You get in bed at night and go to sleep without giving it much thought. But did you know your mattress could be adding to your back pain?

You might be doing everything right to treat your back pain—a heating pad, light exercise, stretching, but your mattress could be exacerbating the pain. You may be wondering how to know when you need a new mattress. Ask yourself the following:

  • Is your mattress more than 5 years old?
  • Does your mattress noticeably sag, or are springs coming out?
  • Do you wake up achy and stiff more often than not?
  • Do you sleep better in a hotel room?

If you answered yes to any of these, it’s time to get a new mattress. There are a multitude of choices though, and it can be daunting to begin the process. According to Hubert Lee Gooch, M.D., with the American Academy of Orthpaedic Surgeons, most physicians agree that a firm mattress is best for lower back pain.

Always read reviews and try out mattresses in the store. When you lay down on a mattress, your back should be aligned. When you lay down, your spine, neck and shoulders should be in alignment, and should feel as they would if you were standing up with good posture.

There are three main types of mattresses:

  1. Innerspring – According to WebMD, innerspring is still the most widely used mattress. There is a wide variety to choose from, and in varying degrees of firmness. Spring mattresses can be comfortable for almost anyone regardless of pain level, so it’s important to test them out and see which one you like best.
  2. Memory foam – Memory foam is getting more and more popular. It molds to your body while you sleep and manufacturers claim it reduces pressure points and relieves pain.
  3. Latex – Latex provides back support and is made of rubber. These tend to be very firm.

The link between a firm mattress and less back pain has not been fully proven. But studies have been done, and results usually showed that a firmer mattress eased back pain. Onestudy published in The Lancet medical journal concluded that “patients with medium-firm mattresses had better outcomes for pain in bed, pain on rising and disability, than did patients with firm mattresses.” So the key may be to have a medium-firm mattress rather than overly firm. After all, you don’t want to be sleeping on what feels like a brick. The bed should be comfortable but not overly soft.

Try replacing your old mattress – but if back pain continues, contact us or call our dedicated Medical Concierge at 800-890-1964.