Could Your Mattress Be Causing Your Back Pain?

The American Chiropractic Association offers tips for when it’s time for a new mattress and how to find the one that works best for you.


Newswise — If you have back pain and haven’t considered how your mattress may be affecting your body, it might be time to start. A mattress with too much wear and tear can wreak havoc on your body by failing to support your spine and keep it aligned throughout the night, which can in turn lead to back pain and other joint issues. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) offers the following tips for recognizing when you need a new mattress, testing your current mattress, and what to look for in a new one.

Is it time for a new mattress?

Your mattress could be the cause of your aches and pains. Here are some signs you might be in the market for a new one:

  • You’re waking up every morning feeling sore and stiff.
  • You find that you sleep better in a hotel bed than you do at home.
  • Your mattress is older than seven years.

How’s your mattress holding up?

It’s important to recognize when your mattress no longer provides the support your body needs, which can lead to aches and pains. Try these two tests:

  • Lay a rigid object, like a meter stick, across your bed. If you can fit your hand in the gap between the object and your mattress, this indicates your mattress is sagging.
  • Place a marble in various places on your bed. If it rolls toward the center of your mattress every time, this is also an indication of sagging, meaning it’s time to look for a new one.

What should you look for while mattress shopping?

Find the mattress that works best for your body. Look for one that:

  • Is made of dense memory foam, or a good-quality spring mattress with a pillow topper.
  • Is firm enough to support you, but soft enough that you are truly comfortable.
  • Supports your body in its neutral position. Your shoulders and hips should sink into the mattress a little while keeping your spine properly aligned.
  • You can test before you buy, even if it’s just a quick nap in the store.

In the meantime, consider reinforcing your current mattress by placing plywood underneath it while you save and shop for a new one. Keep in mind that more expensive does not always mean better. Comfort and support are what matter most.

If your pain persists, consider chiropractic’s non-drug approach to pain management. To learn more about chiropractic, visit www.acatoday.org/patients. A chiropractor can talk to you about sleep ergonomics and how to minimize joint stress while in bed. For more information, download ACA’s mattress fact sheet. To find an ACA chiropractor near you, visit acatoday.org/Find-a-Doctor.

About the American Chiropractic Association

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) is the largest professional chiropractic organization in the United States. ACA attracts the most principled and accomplished chiropractors, who understand that it takes more to be called an ACA chiropractor. We are leading our profession in the most constructive and far-reaching ways -- by working hand in hand with other health care professionals, by lobbying for pro-chiropractic legislation and policies, by supporting meaningful research and by using that research to inform our treatment practices. We also provide professional and educational opportunities for all our members and are committed to being a positive and unifying force for the practice of modern chiropractic. To learn more, visit www.acatoday.org, and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.


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