It is estimated that 8 out of 10 sleepers suffer from back pain on at least one occasion in their life. Back pain sufferers experience diminished sleep quality, leaving them to toss and turn throughout the night, and increasing their risk of developing serious long-term health conditions.
Pain may be caused by many factors, like chronic conditions, or simply sleeping on the wrong mattress surface, and leaves many sleepers to wonder what type of mattress a chiropractor recommends. Your spine health is important to chiropractors. The following guide will help you to choose the best mattress for restful sleep.
What Causes Pain?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic pain affects nearly 50 million adults in the United States alone. While that number seems exponential, it is unknown how many people experience occasional pain from trauma, poor posture, or other potential causes. Pain occurs when specific nociceptors become alerted to tissue damage somewhere in the body. The affected nerves then signal to the brain that something is not right within the body.
Pain may be the result of:
- Traumatic injury
- Sports-related injury
- Poor posture
- Musculoskeletal injury
Treating the type of pain you are experiencing depends greatly on getting to the root cause of the pain. There are multiple systems throughout the body, each requiring a different treatment approach when affected.
What is the Role of a Chiropractor?
A chiropractor offers a specialized approach to treating disorders and injuries involving the musculoskeletal system. This healthcare profession cares for a patient’s bones, muscles, nerves, and tendons to help them live a pain-free life, and promotes proper spinal alignment through specialized spinal manipulation tactics.
If you experience back pain, specifically after waking, look for chiropractor-recommended mattresses.
What are Chiropractor-Recommended Mattresses?
There are two key things to remember when shopping for chiropractor-recommended mattresses:
- mattress firmness
- mattress type
Back pain sufferers want a supportive mattress that contours the natural curvature of the spinal column.
Shopping for a new mattress can be a daunting task for shoppers because there are a plethora of options that many may not have heard of. If you regularly visit the chiropractor, you have likely been lectured about sleeping on the wrong mattress surface for your sleep position, weight, and build. That said, what type of mattress does a chiropractor recommend?
Types of Mattress Materials
There is a wide variety of comfort and support features offered when it comes to foam mattresses.
Traditional memory foam was first used in the early 1990s for mattress production, after NASA discovered the degree of support, comfort, and cushioning it has. Memory foam beds contours to the spinal curves better than any other type of mattress, and provide unmatched support through evenly distributed body weight, but it is not a good material for hot sleepers, as they tend to trap body heat. Memory foam is a great mattress material for many sleep positions, as it will relieve pressure points, and reduce pain throughout the body.
Gel-Infused Memory Foam
Not all foam mattress products are the same. Cooling gel memory foam is a better option for hot sleepers who want the support of memory foam. It is infused with thousands of cooling microbeads designed to combat the limited airflow a traditional memory foam mattress surface offers. A cooling mattress made from gel-infused foam allows sleepers to maintain cool body temperatures, without compromising comfort or support.
Latex mattresses are one of the more costly types of mattresses; however, the quality of these mattresses is generally underrated, and less talked about. Natural latex mattresses are luxury foam mattresses made with natural, hypoallergenic materials, making them great for those who are looking for an eco-friendly mattress.
Latex mattresses also last significantly longer than most because they are made with high-quality materials, and top-of-the-line construction methods. They are designed to be firm enough to cushion and support the lumbar spine region, without being too firm.
A hybrid mattress combines the pressure relief of foam with the support of an inner coil layer. These mattresses use layers of polyfoam, latex, or memory foam that encase coils to promote evenly distributed body weight, support, and proper support.
Innerspring mattresses are the oldest, most common type of mattresses available on the market. These mattresses date back to the 1800s, and are often among the most affordable mattresses. Innerspring mattresses are generally not recommended for people with back pain, as the wiring system beneath the fabric does not allow for adequate pressure relief and contouring support.
What is Mattress Firmness?
A mattress firmness level refers to how soft or stiff a mattress will feel while you are laying on it. Many mattress companies utilize their scale for grading mattress firmness, but they are broken down into similar categories:
A Soft mattress, when graded on a standard 10-point scale, will have the lowest number (1-2). Soft mattresses allow for excess sinking into the mattress, making them less than ideal for providing any type of support. This mattress is not ideal for any sleep position, as it does not provide support.
A Medium-Soft mattress is often seen with a score of 3-4. It allows for a cloud-like sleep surface, and offers very minimal support. This firmness level is best for side sleepers.
A Medium mattress is graded between 4-6, and is the best firmness level for all sleep positions. It offers comfort and contouring, without allowing the body to sink too far into the mattress.
