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Which mattress is best for back & neck pain?

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Buying a new mattress is not a small purchase, so it’s one you want to make sure you get right. If you are experiencing neck and/or back pain, you might be desperate to replace yours immediately. But when you’re in a showroom, most beds will look and feel much nicer than the one you’ve had at home for years, so how do you know which one to go for?


Go for Medium

There are two main extremes you can go to when buying a new mattress: firm, or soft. Some people may be tempted by the soft mattresses, thinking that lying down on something soft will be less painful. More often, people who experience pain are more inclined to go for firmer mattress, as they believe the increased support will help alleviate their pain.

In reality, it’s generally best to go for a mattress that falls somewhere in the middle. A study in which 300 people with lower back pain were assigned new mattresses, those who were given medium-firm mattresses felt the most improvement.

Alignment Matters

Although the importance of having a firm mattress is overplayed, it is important to keep your spine aligned. A mattress that is too stiff will push against your spine, while one that is not stiff enough will fail to support it.

Your weight may also play a role in helping you decide which mattress to go for. If you are heavier than most, a mattress with a little extra cushioning will contour to your back better. If you are a particularly light person, you would be better off with a firmer, less cushioned mattress.

Memory Foam

There are three main curves in the spine that can contribute to neck and back pain, two C shapes at the upper and lower back, and a reverse C shape in the middle. Since these curves oppose each other, finding the right support can be quite the balancing act.

Memory foam mattresses can often be the answer to this. Not only do these contour to the shape of your spine, but they also come in varying levels of firmness and cushioning.

Trial Run

Whatever mattress you do buy, you’re going to be sleeping on it for years to come, so you want to make sure you make the right choice. The best way to do this is with a trial run. Most major retailers will now let you buy a mattress and return it in either a month or 100 days. This will not only help you avoid making the wrong choice, but can also help you identify what you do or don’t like about the new mattress.

Everyone’s body is different, so the mattresses we like will be too. Hopefully these guidelines will help you pinpoint exactly what it is you’re looking for. If you are regularly experiencing back pain, you should see a physiotherapist and learn more about back pain, such as how it can be caused by too much time spent sitting.