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Why are Orthopedic Beds Hard?Chiropractor's Guide(2023)

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Why are Orthopedic Beds Hard? Chiropractor Explains

If you’re like many people, you probably believe that orthopedic beds are hard because firmness is good for back pain.

But is that true?

Orthopedic beds are designed to be more supportive for the spine, but that doesn’t mean they have to be rock-hard. Several studies have shown that a softer bed may be better for your back. So, as a chiropractor and mattress designer, what do I have to say about it?

As a general rule, orthopedic mattresses should be designed to be medium-firm, not hard. Orthopedic does not just mean an extra-firm. Hard mattresses cause back pain by creating pressure points and causing poor spinal alignment while you sleep. 

My name is 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.

Orthopedic Mattresses Have Come a Long Way in Recent Years

Gone are the days of simply choosing between a firm, soft, or medium-firm mattress.

Today (good) mattresses are designed to balance firmness and softness, with firm base layers for support and softer top layers for comfort. This combination of materials helps to promote proper alignment and provides a more comfortable sleeping surface.

In addition, modern mattresses are often made of top layers that provide pressure relief and softness for an optimal sleeping experience.

The Problem With Firm Orthopedic Mattresses

A firm mattress may seem like it would be good for your back, but it can cause more harm than good.

Poor Spinal alignment

When you sleep on a firm mattress, your shoulders and hips don’t sink into the mattress, which misaligns your spine and puts additional pressure on your muscles.

As a result, you may wake up feeling stiff and sore.

To promote spinal alignment and muscle relaxation, you should look for a mattress that allows your shoulders and hips to sink into the mattress. This will help to keep your spine in alignment while you sleep and minimize any back pain caused by your mattress.

Creates Pressure Points


In theory, a firm mattress provides the support you need for a good night’s sleep but can also create pressure points that can lead to pain.

The human body is not perfectly symmetrical, and when you sleep on a firm mattress, areas such as your shoulder, hips, and back can be subject to excessive pressure. This can lead to pain in those areas, morning stiffness and fatigue.

In addition, firm mattresses can make it difficult to turn over during the night, disrupting your sleep and leading to restlessness.

If you suffer from chronic pain or other health conditions, a firm mattress may not be your best choice. Instead, opt for a softer mattress that will provide the comfortable sleep you need.











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The Origins of the Firm Orthopedic Mattress Myth

The firm mattress myth is one of the most pervasive and enduring myths in the mattress industry. For years, consumers have been told that a firm mattress is the best way to get a good night’s sleep.

But the truth is, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. Studies have shown that people sleep better on a softer mattress.

The origins of the firm mattress myth are unclear. Still, it may have started with misinformation from salespeople who were creating a rationale to sell mattresses to people with back pain without the beds being designed by a back pain specialist.

Whatever the case, the firm mattress myth is nothing more than a marketing ploy. So, if you’re looking for the best sleep possible, don’t waste your money on an extra firm mattress.

How Good Orthopedic Mattresses Are Constructed

A mattress comprises several layers of different materials, each with a specific purpose.

Mattress Cover

A mattress cover serves several purposes. It helps to regulate airflow, keeping you cool in summer and warm in winter. In addition, it protects your mattress from dirt, dust, and spills. A good mattress cover will also extend the life of your mattress by protecting it from wear and tear. When shopping for a mattress cover, look for one made from a breathable fabric such as cotton or Tencel.

Comfort Layer/Pressure Relief Layer

A mattress’ comfort layer is its topmost layer, and its primary purpose is to provide pressure relief. By conforming to the contours of your body, the comfort layer helps to distribute your weight evenly, preventing any area from bearing too much pressure. This reduces tossing and turning and can help you to sleep more soundly throughout the night.

In addition to providing pressure relief, the comfort layer also increases the mattress’s surface area. As a result, the comfort layer is an essential part of any mattress and plays a crucial role in ensuring a good night’s sleep.

Corrective Layer

A good night’s sleep is essential for both physical and mental health, but for many people, back pain makes it challenging to get the rest they need.

As mattress designers, one way to alleviate back pain is to use a mattress with a corrective layer. This layer helps to promote spinal alignment, which is vital for muscle relaxation and pain relief.

