Do you suffer from back pain, stiffness, or even a diagnosed back condition? In either case, you need a mattress that can accomodate your needs. Through the grapevine, you may have heard that an extra firm mattress is the remedy you've been looking for. Could that really be? That's what you'll find out in this article. We'll tell you everything you need to know about extra firm mattresses and their benefits specifically for those with back pain. Let's get right into it!
Extra Firm Mattress Benefits for Back Health
If you've heard that extra firm mattresses are good for back pain, you'd be right. Firm mattresses, in general, are a safer bet than softer mattresses for back pain sufferers. Here, we'll explore the benefits of extra firm mattresses:
Better Spinal Alignment
A major source of back pain is improper spinal alignment as you rest. A bed that's too soft often has too much give for someone who is prone to (or suffering from) back pain. A firm or extra firm bed will provide the support you need to keep your back from falling out of alignment. If you currently sleep on a soft bed and decide to make the switch to a firm or extra firm bed, there's a good chance that you'll experience a reduction in back pain.
The reason why extra firm mattresses are more supportive is that they are built to retain their shape even under the pressure of your body's weight. Softer mattresses have more comfort layers (which are soft and bouncy with a lot of give) than supportive layers. And, on the opposite side of the spectrum, firmer mattresses have more supportive layers.
Less Back Pain Aggravation
When you have back pain, especially if it's severe in nature, any motion may aggravate it. Soft beds move and bounce easily without much force placed against them. So, if you have a back condition that's worsened with motion, you could be in for some painful sleep on a soft mattress. But if your mattress is firm, you are less likely to have this issue.
What's more is that extra firm mattresses make for a very level, even sleeping surface. At first though, it may not seem like this would make much of a difference. But it does. Bad posture is responsible for many cases of back pain. And it can even worsen the condition for people who are already suffering from it.
If you sleep on a firm mattress, you'll get the support you need to maintain better posture throughout the night. This is good for your back, and your body as a whole.
Support for Heavier People with Back Pain
Heavier people are at higher risk of developing back issues in general. And sleeping on a bed that's not supportive enough, on top of an existing weight issue, can make it more likely for back pain to set in. To give yourself the best chance of achieving and maintaining back health, you'll need to ensure that you're sleeping on the right mattress.
Soft mattresses are notorious for causing back issues in overweight people. The problem with these bed types is that when a heavy person sits or lies down on them, they sometimes sink in so far as to reach the frame underneath the mattress. When that happens, it puts pressure on the body and stress on the back.
Extra firm mattresses can handle larger sleepers with ease, thanks to their superior supportive abilities.
Should Everyone Get an Extra Firm Mattress for Back Pain?
Extra firm mattresses aren't going to work for everyone with back pain.
In some cases, the back pain may be so severe that any pressure on the back is excruciatingly painful. Whenever this is the case, an extra firm mattress may prove to be too firm. Opting for a less firm mattress may be the best course of action here. The mattress should still be firm, but not quite as firm as an extra firm mattress.
Another situation that may warrant something softer than an extra firm mattress would be when a person simply prefers a softer mattress. For known or unknown reasons, some people may simply hate extra firm mattresses and prefer softer ones. The reasoning behind the preference doesn't really matter - the quality of sleep does.
Consider Medium Firm Mattresses as an Alternative
If ever in doubt, a good mattress comfort level to consider is medium firm. It's sort of a middle ground between firm and soft mattresses. Most people feel that it's neither too soft nor too firm. And that's why many prefer it - it’s just right. Of course, you're not guanranteed to like medium firm mattresses, but they're a good bet if you don't like the idea of sleeping on an extra firm mattress.
What to Look for in a Mattress for Back Pain
Once you've made a decision regarding which mattress firmness to go with, you've got to choose the right mattress for you. And that takes even further consideration of many factors. Here are some things to look for in any given mattress for back pain sufferers:
High Quality Materials
Mattresses come in a wide variety of materials, including memory foam, gel memory foam, innerspring, latex, and more. You'll need to learn all you can about your options to ensure you're choosing the right mattress for your needs. Here are a few points to keep in mind about the most common mattress types:
- Gel memory foam: Most people find gel memory foam mattresses to be incredibly comfortable - even back pain sufferers. This mattress type conforms closely to your body for a secure and dreamy slumber. And if you get one in a medium firm, firm, or extra firm, it will have enough support to minimize motion transfer, excessive bounciness, and sinking. What’s more is that gel memory foam mattresses are usually very durable and can retain their shape for decades. To top it all off, the gel in the foam ensures that you won't overheaat over the course of the night. What more could you ask for?
- Basic memory foam: Memory foam mattresses conform to your body for secure and restful sleep, but they do tend to run hot. Many of those who opt for basic memory foam wake up in a pool of sweat at night or struggle to get comfy. So, if you can afford it, it's always a good idea to spring for a memory foam mattress that's infused with cooling gel.
- Innerspring: Innerspring mattresses usually come at a low price. They feature cushioning and a network of springs to make the bed bouncy and supportive. The problem with innerspring mattresses for those with back pain is that innerspring mattresses wear out considerably over a short time. So, even if the bed worked initially for your back pain, there's a good chance that it will wear out and not be supportive enough to foster good back health. These mattresses only last for a few years at a time.
- Latex Mattresses: Latex mattresses are often mistaken for memory foam or gel memory foam mattresses, but they aren’t the same. Latex is a natural material that can be remarkably comfortable to sleep on. The drawback to this mattress type is that it is pricey and it doesn't enevelope your body like memory foam does.
- Hybrid mattresses: Hybrid mattresses are mattresses that have some combination of innerspring and latex or memory foam. The resulting beds can be a dream to sleep on, but their quality level isn’t always certain. Since these beds can be made from virtually any combination of materials, some hybrid mattresses are great for back pain and some are absolutely not. You'll have to try out a hybrid mattress in person (and over time) to see how your body and back responds.
Longevity should be central to your mattress buying decision, especially if you suffer with back pain. You need a mattress that won't lose its shape or supportive abilities in the first few years. Memory foam and latex mattresses (along with some hybrid mattresses) tend to last longer than innerspring mattresses, so keep that in mind.
A Fair Price
The great thing about the advent of the internet is that you can shop online for your mattress and compare prices across companies. Most gel memory foam mattresses aren't cheap, though there are some very high quality ones that are priced affordably. You don't have to spend an arm and a leg on a mattress - but the best mattresses for back pain aren't going to be the cheapest.
A Substantial Warranty
Mattress warranties run the gamut from a few years to several decades. It goes without saying that the longer and more inclusive the warranty is, the better. Upstanding companies with quality products tend to be more generous with their warranties. Look for a mattress with a lengthy and generous warranty so that you can get service or a replacement if your mattress is no longer a fit for your body and back.
So, there you have it - extra firm mattresses can be much better for your back than softer mattresses. Medium firm mattresses can also be beneficial for those who don't want to go for a bed that's too firm but need something that's still supportive. We hope that you found this article to be helpful to you and that you've got all the informmtion you need to find the right mattress for your back issues.
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