Have you ever gone on vacation and noticed that you don't have as many aches and pains when you get up in the morning? Of course you have, and it's partly because you are relaxing and having a good time, but it also could be that it's time to replace your mattress.
We tend to get used to our mattress and the aches and pains we feel when getting up in the morning. If you have back pain or suffer from sciatica, you owe it to yourself to assess your sleeping situation. Why? Because, yes, a bad mattress can cause or increase back pain!
Let's talk about how your mattress affects your body, what kind of mattress is best for back pain, and how to know when it's really time to change out your mattress.
How Do I Know if my Mattress is Causing My Back or Sciatica Pain?
How long has it been since you've replaced your mattress? If you honestly can't remember, then it is probably way past time. The life span of an average mattress in six to eight years, according to Sleepfoundation.org. There are some exceptions to that rule, so here are some other ways you can tell it's time to give your mattress the boot:
-If there is noticeable sagging or damage.
-If you notice, your allergies are getting worse.
-If it's creaking or making more noise than usual.
-If your mattress is negatively affecting your sleep.
-If you wake up regularly with joint stiffness and pain.
-If you find that you sleep better when on vacation or at other peoples homes.
If you are experiencing back or sciatica pain, a good mattress can mean the difference between living in pain or not. While a good mattress is not a cure, it is a preventative measure, but an ounce of prevention is worth 10 pounds of cure when it comes to back and nerve pain.
How Do I Choose the Best Mattress for Back or Sciatica Pain?
Shopping for a mattress can be about as confusing as shopping for a car because there are so many different features and types. The number of coils and springs vary, there are some with pillow tops and some without, and mattress depths range from 8 to 17 inches deep. Then, of course, there is firm, medium, and soft.
There are sleep numbers, memory foam, adjustable, some coil, no coil, and hybrids. The only way to truly find the best mattress for you is to try a test run. You can find hotels that carry the brand of mattress you are looking for and try that, or if a friend has a mattress they recommend, maybe you could try that out for a night.
If you don't have those options, then simply go to the mattress store and lay on some for a while. Be sure to take the person that you will be sleeping on it with to be sure there is plenty of room to stretch out and get comfortable.
Some mattress stores off a 30-day trial, and that can be a great way to find out if a mattress is right for you.
How Can I Tell if a Mattress is Right For Me?
If a mattress provides the support you need to get a comfortable nights rest and wake up without pain, then it's the one for you. Unfortunately, there is no one size fit's all mattress that is right for everyone with back pain. However, a good mattress should support every curve of your body, whether you are lying on your side, back, or stomach. Other than that, it boils down to personal preference.
You want to feel as though the support from the mattress is dispersed equally throughout your body. Your spine should feel aligned, from your head to your tailbone. What you don't want is for your hips to dip below your spine or for them to be hiked up too high above your spine. The same applies to your neck. With the use of a good pillow, your neck should be in alignment with the rest of your body.
You may have to make some simple adjustments like putting a pillow between your legs while sleeping on your side or putting a pillow under your knees when sleeping on your back but overall, you should feel fully supported by your mattress.
Please don't fall for gimmicks. Some companies claim to cure everything snoring to bad hair days with their mattress. Remember, a high price tag doesn't necessarily mean a better product. Try to find a good balance between quality and price. Watch for the mattress you want to go on sale around the holidays. Don't feel like you have to buy the most expensive mattress to get the best night's sleep because that is simply not true.
You spend anywhere from 6 to 10 hours a night on your mattress. If it's old and breaking down, it's time to get a new one. You won't regret it. Three things that you need to keep in tip-top shape if you have back or sciatica pain are your shoes, your mattress, and your pillow.
Support is the key to managing back pain, whether it's improving your muscle strength to better support your spine or choosing the proper mattress and pillow; it is all about support for your joints. Sleeping with your joints in a neutral position decreases strain on them and improves blood flow in and around them during the night.
Sleeping with your joints out of alignment during the night puts tension on your joints and muscles, creating pain and discomfort. This leads to interruptions in your night's sleep and increased pain and grogginess in the morning. Invest in a good mattress and a good pillow, you won't be sorry.
If you do replace your mattress and find an absolutely awesome one, tell us about it in the comments to pass it along. We wish you many good nights of pain-free sleep.