Sleeping on the right mattress can make a big difference in healing or preventing back pain. A mattress that is just the right firmness with the right padding offers effective support for every part of the body and allows restful sleep without morning stiffness and sore muscles. Some people find that a firm bed and back pain are related, while others find that too soft a bed causes back pain. The proper mattress for any individual is the one that allows comfortable rest without muscle strain
Mattresses are manufactured with inner springs and coils that determine firmness by their size, number, and arrangement. Padding on the outside of the mattress contributes to comfort. There is not a large body of scientific evidence, but the few clinical studies that have been completed have found that for many people a medium-firm mattress provides better comfort and back pain relief than a firm mattress does.
A person’s weight, body type, and sleeping habits are all factors that will determine the best type of bed for comfort and good back support. A bed that is too soft will not offer much support, so a person who sleeps on one may wake up feeling stiff and sore because their large muscles have remained tense all night trying to give adequate support to the neck and lower back. A soft mattress can be particularly uncomfortable for someone who is already suffering from chronic back pain.
On the other hand, a bed that is too firm may cause too much pressure on hips, shoulders and knees where they support the body, making sleeping comfortably difficult. A person who finds that a firmer bed gives better support for reducing back pain may want to use a mattress with thicker padding so that their body can sink in with greater comfort while also getting the back support that they need.
Properly maintaining a comfortable mattress is also important for preventing back pain. If a mattress is worn enough to sink in the middle, it is probably not giving adequate support to the natural curves and back of the sleeper’s body, so it should be replaced. Putting a sheet of plywood under a worn mattress can extend its useful life for a while, but this should not be considered a permanent solution. A mattress should be turned over and rotated 180 degrees about every six months to assure even wear which will extend its useful life considerably. Some mattresses have different coverings on the top and bottom, with one being designed for cold weather and the other for hot weather, so the proper surface should be turned up to match the season.
Sleeping on a mattress with the proper firmness will help to heal and prevent back pain. The right mattress for a person is the one that will give adequate support to avoid tense muscles during sleep, but that is soft enough for overall sleeping comfort. Investing in a high quality mattress will pay future dividends in terms of better rest and avoidance of chronic back problems.
Written By: Updated: June 28,2011