An online subscription is required to access the content on this website.
SUBSCRIBE TODAY to have total access 24 hours a day to the Newberry News.
2019-01-09 / Features

Got a Bad Back? Take a Look at Your Mattress

Research shows that 80 percent of us will experience a back problem at some time in our lives, according to the American Chiropractic Association. Half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year, and worldwide back pain is the single leading cause of disability.

How much of that is bedrelated? It’s hard to confirm, but in a three-month study of 313 patients suffering from lower back pain, the majority reported experiencing less pain—both while lying in bed and long afterward— when they slept on “mediumfirm” rather than “firm” mattresses.

An old or unsupportive mattress can wreak havoc on your body and your sleep, but there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to mattresses. What works for one person may not work for another. Although many people still believe that firm is best, the term applied to bedding is really a holdover from decades ago, when a mattress had to very hard to be supportive.

Differences of opinion about firmness aside, here’s a checklist of ways you can prevent back pain.

—Maintain a healthy diet and weight.

—Remain active.

—Avoid prolonged inactivity or bed rest.

—Warm up or stretch before exercising or doing physical activities, such as gardening.

—Maintain proper posture .

—Wear comfortable, lowheeled shoes.

—Sleep on a mattress that provides optimum support.

—Lift with your knees, keep the object close to your body and do not twist when lifting.

—Quit smoking. Smoking impairs blood flow, resulting in oxygen and nutrient deprivation to spinal tissues.

—Ensure that your computer workstation is ergonomically correct.

Back pain can be debilitating. Sleeping on a mattress that supports your body sufficiently is one measure you can take toward prevention. Here are a few tips to help you shop for a new mattress:

Shop and flop. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes you can easily slip off, and don’t be shy—lie down for a solid five - 10 minutes on the mattress you are considering.

Do your research if buying online. Purchasing a mattress online can be convenient, but carefully check return and shipping policies. Test their customer service before you buy to be sure they’ll be responsive should there be a problem.

Size matters. We typically move around in bed 40 - 60 times a night and make lots of full-body turns. Freedom of motion is critical to sound sleep. If sharing your bed with another person, consider a queen- or king-size mattress.

How does it feel? Whether a mattress is too cushy or too firm is highly individual. A memory foam mattress sleeps differently than an innerspring mattress. Compare a variety of types of mattresses to narrow your choices.

Return to top