Top Ten Tips: Finding the Perfect Mattress for Your Back

Do you have low back pain? If so, maybe it's time to start searching for a mattress that matches your back. Take a look at our Top Ten tips for finding a mattress that will make your back happy- whether you're awake or asleep.

1. Your specific likes and dislikes will help you to figure out which mattress is the best for you.

There are many different choices, so be aware that no one style or type of mattress can help everyone the same way. Picking a mattress is an individual process. When you find a mattress that gives you the best night's sleep possible, a sleep that you wake up from feeling refreshed as opposed to feeling stiff and sore, you have found the right mattress for you. People with low back pain should have high standards for comfort and support and should choose their mattress based on these factors. Doing so will allow the best possible night's sleep.

2. When choosing a mattress, make sure you ask questions until you fully understand your different options.

The physical components of your mattress are important to consider. First of all, each mattress has inner springs, called coils, which provide the support. The number and arrangement of these coils can vary, giving each mattress a different feel and support system. There is also the depth of the mattress to keep in mind, which usually ranges somewhere between 7 and 18 inches. Another decision to make is the thickness of the padding on top of the mattress. Each of these things is important to the process of picking a mattress so try out each type and find what works for you.

3. Back support is one of the most important aspects of a mattress.

A good mattress should fit your body's curves and spine alignment to provide the most support possible. This support will help you wake up in the morning without muscle soreness and stiffness. Although there have not been many clinical studies about the effects of mattresses, one study has determined that medium-firm mattresses are usually better than firm mattresses when it comes to relieving back pain.

4. Your mattress should provide you with both back support and comfort.

Although back support is crucial to someone with low back pain, overall comfort should be just as important. A mattress that is overly firm can leave you with aches and pains on pressure points after a night's sleep. For those who are concerned with back support and want a firmer mattress, thicker padding on top can provide more comfort and a good solution. However, a medium-firm mattress is typically more comfortable since it allows your shoulders and hips to sink in a bit, and according to the study, may provide more back pain relief as well.

5. Figure out if it's time to end your relationship with your mattress.

It is important to know when it is time to part with a mattress. If your mattress seems to be sagging in the middle, or is no longer as comfortable as it once was, you should probably start looking for a new one. Placing boards under a sagging mattress or adding more padding to increase comfort should not be seen as a solution, but a short-term fix. Make sure you start researching and looking for a replacement mattress.

6. When shopping for a mattress, you should focus on value and quality as opposed to price.

Despite what people may think, price does not always equate to quality. An expensive mattress does not guarantee that it is comfortable or supportive and vice versa. It may be true however, that mattresses with more springs on the inside and padding on the top are likely have a higher quality and price. One way to go about buying a mattress that you want is to keep an eye out for sales and promotions, and to compare the prices of the mattress at different stores.

7. Don't be fooled by what the ads say.

Advertisements that say a mattress is "orthopedic" or "medically-approved" should not necessarily be trusted or taken into account. As mentioned before, there have not been many clinical studies or medical conclusions about the effects of mattresses and low back pain. Use good judgment and ask questions to make the best decision.

8. Don't buy it until you try it.

It is important to test out a mattress before you commit. There are different ways of going about this including sleeping at different hotels or friends' houses, or just at the mattress store. While shopping for a mattress, you should lay on each one for a few minutes to get a feel for it. If you normally share a bed with someone, don't forget to bring that person along to make sure it is a good fit for you both.

9. Buy your mattress from a store or company that is reputable.

Take into account the different services that a store or company offers including warranty, delivery options, removal of your previous mattress, return policy, etc. You don't want to be stuck or dissatisfied in any way.

10. Maintain the quality of your new mattress.

To help keep your mattress like new, reposition it around every 6 months or so to make sure that it is evenly worn. You should also rotate it 180 degrees and flip it lengthwise on a regular basis. Also, as The Better Sleep Council suggests, do not put your mattress on a box spring or foundation that is not made to go with with it. Following these suggestions will make your give your mattress a longer life.

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