Dreamfoam mattress---back pain

Just received our 24 ILD/level 7 Dreamfoam mattress. It is somewhat firmer than expected, but how long can I expect the break in period to last on this type of mattress? I know many mattresses start out firm at first, so I’m not too worried. However, I have low back pain each morning now. Suspect that my butt is not sinking into the bed enough to support my low back. When I bend forward in the morning to get out of bed, my back hurts worse. This would seem to support the idea that the mattress is too firm and not supporting my low back/contributing to low back (flexion) curvature vs too soft and allowing my butt to sink in too much and cause an excessive low back lordosis/extension curvature. Of course, this is just a theory. But I’ve never had low back pain on softer mattresses.

Should I give it a few weeks or pursue a topper? If so, can you recommend a topper? I was considering a 19 ILD 1-2" latex topper. I’ve tried a 1" memory foam from Target but is provides minimal relief. I realize this topper is probably not the highest quality but it was on my son’s bed, so I tried it in a last ditch attempt. I’m not fond of memory foam and feel it would impair the latex breathability.

Also my husband is 190 lbs and I’m 145 lbs, both of us are side/back sleepers. He does fine on the bed. Chuck thought a level 8 would be good for me, but not supportive enough for my husband. If I get a topper, wouldn’t it compromise my husband’s back support?

Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks.

Hi doxen,

Thse initial “break in” period of the mattress would normally only last for a few weeks as the cover stretches and the foam layers go through any initial softening (the polyfoam quilting and to a much lesser degree the latex). You may be experiencing an adjustment period period though which has more to do with a change in sleeping surface compared to the types of mattresses you are used to.

As you probably know … there are two types of support. The first is the deeper support which 'stops" the heavier parts of the body from sinking in too much and tilting the pelvis (which leads to misalignment of the spine). This is generally the job of the deeper support layers. The second type of support comes from the comfort layers which in addition to relieving pressure also “fill in” the gaps in the sleeping profile and help to maintain the natural curvature of the spine.

24 ILD foam would normally be soft enough (especially with a soft quilting layer) to “fill in” the gaps and provide secondary support (especially with latex) even with your lower height and weight.

What may be happening though is that this comfort layer is actually providing more support than you are comfortable with coming from softer mattresses. There is more about how we can develop a “sleeping memory” or a"learned posture" in post #7 here.

So I am guessing that you may actually need less “secondary” support because your body may have become accustomed to sleeping on softer less supportive and resilient mattresses. If this is the case … then the first thing I would do is give it some time to allow your body to “catch up” to a new sleeping surface. If it turns out that your adjustment to what could be better alignment is too much at a single step … then a softer latex or even a less resilient material that will reduce the surface resiliency of the top layer may be the way to go. The quilting layer would add to the softness and lower the resilience compared to sleeping directly on the latex itself but this may not be quite enough. This would be similar to someone who buys a new pair of shoes that provide better arch support which initially is uncomfortable but over time as they get used to it find it hard to believe that they ever wore anything else.

So I would keep an eye out for any changes (either in you or the mattress) over the next few weeks and see if there is a “pattern” developing of things getting better or becoming worse. Once you have a better sense of exactly what is happening and how your body is adjusting to a more resilient sleeping surface … then knowing what type of topper to add would be much easier to determine.

There are certainly options (such as wool or very soft materials including latex) that can add some softness without compromising your husband’s support. If they are soft enough that he will sink into them evenly (both shoulders and hips) … then his alignment and support will be maintained. If you are comfortable with the higher resiliency of latex … then a couple of inches of 19 ILD would be a good choice and another option would be something like the seven comforts shredded (actually microrods) latex topper which is also good quality and value and would likely be fine as well (see this thread for more about this).

Edit: see post #52 here first if you are considering ordering this topper.

Sources of good quality/value latex toppers are in post #4 here.

Hope this helps.