Our mattress has a corrective layer designed by chiropractors & physios using research from leading back pain specialists. This means you can enjoy a comfortable night’s sleep without worrying about your back.

Support Layer

A mattress support layer is an essential component of any bed. Its purpose is to provide the firmness and support you need for a good night’s sleep.

Without a supportive layer, your mattress would be too soft and not provide the level of support your body needs. With good beds, the support layer is usually made of high-density foam. It is placed as the base layer and provides the foundation for the mattress.

The support layer ensures that your mattress will maintain its shape and not sag over time. It also helps to distribute your weight evenly across the bed, which helps to reduce pressure points and prevent you from waking up with aches and pains. A good support layer is essential for a comfortable and supportive bed.

How to Choose the Right Orthopedic Mattress Firmness

When it comes to orthopedic beds, the goal is to provide a balance of support and comfort.

Orthopedic mattresses are designed to be more supportive for the spine, but that doesn’t mean they have to be rock-hard.

Several studies have shown that a softer bed may be better for your back.

As a General Rule, Medium-Firm is the Best

woman waking up in an orthopedic mattress to a warm sunrise

Orthopedic mattresses aren’t just extra-firm mattresses. It has been found that mattresses with excessive firmness are more likely to cause back pain.

An orthopedic mattress is usually designed to be medium-firm because it needs to support the spine and hips. It should also be comfortable to sleep through the night without waking up in pain.

Many orthopedic mattresses also have a top layer of pressure-relieving foam, which contours to your body and provides pressure relief.

A medical study has found that the ideal firmness for an orthopedic mattress is medium-firm. This means that your body still receives good support while conforming to your body enough to allow you to sink into the bed. When your mattress conforms to your body, more surface area is in contact with the mattress, increasing pressure relief and distribution.

An Orthopaedic mattress helps you get great sleep by reducing muscle tension throughout your body.

Difference Between Orthopedic and Normal Mattresses

In general, an orthopedic mattress is designed to support bones and joints. These mattresses are often recommended by experts such as chiropractors and orthopedists.

Orthopedic mattresses typically have several features that distinguish them from standard mattresses.

Orthopedic mattresses are designed to support the spine and promote spinal alignment. This can help reduce pain, improve comfort, and promote deep, rejuvenating sleep.

To achieve increased supportiveness and spinal alignment, orthopedic mattresses are often made from high-density foam or latex, providing superior support and pressure relief.

In addition, orthopedic mattresses often have a firmness level specifically designed for people with back pain. This can further help to reduce pain and improve sleep quality.

What to Look For

When choosing an orthopedic mattress, it is essential to look for one designed by a back pain specialist. This will ensure that the bed is of the highest quality and will provide the best support for your back.

It is also essential to choose a mattress that is supportive yet comfortable, as this will help to reduce pain and improve sleep quality.

Finally, test out the mattress before buying it to ensure that it is the right size and shape for your body. By following these tips, you can be sure to find an orthopedic mattress that will provide the perfect level of support for your back.


A good mattress is essential for a good night’s sleep. However, choosing the right orthopedic mattress can be a daunting task. There are so many different types and brands on the market, and it can be tough to know which one is right for you.

This article explains that the best orthopedic mattresses are neither too soft nor too firm. They are constructed with different layers to provide spinal support, and pressure relief, and promote alignment. Ultimately, the best mattress for you is the one that offers you the comfort you need for your muscles to relax.


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What Does Orthopedic Mattress Mean?

How are Orthopedic Mattresses Made?

Can You Flip an Orthopedic Mattress?

How Long do Orthopedic Mattresses Last

Can an Orthopedic Mattress Actually Cause Back Pain?

Are Orthopedic Mattresses Good For Everyone or Just Bad Backs?

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Medical Disclaimer: This website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Product Disclaimer: The seat cushion is designed by a chiropractor, but results may vary and are not guaranteed. The product is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any medical condition.

Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Dr Lawrence Woods DC


My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort.

With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience in Ireland as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sitting for living a happy and healthy life.

I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and I am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.


About Me

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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