The Best Mattresses For Back & Side Sleepers
And A Good Reason To Avoid Stomach Sleeping
Before considering specific mattresses to help relieve back pain and morning stiffness, or just provide more restful sleep, it may be useful to review some general factors that are important for optimizing comfort and spinal alignment through the night.
The first recommendation is that most people should avoid sleeping on their stomach. The problem with stomach sleeping is two-fold; in addition to allowing the lower back (lumbar spine) to hyperextend during sleep, in requires a person to have their head turned to one side to allow them to breath. This takes the neck out of the neutral position and places unnecessary stress on spinal structures. People that prefer to sleep on their stomach can usually transition to sleeping on their side without too much difficulty. This position allows one to maintain better spinal alignment; however, the following advice applies: side sleepers generally need a pillow that is thicker than the pillow used by back sleepers. The pillow should be thick enough to allow the head to stay in line with the rest of the body - a pillow that is too thin allows the head to fall towards the mattress while one that is too thick will push the head up too high. Side sleepers may also benefit by keeping a thin pillow between their knees; this may also help avoid rolling the hips toward the mattress and twisting the lower back.
For those that sleep on their back, a thinner pillow is generally recommended; this will usually help keep the neck in a better position. A exception may be a person with a severe forward curve of the upper back such as an older person with thoracic compression fractures due to osteoporosis; this situation results in a "hyperkyphosis" of the thoracic spine which will likely require a thicker than usual pillow for back sleepers to avoid having their head hyperextend backwards during sleep. Specific requirements for this population should be discussed with their health care providers.
Finally, the degree of firmness of the sleeping surface should be considered. Many people believe that the most firm mattress possible is the best choice; however, this is not supported by the research or my own experience with my patients. For most people a mattress that is firm but not the most firm that it can possibly be is the best choice. A good starting point then would then be a "medium firm" mattress with a little more or less firmness depending on individual preferences and physical characteristics, such as bodyweight, with heavier people usually requiring a slightly more firm mattress.
As people come in different sizes, structures and preferences, the "best mattress" for one person may not be the best mattress for another. This makes it difficult to have one perfect "chiropractic recommended mattress" for everybody. However, with the above considerations in mind, I believe the following mattresses would be a good choice for a large percentage of the population to help relieve back pain and provide proper spinal support while they sleep.
My Top 5 Chiropractic Recommended Mattresses
Traditional "memory foam" mattresses have their supporters and detractors - the supporters like the fact that the mattress tends to mold around your body a little, the detractors will often say it is difficult for them to change position because of this. This particular mattress seems to have enough support to avoid the complaint that most detractors would typically have as evidenced by the remarkable customer satisfaction rating that this produce has. It also dissipates heat better than most similar products. If you prefer a very firm mattress that you don't sink in to at all, this is probably not the mattress for you. However, for those considering a foam mattress, this is one of the best options, especially for the price.
This is very similar in many ways to the above mattress but some may find this to be slightly more supportive. Although the reviews of this mattress are excellent, they are not quite as good as the reviews of the above mattress but I believe this may be because this may be a slightly better mattress for a smaller precentage of the population - those who enjoy the benefits of the above mattress and still want a soft top layer layer but prefer a mattress that may perhaps provide slightly more support.
Casper has a variety of mattresses that have become very popular lately. This particular one is a little more firm then many other similar mattresses and a good choice for a large percentage of the population with regard to being able to handle a variety of body weights while maintaining a good balance of comfort and support. The link provided is for a queen size mattress but a variety of sizes are offered from twin to king and even a california king for those who prefer these dimensions (please click on link to review details). As this foam mattress is shipped in a shrink wrapped state, it is recommended that it be allowed 1 day to fully expand prior to use. The competitive price and great overall customer reviews make this product worth considering.
This Sealy, 12-Inch, Memory Foam "bed in a box" is a mattress from a well known company that is worth considering for those that want a mattress that is not quite as firm as the above outlined product. Although this is listed as medium firm, I would place it more on the medium side. However, due to its construction with a less dense top layer for comfort but more dense deep layer for support, it may still provide adequate support for people that do not like very firm mattresses and is likely a great choice if you fall into this catagory. As it may still not be firm enough and provide the support required for larger people, this would not be my first choice for that segment of the population and the mattress below may be a better choice. As with similar mattresses, follow the instructions provided to allow the mattress to fully expand once it comes out of the package for best results.
Last but definitely not least, this mattress is described as providing "firm support" and is worth considering by those that prefer a more firm mattress as well as heavier people that require the support of a firmer sleeping surface. Often more affordable and easier to ship than their predecessors, foam mattresses that are shipped in a compressed form are extremely popular today. These mattresses usually require a decompression period before use for best resuls. As with the above mattress, the purchaser should follow the manufacturer's instructions and allow this mattress to fully decompress before use to achieve maximum firmness and more even support.