Spine hypermobility, morning low back pain - thoughts on plush/soft mattress?

I’ve been on what feels like an odyssey trying to get a full good night’s sleep. I’ve achieved this sustainably (more than 4-5 nights in a row) on very basic innerspring mattresses with some type of topper or what would seem like too soft a bed on 1st impression.

I wake up every night (sometimes as early as 3 AM but mostly around 6AM) with unilateral pain around my low back but more specifically around my hips/buttocks. I sleep on my side with a latex pillow under my head, a king pillow from thighs to ankles for maximum alignment + chest pillow to avoid twisting. I bring my head pillow when I travel and use pillows available to recreate the rest.

Our previous mattress was a semi-firm foam. Logically I thought I needed a firm core + a softer topper for comfort. Oh dear.

In the past 6 months I’ve bought & returned A) Firm latex (6" ILD 40 + 2" ILD 21_which we switched to 32ILD). We called it the embrace of pain. B) Medium-firm tight-top innerspring with a very slight firmer zoning in the upper layer material in the middle. While its better for shoulder pressure-point & overall comfort I still wake-up with the back/hip pain. Every. Morning.

We’ve also tried all kinds of toppers of varying quality, all resulting in greater comfort but not better alignment. We’ve also tried an adjustable slat foundation, putting the mattress directly on the floor & all kinds of other combinations (my poor husband!) with no great improvement.

The manufacturer has stopped returning my calls.

Its now occurred to me that maybe I actually need a plush/soft mattress. That my spine needs jello in order to be aligned?


Unfortunately I can’t feel what you feel or see you sleeping on the mattress and there are so many variables or possibilities involved that without much more detailed and specific information it’s not really possible to make any specific suggestions based on “theory” in situations such as yours that involve a combination of your mattress and more complex medical issues. Having said that I can link you to some generic information that may help you identify some of the possible underlying causes of the symptoms you are experiencing.

There is more about the most common “symptoms” that people may experience on a mattress and some of the most likely reasons for them in post #2 here and the posts it links to.

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 (or a mattress/topper combination) 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”.

If you’re not already it may also be worth working with a health professional that is familiar with your specific health situation and also familiar with different types of mattress materials and construction that may be able to provide some suggestions that may be helpful as well.

It may have been worth trying a topper on this mattress that added some additional thickness and pressure relief rather than going to a softer support core.

I don’t know the specifics of this mattress but it’s possible that the innerspring is too soft or that the layers above the innerspring are too thick/soft.

If this has worked well for you in the past then it may be worth considering a similar mattress/topper combination that is as close to the combination that was successful for you in the past.as possible. Do you know any of the specifics of either the mattress or the topper you were using that was working for you?

While anything is possible because each person is different and some types of health issues would put you “outside of the range” that would normally work well for most people … when you experience back pain on a mattress .the odds are higher that your mattress is too soft (or at least the “support” is too soft) than too firm…

Another suggestion that may be helpful in more difficult situations is some kind of zoning (see post #11 here).

It may also be worth considering or trying less resilient materials in the comfort layers of your mattress or a topper (such as memory foam or even some types of polyfoam or natural fibers) that will help keep you “stabilized” and are a little more “motion restricting” so that you are moving or flexing your spine and joints less when you are sleeping.

Finally … now that you are more familiar with the more general “feel” of mattresses that don’t work for you it may also be worth doing some more extensive local testing and spending additional time on some local mattresses ( I would suggest about 30 minutes completely relaxed) to see if you can identify some mattresses that are closer to your specific needs and preferences and where you don’t experience the “early indications” of a mattress that doesn’t work well for you.