Is Your Mattress Causing Your Back Pain?

Is Your Mattress Causing Your Back Pain? | Dr. Ali Ghahary

There are many reasons why one might develop back pain. For example, heavy lifting or constant strain which causes the back to spasm. You can also develop degenerative joint and disc disorders as you get older. But did you know that one of the most common causes of back pain actually has to do with your mattress? If you’re sleeping on the wrong mattress this can either cause you to have back pain or worsen any pre-existing back pain or spinal problems. Without a proper mattress, your back and spine don’t get the support that they need. This can cause your muscles to become strained as well as cause improper alignment.

The type of mattress that is best for you ultimately boils down to personal preference, but with so many different types of mattresses on the market it can sometimes be hard to figure out exactly what you need.

First, when choosing a mattress, the most important thing is finding one that won’t cause pain and will allow you to get a good night’s rest – because when you don’t sleep properly, your entire circadian rhythm gets thrown off kilter, which can lead to chronic insomnia and other health problems. It’s also important to understand the physical components of a mattress. The inner springs/coils of a mattress are what provide your body with the support it needs, but they can vary in the way in which they’re arranged depending on the brand. When shopping for a mattress, it’s also good to inquire about which mattresses will provide you with the most support. Studies have shown that medium-firm mattresses tend to provide the most relief for those who are already suffering from back pain. The depth of mattress padding, which is what provides the most comfort, can also vary, ranging anywhere from 7 to 18 inches deep.

Another important part of choosing a mattress is also finding one that not only provides your back with sufficient support but is comfortable for you as well. If you buy a mattress that’s too firm, this can cause an increase in back pain as well as cause pain to certain pressure points on the back and body. Medium-firm mattresses are highly recommended because they allow the shoulders and hips to sink in while still giving your spine the support it needs. Soft mattresses will ultimately feel more comfortable, but they tend to be the most problematic, causing things such as heat retention and issues with spine alignment. It’s also important to remember that any new mattress you purchase may be uncomfortable for the first few weeks until your body gets used to sleeping on it, but many mattress companies will allow you a certain length of time to try the mattress and return or exchange it if you have any problems.

If you have chronic back pain but don’t think your mattress is the culprit, then you could have one of the pre-existing back conditions mentioned above. As a family physician, Dr. Ali Ghahary will often refer patients for medical imaging tests, such as x-rays, to determine if things like arthritis are the cause of their back pain. In many cases, low-impact to moderate exercise, such as stretching or swimming, can significantly improve back pain if it’s muscle-related. If the pain is severe, then you may need to take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, such as Naproxen, muscle relaxers, or be referred to a specialist.