How To Choose The Best Mattress For Chronic Pain

Updated March, 2021
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Having the wrong mattress only worsens chronic pain. It's best to choose a mattress with a firmness level suitable to your sleeping position (medium-firm is great for all sleeper types), provides lumbar support, and also one made of a material that supports your body's needs.

Understanding chronic pain

Chronic pain is long-term, sometimes severe pain experienced frequently due to a medical condition, trauma, or physical defect. It's estimated that 20% of the US's adult population suffers from chronic pain. Of that, approximately 8% is considered severe or high impact chronic pain.

There are several different causes and symptoms of chronic pain, including:

Common Causes

  • Trauma (such as car accidents or severe injuries)
  • Nerve damage
  • Physical conditions (such as diabetes, arthritis, or fibromyalgia)
  • Birth defects (such as scoliosis)

Common Symptoms

  • Long-standing minor or significant physical pain
  • Inability to find comfort or sleep
  • Agitation, irritation, or other mood-related symptoms
  • Chronic fatigue

5 ways your current mattress is causing you pain

We spend around 8 hours on our mattresses every day. And, if you have chronic pain, chances are you spend even more time in your bed. It's so important to ensure your bed isn't causing acute pains that exacerbate your chronic conditions. Here are a few ways your mattress is making your pain worse:

You're not sleeping well

If your inability to get comfortable goes beyond your chronic pain, it's probably your mattress. And even if you're sleeping well, chances are your mattress is still waking you up in the night, keeping you from getting the quality sleep you need to manage your condition.

Your pain is getting worse

As a result of not sleeping well, you lack sufficient deep sleep. Deep sleep is one of the most important things for your body, particularly regarding pain. This is the cycle of sleep responsible for producing human growth hormone, or HGH. HGH is the chemical that nurtures your body's healing process, so a lack of deep sleep literally prevents your body from healing itself.

Your mental health is declining

Over time, a lack of deep sleep leads to a slow decline in your emotional state. If you're already fighting chronic pain, chances are you already struggle with depression, anxiety, and insomnia that typically occurs with it. Sleep deprivation makes that fight even harder.

You can't find relief and you don't know why

An old mattress can have visible and internal defects that impact your comfort and sleep quality. So, even if you can't see what's causing your condition to deteriorate, such as a dip in the mattress, it could still be forcing you into uncomfortable or even painful sleeping positions, worsening your pain.

You can't keep your spine aligned

If you've been dealing with chronic pain, you've probably done all the research. You've bought the pillows, tried wadding up and extra blanket—everything. You know you have to keep your back aligned while you sleep, but you just can't.

The primary cause of daily aches and pains of the body related to sleep is poor sleep position. You may be doing everything right, but that doesn't mean you have the right mattress.

What are ways I can treat my chronic pain?

There are a few ways you can attempt to manage your chronic pain through a combination of lifestyle and medical changes. Here are a few tips:

  • Talk to your doctor about medications that might be right for you
  • Try yoga or aerobics to stretch the sore parts of your body
  • Attempt occupational or physical therapy
  • Find a supportive mattress that's right for your body
  • Use temperature therapy, such as hot and cold baths or over-the-counter products

How to choose the right mattress to wake up pain-free

If you're looking for a new mattress to help manage your chronic pain, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Choose one with the right firmness for your sleeping position

The firmness of your mattress should relate to the position you sleep in most. Here are a few general rules of thumb:

  • Back sleepers need a medium-firm mattress for a little extra support
  • Side sleepers need a softer (but not too soft!) mattress to contour to the shoulders and hips, preventing pain
  • Stomach sleepers need a firm mattress, as to prevent their hips from sinking too far down, leading to even more back and neck pain.
  • What if you're a combination sleeper? That's okay! Find a medium mattress that provides a balance between firmness and contour.

Choose one with excellent lumbar support

It's essential to find good lumbar support for chronic pain. It's especially crucial for those whose chronic pain touches the back, neck, or legs. Lumbar support is the bed's ability to maintain the natural curvature of the spine while you sleep. Failure to do so results in increased pain and sleep disruption, exacerbating your chronic conditions.

Choose a type of mattress that's right for you

Not all mattresses are made the same. Those with chronic pain should consider an innerspring mattress, as they provide the right balance between support and comfort, helping you sleep more deeply and reducing your pain. Their coiling system distributes pressure equitably, keeping your body in alignment all night, and preventing too much (or too little) sinkage.

The #1 Best Mattress For Chronic Pain

Saatva is our top pick for the #1 best mattress for Sleep Apnea in 2021! They're a luxury hypoallergenic mattress shipped directly to your door (with full-service white-glove delivery). They have over 50,000 reviews and continue to be one of the most reputable, established brands in the industry (founded in 2009). Check their price, here.

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