Can a mattress fix a sore back?
Feb 9, 2010 3:42 PM
Location: L.A. area
Joined: Jan 18, 2008
Points: 1160
Well, I now am sure it can "fix it", IF the bad back was mostly caused by a bad bed in the first place! (And I am certain that less-than-great foam can CAUSE back pain!)

My current configuration is now allowing me to wake up every morning with NO back pain, and no tossing and turning during the night trying to get comfortable, either! It feels like a miracle after not being able to sleep well and waking up sore, for so long! I sooooooo hope it LASTS....

The main point here is that IF you are waking up sore but then after you are up for awhile you feel much better, and if you are not hurting when you go to bed at night but wake up sore, it is very possible it is your mattress causing the problem, as it was in my case.

But also, I had this happen, which did feel like "my bed cured my bad back":

I had worked hard around the house, doing a LOT of bending and reaching and so on in cleaning the bathroom, etc.
And so my back was very very sore during the day and day after these events.

But when I went to bed at night, on my new DIY mattress configuration, it actually felt BETTER to lie down, whereas before I'd have been tossing and turning all night trying to just get to sleep due to all the pain and discomfort.

And when I woke up the next morning, my back was actually much better, instead of worse as it would have been before. So yes, I think getting proper support during the night can actually HELP your bad back even if your sore back is NOT caused by the mattress.

A couple years ago I was going to doctors and chiropractors and acupuncturists with my sore back, saying, "I KNOW it's NOT my mattress!" - that was when I was using pure HR foam with a little latex and/or a little memory foam, or sometimes a lot of memory foam. I was so sure it was not my mattress causing my pain, because I just "knew" that the high resiliency (HR) foam I was using was "perfectly fine". Now I realize that it was the foam all along that was hurting my back, and that went on for over a year. I have even recommended HR foam many times here, but I am going back to edit some of those posts if I can. I now believe that HR foam is lousy foam to sleep on! It breaks down way to quickly and now I am sure it was the cause of my back hurting for over a year! (I did have reason to believe it was my back itself as I was in my 3rd car accident about 2 years ago and I definitely did have back and neck and shoulder issues from that.)

In case anyone wonders, this is my current - and hopefully last! - configuration: [from the bottom up] [I know many have already seen this in my other thread but I felt it is worth repeating here in this thread for those who may stumble upon this in the future.]

1.)  Englander springs - 12.5 gauge, Bonnell - as far as I can figure (no one seems to be sure, not even the Englander company! )
2.) 1/4" cheap memory foam just to protect the layers above from the springs (there is also a layer of some kind of material over the springs, very thin black synthetic of some sort, I think) (This 1/4" of memory foam does not really "count" as a "layer" - it just sinks down into the springs and provides maybe 1/8" of what might better be called "protection")
3) 1/2" VERY FIRM HR foam - this piece is very solid and dense. Could be that it wears out too and causes problems some day but for now it is working. If I have to replace it I may put a very thin layer of Dunlop in its place (does anyone make 1/2" Dunlop layers?)
4) 1" of 32 ILD natural latex from SleepEZ
5) 3/4" of 24-28ILD latex that appears to be Talalay - I got it from a warehouse and no one knew what it was. I am guessing it is 24-28ILD Talalay, probably a blend.
6) My 2" Nature's Comfort wool mattress pad - this "2 inches" is really only about 1/2" when you lay on it as it is very very fluffy and provides no support, it's just there as an insulation.

So in "real" terms I have only 2 and 1/4" of foam above my springs.
[For the record, I weigh about 185 and am 5'11" tall, most of my extra weight - about 20 lb. -  is around my belly.]

Just wanted to post this so that if anyone else is waking up sore every morning, it could very well be the mattress not your back itself! I know I DO have a bad back, no doubt, and yes it hurts from time to time. But this is different than waking up every morning with a sore and stiff back, then having it feel fine after you get up and move around.

