Back pain – blame the mattress?

Has getting some good sleep become tricky? Are you waking with back pain? This may mean it’s time to consider whether your mattress is right for you.

Buying a mattress can be complicated and expensive so it’s worth taking your time and going through these simple steps:

  1. Get your back checked first. It can be overly simple to just blame the mattress if you’re experiencing back pain at night. More often than not, the issue is a back problem, not a mattress problem. So, have your back checked, once that’s fixed, if sleeping is still uncomfortable, then it’s time to change the mattress.
  2. Bear in mind that your sleep may be disturbed because you’re too hot or too cold. In a heat wave or cold snap it’s common to have poor sleep and hence to wake up aching. Wait for the weather to normalise and see if things improve.
  3. If the problem is definitely the mattress then ask – how old is the mattress? – and is it too soft? I tend to find many more issues with soft mattresses than with firm ones. Manufacturers recommend changing a mattress every 8-10 years, this is because as it wears out it softens.

So which mattress should I buy?

Don’t be afraid to ask in store for advice, many of the staff will have excellent knowledge. Mattresses also come with a trial period, if it’s not comfortable within this time, then get it exchanged.

For most people, firm is better than soft. However this isn’t the case for everyone. If you get the chance to try a different bed, either in the spare room, or in a hotel then take note of what the mattress is and whether it was comfortable.

If you buy a firm mattress you can always make it softer with a foam topper. If it’s too soft to start with then you’re stuck with it.

What works for you depends on the mechanics of your spine so price alone shouldn’t influence your choice. Your chiropractor can check your spine and offer more specific advice.