Oh my aching neck!!

Stats: 48, 200 pounds, side, back, and tummy sleeper.

I had an innerspring mattress, simmons beautyrest, that had gotten progressively worse over the past year or 2. I bought a novaform gel topper at Costco last year which helped some but decided to bite the bullet and buy a new mattress at Christmas when I found one on clearance at a local outlet store. It was a Simmons pillowtop that was a customer return on sell for half price. I laid on it in the store for a few minutes and it seemed great. However, once I got it home I realized within a couple of days that it was NOT going to work out. It was sinking in the middle. I thought maybe it was the cheapo box springs they gave me and laid it on the floor and no, it was indeed sinking in the middle. I don’t remember it doing that in the store… I called them and they told me that it was no return or exchange since it was clearance. I finally sold it on CL for $200 after a week of hassle. In the meantime, someone told me to try a memory foam and I did just a bit of research on Amazon since I am a prime member and once I sold the Simmons, I had one with good reviews and a cheap price delivered next day. I

My mid sections sinks in, but my shoulders and head seem elevated which I don’t like at all. When sleeping on my back I am ok but once I go to sleep I roll over. I have tried it using my topper and without, but I finally realized it is KILLING my neck! I wake up every morning feeling serious pain in my neck and shoulders and as the day goes on the pain lessons a bit. Last night I finally leaned it up against the wall, and pulled out an old aerobed and put my topper down on it. Glad to say it was the best sleep I have had in 3 weeks!!

I then went searching online and found this website, great site BTW!! The memory foam from Amazon will probably just go in the dumpster, not worth trying to roll it up and ship it back to Amazon :frowning: so, I NEED to buy yet another mattress!! This time I want to get it right but I can’t spend a fortune. I have already lost $800 so far. Given my stats and complaints, what would you recommend for me? Oh yea, I have a latex allergy so I assume that is out?

Forgot to say I am in the Raleigh/Durham area. Went to look at the Original Mattress Factory but they do not allow returns or exchanges so not thinking I want to get another mattress that can’t be returned if I hate it in a few weeks after trying it out.

Hi tommyboy,

First about the latex allergy … it may be fine depending on the type and severity of the allergy you have. There is more about latex allergies in post #2 here.

The first thing I would suggest is to read the post that is linked after my signature in all my posts along with the information it links to. When you are buying a mattress … especially locally … it’s important to spend a minimum of 15 minutes (completely relaxed) on any mattress you are seriously considering to test specifically for pressure relief (see this article) and alignment (see this article along with post #11 here). Good testing … especially with some good guidance … along with erring on the side of firmness rather than softness can increase the odds dramatically of choosing a suitable mattress or in the worst case a mattress that can be “fine tuned” with a mattress pad or a topper.

With your weight and multiple sleeping positions … it becomes very important that your support layers are firm enough but perhaps more importantly that your comfort layers are also as thin and firm as possible. In other words … “just enough” but no more is the key so that you have the pressure relief you need on your side but still have good alignment on your back and stomach. If the layers are too thick and soft for your sleeping positions … then it may be good for your side sleeping but could present real issues for your other positions … especially on your stomach which is a very risky sleeping position and needs the thinnest and firmest possible comfort layers. What happens is that the heavier parts will “sink through” the soft layers too far but the lighter parts of the body will still be held up with the thicker layers of softer materials. The twisting of your head and neck when you are sleeping on your stomach can also present real issues for stomach sleepers if the layers are too thick and soft. Most of your body weight is in the middle third of your body and this area can sink in more than the wider and lighter upper body if they are not “stopped” quickly enough by firmer support layers.

I would avoid any pillowtops which tend to use way too much lower quality foams on top which will quickly soften and break down and can also allow your heavier areas to sink in too much but still hold up your lighter areas (poor alignment). I would also avoid major brands who tend to use too much lower quality materials in the most important upper layers of their mattresses and charge higher prices for the same or lower quality than smaller local and independent manufacturers.

Your pillow is also an important part of neck issues. Different sleeping positions have different needs when it comes to pillows so they can keep the head and neck in good alignment and if you sleep in all positions then a pillow that can adapt to all positions (thicker and firmer for side sleeping and much thinner for stomach sleeping) is important. many people that sleep in multiple positions do well with a pillow that can be “scrunched” into different thicknesses as they change positions. A side sleeping pillow is not good for stomach sleeping.

