The time you spend in your bed every night is very important to back health. It’s the time your back gets to recover from all the strain it’s been under all day. As you walk around, sit, drive, work out and do anything else, gravity is putting downward pressure on your spine. Lying in bed, your spine gets a chance to decompress, literally.
But, if you don’t have a good mattress, you may be adding extra strain to your back rather than letting it recover. Ask someone what kind of car they drive, and they’ll have an answer immediately. Ask them what kind of mattress they have, and they will likely have to think for a second before answering that it’s some old thing that their mom’s friend was getting rid of ten years ago, they think. Well, considering you spend eight hours in bed every night (a third of your life!) and hopefully much less than that in your car, this doesn’t make a lot of sense.
What makes a good mattress for your back
To allow your back to properly relax and relieve pressure built up from throughout the day, a mattress needs to accomplish a simple goal. The natural alignment of the spinal cord must be maintained, which requires firmness but without so much firmness that pressure points build in certain areas of the spine.
For this reason, you want a mattress that is not too firm and not too soft. It’s not so soft that you sink in and your spinal alignment is lost, and it’s not so firm that you spend the night in pain from pressure on your back. The perfect mattress is supportive and comfortable.
What mattresses fit this “supportive but comfortable” description?
Traditionally, mattresses have been made with springs inside that provide the support and padding on top to allow some comfort and sink. Now, there are also new mattress types, like memory foam, that attempt to achieve this through modern science.
Many people enjoy the newer models of mattresses, while others continue to rely on the tried-and-true spring mattresses. Either way, you often get what you pay for. The more you spend on a spring mattress, the more springs they tend to have and better quality padding they’ll have on top. More springs and better padding equal more support and comfort, the two factors you’re looking for.
Other things to keep in mind
You’ll also want to make sure you are putting this mattress on a firm foundation, like a box spring or platform that will support it. Not doing so will often void the mattress’ warranty and diminish its lifespan.
Pillows are important to assist in maintaining back health while you sleep. If you sleep on your back, place a pillow beneath your knees to raise your legs slightly. This takes pressure off the back. If you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your legs. This helps maintain alignment and eliminate pressure points. If you sleep on your stomach, don’t. It’s not healthy for your spine.
West Cary Wellness for spinal health
Many of our patients come to us after sleeping on bad mattresses for years, and they are in dire need of some spinal health assistance. West Cary Wellness is a full-service chiropractic clinic serving Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Morrisville, and Chapel Hill. We can do spinal adjustments and much more to assist in the worst back pain. Come by or call (919) 303-1577 to learn more. We can even give you some advice on buying a new mattress!