Herniated disc and side sleeper

Hi everyone,

I really appreciate any feedback on this as have been taken for a ride a number of times on mattresses. The bottom line is now I am stuck with the mattress I have which is stated as a medium firm. The bed give me some pain in the lower back but major pain in the shoulders and neck due to being a side sleeper. I bought a 3 inch Dun-lop latex topper 3o-30ILD which is medium. This took away the vast majority of the shoulder pain. My problem is that it is slightly too soft as I am having some trouble with my lower back not having enough support. Would you guys recommend getting some sort of cover over the topper to make it firmer or throw the whole set up out the window and start again? Or perhaps a 1 inch firm latex topper to put under the topper I currently have? Thank you so much for any feedback as it has been a long 4 months.

Hi glashab,

There is no “standard” definition or consensus of opinion for firmness ratings and different manufacturers can rate their mattresses very differently than others and a mattress that one manufacturers rates as being medium firm" could be rated very differently by another manufacturer. Different people can also have very different perceptions of firmness and softness compared to others as well and a mattress that is firm for one can feel like “medium” for someone else or even “soft” for someone else depending on their body type, sleeping style, physiology, their frame of reference based on what they are used to, and their individual sensitivity and perceptions. This is all relative and is as much an art as a science. There are also different types of firmness and softness that different people may be sensitive to that can affect how they “rate” a mattress as well (see post #15 here).

Unfortunately you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress/topper combination and there are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences involved for anyone to be able to predict or make a specific suggestion about which topper would be the best “match” for both you and the mattress you are using it on (the specifics of the mattress can make a significant difference in the topper that will work best for any specific person) in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) based on specs (either yours or a mattress) or “theory at a distance” that can possibly be more accurate than your own personal testing or sleeping experience (see mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here).

While there isn’t any formula that can be used to choose a topper because of the number of variables involved … it would be very helpful to know your body type and weight along with the specifics of the materials in the mattress you are using under the topper to be able to guess or speculate about some possible solutions that may be helpful or that may be worth trying.

There is also more information in post #2 here about the more common symptoms that people may experience on a mattress and some of the most likely reasons for them.

There is also more about primary or “deep” support and secondary or “surface” support and their relationship to firmness and pressure relief and the “roles” of different layers in a mattress in post #2 here and in post #4 here that may also be helpful in clarifying the difference between “support” and “pressure relief” and “feel”.

These links can act as a reference to help with some of the trial and error and detective work that may be necessary to find the reasons for your “symptoms” and the type of changes that may be helpful but if you can provide more detailed information about you and your mattress then it may be possible to make a few additional suggestions as well.