back muscles. And ladies, limit high-heels to special occasions if you suffer from backache.
- Maintain a healthy diet – your body, and especially your spine, needs lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, grains and healthy fats to maintain strong muscles and bones and tissue.
- Try to sleep on your back – if you’re not a chronic snorer, that is. With the best mattress for back pain, sleeping on your back is a natural position to align your spine, especially if you support your knees with a rolled-up towel or small pillow.
- Don’t skip gym day – keeping all the muscles in your body strong takes the overall strain off the spine and the muscles in your back.
The Goldilocks rule
It’s all about balance – a healthy lifestyle, and a not-too-hard-not-too-soft mattress may be all that you need to alleviate the aches keeping you up at night. If you’re suffering from backache, come lay down at Fit for Bed – we’ll help you find the mattress that’s “Just Right!”.