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The American Chiropractic Association says that about 80% of the population will suffer from lower back pain at one point in their lives. This pain can be caused by an injury, occupational stress, or quite likely from sleeping on a bad mattress. Even younger people in their 30s and 40s can suffer from back pain which might lead to chronic issues down the road.
Of the two basic styles of mattresses, innerspring or memory foam, it’s best to go with the latter option. Medium-firm memory foam or latex mattresses are the better choices because they adhere to the curvature of your spine, neck, and joints. Chiropractors once recommended a firm mattress for people who suffer from back pain, but that’s no longer the case.
When you’re trialing a new mattress, try moving into different positions. If it takes the memory foam about a minute or longer to reform to your body, then it may lead to restless nights. Good memory foam should remold itself to you in about four to five seconds.
If you think a firm mattress will help your back, then try putting a piece of plywood under your current mattress, or lay the mattress directly on the floor. After a night or two of sleeping like this, your body should tell you if firmer is better or not.
Perhaps you don’t want to spend the money right now for a brand new mattress. A cheaper option is to buy a topper to put on your mattress. Even a high-quality, expensive topper will cost much less than a new mattress. However, consider most toppers found in retail stores to be the equivalent of a band-aid. It offers temporary relief but is not a long-term solution for more serious problems.
Largely thanks to modern technology, mattresses can now offer sleep-enhancing benefits. Some brands have Celliant® covers on their mattresses which the FDA has determined to provide a better rest. They consider Celliant® covers a medical device because they help increase blood flow in localized areas in the body.
Memory foam mattresses are becoming the most option for sleepers experiencing back pain. If you go that route, be sure to keep in mind that not all companies use material that is non-toxic. Look for companies which use organic material, plant-based material, foam that is Certi-PUR US certified and more. The easiest way to know if a brand uses safe material is if they actively promote it in their descriptions. They’ll be pretty happy to talk about it.
Your back is important. Don’t risk messing it up with a poor-quality mattress.