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Back Pain: Is Your Mattress to Blame?

By Krista Elliott

A huge staple of my pre-teen social life was the sleepover. Armed with my jammies and my favorite cassettes (and I've just aged myself), my friend and I would giggle and whisper into the wee hours until finally conking out. One sleepover stands out to me in particular, though. It was at my friend Charleen's, and try as I might to stay on my side of the bed, I kept rolling toward the center. Her mattress was so sunken in the middle that it acted as an inescapable pit. Instead of sleeping peacefully, I spent the night jammed up against Charleen as the two of us, despite our best efforts, kept rolling back to the middle of the bed. 

Charleen's bed may have been the worst I've ever slept in. But there are no lack of mattresses out there that are just not doing their owners any favors whatsoever. Whether it's too soft, too firm, or just plain worn-out, the wrong mattress can result in back pain, sleeplessness, hip pain, and subluxations. 

Goldilocks Was Onto Something

Remember how Goldilocks, from the story "Goldilocks and the Three Bears", found Papa Bear's bed "too hard" and Mama Bear's bed "too soft", but Baby Bear's bed was "just right"? Well, Goldilocks may have been a petty criminal specializing in breaking and entering, but Girlfriend knew how to pick out a mattress. There isn't any one mattress that's perfect for everybody, as factors like body structure, weight, and sleeping position have to be taken into account. 

The "just right" bed is the one that's just right for you. A too-hard Papa Bear bed will create too much pressure on certain parts of the body like your hips or shoulders, causing pain and subluxations. Conversely, a too-soft Mama Bear bed won't give you enough support, straining your muscles and joints. 

But the Baby Bear "just right" bed? That will be the mattress that is cushiony but supportive. And the only way to know which one that will be is to lie down on a bunch of them and try them out. And I'm not talking about a 15-second quick rest. To really get a feel for the bed, you should lie down in your usual sleeping position (ideally with your own pillow from home) for a good 10-15 minutes. If the mattress is the right one for you, you should almost feel ... nothing. On the right mattress, your body is relaxed and supported, with no feeling of pressure or strain anywhere. 

And if you share a bed? It's better to err on the side of whoever needs a firmer mattress. The person needing extra softness can add a memory foam or down topper to their side of the bed for added cushioning. It's a lot easier to add cushioning to a firm mattress than to take it away from a too-soft one. 

Before you go mattress shopping, make sure to pop by The Joint Chiropractic for an adjustment so that your mattress is being fitted for your optimal spine and joint alignment. You don't even need an appointment! With chiropractic care from The Joint and the perfect mattress, you'll enjoy sweet dreams for years to come. 


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