Do you or a loved one experience back pains in the morning after a night’s sleep? Does the concept of waking up refreshed and ready for the day feel like a long-ago dream?
It should come as no surprise that aches and pains in our backs are a common enough occurrence: Healthline Australia reports that 1 in 6 Australians report having chronic back problems, and 4 out of 5 experience it sometime in their lives1.
In particular, waking up with back pain can be a real dampener on the rest of our day. Good sleep is a necessary part of healthy and productive living.
Well, one very possible reason behind this issue could be your mattress!
Today’s blog will tell you all about the potential signs of mattress related back pain, why your mattress could be causing you back pain, and things you can do to potentially eliminate that morning back pain.
Warning Signs That Your Mattress Is Causing Back Pain
Although back pains are common, the signs below may point to the mattress being the cause of morning pains:
- Your back pain starts upon waking up and doesn’t last long
Compared to chronic back pain which occurs throughout the day, mattress-specific back pain often goes away after 15-30 minutes of getting out of bed. Most people do a little morning stretch to get the kinks out of their bodies, but prevention of the kinks in the first place is certainly the best way forward.
- Tossing and turning frequently before being able to sleep
While it may just be the body getting comfortable enough to fall asleep, restlessness before sleep may stem from the body being too misaligned from a lack of support from a mattress.
- Waking up frequently during sleep
Misaligned bodies due to a mattress may also cause discomfort after we fall asleep. This can lead to our minds subconsciously registering the discomfort, drawing us out of deep sleep to adjust the body to be more comfortable.
- Feeling you “slept better” after sleeping in a different bed
Oftentimes a change in environment can lead to new insights to a problem, and it is no different for back pain. Perhaps you may have woken up without back pain after sleeping in a hotel bed or when you bunked over in a friends’ home. This may indicate that your own bed at home may not be ideal for you.
Why Your Mattress Could Be Causing Back Pain
Our backs are made up of multiple pieces (vertebrae) linked together by softer discs (intervertebral disc) that allow flexing and movement. A mattress needs to be able to support our backs’ natural curvature; too hard or too soft will lead to misalignment, which leads to pain.
- The mattress is too soft
When you climb into bed, does your body immediately sink into the mattress as if it is mud? A soft bed may sound like a good idea, but if your back bends too much it can lead to soreness in the morning.
- The mattress is too hard
Then there’s the other end of the spectrum of support, whereby the mattress is too firm. As our bodies are naturally curved, a too hard a bed will cause pressure points to form on the body as it lays still during sleep.
- Your mattress is lumpy / too old
In the same vein as too hard, lumpy beds that have seen extended use may also unevenly support our bodies as the material clumps up or is worn down over time.
Ways Mattress Back Pain Can Be Fixed
Considering how humans (ideally) sleep for pretty much a third of their lives, it is of vital importance to invest in a mattress that is just right for YOU! Not too soft where you sink into it, and not too firm that it forms pressure points in your body.
Here are a few tips that may help your buying decision:
- As a general guideline, you should aim to replace your mattress every 8 years as the material compacts or is worn out. This also removes the potential of bacteria and dust that have seeped deep into it.
- It’s like the story of Goldilocks – the mattress needs to be just right for you. Picking the right firmness depends on body shape as well as weight: heavier bodies may need firmer mattresses more suited for support. Taller people will certainly want a mattress that supports the feet.
- In general, medium-firm mattresses are the most commonly preferred firmness for people.
- To decide on the right firmness:
- Too soft: your hips sink lower than your shoulders.
- Too firm: your hips and shoulders lie flat on the surface.
- Just right: the mattress contours to your body shape and keeps your spine aligned.
- After getting a new mattress, give your body time to acclimatise to it. The transition may take up to three weeks to complete. Look for stores with a 30-day return policy to ensure you have the right product.
- Seek a professional opinion from a chiropractor for optimal advice and recommendations.
How A Chiropractor May Improve Your Mattress-buying Decision
Chiropractors are doctors who are knowledgeable about the human musculoskeletal system and specialise in issues concerning the spine. Who better to diagnose back pain?
Here are a few ways they could help with back pain caused by a mattress:
Chiropractors can perform physical adjustments to realign your body’s structure back to its natural shape. Not only can this provide immediate relief, but a realignment may help your body adapt quickly to any new mattress.
Chiropractors can also teach good posture to maintain this natural alignment, not just for standing and walking, but also for sleeping! They may advise attempting different sleeping positions or may recommend getting different pillows for best support.
Their holistic approach also extends to exercises and stretching routines that may help you sleep both faster and easier. These routines may be personalized to your specific body type, flexibility, and even fitness levels.
The Blacks: Chiropractors Who Care
The important thing about chiropractors is to find ones that are licensed and experienced for best effect.
Drs. Michael and David Black offer over 37 years of experience servicing Australian patients in the Armadale and Doncaster areas. They have the experience to diagnose your back pain and potentially provide great recommendations for the best mattresses to get to fix morning back pain.
Book an appointment by calling (03) 9509 7691.