My patients ask such questions as: Does the mattress really make a difference in spinal health? Should a mattress be as hard as you can stand? Is more expensive better? How long should you keep a mattress?
A comprehensive study was published in 2006 in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, which showed that sleeping on a new mattress can significantly reduce stiffness and back pain.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe study participants showed immediate and sustained benefits after sleeping on a new mattress. This was especially true of participants who entered the study with back pain complaints,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â the article said.
A 63% improvement was documented.
A person, typically, spends one-third of their life sleeping.
When you sleep at night, you need support for theÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â natural curve if your spine.
You should not feel a space between your mattress and any part of your body when you are lying flat.
Your body should still be maintaining a healthy posture.
If you are not maintainingÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â good posture, and your spine is not being supported, you will wake up in the morning feeling tired,Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â stiff and aching.
If you look at your mattress, and it is sagging in places, it is not giving you the support your back needs, and it is time to consider a new mattress.
There are so many kinds of mattresses: water, innerspring,Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â air, memory foam etc.
It becomes very confusing.
The types really come down to personal preference.
The main consideration in selection is the degree of firmness.
It used to be thought the closer a mattress approximated a board, the better.
That is not the case. Firmness, within reason, is a matter of preference.
If a mattress is too firm, it can raise the hips and shoulder, resulting is the spine sagging.
The converse, too soft, is not good resulting in the spine sagging at the hip area.
Two factors should control your choice, comfort and support.
When you buy a mattress you should try them out.
You should lie on a mattress for at least 15 minutes and assume different positions.
Some of us, myself included, find it embarrassing, but testing a mattress is necessary.
You need a mattress that will perform for you, and you are making a major investment.
Compare different mattresses.
If you are sharing your bed with another person, you both need to lie on it to make sure movement does not adversely affect the other person.
This is especially important if one person is much larger than the other.
It must satisfy both of your requirements.
Many mattresses come with a 30-day warranty. It is advisable to look into this, because testing it out in the store can be quite different than spending the night on one.
Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â As you know, the price of mattresses can vary drastically.
If the price of one is too good to be true, it probably is. However, an extremely high price may be the result of a decorator cover or a plush pillow type neither of which affects your spinal health.
Guarantees are important, but the promise of a mattress that will last 15-20 years has to be considered carefully.
Realistically, a mattress, on the average, needs to be replaced every 6-8 years.
A medium priced mattress with excellent support, changed out more often than a very high priced mattress that is kept beyond its life, because it was so expensive.
The American Chiropractic Association makes several helpful recommendations concerning proper sleeping posture:
Avoid sleeping on your stomach.
Sleeping on your side or back are more helpful for back pain.
If you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your legs.
If you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees.
When considering that new mattress, donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t forget to check out that pillow.
Make sure a pillow supports your neck and allows proper sleeping posture.
Stacking pillows is detrimental to a healthy spine.
Even with a supportive mattress and pillow, neck and spine problems can be present.
If you are experiencing pain, have it checked out by your chiropractor.
This should be your first line of action.
Problems vary from mild to very severe.
In postponing care, there is the potential for Increased pain, chronic pain, and further injury.
Be spine wise and enjoy restorative sleep!
Dr. Casey McCaffrey practices at McCaffrey Chiropractic, 184 W, Fourth St. phone 342-3877.