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Will a Firm Mattress Hurt my Back?

How Do You Sleep?


For many people, finding the right mattress is an overwhelming task. There are so many options, and so many factors to consider. Is this mattress comfortable? Will it be comfortable throughout the night? Will it stay comfortable for years? Will I wake with a sore back? Especially for those with back conditions, mattress shopping can be very stressful since the wrong choice might mean daily discomfort. The number one goal for these sleepers is to find a mattress that will give their back the support it needs to enjoy pain-free mornings. Unfortunately, there isn't one mattress that works best for everyone. Many people find that they get supportive sleep on a firm mattress, while others can get it on a very soft mattress. For sleepers who are concerned whether or not a firm mattress will hurt their back, they should consider their sleep position first to find out if the way they sleep is compatible with a firm sleeping surface.

The Firm Myth


A common misconception is that firmer mattresses provide more support. While firm mattresses feel stiff and prevent you from sinking in, that doesn't mean that they provide better support. It's important to remember that there isn't one mattress that's perfect for everybody. We all have unique shapes, sizes, sleeping styles, and comfort preferences, so what works for one sleeper might not work as well for you. For instance, a very firm mattress might be very comfortable for someone who sleeps on his back, but a side sleeper would likely find that same mattress extremely uncomfortable. Side sleepers require a mattress that conforms to the curves of the body, so naturally a very firm mattress wouldn't be the best choice. Stomach sleepers require something in between, because a hard surface would probably be uncomfortable but sinking in to a soft mattress can lead to overextension of the lower back. It's important to note that if you take two mattresses from the same collection, whether their comfort level is very firm or very soft, they likely have the same coil system. Since the coil system provides support to the mattress, both firm and soft models can adequately support your body.

Contouring can be equally important for preventing back pain. Usually, back pain isn�t caused by a sleeping surface that is too hard, per se, but rather by improper support that causes the spine to rest in an unnatural position. When asleep, you want your spine to be in a naturally comfortable and relatively straight position. A mattress that is too soft or too firm for how you sleep can cause dips and gaps in support, focusing pressure or bending segments of your spine. This is often the cause of waking with a sore back, so be sure your mattress provides both the support AND contouring your body needs to keep your spine straight and supported.

If you struggle with an ongoing back condition, we suggest that you speak with your doctor first to find out if he or she has any mattress recommendations. After you speak with your doctor, you can call 1-800-455-1052 to speak with a friendly mattress expert who can take your doctor's recommendation and help you find the perfect mattress for your situation and sleeping style.