March 14, 2010
Many people with chronic lower back experience low back stiffness in the morning after waking. This can occur for many reasons but it does beg the question, what is the best mattress for lower back pain?
Back Pain and Mattress Selection
A 2003 study published in the journal “The Lancet” investigated this topic. Subjects of the study were either given a medium-firm or a firm mattress to sleep on for a 90 day period. Throughout this period patients were asked to rate the level of pain while in bed, rising from bed and pain throughout the day, as well as the level of perceived disability throughout the day. At the end of the 90 day period the results suggested that a mattress of medium firmness improves pain and disability among patients with chronic non-specific low back pain.
So a Firm Mattress is the Best for Lower Back Pain?
A different study published in the journal Spine compared three different mattresses; the waterbed, a foam mattress and a hard futon mattress. After a one month trial it was found that the waterbed and foam mattress were better for back pain and sleep when compared to the hard mattress, albeit the differences were small.
So What is the Best Mattress for Back Pain?
Yes, the research is conflicting…there is no easy answer. Although a hard mattress is commonly believed to have a positive effect on low back pain, the published research fails to support this theory. Therefore, mattress selection is personal and subjective…our best advice is to shop around and find a mattress that suits your individual needs!
Back Pain and Sleep…
Unfortunately this blog has been unable to provide you with an easy answer for back pain and sleeping. The reality is, there is no perfect posture or perfect mattress that will eliminate lower back pain. Our Chiropractic Clinic in Burlington usually recommends alternating your sleeping postures (perhaps try side-lying with a pillow between your legs…stomach sleeping usually isn’t recommended) and rotate your mattress regularly. If you find that your mattress won’t allow your spine to stay in a “neutral” position it may be time to go mattress shopping. Need help? We can help! If you’re experiencing lower back pain and you live in the Burlington area, feel free to give us a call. Our Burlington Chiropractors can help with your pain and also offer long-term strategies for exercise and sleep. Call us at 905.220.7858. email@example.com
Bergholdt K, Fabricius RN, and Bendix T. Better Backs by Better Beds? Spine 2008; 23: 703-708.
Kovacs FM, Abraira V, Pena A, et. al. Effect of firmness of mattress on chronic non-specific low-bacl pain: randomized, double-blind, controlled, multicentre trial. The Lancet 2003; 362: 1599-1604.