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We very often find patients can ask us what mattress we think would be good for their back pain, or who specifically call us looking for advice on a mattress to buy. If you’re suffering with back pain, enough to contemplate spending a lot of money on a mattress, you may be having it quite consistently throughout the day and perhaps the night too. A lot of people can then draw conclusions that they now find their mattress too hard, too soft or just plain uncomfortable now they have back pain, and feel they need to make a change to get relief. But buying a new mattress is not just a big expense, it’s also one that’s not likely to make a difference in your spine – so if you’re considering buying a mattress for your back pain, we’re going to list a few things you can do before that will have much more of an impact in the long-run.

If you are indeed having back pain throughout the day and night, you may find more benefit in the long-term by looking at what you’re doing throughout the day rather than the night. This can be especially the case if you find that when you fall asleep, you move around a lot or you’re not somebody who can sleep like a log. If you spend your day sitting at a desk, perhaps you tend to slouch or round your back and shoulders over your computer, or maybe you have an active job but are not taking care in how you move your body – for example when lifting anything. If you suddenly come down with back pain, don’t automatically make a link that it’s your mattress because you’ve been in your job for a number of years and it’s not caused you trouble in the past. Back problems can come about after weeks, months or even years of incorrect posture or not taking care of your spine, so that’s something to bear in mind.

Correct Your Posture During The Day

Trying to correct your posture during the day will initially have more of an impact on your back pain, than changing your mattress. So if you do have a desk job, making sure that you’re sitting square to the computer – meaning your feet are planted comfortably on the floor, your shoulders are back and your head not looking up or down at the screen – it should be in a neutral position above the shoulders. If you’re active during the day, making sure that you’re using correct lifting posture and just making sure to not slouch will help, set a few times during the day to remind yourself to check in with your posture should help you keep on top of it in the short term. Correcting your posture may well be uncomfortable, or even painful initially, because muscles that would keep us in a correct posture have become weak over time of neglecting them. Over time this should dissipate and you should find it comfortable again.

If the pain has been ongoing for awhile and has not just appeared overnight, get treatment is simply a much better investment than a new mattress. The worst possible thing to do if you’ve got back pain that’s caused by repetitive stress, an injury at the gym, or using your body badly on a daily basis, is to go out and buy a mattress. The positions you adopt when you do have back pain are not likely to be the best positions for you to be adopting in the long-term. The easiest way to relate to this is think about how you walk if you stub your toe quite hard, you contort your body into various positions or walk in a completely abnormal way that if you would do it in the long-term would not serve your body well. In fact, we often see patients who started off with back pain but then have issues going into other areas of the body because they change the way they’re sitting, walking or sleeping to accommodate the pain and make that a little more bearable.

Why Buying A Mattress Is Not The Answer

If you go to invest in a mattress, perhaps you shop for one online or in a store, and think immediately that it seems comfortable and it eases your back pain, if it does indeed help to relieve your back pain over the course of the next few days or weeks, you may find that when you don’t have any pain that the mattress becomes uncomfortable and not suitable for you – because you’re not putting yourself in those positions again. Instead, visit a professional who will investigate what exactly is the underlying cause of your back pain, why it’s occurred and treat that. Once you’ve treated the problem and you’re not in pain anymore, would be the perfect time to invest in a new mattress – one that will appropriately support your body during the night.

Active Sleepers vs. Still Sleepers

We mentioned earlier if you’re an active sleeper, ie. you move around a lot, you may not benefit from a new mattress as much as treatment. But if you are quite a still sleeper there may be things you can do when you’re asleep that will help you during the day. For example, starting off in an ideal sleeping posture is the best way to support your body. This would be either laying on your back or your side – if you choose to lay on your back then you should have a pillow that correctly supports you (you can read our guide on choosing a pillow for your neck HERE). If you sleep on your side, make sure that you’re using a pillow that doesn’t prop your head but rather fits in the nape of your neck and allows your head to drop back to support the natural curve in the neck. You should also pop a pillow between your knees, so that this doesn’t apply more pressure than needed on the glute muscles.

We find the Tempur mattresses to be ideal since they support the body’s natural alignment. If you move around a lot when you sleep, investing in these things will not make much difference for you because you’ll be moving around too much to stay in those ideal positions. Furthermore, just to reinforce how important treatment is even if you are a still sleeper and are thinking of investing in a mattress or pillow, the benefits of these types of mattresses and pillows are often not found straightaway in back or neck pain sufferers. Since you may be in pain, you just may not find adopting the correct sleeping posture comfortable, in the same way you may find it uncomfortable to sit with correct posture at your desk or on the tube at first.

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What Mattress Would Be Ideal?

We find the Tempur mattresses to be ideal since they support the body’s natural alignment. If you move around a lot when you sleep, investing in these things will not make much difference for you because you’ll be moving around too much to stay in those ideal positions. Furthermore, just to reinforce how important treatment is even if you are a still sleeper and are thinking of investing in a mattress or pillow, the benefits of these types of mattresses and pillows are often not found straightaway in back or neck pain sufferers. Since you may be in pain, you just may not find adopting the correct sleeping posture comfortable, in the same way you may find it uncomfortable to sit with correct posture at your desk or on the tube at first.

If you do have back or neck pain and you would like to find treatment to help, contact The Mayfair Clinic today to see how we can help you. Call us today on 0203 947 3222 or email us at info@themayfairclinic.com to discuss your case with a member of the team and book in your first appointment. You will receive a thorough examination during your first appointment, along with any scans if you need them, and a treatment to get started straightaway.