There is more pillow information and links in the pillow thread here.

Some of the better possibilities in the Raleigh/Durham area are listed in post #6 here.

It’s true that OMF doesn’t allow for refunds but they have what I consider to be a very fair exchange policy. You can read more about it and my thoughts about refunds and exchanges for a local purchase at the end of post #4 here.

While I do like manufacturers or stores that have a reasonable charge involved in a mattress exchange that covers their costs (so they don’t have to sell their comfort exchanges to liquidators that sell them as new “overstock” or “scuffs” etc or worse yet resell them as new themselves) or manufacturers who change out a layer or make other comfort adjustments to a mattress for a reasonable cost … I’m not a fan of free comfort exchanges or refunds for a local purchase because these add a hidden cost to all the mattresses in the store and are often just a way to discourage customers from doing good testing and locking in a purchase with the “closing technique” of "don’t worry you can always exchange it for another mattress.

What can also happen in these cases is that the “comfort exchange” is a new profit center because of costs involved along with giving credit for a “sale price” which is then applied to a new mattress at it’s “regular” highly inflated price.

I am not a fan of “free” comfort exchanges or refunds for local purchases because they add too much to the cost of the mattress and then people who don’t need to return a mattress are paying for the ones who do. They also flood the market with used mattresses that are being sold as new either through liquidators or through the same store. I think good testing and policies like OMF (where you are getting an exchange for a reasonable cost rather than free) or purchases from a manufacturer or retailer who can change out a single layer or make other fine tuning adjustments to a mattress are a much better option that has much less effect on the cost of a mattress and on the likelihood that you end up buying a used mattress.

Of course with an online purchase where you can’t test a mattress first then it’s a different story and refund and exchange policies can be an important part of the “value” of a mattress purchase in this case.


Thanks for the reply and I have to say that I think you are correct with the thinner comfort layer. I LOVE the feel of a very soft mattress but I did do better without the topper on the cheapo memory foam than with it on. My mid section was just sinking way down with it on.

As to the return policy, that certainly makes sense. Better not to just ad that into the price I suppose. I did not think that OMF allowed exchanges, that is good to hear and fair.

I just need to get over my self-consciousness and be willing to spend a couple of hours laying on the mattresses in the store in several positions. Maybe I will go Monday when there are less people walking around and really be able to spend enough time to really get a feel for it.

How do the Memory Foam and Latex mattresses from OMF look for me personally? They don’t have many to chose from of course. Is there somewhere online I could purchase for less money for the same quality?

Hi tommyboy,

That’s difficult to know until you have tested them but the memory foam uses good quality materials that would be suitable for your weight in terms of durability and is on the firm side.

They have two latex models, both two sided, one of which is thinner (firmer) and the other thicker (same core but additional softer comfort layers on both sides). They would also be worth testing and latex is a good quality material but they use a 32 ILD base which may be a bit on the soft side for you and the one with the extra comfort layers uses fairly soft latex as well although it’s not too thick. They also display them on a box spring (which has flex) rather than a foundation (with no flex) which is somewhat unusual for a latex mattress so if you do test these I would make sure you test them without the box spring on a firm foundation as well (or one of their adjustable beds which also has a firm non flexing surface) to see if one is any better or more supportive than the other because what is under the mattress will make a difference in the feel and performance (with the thinner one especially).

The difficulty of course even with a “fair” return policy is that they only have one memory foam mattress and two latex mattresses so if you do decide on an exchange then there would be no other “equal value” mattresses to choose from of the same type. while they are good value IMO … if you did decide to go in this direction I would make sure you chose on the firm side if anything so you would have “room” to add some additional softness if necessary because you can’t make a mattress that is too soft firmer without removing layers.

The members of the site that sell online are listed in post #21 here. There is a wide variety of different choices and designs, some excellent quality and value, and good guidance available there and some very good exchange and refund policies as well that can help make up for the extra risk of an online purchase if local value or choices aren’t so good.

There are other local options as well of course that would also be worth including in your research and could at least give you some good reference points about different materials and layering if you did decide to go in an online direction.