Mattresses and back pain

I feel compelled to write this post, mostly to thank Phoenix for this excellent MU site, and to ask if others have had my experience.

We bought a new Tuft and Needle 10" mattress in December, and this is proving to be the best mattress FOR ME over the past 20 years sleeping on 5 (I think?) different mattresses. This is the first time in 15 years+ I haven’t woken up stiff in the morning, or had some degree of back pain at night and during the day.

Our last mattress was a latex/innerspring mattress, made of high quality of materials, and I thought the mattress would be perfect- but it turned out to be a poor mattress for me. Before that, we had a variety of one of the “S” pillow top mattresses that sagged within a year or two. 20 years ago I was sleeping on a double sided mattress, but it eventually gave out. I should mention, this was all before I had found MU (our latex/innerspring mattress was bought around 6 years ago).

Starting about 12 years ago, I started going to doctors complaining of neck and back pain. I had x-rays, MRI’s, physical therapy, medications, acupuncture. Yes, I had bulging disks, and my doctors assumed that was part of my problem.

Now on my new mattress since December, I am sleeping the best I have in years. I am no longer taking medication at night to sleep. I haven’t had one back “flair up” that leave me immobile during the day since getting this mattress. I don’t wake up stiff. I have fibromylagia, and have been taking significantly less medication for that, I firmly believe it’s because I’m sleeping more soundly (I’ve long suspected a link between sleep quality and my pain levels).

Somehow I lucked out with “PPP” on a sight unseen mattress, but failed completely trying to find a proper mattress in the prior 20 years in mattress showrooms, picking mattresses that felt good in the store, including the last quality latex/innerspring (that one was before I found MU and knew about comfort vs. support layers).

I learned about Tuft and Needle here, and the only reason decided to try it is because I determined by various visits to showrooms after reading MU tutorials, (including a local “natural” mattress store that sells latex), that my body didn’t like memory foam nor latex. That left polyfoam. I did not expect the Tuft and Needle to work for me, but after visiting three local mattress stores, decided to use TN as a starting place for a polyfoam mattress since nothing locally at those 3 local stores seemed quite the right for PPP. I really wanted all latex, and spent a long time in our local mattress store, not to find anything “just right” and also discovering that i just don’t like the feel of latex!

So this leaves me to: I do think a lot of my chronic back pain was exasperated by my prior mattress choices. Except for the last mattress which was very uncomfortable over 6 years (I ended up in the guest room for 4 years), the mattresses before that were “okay” comfortable, but now that I’m experiencing what a proper “PPP” mattress feels like, I know those prior mattresses weren’t quite a good fit either. All of them had toppers and or thick mattress pads… Our TN needs nothing…

Switching gears, my mom was complaining about hip pain last fall. I thought it might be her mattress, but she didn’t explore that option, she choose to get hip injections instead. After they didn’t work, she decided to try a memory foam topper. Wow, her hip pain went away on the first night.

I know back pain is among one of the top reasons that people visit their doctor.

I wonder how much back pain that people experience is actually related to their mattress? Perhaps not the root cause of their back pain, but a factor that increases pain levels.

Thank you Phoenix for this site, I would have probably ended up with yet another mattress that didn’t work for me if I hadn’t found this site…

Edited to add: I thought waking up with a stiff back was just part of aging, but now that I’m waking up without stiffness or pain, I no longer think that, and realize it was likely my mattress. I’m not getting younger!

Hi sheep123,

Thanks for all the comments and feedback and it’s great to see that you are sleeping so well after so many years of having issues :slight_smile:

I think that there would be a lot of people who would at least have less back pain if they were sleeping on a more suitable mattress and while a mattress may not be the actual cause of chronic back pain (although it can certainly cause repeated temporary back pain if you are sleeping out of alignment) … I also think that an unsuitable mattress can play a big role in aggravating existing conditions or tendencies to back pain and a suitable mattress that will allow you to reach the deeper levels of sleep can also play a significant role in the healing process as well.