Choosing the right mattress for back support, good posture, and sleep comfort has a significant effect on back pain relief. Although many doctors have traditionally recommended a hard mattress (a firm mattress) to patients with back pain, a recent study conducted in Spain found that a medium-firm mattress may provide better back support and help alleviate more back pain than a firm mattress.
Mattress Study Findings
The trial involved 313 adults who experienced chronic lower back pain and backache while lying on and moving from their bed. Participants were randomly assigned a medium-firm mattress or a firm mattress in place of their normal mattress. The patients who slept on the medium-firm mattresses were more likely to report reduced back pain in bed, reduced back pain upon rising from the bed, and less back pain related to disability than the patients who slept on a firm mattress.
Based on the study’s findings, a medium-firm mattress provided patients a better balance between back support and comfort for their lower back pain than a firm mattress. Sleeping on a mattress that is too hard exerts additional pressure on the back, resulting in more back pain for some patients. That being said, however, many patients did experience low back pain relief while in bed and upon rising after sleeping on a firm mattress, so a medium-firm does not appear to be most comfortable for all patients with back pain.
In This Article:
The number and placement of coils in the mattress determines the level of support, while the amount of padding on the mattress determines the level of comfort. Adding some padding to a hard mattress may be a good choice for some individuals with back pain. With the variety of mattress options on the market, personal preference in terms of sleep comfort and back support should ultimately be the guide for those with back pain and back problems.
- Kovacs FM, Abraira V, Pena A, Martin-Rodriguez JG, Sanchez-Vera M, Ferrer E, Ruano D, Guillen P, Gestoso M, Muriel A, Zamora J, Gil del Real MT, Mufraggi N. Effect of firmness of mattress on chronic non-specific low-back pain: randomised, double-blind, controlled, multicentre trial. The Lancet. 2003 Nov 15;362(9396):1599-1604.