A Medium-Firm mattress is great for side sleepers, back sleepers, and stomach sleepers. This is one of the most popular firmness levels among shoppers, as it allows for dual support of varying sleep positions. A Medium-Firm mattress scored 6-7 on the standard 10-point scale.
A Firm mattress is often seen with a 7-8 score, and offers minimal contouring, leaving sleepers to feel “on top” of the mattress, rather than sunken in. This mattress type is best for back and stomach sleepers.
An Extra-Firm mattress, graded 9-10, is not recommended for any sleep position, and should not be purchased without testing it out first.
Choose the Right Mattress Firmness for Your Sleep Position
As previously mentioned, your sleep position plays a role in choosing the right firmness level. The chiropractor recommended mattresses should be mindful of your sleep position and necessary firmness level. Persistent or chronic back pain or neck pain upon waking may indicate it is time to start mattress shopping. Different sleep positions require different mattress surfaces, materials, and firmness levels.
Side sleepers account for nearly 74% of the population. Individuals find it more comfortable sleeping on the left or right side. When done correctly, side sleepers will wake without pain; however, those who are not using the best mattress to provide support can often find they wake in pain.
A Medium to Medium-Firm mattress is generally recommended for side sleepers, as it gives optimal support to the shoulders, and reduces hip pain, all without compromising proper spinal support. For side sleepers, it is recommended to place a thin pillow or rolled towel between your knees for added comfort.
16% of adult sleepers are stomach sleepers. Sleeping on your stomach causes undue strain on high-pressure areas like the neck and back. Though this position is not recommended by chiropractors, it can be difficult for sleepers to stop.
If you cannot stop sleeping in this position, use a soft pillow or no pillow to reduce neck and back pain, and/or place a thin pillow beneath the pelvic region to prevent lower back pain.
Back sleeping is the most recommended sleep position, though only 10% of adults sleep in this position. Back sleepers are at a greater advantage in maintaining a neutral spine position to minimize pressure and provide pain relief.
A Medium-Firm or firmer mattress provides exceptional lumbar spine support to keep the spine aligned.
Combination sleepers are not limited to one sleep position. These sleepers continually change their position of comfort at the moment, rather than sticking to one comfortable position.
Combination sleepers should look for mattress companies that offer in-home trial periods, or visit a mattress store in person to test a mattress before buying.
How can I Know a Chiropractor-Recommended Mattress Will Last?
Shopping for a new mattress can be difficult with the multiple mattress types, material types, edge support, and more. A mattress recommended by chiropractors should be long-lasting, relieve pressure, and accompany each person’s sleeping position, without compromising sleep quality. You do not want a mattress that will worsen your back pain, but you want an affordable mattress that will last for a long time.
A level sleep mattress will support your body weight, sleep position, and your partner's movements night after night. When constructed with high-quality materials, and well cared for, your mattress will last for years. Many factors play a role in determining how long the right mattress will last:
Foam density is the key determinant when it comes to figuring out how long a foam mattress will remain intact without too much sagging. A high-density foam mattress will last longer, and a sleeper's body weight and build will determine what density is best.
- Lightweight sleepers will find a low to medium-density foam mattress long-lasting, as there is less pressure on the mattress
- Average to heavyweight sleepers will want a foam mattress made with higher density to support their body weight.
Innerspring mattresses and hybrid mattresses are made with a supportive coil center. Coil count refers to the number of springs that make up the support core of a mattress. A higher coil count accounts for a more supportive mattress that can help to reduce neck pain and back pain.
Coil gauge refers to the strength of the coils that make up hybrid mattresses. A lower coil gauge leads to a harder mattress surface, while a higher gauge is more responsive and springy. Mattress manufacturers generally place a lower coil gauge around the outer edges for edge support, with a higher gauge in the general sleep surface.
Mattress Thickness Based on Body Weight
The thickness of a new mattress plays a role in mattresses recommended by chiropractors. Mattress thickness should be determined based on a sleeper’s build, body weight, sleep position, and any other people sharing the bed with you.
Lightweight sleepers will find a 10” mattress thick enough to provide a supportive, comfortable sleep space that will keep the spine aligned, and relieve pressure points. A mattress that is too thick will make it more difficult for lightweight sleepers to engage the core support of a mattress.
A sleeper of the average build will engage the core support of a mattress 10”-12” thick, without compromising proper spinal alignment. A properly engaged mattress core is crucial in keeping the spine aligned, as well as the shoulders and hips. This helps to prevent hip pain, back pain, and neck pain.
Sleepers with a larger build require more support from a thicker mattress, typically 12”. This helps to keep the spine aligned, reduce pain, relieve pressure points, and provide a comfortable sleep space that leaves heavy sleepers cradled and supported.
