Post Spine Surgery- Need Help!!

I have had three spinal surgeries that have left me with just a small amount of disc material in my L5 Vertabrae. As a result, i experience quite a bit of sciatica and now have arthritis in my lower spine. I have quite a bit of trouble turning and getting out of bed and am very stiff in the morning.

Recently, before finding this forum, I bought my girlfriend a Stern’s and Foster Chrystie Pillow Top. It felt good in the store and was reasonably priced…i thought. While shopping in bloomingdales, we layed on the Nature’s Spa Perry mattress. I had probably layed on about 50-60 mattresses at that point. The nature’s spa was the only mattress, when I laid on it, that I did not experience immediate lower spine pain while laying on my back. It also seemed to support me very well (aligning my spine) on my side. I nearly purchased it until i saw the price tag.

MOre recently i went back and bought the nature spa for my own apartment. A few days later, with much buyers remorse, i cancelled the order and found this forum. Since then i have been shlovin, a good product and great people but far too firm for my liking, and to scott jordan. THe berkley ergonomics bed, all latex, firmer of the two, seemed to be the right fit (the softer one felt as if my hip was pinchin in towards my torso) but i felt some pressure on my shoulder. Aaron at the store had it set up on bed and told me to come back and he would put it on the swedish box that they had. I have not done that as of yet.

I am confused on what i need and what i should be spending. At first the Nature’s Spa astronomical cost was being justified because of my back issue. I know believe that was totally ludacrist but i am not sure the berkley is the right mattress either. I think i need a combination of layers and zones, as i prefer a soft feel, but did not like a cushion on top of the berkley firm, it didn’t make me any more comfortable. How does anyone even figure out what they want? Shlovin was happy to put together a softer latex and softer foam base but I am not at all interested in memory foam…i dont think.

I also wanted to know peoples thoughts on the oxygen pillow.

PLease, any ideas, questions, advice would be appreciated. I am sleeping on aerobed now, so while i am not rushing this, the sooner the better!!!

Hi shawn.peerless,

Unfortunately there are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences and circumstances involved for anyone to be able to suggest which specific mattress or design would be best for you based on either specs (yours or a mattress), health conditions, or “theory at a distance” out of all the thousands of mattresses that are available on the market (see mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here).

Having said that … the mattress shopping tutorial here is the best place to start and has all the basic information, steps, and guidelines that can help you with “how” to choose the mattress that is best for you … and perhaps more importantly know how and why to avoid the worst choices.

With the information that you have provided … it seems that you do better on more resilient materials (such as latex) and perhaps even an innerspring/latex hybrid (such as the Nature’s Spa you liked) because of your need for ease of movement on the mattress. It would probably be a good idea to avoid memory foam in your case because it’s a slow response material that is more motion restricting which it seems could present some issues for you.

As far as what you “should” be spending there’s really no definitive answer to this but I would suggest as much as you can comfortably afford … within reason and within limits of course. You will find better quality and higher performance materials and components and more sophisticated and complex designs in higher budget ranges but once you reach about $3000 or so (in queen size mattress only) then any realistic or meaningful performance benefits that go with higher prices than this may be minimal and there would need to be a compelling reason and obvious benefits for me to spend more than that (again in queen size) and even then I would make some very careful value comparisons based on the parts of my personal value equation that were most important to me. The odds are also good that you will be able to find a high quality mattress in a lower budget range than this that will work very well for you. While it’s not really possible to be too specific about value relative to mattress materials and construction because there are so many combinations and variables involved … this article may give you some sense of the budget ranges that may be worth considering.

I would keep in mind that higher prices don’t necessarily mean a better mattress or a mattress that is more suitable for you.

I don’t have any personal experience with this pillow but perhaps some of the members here have purchased it will see your post and can share their experiences. There is also more information about pillows in the pillow thread here that may be helpful.

If you follow the steps in the tutorial post one by one you will have the best chance of success. If you let me know your city or zip code I’d also be happy to let you know or the better options or possibilities I’m aware of in your area although you may already have found the forum list closest to you since the two stores you visited would likely be included in it.



Thanks for the quick response. I forgot to mention that I had laid on the Berkley with coils (two different set ups) and had some initial back pain when laying down. When i went on my side, i thought i felt the coil. Aaron moved me to the full latex because of the initial back pain, not so much because of the me feeling the coil, it was definitely better.

