Soft or Firm Mattress for Lower Back Pain

Back pain is one of the major causes of people losing their mobility when they should be in the prime of their lives. If you have lower back pain, you know how debilitating it can be. It prevents you from engaging in sporting activities which has the knock-on effect of being able to maintain your strength and stamina and control your weight through being active.

It’s high time that you understood how your mattress could make you have back pain and how a mattress can help with back pain. If you’re in Australia check out this post.

Let’s try to get to the bottom of which mattress is going to help your back pain the most and dispel any myths, if there are any.

Let’s dive into the deep end.

How old is your mattress?

Do you know the average mattress with average use has a life span of eight to ten years? Worm mattresses can become like a hammock where you tend to sleep on the mattress rather than on the mattress.

This sleeping posture will contribute to lower back pain. Softer and misshaped mattresses will not support the pressure points on your body like your shoulders, hips, and knees. The lack of support will cause your spine and skeleton to contort, causing many muscular-skeletal problems.

If you have identified this as the problem, you need a new mattress. For a quick fix, you could place a piece of plywood beneath the mattress to prevent the mattress from sagging.

It’s not the ultimate solution, but you should find some relief.

What type of firmness is best for back pain?

This debate has been raging for years, and the truth is there is no definitive answer. Here is why, we are all different, body weights vary, our height varies, and our bone structure varies, making it impossible to make a mattress that fits everyone’s needs.

However, we can revert to best practices and rules of thumb. If you are suffering from lower back pain and you are faced with the dichotomy of soft or firm, go with a medium-supporting mattress.

In a survey conducted by Harvard, researchers assigned new mattresses to more than 300 people with low back pain. They used either “medium-firm” or “firm” mattresses for 90 days. Those in the medium group reported the least amount of discomfort.

Ok, it’s not a massive survey, and more needs to be done in the field of sleeping with back pain, but in the absence of better data, this seems to be pretty conclusive that a medium-firm mattress is an answer to your problems.

Why does my lower back hurt after sleeping?

People take their sleeping position for granted and just get into bed regardless and drift off into the depths of sleep.

If you wake with lower back pain, the natural curvature of your spine has been misaligned for the hours you have been sleeping.

This places stress on the muscles (which is mostly the cause of the pain), which will spasm and create pain. This is particularly true for those who sleep in prone positions or on their bellies. However, don’t rule out joint pain; poor sleeping posture can increase pressure on your spine, causing the natural curve to become flat.

How should I sleep with lower back pain?

Avoid sleeping on a soft mattress; you need support for your spine. There are some techniques you can try such as:

  • Lying on your side in a fetal position. This should keep your spine in a natural curve, and the weight of your body is supported evenly across a small area.
  • Lie on your back in a reclined position; being in a reclined position should take some of the strain from your back muscles, giving them time to heal.
  • Lie on your side on a medium firm mattress with a firm pillow between your knees. This will help keep your pelvis and spine aligned and reduce pressure from your knee joints.
  • Lie on your back with a pillow under your knees; this will remove the pressure from your lower back.

Many techniques help relieve lower back pain when you are in bed.

Is it better to sleep on your side for back pain?

When it comes to a good night’s sleep, you all have your own preferred styles, some like side sleeping while others are sleeping prone, but when you have back pain, the best way to sleep is on your back.

If you have lower back pain, this may be the worst news you have had in a long time, but sleeping on your back on a medium-firm mattress will produce the best results over time.

The best way to align your back while back sleeping is to place a firm pillow under your neck and under your knees. This will keep your back flat and straight.

Does lying on the floor straighten your back?

Sleeping on the floor is damn uncomfortable, so you will be better off sleeping on a firm mattress.

People with back pain have long advocated sleeping on the floor; for some, it works, while for others, it exacerbates the problems exponentially.

If you have damage to your spine, like a slipped disc, sleeping on the floor will make the situation worse and more painful for you as additional pressure will be applied to the disc.

Can a too soft mattress cause sciatica?

Yes. When you lie down on your bed, you should feel supported by the mattress that adjusts to the contours of your body without slumping into the mattress.

Lying on a soft mattress does the opposite; it allows your body to bend in positions it is not supposed to bend, which increases pressure and irritates nerves like the sciatica nerve.

The bottom line

If you have lower back pain, avoid a soft mattress in favor of a medium-firm mattress that will provide your body with crucial support through the night, so you wake refreshed and invigorated.

When selecting a mattress, consider your body weight; what is medium firm for someone might just be on the soft side for a heavyweight.