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Best Natural Mattress for Back Pain. A Chiropractor’s Complete Guide

Mattress in a bedroom that was designed to be natural and good for back pain

Natural Mattress for Back Pain. 

There is probably nothing more frustrating than not being able to sleep due to back pain. However, this problem is much more complicated if you are aware of the chemicals found in many mattresses. As a chiropractor finding a natural mattress that I can recommend to my patients is something, I have spent countless hours researching. In this article, I will share everything you need to find a natural mattress that is also great for back pain.

As a general rule, Natural Latex mattresses are the best natural mattress for relieving back pain. They conform to your body, providing pressure-point relief and reducing tension. Latex foam’s resilient supportiveness is the best of all mattress types. This 100% natural foam adapts the curvature of your spine, encouraging lumbar support.

Back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work. It will affect 80 percent of us and is the leading cause of disability worldwide. 

Sleep quality has been shown to be essential to our health by numerous studies. Unfortunately for those who suffer from a back condition, back pain has been found to be the most common cause of insomnia. According to Harvard Medical School, sleep deprivation has been linked to obesity, heart disease, and shorter life expectancy. 

 

How a Mattress Can Cause Back Pain

There are many ways a bad mattress can cause back pain. If you are going to bed feeling good and waking up stiff, this could be an indication that your mattress is causing back pain. An overly soft mattress can cause your spine to slip out of alignment at night, while a firm mattress may make your shoulders and hips hurt from pressure points.

Here are the most common problems with low-quality mattresses.

  • Lack of Support – Support is the most important consideration for mattresses if you want to avoid back pain. Mattresses that are not supportive will prevent you from sleeping in alignment because the heavier parts of your body will sink too deep into the mattress. This causes your body to overcompensate, by tensing your back muscle, to try to align your spine.
  • Little Pressure Relief – Good pressure relief is vital for those who suffer from back pain. However, the foams which are best for pressure relief are often more expensive and are not often used in more affordable mattresses. Instead, they substitute pillow tops and polyfoams which simply don’t perform as well as natural latex and memory foam.
  • Sagging – Poor quality mattresses almost always have problems with durability. This is because they are often constructed with cost-effective materials that break down quickly and unevenly. This leads to mattress sagging and causes you to sleep out of alignment. When you sleep out of alignment you are likely to wake up in the morning feeling back pain.
  • Uncomfortable – A bad mattress simply isn’t as comfortable as a one made from high-quality materials. Research has shown that sleeping on a good mattress improves sleep quality. When you sleep comfortably and well, you recover better and are much less likely to suffer from back pain.

 

The Best Natural Mattress for Back Pain

According to most experts, memory foam and natural latex are the best types of mattresses for back pain. But there are several reasons why I prefer natural latex to memory foam for back pain. For back pain, the most important factors to consider when comparing these two foams are pressure relief, responsiveness and non-toxicity.

Natural Pressure Relief

Both natural latex and memory foam are known for their advanced pressure-relieving material qualities. In both foams, the surface area is increased, which prevents tension from building upon areas where your body is heavier.

A mattress that relieves pressure is important for reducing back pain. For instance, if a pressure point starts building up on your shoulders as you sleep, your back muscle will unconsciously start to tense up to align your shoulders with your spine, reducing pressure. 

However, while this reduces pressure points on your back, it creates muscle tension. Back pain can develop as a result of this over time. That’s why an excellent mattress for back pain is able to provide an excellent level of pressure relief.

Even though memory foam and natural latex are considered the best mattress materials for pressure relief, they behave and respond in very different ways. Furthermore, if you value natural and chemical-free mattresses, natural latex is the clear choice.

Mattress Responsiveness

Responsiveness is the rapidity and degree to which a mattress responds to motion or pressure. The more responsive a mattress is, the faster it adjusts to your movements. Sleeping in a responsive bed will help you avoid back pain at night since it allows you to move and shift effortlessly. Switching positions while you sleep allows your body to efficiently avoid pressure build-up since you won’t need to wake up to shift positions.

Testing mattress responsiveness

A weight can be dropped on the foam of the mattress to test the responsiveness. When you drop a weight on latex foam, you’ll see it bounce back. Memory foam doesn’t bounce back at all when you drop a weight on it. Since it is more responsive and springy, latex bounces back quicker after pressure is applied. The memory foam mattress feels ‘stuck’ when body weight is applied. It does not show much resistance or response when weight is placed on it.

Most Responsive Mattress Types

When you try to move during sleep, natural latex will work with you, while memory foam will work against you. This means latex foam is the best option if you want to avoid pressure points as it allows you to move easily, which does not disturb your sleep. Conversely, memory foam will make it much more difficult for you to move in your sleep.

 

Non-Toxic Mattress

Experts frequently recommend natural latex mattresses for their complete non-toxic nature and lack of any chemical additives. Natural latex foam is different from other foam mattresses since it’s made from tree sap that doesn’t release VOCs like formaldehyde. As a result, not only is it sustainable but it is also non-petrochemically based, unlike memory and poly foams.

A new study suggests memory foam mattresses are off-gassing even worse than previously believed. A study that examined the amount of off-gassing when following the same conditions as someone sleeping on a bed (Heat and CO2) found that significantly more off-gassing occurs than previously thought. This is especially true after the six-month period in which it was previously suggested a mattress needed to minimize off-gassing.

 

Your Pillow Can Affect Back Pain Too

A great mattress isn’t the only thing that matters when managing your back pain while you sleep. The kind of pillows you use is often just as important for avoiding back pain. 

Good pillows for neck and shoulder pain alleviate pressure points and keep the head at a healthy angle. It should also be soft enough to be comfortable but at the same time are firm enough to be supportive. Research indicates that natural latex pillows have an overall customer satisfaction rate of greater than 93%. There is a significant difference in satisfaction with latex pillows compared to other common pillows such as feather and memory foam. 

In 2009, a study examined the relationship between pillows and sleep quality. The researchers measured how well people were rested and whether they awoke without pain depending on the type of pillow. Researchers found that latex pillows significantly improved sleep quality, as well as how people felt when they woke up.

Furthermore, if you are looking for a chemical-free sleeping environment, make sure to get the right pillow. Your face is directly on your pillow at least 7 hours a night. Several fabrics and foams contain volatile organic compounds which with pillows are right next to your mouth and nose throughout the night. Consider only choosing pillows made from natural materials, especially if you have children who are particularly at risk with toxic chemicals.

 

Conclusion

If you’re looking for the best natural mattress to relieve back pain, it’s time to switch over from memory foam and spring mattresses. Natural latex is a great option because of its ability to form perfectly around your body with pressure-point relief and reducing tension. It also conforms well with your spine–encouraging lumbar support while still giving you that soft and comfortable feel. 

About Dr Lawrence Woods

My goal is to create the highest quality mattresses and pillows for unmatched comfort.

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

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

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