If your back hurts, it’s tough to get through your daily responsibilities much less actually enjoy life. The sad fact is that millions of Americans deal with this on a regular basis, even though they don’t have to. That’s right, you don’t have to suffer from chronic back pain. One of the most common causes of back pain is an old, lumpy, or poorly-constructed mattress. Often times, a new mattress and a few trips to the chiropractor are all it takes to wake up feeling like a whole new person! You may have purchased an inexpensive mattress, or even a relatively good-quality one but many years ago. Make today the day you say “Enough!”
This is exactly why we recently spoke to Dr. Catherine Krok, a Buffalo, New York area chiropractor who specializes in wellness, spinal alignment, and natural pain management. We had a few questions in regard to how back pain can relate to a person’s mattress, and they’re probably the same questions you have too!
Do you often have patients come in complaining of back pain due to their mattress?
Yes. I have had a few patients complaining of their mattress causing back pain. However, I actually find it more common for patients to not realize their mattress is actually a contributing factor to their back pain. During my initial consultation one of the questions I like to ask is “how old is your mattress?” More often than not, people either don’t know the answer, or have a mattress that is older than eight years old (or even ten!). Many people don’t realize the impact a mattress can have on their sleep, but body aches and pains as well.
What type of mattress do you recommend they look for?
The type of mattress I recommend to patients is a Medium Firm model. Mattresses that are overly firm or too soft can aggravate back pain. Usually innerspring, latex, memory foam, and hybrids are the best types to help alleviate back pain. When it comes to cost, I also like to educate my patients that mattresses are not something to bargain hunt for. While you don’t necessarily need an expensive model, it is important to purchase a mattress that will meet their needs. In the long run, this can help eliminate any extra cost add-ons, such as mattress toppers, custom covers, or specialized pillows. Plus, you spend a third of your life sleeping so you want to be as comfortable as possible!
What are the symptoms of mattress-related back pain and how can someone know this is the cause of their aches, as opposed to their posture or their chair at work?
Symptoms of mattress-related back pain is usually stiffness or aching first thing after waking up. It can be relieved with some stretching and will typically go away in about 30 minutes after waking. People may also find it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep comfortably. They may find themselves tossing and turning all night, despite eliminating caffeine use and screen-time before bed.
This can differ from back pain related to sitting at a desk with improper posture or even looking down at the phone throughout the day. These positions typically cause your spine to curve forward and your head flexes down. This can cause pain in the neck and shoulder area that may get worse as their day progresses. By the end of the day, the muscles will be fatigued and many will complain of a “burning” type pain in their back. The time of day that the pain is occurring can shed some light on the root of the cause. Of course this can differ for all individuals, but this is what I find most often in practice.
We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves! Whether from a bad mattress, injury, work habits, a chronic condition like Osteoporosis, or even just your age, around 80% of the population suffers from regular or occasional back pain. In fact, about 31 million Americans are experiencing lower back pain right now. If you wake up in the morning with back pain, there is a good chance that sleeping on the wrong mattress is to blame or at the very least making it worse.
A good mattress means one that’s both comfortable and supportive. As Dr. Krok mentioned above, this doesn’t necessarily mean “Firm,” although it can if that’s your personal comfort preference. Instead, find one in a comfort preference you like the best that offers back support. A mattress can actually be Plush or Pillow Top and still offer all the back support you need. A supportive mattress doesn’t need to be hard, it just needs to be made in the right way to keep your spine aligned properly. There is no single mattress style or type that works for all people with low back pain. Find a comfortable one that works for you!
Once you have your new mattress, you may need a little help getting to be pain free. This is where a trip to the chiropractor comes in. If you want to reach out to Dr. Krok to ask any further questions or to book an appointment in her Williamsville, NY chiropractic office, you can do so by calling (716) 616-9000 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.