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Choosing the Best Mattress for Back Pain

Updated on June 3, 2010

There are few things that you can do on an ongoing basis at night to ruin the day ahead than to sleep on a mattress which does not have the proper design, consistency and properly designed support for your lower back. Not only will the quality of your sleep suffer immeasurably, leaving you drowsy and cranky in the morning, but you may have to suffer through the day's activities with a very sore back which is going to limit your flexibility, movement and comfort.

There are virtually thousands of different mattresses on the market and choosing the right one for your particular preferences and characteristics can be a very vexing problem. There are various steps to undergo in order to find the mattress that best suits your body and style of sleeping.

The mattress should have considerable back support, and that is a function of the number of coils on the inside of the mattress and their placement. Generally speaking, the better mattresses have a greater number of tightly packed springs than the cheaper models.

The new trend to pillow top mattresses is also important to consder as there may be varying thicknesses of padding which will affect the overall comfort and support that the mattress may provide. A proper mattress is going to adhere to the natural alignment and curvature of the spine, and not let you fall into a hammock position where the center sags way down, which could lead to severe back pain.

It was once believed that the firmer the mattress, the more support it would give, but recent research has proven that a medium firm mattress will allow your shoulders and hips to sink in a bit more, allowing for a more natural and aligned sleeping position, thus are preferable over the hard as a board models.

As in the case of almost everything else in today's world, price is often an indicator of quality, and you will find that the more expensive mattresses will provide significantly better comfort and support than the models at the lower end of the pricing scale.

The most popular mattress brands in North America in order of total sales are:

  1. Sealy
  2. Simmons
  3. Tempur-Pedic
  4. Serta
  5. Select Comfort
  6. Spring Air
  7. Englander
  8. Kingsdown
  9. Stearns and Foster
  10. Duxiana

However, there is such a wide spread of quality within the plethora of models of mattresses offered by the major manufacturers that just getting a top brand name on your mattress is not necessarily a guarantee that you not only have a quality mattress but also one that is the best for your night time comfort. You definitely have to do your homework and remember that there is no substitute for actually visiting the showroom and testing out the mattresses yourself!

The words "orthopaedic" or "doctor-approved" on a mattress mean absolutely nothing, as there is no program to test various mattresses in clinically controlled settings. When you do find the mattress that fits you just right, make sure to rotate and flip the mattress at least every six months to ensure that the wear and any resultant sagginess is spread evenly throughout the mattress and not in just one single spot.

By following these guidelines, you may find that you will sleep much better and feel great in the morning!


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    • Pure Chiropractic profile image

      Pure Chiropractic 7 years ago from Nanaimo

      Great hub! With my patients, I don't like recommending any one matress as we're all different shapes and sizes so one matress doesn't fit all. Same with office chairs. I agress though that supportive with some cushioning comfort works well with most.

      Thanks again!

    • Hal Licino profile image

      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      Mostly because of extremely high margins at the wholesale and retail level plus elevated transportation costs. Also because the manufacturing process for a quality mattress is quite involved.

    • profile image

      Mattress 8 years ago

      Why do these mattresses cost so much?

    • Hal Licino profile image

      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      Many independent mattress retailers are con artists and they play three card monte with the customers. You're really better off dealing with the established national chains... and even then you have to really keep your eyes open.

    • profile image

      Rob 8 years ago

      Mattresses are so hard to buy. They change all the model numbers at the store, so it's impossible to compare them from place to place!