How Are Orthopedic Mattress Made? | Orthopedic Mattress Construction

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You may have considered an orthopedic mattress if you are in the market for a new mattress. These mattresses are designed to support and relieve pressure points for people with back or joint problems.

But how are orthopedic mattresses constructed, and what makes them different from other types of mattresses? Keep reading to learn more about these specialized mattresses.

As a general rule, orthopedic mattresses are made with a top layer of pressure-relieving foam and a base layer of supportive high-density foam. Chiropractors or musculoskeletal specialists design actual Orthopedic mattresses to provide pressure relief, spinal alignment, and comfort.

My name Dr. Lawrence Woods DC, and I have been designing orthopedic mattresses for over 20 years. As a chiropractor, my goal has always focused on improving the health of my patients by optimizing their sleep. My designs have been nominated for numerous awards, and I continue to be at the forefront of this industry, helping people get the best night’s sleep possible.

woman sleeping on an orthopedic mattress

Designed to Relieve pressure points and promote alignment

When you think of an orthopedic mattress, you may picture a stiff, unyielding surface that is not at all comfortable to sleep on.

However, the purpose of an orthopedic mattress is not to be uncomfortable but to be as comfortable as possible, provide support for the body and relieve pressure points.

By promoting alignment, an orthopedic mattress can help to reduce tossing and turning during the night and promote more restful sleep.

An orthopedic mattress is worth considering whether you’re dealing with back pain or want a more comfortable night’s sleep.



How Orthopedic Mattresses Are Constructed

An orthopedic mattress has several different layers, each with its own purpose. The goal of an orthopedic mattress is to balance support and pressure relief.

This balance is key to promoting spinal alignment, and as a designer myself, it has taken 20 years of research and helping people with back pain to get it truly right.

Comfort Layer/Pressure Relief Layer

The comfort layer is the top layer of an orthopedic mattress. It is typically made from memory foam, latex, or polyurethane foam. The purpose of the comfort layer is to provide cushioning and support for the body. It helps distribute body weight evenly, providing pressure relief for the hips, shoulders, and other body areas.

The comfort layer also helps to reduce tossing and turning, allowing for a deeper sleep. In addition, it enables proper spine alignment and can help to relieve back pain. As a result, the comfort layer is an essential part of an orthopedic mattress.

Corrective Layer

*This layer is not found in all orthopedic mattresses

The Corrective Layer of an orthopedic mattress is designed to promote targeted spinal alignment. It is made of a firmer material than the comfort layer and is usually located just under it. This layer is often used in combination with the comfort layer to support the entire body.

The Corrective Layer is essential in areas such as the hips and shoulders, where proper alignment is essential for preventing pain and injury. By providing targeted support, the Corrective Layer helps keep the spine properly aligned, leading to improved overall health and well-being.

Supportive Layer

The support layer of an orthopedic mattress is the foundation of the bed and plays a vital role in avoiding dipping. This layer needs to be made of high-quality, high-density materials that will last for years. The support layer helps to distribute weight evenly and prevents the mattress from sagging over time. In addition, this layer provides stability for the other layers of the bed and helps to keep the spine aligned during sleep. As a result, the support layer is an essential component of an orthopedic mattress and should be carefully considered when choosing a mattress.

Every Layer Matters

When it comes to orthopedic mattresses, you truly get what you pay for in terms of quality. The materials used in the construction of the bed are crucial to its overall support and durability.

Cheap, low-quality materials will feel fine at first but quickly break down, causing the mattress to dip and creating an uneven sleeping surface. This can lead to back pain and other orthopedic issues.

In contrast, high-quality materials will provide years of support and comfort. Although they may cost more upfront, they will save you money in the long run by avoiding the need to replace your mattress prematurely.

When shopping for an orthopedic mattress, choose one made from high-quality, non-toxic materials. This investment will pay off in improved sleep and overall health.

