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The hard part about buying a mattress is trying to decide whether or not a certain mattress will be right for you. For most people, the 30 seconds they spend resting on the mattress at the store, while the salesperson stands near by, is not enough time to determine what mattress they should get.
Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all in the mattress world. Additionally, there is little to no scientific data to predict whether or not a certain mattress will be right for you.
So how can you avoid waking up with a stiff back or be sure your new mattress won’t cause you any back pain? Dr. Ronald Miller, an OrthoIndy physiatrist who specializes in non-operative spine and pain management, shares his thoughts on the subject.
It’s not about the mattress
“In my opinion, back pain is unlikely to be caused by a mattress. Instead, it’s probably due to an underlying back condition that can certainly be made worse by a mattress,” said Dr. Miller.
Dr. Miller also added that there was no one mattress that is universally better for people and their backs.
“Overall, most people do best with a firm or semi-firm mattress,” said Dr. Miller. “Adding some type of one to two inch padded cover, such as memory foam, to a mattress allows the back to rest in a natural position.”
So what about all those rumors about replacing your mattress every seven years or flipping every year?
“Mattresses that are too old often cave in towards the middle and this can potentially lead to back discomfort,” said Dr. Miller. “But there is no particular way to determine if back pain is caused by a mattress rather than a true underlying medical condition without being evaluated by a physician or other health care provider experienced in spine care.”
If you are experiencing back pain in the morning, you might not need to blame your mattress after all.
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