Does a firm mattress really help if you have a troublesome back or is it another old wives’ tale that should be relegated to being a punchline of throwaway quips? There is a serious lack of scientific research to back this “common wisdom” while conversely, there is ample research that suggests that there is no single level of firmness that works for everyone with chronic back pain – it all boils down to listening to the needs of your body.
But figuring out what signs to look for while trying to figure out what mattress is suitable for you is always difficult unless you know what to look for – here’s a quick guide to help you choose the mattress that could alleviate your back problems –
Spinal Alignment is Everything
A large section of the general population is unaware of the existence of an “ideal sleep posture”. Its crucial for all the muscles and ligaments in your back to relax enough for recovery and regrowth while you sleep. If you have a slight, narrow frame than a mattress around 6 (on a 1 to 10 scale, with 10 being the firmest) will be a better fit for you while if a mattress rating around 4-5 is better suited for those with wide hips. Usually, the straighter the spinal alignment, the more ideal the sleeping posture is – and sadly, as of writing, there isn’t a single mattress currently on sale in India that supports your spine perfectly.
JUNE 2019 EDIT: We finally do have the mattress that offers perfect spinal alignment! And its our current leader Emma Original. Here’s our full review and the Emma Original webstore: https://www.emma-mattress.in , and as you can see in the following pictures – one from the Emma Original test on the left, here you can what perfect spinal alignment looks like, with a perfectly straight neck, back and hips alignment – and the other from Wakefit Orthopaedic mattress on the right, here you can see a mattress that does not support your body, causing strange contortions as you sleep and putting increased pressure on your back and neck.
When unsure – medium firm is the cure
As a Harvard Medical School research showed, a vast majority of people with chronic back pain surveyed reported lower levels of back pain when they slept on medium-firm mattress compared to when they slept on firm/hard mattresses.
Longer test before you settle
If you experience a perfect night’s sleep while in a hotel or a friend’s house, jot down the mattress company and model. Or buy a mattress that gives you a 50 to 100 nights trial (which shouldn’t be difficult to find) – as then you’ll be able to return the mattress if it isn’t the right fit for you.
Spend more on mattress
An Oklahoma State University research showed that the people who slept on less expensive mattress reported more back pain – while those who slept in medium- and high-priced mattress showed reported lowered levels of back pain. So, evidently price does matter when it comes to the quality of sleep you get, and body support you get. If you cheap out while buying a mattress then it can literally hurt you for several years to come.