Finding a mattress

Can you help me determine a suitable mattress for me and my husband? I have read much of the site information, as well as the forum, and I feel more confused.
My husband is 6’, 180 lbs. He has multiple compressed discs in his lower back, which are not treatable. He has severe back pain, worse after sleeping, that we are trying to alleviate. He sleeps in all positions.
I am 5’4", 150 lbs, though I am currently 7 months pregnant. I also sleep in all positions, and my mattress preferences are more flexible. I also wake up with low back pain on our current, low end, Bowles mattress, which is 10 years old. I do not have lower back issues.
We both prefer a firmer mattress, and we have been considering the HD series, extra firm, by Bowles. We are looking at the basic model and the next up, which has the latex components.
The company offers a 30 day exchange only, with 10% restock fee. I have no idea if we are looking at the right company (Long’s Mattresses in Castleton, IN) or even the correct mattresses.
Are you able to advise me? We do have a Denver mattress available, but it is well over an hour drive away. We are limited with our budget, and we are hoping to upgrade from a current queen, to a king. Thank you. Risa

I guess, to simplify…I understand that we are the only ones who can judge the fit of a mattress. Can you direct me to a few types of mattresses, sold in Indianapolis area, that are on the firmer side, and are good for low back issues? I truly don’t want to spend weeks or months analyzing the details of every mattress component. I just need a little direction to get started. Thank you.

Hi risacarpen,

These are both issues that are relative for each person and about the “fit” of a mattress which can only be determined by testing them in person for PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and Personal preferences). My role is to help you with how to find a mattress rather than which specific mattress to choose which wouldn’t be possible because of the many variables involved. There is no such thing as a specific mattress that can help with low back issues “in general” because it would depend on the specifics of each person’s circumstances and the cause of the low back issues. The one that you are looking for is the mattress that has the best balance between pressure relief and support / alignment for your specific body type, sleeping style, preferences, sensitivities, and physiology. The goal is to make sure that the design of the mattress is the one that works best for you and that the quality of the materials are high enough that the mattress will keep it’s comfort and support for a longer period of time than a mattress which provided the same PPP but used lower quality materials that won’t last as long.

Once you get to step #3 in post #1 here … then it’s time to research some of the manufacturers and retailers in your area that have the best odds of helping you find a mattress that best meets your needs and preferences. The better options and possibilities I’m aware of in the Indianapolis area are listed in post #2 here.

You don’t need to spend weeks or months analyzing components and foam layers (and I would discourage anyone from doing this because it would be overwhelming in most cases) … just deal with better retailers or manufacturers that can provide you with the information you need to know that the mattress you are considering uses materials that are the best possible quality and value in your budget range. This is why the knowledge, experience, and transparency of the retailers or manufacturers you deal with can be one of the most important parts of a successful mattress search. They already know what you would otherwise need to learn.


Thank you. Post 2 was a huge help. I had not seen it. Can you also briefly explain the pros and cons of a mattress with latex, please?

Hi risacarpen,

You can read about some of the pros and cons of latex in this article.

Of course this is only about the pros and cons of the material itself and doesn’t deal with the differences between the many different designs of latex mattresses that use latex in various combinations of layer softness, layer thickness, or with other components or ticking and quilting materials in combination with the latex layers. This kind of theory is a much more complex part of mattress theory and design and is probably beyond the desire of most people to learn in enough detail that they could design their own mattress without the help of a manufacturer or retailer or other professional that already knew which of their latex mattress designs would have the best odds of being suitable for a particular person based on “averages” for body type, sleeping positions, personal preferences, sensitivity to pressure or support issues, or individual physiology.

The overviews in the mattresses section of the site have more information on this and the individual pages have more details yet for those who want more detailed information but it is more generic in nature and is designed to give you more insights into mattress theory and design rather than being specific to any particular person because all the variables involved in matching a mattress to the needs and preferences of a particular person. This type of information can’t be specific to any particular person because there is no “formula” that works for specific people and in some cases this kind of detail can lead to “information overload”.

The way to bypass the complexities is with reading “just enough” information that you can ask good questions when you are working with a retailer or manufacturer and can recognize when they have the experience and knowledge to give you good guidance along with personal testing on different mattress designs which will “bypass” the need to choose a mattress based on “theory at a distance”.