Is Your Mattress Causing Lower Back Pain?

Updated October, 2020
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Low-quality mattresses can contribute or even cause your daily back pain. Improper lumbar support and lack of sleep are signs of a bad bed, leading to the development of acute discomfort and the worsening of chronic pain.

Here are 5 signs that your bed is causing your back pain

If you're experiencing back pain, chances are it's probably due to your mattress! There are a few unmistakable signs that your bed is causing your discomfort, such as:

It's old

The primary reason a good bed goes bad is age. You should replace your mattress every 8 years. But, several factors can age your mattress prematurely, like mistreatment or excess body weight. Even if your mattress was great back in the day, if it's old or worn down, that's a sign it's now causing you pain.

It's not comfortable

You've tried all the special pillows, you've replaced your bedding, maybe even tried a mattress topper, and you still can't sleep? There are often imperfections in your mattress you can't even see, like popped coils or fractured frames. This has a considerable impact on your spine's alignment and can force you into uncomfortable sleep positions that cause pain and wake you during the night.

It's making you groggy

When you wake up in the morning, are you already tired? This is a sign that you're not sleeping well at night, despite what you may think. Frequent disturbances in your sleep prove that your mattress is either worn out or low-quality, establishing a link between your mattress and daily pain.

It's making you sick

Are you sneezing outside allergy season? While your mattress being an allergen-contagion doesn't prove it's bad quality, it does prove you've had it for a long time, meaning it could be worn down and causing you to spend entire nights in pain. Additionally, sleep deprivation has physical symptoms that can make you feel ill, such as:

  • Elevated heart rate
  • Labored breathing
  • High blood pressure
  • Migraines

It gives you temporary pain

Does your pain go away on its own throughout the day? Acute pain that starts in the night and peaks in the morning is related to your mattress. If your pain can quickly be resolved by stretching, moving around, or just going about your daily life, there's a good chance it's because of a bad mattress. You can easily spot this if you have a condition that leads to chronic pain, as well. Here are some signs you're experiencing acute pain on top of your day-to-day discomfort:

  • Pain in different areas of the body
  • Soreness increases after going to bed and right after getting up
  • The severity of your pain has increased

A bad mattress leads to other negative health effects

There are a few side effects of sleeping on a bad mattress that can significantly impact your daily life.

Sleep deprivation

As mentioned above, your reduced sleep quality can lead to a lack of sleep. Does sleep deprivation sound like an extreme health effect of a simple bad night's sleep? Actually, you begin to feel the effects of sleep deprivation after only 24 hours of poor quality sleep. It starts with minor symptoms, but over long periods of inconsistent or insufficient sleep, it can have serious ramifications, including:

  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Increased risk of heart disease and heart attack
  • Increased risk of diabetes
  • Increased risk of high blood pressure

Mental health issues

Both lack of sleep and the fixation on getting proper sleep can lead to several different mental conditions, such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, and certain parasomnias. Additionally, studies show that a lack of sleep makes you more hormonally apt to develop these mental conditions. It can also severely increase symptoms of pre-existing emotional problems.

Increased pain

Sleeping on a lousy mattress exacerbates pain related to chronic issues, and can even trigger pain in parts of your body that aren't prone to discomfort. Some of the most common places to develop pain are:

  • Hips
  • Shoulders
  • Upper legs

Additionally, a bad mattress increases the chances you'll develop a painful inflammatory condition or injury, such as:

  • Tendonosis
  • Sciatica
  • Spinal cord compression

How to pick the right mattress for your back

If you have back pain and are in the market for a new mattress, you need to make an informed choice to better your condition! Here are a few things to keep in mind while you're shopping around:

Choose one with excellent lumbar support

Lumbar support is the single most crucial factor of a mattress when you have back pain. This refers to the bed's ability to maintain the natural curvature of the spine while you sleep. Improper lumbar support can worsen or even create your pain, which is why it's so important to do your research and find the mattress and even pillows that provide you with the proper support.

Choose one with the right firmness for your sleeping position

The right firmness depends on your sleeping position. This is because different positions create different needs to find alignment, and failure to have the appropriate firmness in your mattress can misalign your spine and make it difficult for you to manage your pain.

A general rule of thumb about firmness:

  • Medium (5-6) on the firmness scale. These mattresses are for side sleepers, who need a little extra give in the mattress for contouring. If you are a side sleeper, you need a little sinkage to create proper alignment and keep pressure points from forming in your shoulders and lower back.
  • Medium-firm (6.5-7) on the firmness scale. This is for back sleepers! You need less give than your side-sleeping counterparts to keep your back from dipping too much.

Choose a type of mattress that's right for you

An innerspring mattress is the best option if you're looking for lumbar support to manage your back pain. Beds with too much sinkage can actually worsen your back pain. Moreover, a mattress with low sinkage keeps you flat through the night, which is also bad for your back. Innerspring mattresses work with your body, the coils underneath the comfort padding pushing back against you, allowing the appropriate amount of sinkage and still contouring to your shape for comfort.

Finally, if you're a heavier sleeper with back issues or a couple, you can also consider a hybrid mattress. These are essentially innerspring mattresses with additional support, cutting down on premature degradation due to excess weight.

The #1 Best Mattress For Lower Back Pain

Saatva is our top pick for the #1 best mattress for Back Pain in 2020! 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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