Latex woes?

Hey Phoenix,

I wanted to give some feedback on my recent purchase and seek some guidance with my experiences. I have always used a firm spring coiled mattress (my last one was a Serta and lasted 14 years). When I started to look around for ideas for mattresses I came to this site (wonderful that is) and researched for approximately 2 months. I finally decided that I knew what I wanted, after visiting local showrooms.

Though I tend to like firmer mattresses I ultimately decided on a latex mattress (from one of the preferred members). I talked to several vendors and the members were all very helpful. I thought after discussing my size/PPP that I had the correct configuration, and even discussing my body dynamics with other vendors they all pretty much stated I should try the same type of configuration.

My mattress arrived with a 6 inch medium core and 2 inch soft topper. With that said, I was ecstatic as I thought it was wonderful. By the way - one of my favorite acquisitions in this entire process is the foam pillows. I received two with my purchase and they are real pieces of foam and so so dreamy to sleep on.

Within the first week I was having back and shoulder pain. I discussed it with the vendor who then suggested I try to switch the layers to see how that worked. Great! For about 2 weeks and then the pain returned. I then decided to purchase another topper (as I was going to eventually since I wanted a deeper overall mattress) and acquired a 3 inch medium plush topper. That worked great for 2 weeks and the same occurred again. I decided to reconfigure the bed and now have the 3 inch topper on bottom/core/soft topper. Again 2 weeks and back and shoulder pain return. I am sort of troubled as to how to make the adjustments work for my configuration.

Some things I did learn about latex with this adjustment:

  1. Latex is much firmer than you think. I was convinced that I needed a firm component, though no one agreed with me and very glad I didn’t get it - since medium to me is firm.

  2. Latex pillows are the best thing since sliced bread - and I mean it. I have collections of pillows of all sorts but these are heaven!

  3. Latex is not a great material if you want to sit in bed and read. Because of the way it is made and distributes weight, it doesn’t give the same type of support as spring coils do.

Thank you for your assistance as always!

Your experience uncannily mirrors mine. I too have a Serta (9 years old) that I thought I should replace because of its age. We purchased a Flobed and because of the differences in our weights had every firmness available to us except for xfirm (as 105 and 180 lb side sleepers xfirm was not considered). No matter what configuration we tried, and we tried every one possible on my side including a custom made v-zone, I would wake up with a sore back. My husband did just fine on M/M/F and was loathe to see the bed returned after several weeks. Ironically I am still sleeping comfortably on our old Serta and am not looking forward to the day when it truly does need to be replaced. Unfortunately I don’t have a solution for you but I wanted to commiserate with you just so you don’t feel you are the only one who can’t seem to make latex work for you. Perhaps there are some of us for whom latex works as a comfort layer but require inner spring for the support layer. I hope, with the help from others here, you will find a solution.

BTW, it would be useful if you provided your height, weight, body type and preferred sleeping position.

Hi chloe41,

Unfortunately I can’t feel what you feel or see you on the mattress so any help I can provide would be based more on “educated guesswork” than anything else but even for this I would need a great deal more information than what you have provided to be able to even guess at what may be happening. This would normally need a more in depth conversation that can go into much more detail and ask more “nuanced” questions but of course this isn’t possible on a forum so the “next best thing” would be much more detailed information on the forum.

There are many reasons that people may experience any specific “symptoms” they experience on a mattress, some of which may be connected to the mattress itself and some to other circumstances or health issues, and trying to “diagnose” the underlying reasons for discomfort or pain can involve some detective work and trial and error. It can be much like trying to “diagnose” a medical issue over the phone when there are many possibilities for any specific “symptom” and where “theory at a distance” can never be as reliable or accurate as an actual visit to a health professional’s office where more specific information and testing can be used to assess what may be happening.

Having said that … post #2 here and the other posts it links to may help you to assess what may be happening and provide some ideas or suggestions that may be helpful.

While your experience isn’t common and the large majority of people are happy with the mattress purchase they make … there is also a smaller minority where choosing a mattress that is a “perfect match” for them is a much more challenging process either because the mattress isn’t the ideal design for them, they do better with different combinations of materials or components than what they purchased, or because of other factors such as health issues or because they are unusually sensitive to smaller differences between mattresses and are more on the “princess and the pea” than the “I can sleep on anything” side of the range. Sometimes there can even be some more “hidden” reasons such as the choice of pillow which can have a significant effect on shoulder or mid back pain or discomfort.

If you can provide more details about your body type and sleeping positions, the specifics of your mattress and the combinations you have tried, and describe your specific experiences and with each of them and any differences in your symptoms with each one in a little more detail (especially whether you are looking to change the comfort/pressure relief, the support/alignment, or just the “feel” of the mattress), the specific “symptoms” you are experiencing (pain, numbness, discomfort, etc), where you are experiencing any symptoms, which sleeping positions you tend to experience them, and whether they tend to happen when you go to sleep at night or when you wake up in the morning, I would be happy to see if I can identify something that may be helpful. It would also be helpful if you could provide more information about any sleeping issues you have had in the past or on other mattresses that may be relevant as well.


Thanks Phoenix for the feedback. I am 5’3 and weigh about 125. My preferred sleeping position is stomach/side and then back of which I often have needed to revert to of recent.

Interesting enough, with my older Serta, as time went on I became more of a back/side sleeper. When I first got the latex mattress I soon found myself going back to my preferred sleeping position which is stomach to side.

I really don’t have much of medical issues, and historically have not had much in the way of back pain, until recently.
When I first got the mattress I had softer layer on top of a 6 inch medium core. It worked good initially and then began with back and shoulder pain. I talked with the vendor and switched to 6 inch medium on top of the softer topper. This worked well for 2 weeks and then it went back the same minus the shoulder pain. Now I have 6 inch medium, 3 inch medium with plush topper and the softer 2 inch topper as the top layer. I now wake up with lower back and shoulder pain. I am hoping to find some solution, as I do like the latex and initially feels good when I first go to sleep, but waking up sore seems to be the main issue.


Hi chloe41,

I would need much more specific information about your mattress (including the ILD’s of all the layers) along with more specific information about the your experiences and symptoms on each combination and about how your symptoms “change” between each combination. In other words I would need a reference point for the types of changes that either improve specific symptoms or make them worse relative to the other combinations even if they still aren’t “ideal” for you. Describing how the different combinations change your symptoms can help to provide a “pointer” to the types of changes that may help resolve the issues you are having.

I generally try to take a more methodical step by step approach to these types of situations so that what you “learn” from each combination can be applied to the next one.

I would probably start by listing the specifics of your first combination and your experiences and then going from there. If this combination was too firm then there are also some suggestions in post #2 here that may be helpful.

Stomach/side sleeping can be particularly challenging because they are “opposites” and the needs of side sleeping which generally needs more pressure relief and thicker/softer comfort layers are very different from the needs of stomach sleeping which generally need a firmer and thinner comfort layer to lower the risk of hyperextending the lower back by sleeping in a swayback position. In these cases “just enough” pressure relief for side sleeping and no more will generally be the least risky in terms of alignment when you sleep on your stomach.

Lower back pain is often the result of a mattress that has comfort layers that are too thick or soft and/or support layers that are too soft which can “allow” the pelvis/hips to sink down too far in one or more of your sleeping positions, tilt the pelvis, and put the spine out of alignment.

Shoulder or upper back pain can often be the result of a pillow issue or from comfort layers that are too thin or firm and don’t “allow” the shoulders to sink in enough to relieve pressure or that put the head and neck out of alignment.

At this point I don’t have enough clarity about your experiences or how they changed between each combination to be able to guess what may be happening.