Materials Used to Make Orthopedic Mattresses

If you’re in the market for a new orthopedic mattress, you may wonder what materials are used to make them. Orthopedic mattresses are designed to provide extra support and comfort for people with back or joint pain, so it’s essential to choose one that’s made of high-quality materials. Here is a brief description of some of the most common materials used in orthopedic mattresses.

*This section will include my honest opinions as a chiropractor, mattress designer, and advisor for over 20 years.

Common Foams Used For Mattress Construction

Memory foam

Memory foam is believed to be first developed by NASA in the 1960s as a material to be used in beds to acclimatise astronauts to higher gravity conditions when they return to earth. However, this is surprisingly mostly just a marketing myth, and NASA never used the foam.

Since then, it has become famous for a variety of uses, including orthopedic mattresses.

Memory foam is made from polyurethane, a type of plastic foam. It is known for its ability to conform to the body and relieve pressure.

However, memory foam also has some drawbacks. It is not very responsive, meaning it does not spring back into shape quickly. This can make it challenging to change positions during sleep. Additionally, memory foam is not very supportive. It does not provide much push-back, which can cause people to sink and feel trapped in the mattress.

For these reasons, memory foam is often used as a top layer in conjunction with other materials.

Polyurethane Foam

Polyurethane foam, also known as PU foam, is a synthetic foam often used in some orthopedic mattresses. It is made from a urethane polymer and is available in various densities. PU foam is known for its excellent support and is often used as the support layer below the pressure relief layer. PU foam comes in a range of densities & qualities. As a result, it is essential to ask the manufacturer about the density of their PU foam.

The higher the density & weight, the better. This is why bed-in-a-box mattresses are often such poor quality. Higher-density foams don’t compress well enough to fit into a tiny box.

As mentioned earlier, low-quality foams can feel similar to high-quality foams at first, but they break down exponentially faster.

Latex Foam

Latex foam is made from the sap of rubber trees and is a natural material. It is known for its bounciness, responsiveness, and supportiveness. Latex foam is often used as the top layer in an orthopedic mattress because it provides excellent pressure relief and contouring without sleeping hot like memory foam and is entirely non-toxic and plant-based.

Natural latex mattresses offer a more responsive sleeping surface that can support people with back pain better.

However, latex foam can be expensive, so it is often used in combination with other materials. It is also important to note that there are two types of latex foam: natural and synthetic. Synthetic latex is made from petroleum products and is not as durable as natural latex, which can last well over 15 years due to its incredibly high density and resilient nature.

Common Springs Used For Mattress Construction

Bonnel Coils

Generally, I do not recommend mattresses that use Bonnel Coils. These are your standard traditional mattress, and they have many problems.

For one, they only have a single level of firmness. This can be uncomfortable for people looking for spinal alignment as they do not provide zoned support. Mattress.

Additionally, the coils do not distribute pressure evenly, leading to pain in the hips and shoulders.

Finally, Bonnel Coils are not very durable and can start to sag after just a few years of use. For these reasons, I believe that other types of mattresses are a better investment in the long run.

Warning about Bonnel Coil Mattresses

When you see a cheap mattress labeled as orthopedic, it is essential to do your research before making a purchase. There is a high chance that the bed is a traditional sprung (Bonnel Coil) mattress that is just extra firm.

The myth that firm mattresses are good for back pain is false. Firm mattresses cause misalignment and pressure points leading to back pain and restlessness. A bed that is too soft will not provide the support that your body needs, but a mattress that is too firm can be just as bad and often worse.

Pocket Springs

Pocket springs are a popular type of spring used in many orthopedic mattresses. They effectively provide targeted support to the sleeper and are often more comfortable than traditional spring mattresses.

However, pocket springs are not as durable as some other types of springs, and they do not increase surface area as foam mattresses. This can be a problem for people who need pressure relief, as it can be challenging to find a comfortable position on a pocket spring mattress.

