Choosing A Mattress To Help Your Lower Back Pain: What You Need To Know

If you have lower back pain, you may experience broken sleep and wake up frequently during the night. Poor or inadequate sleep can cause stress, anxiety, and depression, which can affect your health and the quality of your life. If you suffer from lower back pain, choosing the right mattress can reduce the pain, giving you a better night’s sleep.  

In this article, we will look at what type of mattress is best for lower back pain.

Have you considered clinical trials for Lower back pain?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Lower back pain, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

Can a mattress cause lower back pain?

Yes. If your mattress does not offer your spine the proper support, alignment, and cushioning during sleep, you may experience lower back pain. Since your mattress largely determines your body position during sleep, it's important to consider a mattress that contours to your body shape and offers you maximum support. 

How to tell if your mattress is causing lower back pain

Do you suspect that your mattress could be aggravating your lower back pain? Here's how to tell:

Your pain is worse when you wake up

If your lower back pain is worse in the morning and eases off through the day, you may not be getting proper rest at night. Without a suitable mattress, you could be getting into awkward positions while you sleep, causing uneven pressure across your body.

Your mattress is sagging

If your mattress is indented, sagging, or uneven, consider changing it. A sagging mattress doesn’t provide the necessary support for your spine and can aggravate lower back pain. It is recommended that you change your mattress every five to ten years or when you feel it no longer offers you the support you need.¹

You find it hard to get comfortable while sleeping

If you are tossing and turning, and can't get comfortable while sleeping, your mattress may not be providing enough comfort to help your body relax. Your mattress should contour to your body so you get a good night’s rest. 

Identifying the ideal mattress for your sleeping position

Different sleeping positions create various pressure points, so different areas of the body need extra cushioning.² It's crucial to choose the right mattress for your sleeping position to prevent or reduce lower back pain.

For instance, back sleepers experience the most pressure around the lumbar region (lower back). If you purchase a mattress that is too soft, the weight from your abdomen can compress your back and hips. If your old mattress begins to sag, this will have the same effect. Medium-firm mattresses are ideal for back sleepers.

For side sleepers, the area with the greatest pressure is around the hips and shoulders, where the body is widest. Your mattress should have enough contours to cushion these areas but not be too soft as it will not provide enough support. For side sleepers, the best mattresses are medium to medium-firm.

Stomach sleepers have the most pressure points around the neck and lower back. A soft mattress may exaggerate the curvature in your neck and back which can lead to unnecessary stress and strain. Stomach sleepers need a firm mattress and a thin pillow to avoid lower back pain.

What should you look for in a mattress if you have lower back pain?

Purchasing a mattress depends on personal preference, but if you suffer from lower back pain, there are a few factors to consider.

Pressure relief

If you have lower back pain, it’s important to relieve pressure on your back to reduce the constant stress on the spine and surrounding areas. A memory foam mattress may be ideal for pressure relief as it contours to your body shape, offering you support where you need it most.

Support

If you have lower back pain, it's vital to rest on a supportive mattress that offers the best spinal alignment. This means you can maintain your spine’s natural S curve to maintain a healthy posture and reduce the pressure on these areas.

If you choose a very soft or unsupportive mattress that causes your body to sink into the bed, you increase the risk of poor spinal alignment, unbalanced support, and potentially more pain in your lower back.

Durability

When choosing a mattress to alleviate your lower back pain, ensure it’s made from high-quality materials that will help keep its shape for the foreseeable future. A poor-quality mattress will start sagging immediately and will not provide the necessary support.

It may be worth reading reviews from other people or trialing the mattress in-store to determine its quality.

Zoned support

Your body weight is not evenly distributed, which means some areas will require more support than others. Zoned mattresses offer even cushioning and reinforced support throughout your body.

When selecting a suitable mattress for your lower back pain, consider your sleeping position and pressure points that need cushioning.

Trial period

Purchase a mattress from a reputable vendor that offers a trial period. If you don't like the specific mattress or it's not working for your lower back pain, you can return to it during the trial.

This arrangement gives you the reassurance that you can test your mattress before committing to the purchase. It will also give you an idea of whether the specific mattress reduces your lower back pain. Before purchasing your mattress, check the vendor's refund policy.

Extra sleeping accessories for those with lower back pain

Besides choosing the ideal mattress, you can purchase accessories to improve the quality of your sleep. For instance, you can upgrade your pillows and your bed base to improve your sleeping surface alongside your new mattress.³

Pillows play a crucial role in minimizing and preventing neck and back pain. They offer the proper support for your neck and improve spinal alignment.

Pillows can also cushion your body if you place them strategically around yourself. Trialing a pillow in several positions is recommended before purchasing.

The ideal sleeping position for lower back pain

If you have lower back pain, you may experience more comfort and relief if you sleep on your side with your knees slightly bent.⁴ Consider placing a pillow between your knees for more support. Ensure the pillow is the right size for ideal hip, knee, and spinal support.

If you prefer to sleep on your back, place some pillows under your knees to align your spine correctly.

For stomach sleepers, consider a supportive pillow under your hips and stomach and a thin pillow to support your head.

Before committing to the right pillow for your sleeping position, try different pillows to find one that works best for you. You can also try different positions to find the one that gives you the best night’s sleep.

Which type of mattress is best for lower back pain?

The best mattress for lower back pain depends on several factors, including:

  • Sleeping position

  • Your weight

  • The extent of your back pain

Mattresses are made of different materials and offer cushioning at different points. Some are ideal for lower back pain, while others are more suitable for other areas in pain.

Here are some ideal mattresses for lower back pain:

Hybrid mattresses

Hybrid mattresses are made of an inner support core and a layered comfort system consisting of latex, foam, cotton micro-coils, wool, or fiber fills.

Hybrid mattresses offer contouring that helps relieve pressure at different points on your body. In addition, the coils aid ventilation to help control the temperature in your bed.

Latex and memory foam mattresses

Memory foam and latex mattresses are ideal for people with lower back pain. They offer robust contouring and strong support for the best spine and hip alignment. These mattresses support your crucial pressure points such as the shoulders and hips to help relieve pressure and pain.

The lowdown

If you have lower back pain, your mattress could be making it worse. Depending on your preferred sleeping position, consider a mattress that maintains your spine's alignment. Ensure the mattress is durable to provide long-term support.

If you are looking for an ideal mattress for your lower back pain, consider purchasing from a store that offers a trial period. If you are not happy with the mattress, you can return it during this period and find a more supportive mattress.

Have you considered clinical trials for Lower back pain?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Lower back pain, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

Joining community groups and exercise programs for my condition made me feel empowered – but I want to be part of finding a cure.
Peter, 64

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