In reference to the memory foam, i definitely felt better (as i do on most mattresses) after laying for 15-20 minutes on my back, but that initial burn in my spine, really sets a bad tone for the rest of the night. The nature spa was more than double that (in a king) including the boxes and the frame. It was a lot, but as i said, it did not phase me, initially, to spend as mush as i had…until i started reading on this site. I am not afraid to spend as my comfort at night can be felt for the first few hours ever morning. Even so, i don’t want to have to spend more than i need to. Before, i forget, i know i probably should be concerned but i do not really care if the mattress and box set last me 20 years. In my head i will be happy with 5-8. I cant imagine i would keep the set longer than that anyway.

Things i like about the nature spa, comfort level, cushioning and support all seemed to be in place. It was firmer than what i thought i would have gone for but seem to shape to my back rather well. I was able to get my hand under my back but i did have to push a little. I also like the edge support to get in and out of bed.
Thinks i liked about the berkley, comfort, cushioning was incredible (on full latex) but the pressure on my shoulder seemed out of whack. i did not like that the there was no edge support either.

Is that swedish style box a good fit for latex in your opinion? Does it really allow me to change the firmness in different spots on the mattress?

I will look everything over (the tutorial, article and personal evaluation formula) this evening.

I live in downtown Manhattan, 10003. Shlovin was a bit of a drive, but i don’t mind.

Can’t thank you enough for your advice and this work you put into this site.


Hi shawn.peerless,

Almost any mattress that uses good quality materials and has no “weak links” in the design or materials (at least relative to your body type) will likely last you 10 years and after that the limiting factor in the useful life of a mattress will often be changes in the needs or preferences themselves as we all “age” rather than the mattress itself so anything over 10 years … while it’s certainly possible with materials such as latex … would really be a “bonus”.

There are quite a number of mattresses as well that use component systems so one or more of the layers can be replaced without replacing the whole mattress which can be useful because the weak link of a mattress is usually in the comfort layers rather than the deeper support layers.

I think that one of the most important parts of choosing a local mattress is the type of testing you do and how well you “approximate” your actual sleeping conditions. There are many people who only spend a minute or two on the mattress and only test for the initial “showroom feel” rather than testing for comfort/pressure relief and support/alignment and this can have a lower chance of success than random chance alone (see this study). This is especially important when you have more challenging circumstances, body types, or health conditions.

Did you try their latex topper? In many cases if you need just a little bit of extra cushioning to “allow” your shoulder to sink in a little more then a relatively thin and soft topper (in the range of 1" to 2") can make a significant difference. Most “all foam” mattresses don’t have or in most cases need edge support in “real life” because most people don’t sleep with concentrated weight on the outside two or three inches of their mattress so it’s more commonly seen with innerspring mattresses but for those who prefer it for various reasons (sleeping, sitting on the edge, or getting in and out of bed) it can certainly be a preference. There is more about edge support with latex mattresses in post #3 here and there is also more about edge support in other mattress types here and here.

In some cases a good zoning system can be helpful with more challenging circumstances. There is more about zoning in this article and in post #11 here.

It does allow for changes in firmness under the mattress yes so in theory it can be beneficial but in real life in some cases it can be helpful with alignment and in some cases much less so. How much of an effect it has would depend on the thickness of the mattress and the body type of the person. Some people would notice a meaningful difference and others wouldn’t and this is one of those cases where your own testing with both options (a rigid non flexing support system or their adjustable support system) would really be the only way to know whether it’s an improvement that you would notice.

The better options and possibilities I’m aware of in and around the New York area are listed in post #2 here.

Thanks for the kind words and I’m glad the site can help. I’m looking forward to finding out what you end up deciding and of course any comments or questions you may have along the way.


Sounds like I have lots of reading to do.

I laid on the Berkeley, at Scott Jordan’s, for over an hour with the comfort topper and then again without. The comfort topper made things softer for sure, but did not eliminate the pushback on my shoulder. I also felt it was a rather steep cost for the one additional later. I am going to return and see how the box frame changes things.

Just curios about your thoughts on the nature spa in general?


Hi shawn.peerless,

You can see my thoughts about Paramount the manufacturer and their transparency in post #2 here and the posts it links to.

Outside of how well a mattress matches your specific needs and preferences in terms of PPP … a mattress is only as good as its construction and the quality of the materials inside it regardless of the name of the manufacturer on the label and I would need to know the specifics of all the materials and layers in this mattress (or any mattress) to make any meaningful comments about the quality of the materials or the mattress itself (see this article).

While this may not be possible for you to find out … if you can and post the information here I’d be happy to share my thoughts about it.

Better retailers will normally provide you with this information about the mattresses they sell since the quality/durability of the materials is one of the most important parts of choosing a mattress but not all retailers (or in reality only a minority of retailers) understand the importance of this.