All Foam Vs. Hybrid Mattresses

There are many different types of mattresses on the market, and it can be challenging to know which one is right for you. One decision you’ll need to make is whether to choose an all-foam mattress or a hybrid mattress. Both have their benefits and drawbacks, so it’s essential to understand the difference before making a purchase.

Pressure Relief

Both hybrids and all-foam mattresses have a top layer of pressure-relieving foam, meaning that they both have foams doing this function in terms of pressure relief. However, the type of foam used in each mattress can vary.

Hybrid mattresses with pillow tops are not as good at providing pressure relief as ones with memory foam layers. All-foam mattresses use memory foam in the top layer, which contours to the body and provides good pressure relief.


Nobody wants to spend their hard-earned money on a bed that will start to sag and loses its shape after just a few months of use. So what is the best way to ensure that your mattress will stand the test of time? The answer lies in the quality of the materials used.

A mattress with high-quality foam and springs will be much more durable than one with lower-quality materials. In addition, the stitching and construction of the bed also play a role in its durability.

A well-made mattress should withstand years of use without showing any signs of wear and tear. So when shopping for a new mattress, be sure to pay close attention to the quality of the materials used.

Durability Tip #1

All-foam mattresses are typically more durable than hybrids because they don’t have any moving parts. The springs in a combination can eventually start to sag, and the pressure relief layer can become damaged over time due to the uneven pressure caused by the pocket springs. All-foam mattresses don’t have these problems, so they tend to last longer.

Durability Tip #2

An excellent way to gauge a mattress’s durability is by its weight. Heavier mattresses are usually made with higher density materials, which means they’ll last longer and retain their shape better over time. Additionally, heavier mattresses are less prone to sagging and other forms of wear and tear. Of course, this isn’t always the case – some lightweight beds are incredibly durable – but it’s a good general rule of thumb to keep in mind. So if you’re looking for a long-lasting mattress, ask about its weight before making your purchase.

Spinal Alignment


One of the most critical factors in choosing a mattress is spinal alignment. A mattress that is too soft will allow the spine to sink into an unnatural position, while a mattress that is too firm will not provide enough support. Foam mattresses are better at promoting spinal alignment as they often have multiple layers of different types of foam that can provide support and comfort. As a result, foam mattresses are often the best choice for those looking for a mattress that will help keep their spine correctly aligned.

On the other hand, hybrid mattresses can be a bit more hit and miss when it comes to spinal alignment. This is because they often have a layer of springs that can cause the spine to sink in if the mattress is too soft. However, if the hybrid mattress is firm enough, it can provide the support needed for proper spinal alignment.


So, which type of mattress is better for support? When it comes to supporting, foam mattresses have the edge over springs. Foam contours the body, providing support for the spine and hips. Springs, on the other hand, can cause gaps in the mattress that can lead to pain in pressure points. However, comfort is subjective, so it’s essential to try out both types of mattresses before making a purchase. Ultimately, the best bed is the one that feels most comfortable for you.


Orthopedic mattresses provide comfort and support for people with back pain or other orthopedic issues.

The construction of an orthopedic mattress is significant, as it needs to provide the right amount of cushioning and contouring without being too soft or too firm.

In this blog post, we’ve looked at how orthopedic mattresses are constructed and what makes them different from traditional mattresses.

If you’re in the market for a new mattress and looking for one that will relieve your back pain, be sure to check out our other posts on orthopedic beds. We have plenty of information to help you make the best decision for your


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Dr Lawrence Woods

My name Dr Lawrence Woods DC and I have been designing mattresses, pillows, chairs and seat cushions for over 20 years. As a chiropractor, my goal has always focused on improving the health of my patients by optimizing how they sleep and sit. My designs have been nominated for numerous awards and I continue to be at the forefront of this industry, helping people get the best night’s sleep possible. I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West, I am NBCE Physiotherapy certified and an OSHAcadenmy certified ergonomist.
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