Buying a new mattress will be delayed by many people due to the fear of it causing back pain. If you have issues with back pain, using a new mattress could actually be one of the first steps towards addressing those problems. So will a new mattress cause back pain?
A new mattress can temporarily cause back pain due to a difference in firmness from what you are used to. A new mattress is more likely to be firmer and offer spinal support which could cause discomfort. If the back pain continues after some time, the mattress might not be a good fit for you.
I’ll take you through the reasons behind back pain with a new mattress and survey the common causes and treatments for back pain. Certain sleeping techniques, stretching and other remedial actions can help you stop or reduce back pain in your life. Back pain is a common ailment and complex to understand so should be done with guidance from experts.
Is It Normal to Have Back Pain with a New Mattress?
While not normal to always have back pain with a new mattress, it is common in certain situations. Mattresses have a set life, normally about seven years, after which their materials start to break down and the mattress becomes less supportive. This can mean you are not getting the support you need and a change to a new, fully supportive mattress brings with an adjustment period.
Think about when you’re on a chair in a slouched position. Straightening up into good posture can be painful even after a short period, let alone extended hours of sleeping in a similarly bad position.
Why Does My Lower Back Hurt on My New Mattress?
Research consistently points to having a neutral spine position as one of the most important factors to avoid lower back pain from sleeping. Side sleeping with a pillow between your legs can encourage a neutral spine position. Experimentation with different height pillows for your head can also encourage better spine position.
Back pain issues are generally due to issues with muscles or nerves. For example, sciatica is an impingement of your sciatica nerve, nerves running from the lower back down to each leg, causing pain. This pain is felt in your buttocks and down the back of your leg.
Sleeping in positions that cause further compressing of the nerves through the twisting of your lower back and hips may make nerve pain like sciatica pain worse.
How Do I Know if My Mattress Is Causing Back Pain?
Identifying what your precise issue is, requires a visit to an expert. Correctly diagnosing the cause of back pain is a necessary first step to doing the best corrective measures.
You can also try sleeping on different surfaces to see if your new mattress is the issue or trying different sleeping positions. Putting a pillow between your inner thighs helps to draw up the feet into a sort of fetal position which maintains good stretching of the lower back, and neutral spine position via a side sleeping position.
How Long Does It Take for Your Back to Adjust to a New Mattress?
Components and materials such as springs or foam can be initially stiff but will soften over time, fitting your body better. This process will take at least 30 days after which your back pain should recede as the mattress provides back support.
If you are finding that after 30 days you are still having back pain issues, consider changing certain aspects of your lifestyle such as introducing light stretching for every hour you are seated during the day to address the roots of back pain.
Stretches that include spinal decompression allow pressure to be relieved in the spine. Long periods of sitting cause too much pressure on the spine and such exercises can help. Studies on human physiology, biology, and even anthropology have shown that the body of a human being does not respond well to long periods of sitting and inactivity.
How Do You Fix a Mattress That Hurts Your Back?
You could look at changing the mattress, getting a mattress topper, stretching, or seeking further expert advice. But the main thing to keep in mind is that it may not be the mattress that needs fixing but other lifestyle changes that can help reduce back pain.
Many mattress retailers have an extended cooldown to try their products, sometimes allowing 90 or 180 days after purchase. If you find after 30 days the mattress is still uncomfortable you swap for another style.
Mattress toppers are removable bedding that covers the mattress, often made from memory foam. They have several purposes but generally are offering more support or more comfort, sometimes acting as a mattress protector. This can be easily added to any mattress to help address back issues.
If you have identified that your mattress hurts your back and it is old, consider replacing it. Old mattresses will not give you the support you need and due to possible asymmetries in the mattress, may cause your spine to be in an unnatural position causing further pain.
With a new mattress causing back pain, you should also consider that you should be trying to address your back pain directly. A new mattress that supports your back properly and causes discomfort may not be the true villain behind your back pain. If you remove what is the actual cause of your back pain, the mattress will just support your back in a healthy way.
You should start trying to eliminate the causes of your back pain or trying to do remedial work before blaming a new mattress. An older mattress may be doing more harm than good. Spinal decompression first thing in the morning can be a perfect opportunity to get the blood flowing, get some much-needed back therapy, and set you up for the day.