What Causes Back Pain?
Pain is often caused by a misalignment of the spine. While this condition is not often the result of a serious medical condition or disease, it is common among those with poor posture, and those who sleep on the wrong type of mattress. Millions of sleepers are not sleeping on the right mattress, leading to thousands of cases of back pain upon waking in the morning.
Mattresses Recommended by Chiropractors for Back Pain
A mattress recommended by chiropractors will be one based on each individual's statistics, like body weight, height, and build, as well as sleeping position and any other people that may share your bed. If you suffer from back pain, it can seem daunting to choose the right mattress, but a mattress recommended by chiropractors will help to lessen the burden of choice.
Things to Consider When Purchasing a New Mattress
Consider the below when buying a new mattress.
Mattress Material and Construction
Mattress shoppers look at what is advertised when shopping for a new mattress, but what about the less obvious information? You may think all mattresses are made the same, but when it comes to back pain, a mattress recommended by chiropractors would prove you wrong. High-quality materials with more advanced construction may come with a higher price tag, but at Latex For Less, we believe everyone deserves the right to affordable, comfortable sleep.
The best mattress materials are those that offer proper mattress support, contouring to the body’s natural curves. The best mattress will provide edge support, lift lighter areas of the body, and compress under heavier parts to ensure spinal alignment is not compromised.
Memory foam mattresses are one of the best types of mattresses for people suffering from back pain. These mattresses offer zoned support layers, unmatched flexibility, and contour more closely to the body than any other mattress on the market. While memory foam is not good for those who sleep hot due to trapped body heat, these mattresses are offered in every firmness level available, making them great for all sleep positions.
Latex foam offers an excellent mattress alternative to those who want the comfort and support of memory foam, without worrying about sleeping hot. Latex foam is a breathable foam with excellent temperature control, high responsiveness, and similar contouring to memory foam. Unlike memory foam, latex foam is heavier, and more expensive.
Hybrid mattresses combine the support of coils with the comfort of latex, memory foam, or polyfoam layers surrounding them. There are two types of innerspring coils used when constructing hybrid mattresses - open and individually-wrapped coils. Open coils can be noisy, and are less responsive, while individually-wrapped coils move independently alongside each other, allowing them to adapt to your moving body throughout the night. A hybrid mattress can be as expensive as latex foam with less durability - key points to remember when mattress shopping.
Innerspring mattresses are not on the list of mattresses recommended by chiropractors. These mattresses offer an affordable price point for nearly any budget, and have been in production the longest; however, they do not contour to the body for proper spinal alignment. Most innerspring mattresses are constructed with an open coil support layer, meaning the coils are wired together from one end of the mattress to the other. Innerspring mattresses offer support, but they tend to wear out faster than any other mattress.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Best Firmness Level for Back Pain Sufferers?
A Medium-Firm mattress offers the perfect balance of compression, support, and curvature contouring. The mattress can maintain close contact with the spine, and keep the lumbar region well-supported. A mattress that is too soft will cause excess hunching, while a mattress that is too firm can increase pain.
Can an Adjustable Base Help Ease Back Pain?
In short, yes. An adjustable base takes the pressure off of the spinal column through a zero gravity pose. This pose involves elevating the head and feet above the heart level. Many adjustable bases offer additional comfort features like massage or heat, both of which provide relief to pressure points, and relax the muscles.
Sleep Better with Latex For Less
At Latex For Less, we believe everyone should have access to affordable, natural sleep products, including pillows, toppers, and mattresses. As America’s most affordable mattress company, our mission is to provide safe sleep products, without the high price tag other companies have put forth.
Sleep experts have said that natural latex is one of the best sleep surfaces, making companies drive the price up significantly. Competitors outsource latex farming and harvesting, while Latex For Less has partnered directly with farmers to eliminate the excess costs of a middleman.
Our products are hand-crafted in the United States, and are closely monitored from farming to the final inspection to ensure there is no compromise of construction or quality. We offer several mattress options to meet the needs of every customer.
- Our dual-sided natural latex mattress provides a mattress with a Medium side and a Firm side, designed to be flipped to meet your body’s needs. It is offered in two thickness levels, and made using high-quality materials.
- Our award-winning organic latex mattress is constructed with up to 12” of certified organic latex, surrounded by an organic cotton cover for optimal comfort and support.
- Our 12” hybrid latex mattress is made of a supportive coil center, surrounded by 3 inches of certified organic latex.
Shoppers should not have to choose between maintaining their budget or healthy sleep, and when you shop with Latex For Less, you do not have to.