There are many varieties of back pain mattress available. The reason why a great diversity of sleep surfaces exists is that every patient has their own needs and preferences, so no single product is likely to fulfill every wish list. Patients are advised to try out a few different options and consult with their doctor for any questions they might have.
The marketplace is very competitive among these specialized sleep products, so it is difficult to differentiate fact from fiction from pure hype if you choose to compare products based on manufacturer-provided research and testimonials alone. Many patients are advised to buy a new mattress by care providers who might also actually sell them directly or have a nice affiliate arrangement worked out with a mattress retailer. Always be very careful when trying to buy your way to a cure as this type of advice is often rendered for purely economical benefit and is more akin to marketing than medicine.
Traditional sleep surface styles consist of innerspring and coil mattresses, which are known for providing good back support. There are also cotton covered futon mattresses, popular in Asia, that give a firm and consistent sleeping surface.
Memory foam mattresses are gaining popularity as their technology becomes more affordable and well known. Not only are there full mattress sets available, but also component parts designed to be added to existing sleep equipment. Popular additions are memory foam mattress toppers, wedge shaped lumbar pillows and ergonomically curved cervical pillows.
Waterbeds are still around, but are known for usually doing more harm than good for the average back pain sufferer.
Adjustable beds offer positional control at the touch of a button, allowing patients to raise their head, feet or the entire bed. These can be great features for patients who are infirm, injured or recovering from an operation.
Finally, inflatable beds, like the Sleep Number, offer a customizable sleep experience, being that the firmness and support of the mattress can be increased or decreased by remote control.
The most important quality to look for in a mattress is pure comfort. If it does not feel good to you, then you will not sleep well on it. Try to find one that offers good support, but is not too firm. If the mattress is too hard, it may cause stiffness and muscle soreness.
Try out several models and do not just sit on them. This is a big purchase, so take your time. Shop around and really lie down on each mattress in several positions before buying. Better yet, go to a large retailer or outlet where you can test many sleep product options side by side.
Finding a store which offers free trial for 30, 60 or 90 days is a great way to ensure that you make a wise choice when it comes to buying a new sleep surface. If you are not satisfied, they will exchange the mattress for a refund or a better fitting option.
Personally, I use a traditional inner-spring set of medium firmness, with an integrated memory foam topper on it. I find it is just right for me. Not too soft… not too hard… just right.
I attempted to use memory foam cervical pillows, but I realized they never helped my back and were really not very comfortable. I switched to regular poly-filled pillows, once again in medium firmness. I do like a pillow between my knees, but more for comfort than for back care. I sleep on my side, with another pillow under my top arm to support my shoulder and to prevent me from rolling in my sleep. I notice that if my pillow is really low, I get headaches and neck pain, so I now use an ultra-filled poly pillow which keeps my neck straighter when sleeping on my side. I have broad shoulders, so this is crucial for comfort.
I think a good mattress is important, whether or not you have a bad back. Invest in quality and care for your mattress. Buy good pillows and use them to get a good sleep. If you can’t sleep well, you will suffer from chronic crankiness in addition to your back pain.
Just do not place too much emphasis on finding the best back pain mattress purely to cure your symptoms completely. You will likely fail, since the cause of your pain is highly unlikely to be primarily due to the surface on which you sleep. Sure, comfort is great and some sleep products can make your spine feel better to a conservative degree.
Just do not hope too much that your expensive new mattress will be a cure-all for everything which ails you. If it does turn out to be that good, then you hit the back pain treatment lottery. Congratulations!