February 14, 2018

When you buy a mattress, it's an important decision that will impact how well you sleep every night. Since quality of sleep affects our lives so much, it’s worth investing the time to choose your mattress carefully.

Why Choose a Latex Mattress for Back Pain?

If acute or chronic back pain keeps you awake at night, consider a latex mattress. Latex has the body-cradling properties of memory foam, but it also provides cushioned support and it does so naturally and without harmful chemicals. Check to be sure that your latex mattress is labeled as 100% natural and that it contains no additional fillers or chemicals.

For more on how a latex mattress compares to memory foam, see our article Latex Mattress vs. Memory Foam Mattress.

Natural latex has a buoyant quality that provides both surface cushion and firmness. It also cradles your body, while keeping your lower back supported. The result is a combination of pressure point relief and proper body and spinal alignment. This can lead to noticeable relief as you lie down and ease your back pain throughout the night.

Aches and pains can also cause you to toss and turn in your sleep. When you’ve got a painful condition, this restlessness is especially troubling. Anyone who’s woken up with pain, can tell you how uncomfortable it is to mistakenly turn their body the wrong way. A latex mattress is designed to reduce surface pressure, so you’re less likely to toss and turn and aggravate back pain symptoms. Latex won’t trap body heat or sweat either, so you won’t have to constantly throw blankets off and on. As we know, twisting and bending motions can worsen back pain.

If you prefer to change sleeping positions throughout the night, it’s easy to do on a latex mattress because the material is springy. With latex you’ll never sink so deeply into place that it’s difficult to move - that’s a problem some people encounter with memory foam mattresses.

The Wrong Mattress for Back Pain

The wrong mattress may not cradle and cushion your body enough, leaving you with body aches. The wrong mattress may also lack support, meaning your body may not be aligned throughout the night, causing back pain.

Sleeping on an old mattress that doesn’t fulfill its intended job anymore means you’re spending one-third of your day lying in an awkward, uncomfortable position. Awkward posture provides an opportunity for back pain symptoms to worsen.

In addition to back pain, these uncomfortable conditions frequently trouble sleepers:

  • arthritis
  • spinal disc herniation (bulging disc)
  • spondylitis (a rheumatic disease that affects joints and the spine)
  • lumbar spinal stenosis
  • fibromyalgia
  • spinal injury

These conditions are trying enough without a poorly-made or aged mattress worsening the problem.

Here’s one clue that your mattress is bad for your back: if you go on vacation and have the best night’s sleep you’ve had in months in an unfamiliar place, maybe it’s time to replace the old mattress at home.

Which Firmness Should I Choose for Back Pain?

Most customers find a new medium to medium-firm mattress is a great place to start their search for relief from back pain. Despite what some mattress companies may tell you, there is not one mattress that works for everyone. Look for good support and overall comfort for your needs.

If you need extra pressure point relief, try putting a soft topper on top of your mattress.

Back sleepers with back pain will need a mattress that’s firm enough to support the lower back. Medium-firm or firm mattresses are best here.

Side sleepers with back pain may want to add a mattress topper that’s soft enough to cushion the hip and shoulder, so that their spine doesn’t slump in the night. Medium mattresses are best here.

Stomach sleepers with back pain will need a medium-firm mattress that they won’t sink into. If their partner needs a softer sleeping surface, add a soft latex twin topper to that side of the bed.

The  Latex for Less Mattress provides two different firmness levels in one: medium on one side and medium firm on the other side. With our mattress, you can test two different firmness ratings by simply flipping the mattress over.

One challenge of selecting a mattress for couples is that two sleepers have different needs for comfort and support. It’s unlikely that both partners will ever have the same back pain symptoms and diagnoses. We recommend latex mattress toppers on one or both sides of the bed as a compromise. In this scenario the side sleeper gets their soft latex topper and the back sleeper gets their medium-firm mattress. Both get refreshing, satisfying rest. Read more about our latex mattress toppers here: Should I Buy a Latex Mattress Topper?

Additionally, reading or watching television from bed can be uncomfortable when you suffer back pain. If you require elevation, consider an adjustable bed frame to support your posture.

When latex is all-natural, and free from any chemicals or fillers, it’s very long-lived - easily lasting 15-20 years. So the good news is, you will enjoy decades of comfort and sound sleep.