Back pain is one of our biggest sleep disturbances, as every movement seems to be punctuated by a painful jolt in the lower back. If you’re constantly struggling to get rest at night and then wake up with new aches and pains in the morning, you may be wondering, is this even possible? Does bed cause back pain?
Until the Best mattresses It doesn’t last forever, but determining whether your current mattress is behind your back pain requires paying attention to your body and your body Sleeping style. Fortunately, there are several signs to look out for, such as the age of your mattress as well as the type of back pain you’re experiencing.
Good sleep is extremely important to our overall health and well-being, so it’s important that you get the best night’s rest possible. Furthermore, insufficient sleep means less recovery, which will only make aches and pains worse. Determining if your mattress is behind your back will make it easier for you to take steps to replace it (take a look at our best mattress guide for back pain) and start improving the quality of your sleep and back pain. So, could your mattress be causing your back pain? We put this question to orthopedist Tina Houghton, owner of Chesham Orthopedic Clinic in the UK. Let’s find out…
Tyona Houghton qualified with a BSc (Hons) in Medicine from BCOM in 2001. After spending several years in multi-specialty NHS practice and completing a Masters in Paediatrics, she went on to develop a successful orthopedic practice in Chesham, Bucks. This practice provides personalized health care for all ages.
Can a mattress cause back pain?
“The short answer is yes,” Houghton explains. “This is due to the lack of support protecting your joints while you sleep and are immobile for several hours. Our bodies need support and protection while we sleep, and if you don’t have this, you will feel very stiff and sore when you wake up.
According to Hutton, if you don’t have the right support for your ligaments, joints and muscles while lying in one position, you will wake up in pain. Common causes of an unsupportive mattress include an old mattress, or a mattress that is not suitable for your sleeping position. “The most common areas we see problems in people are the lower back, mid-back, and hips. So we’ll see people with low back pain, thoracic mid-back pain, and hip pain from lying on their sides. We ask patients about their lifestyles, but if there’s no trauma or Underlying conditions, we will examine the mattress.
Patients whose mattresses cause back pain will experience severe pain that is worse in the morning, Hatton explains. “They will feel pain when they wake up, but this will then go away. They often complain of disturbed sleep and struggle to get rest. We can fix it, but the problems will reoccur if the mattress is not replaced.”
5 signs that your mattress is causing back pain
1. Back pain is worse in the morning
If you’re having trouble getting out of bed in the morning due to back pain, but it tends to go away over the course of the day, your mattress is likely to blame. The back pain caused by your mattress will gradually improve throughout the day and you will not feel this pain or soreness at any other time.
If your mattress is uncomfortable, your joints will be under constant pressure and your body won’t be able to fully relax and recharge throughout the night. This then leads to pain upon waking.
2. You wake up frequently during the night
Although waking up during the night is fairly common, it can be difficult to find 35% of people Waking up at night several times a week. It’s different if you wake up several times a night.
Of course, there are other reasons that may make you wake up during the night, such as stress or insomnia. But if you’re waking up with back pain and still feeling tired, that’s a strong indicator that your mattress is to blame.
3. You can’t get rest in bed
There are few things more disappointing than going to bed at night, expecting a good night’s sleep, and then struggling to find any comfortable position. This may be because your mattress is too firm or soft for your sleeping style.
If a mattress is too hard or too soft, it can cause your spine to fall out of alignment, triggering pain signals that will have you tossing and turning in an attempt to get comfortable. Not only will this lead to back pain in the morning, but you’re also less likely to feel rested as well.
4. Your mattress is sagging
We sleep on a mattress every night, which means it will be susceptible to wear and tear. But when the mattress starts to sag, it reaches the point where it will no longer provide you with proper spinal support throughout the night.
Older mattresses begin to sag in certain areas of high pressure, or more commonly in the middle. This means you’ll sink or roll into this spot every night, leaving your back unsupported and causing back pain in the morning.
5. Your mattress needs to be replaced
Even the best mattresses have it age. This varies depending on the type of mattress you have, but if your mattress is over 10 years old and you wake up with back pain, it’s very likely that it’s the culprit. Some mattresses have a shorter lifespan of about five to seven years, so it’s important to look for signs that your mattress needs to be replaced.
What mattress is best for back pain?
It’s a common misconception that the firmer the mattress the better when it comes to back pain, and experts recommend a mattress in the medium-firm category instead. “I recommend a hybrid mattress for most people with back pain,” Houghton says. “A pocket sprung base with a memory foam top is ideal. The mattress has the firmness of the springs, but it also has foam, giving you both support and protection.”
A medium-firm mattress with adaptive layers of foam, springs and/or latex will provide contoured support along the back, shoulders and hips, giving you good spinal alignment and helping prevent pressure points from forming.
However, Hatton is keen to point out that not everyone fits the same bill. “Side sleepers need a slightly softer mattress that cushions their shoulders and hips. Some people prefer a softer or firmer mattress, and find that it suits their sleeping style better.
If you’re in the market for a new mattress and want one to specifically help with back pain, read our guide to the best mattresses for back pain to find the perfect mattress for you — we consider the Saatva Classic the best mattress for back pain thanks to its customizable comfort levels and great lumbar support.
Does a mattress topper help treat back pain?
Although a mattress topper is not a long-term solution, it can help relieve back pain until you can afford a new mattress. The best mattress toppers can help relieve back pain by enhancing the overall support of your mattress, which helps align your spine and reduce pressure points. All of this will make your mattress more comfortable, helping you get a better night’s sleep.
The topper you should choose depends on the mattress problem that is causing your back pain. If your mattress is too firm, a soft memory foam topper will add comfort and is also ideal for side sleepers. However, a softer topper may lack support and not provide proper spinal alignment. As with mattresses, medium-firm toppers are a good all-rounder, providing excellent support and helping to smooth out any small sagging areas on your mattress. If your mattress is already starting to sag, a firm topper may provide temporary relief, but it will not provide any cushioning.