I suspected I had some kind of arthritis that was causing me to stiffen up and get sore at night when I slept, perhaps due to lack of movement or something. But I did not have arthritis! What I had was very easily fixed with the proper knowledge. What I had was not a bad back, it was: BAD FOAM. (i.e.; lack of proper support in my mattress)

This is all very good news for me and others who have had back pain due to their mattress!
This message was modified Feb 9, 2010 by jimsocal
Re: Can a mattress fix a sore back?
Reply #9 Feb 10, 2010 6:00 PM
Location: Yosemite area
Joined: Sep 10, 2008
Points: 249
Thank you for posting what finally did work for you.  You are not alone, my bed(s) caused my back problems as well, and good support cured me.  I thank God every morning when I can stand up and put on my underds, pants and socks without having to sit down.  Before, I had to sit down to dress as my low back was in such spasm when I woke up. I knew I was in serious trouble when my body hated to lie down at night, and couldn't wait to get back up in the morning. 
I also sleep with a fluffy cover over the mattress for a bit more cush.  I found that the poly fill needs fluffing occasionally....I'll start to have a slight tightening of back muscles, and sure enough, need a quick fluff before I go to bed next time, and all good to go again.  Thank goodness that is all it takes!
BTW, I used to have RLS like your wife.  It felt as if calcium was leaching out of my bones at night.  If she hasn't already, tell her to stop drinking any soda(pulls calcium from the bones), and take two calcium plus tablets(originally Caltrate 600 Plus...purple label...other companies make their own cheaper version of this).  There is only one calcium pill that worked for me, because it has the correct trace minerals as well, and it works very well.  I take two before I go to bed and I stopped having RLS.  Hope this helps...it is miserable to suffer from that.
Kait
Re: Can a mattress fix a sore back?
Reply #10 Feb 10, 2010 6:11 PM
Joined: Jan 23, 2010
Points: 64
Kait wrote:
Thank you for posting what finally did work for you.  You are not alone, my bed(s) caused my back problems as well, and good support cured me.  I thank God every morning when I can stand up and put on my underds, pants and socks without having to sit down.  Before, I had to sit down to dress as my low back was in such spasm when I woke up. I knew I was in serious trouble when my body hated to lie down at night, and couldn't wait to get back up in the morning. 
I also sleep with a fluffy cover over the mattress for a bit more cush.  I found that the poly fill needs fluffing occasionally....I'll start to have a slight tightening of back muscles, and sure enough, need a quick fluff before I go to bed next time, and all good to go again.  Thank goodness that is all it takes!
BTW, I used to have RLS like your wife.  It felt as if calcium was leaching out of my bones at night.  If she hasn't already, tell her to stop drinking any soda(pulls calcium from the bones), and take two calcium plus tablets(originally Caltrate 600 Plus...purple label...other companies make their own cheaper version of this).  There is only one calcium pill that worked for me, because it has the correct trace minerals as well, and it works very well.  I take two before I go to bed and I stopped having RLS.  Hope this helps...it is miserable to suffer from that.
Kait

Kathy, I am with you. Bad mattresses make low back pain worse and I think they even cause low back pain.
Mattresses companies would NOT like us to make this connection and even if some people smarten up they insist that is not so.

And people who don't have low back pain don't realize how much daily suffering one goes because of it.
It is always with you. you and no one else can see the pain but your brain is basically diverting resources(brain cells) in dealing with that low back pain.
It is a slow killer. A torture that is always ongoing.
Re: Can a mattress fix a sore back?
Reply #11 Feb 12, 2010 8:54 PM
Location: L.A. area
Joined: Jan 18, 2008
Points: 1160
Kait wrote:
Thank you for posting what finally did work for you.  You are not alone, my bed(s) caused my back problems as well, and good support cured me.  I thank God every morning when I can stand up and put on my underds, pants and socks without having to sit down.  Before, I had to sit down to dress as my low back was in such spasm when I woke up. I knew I was in serious trouble when my body hated to lie down at night, and couldn't wait to get back up in the morning. 
I also sleep with a fluffy cover over the mattress for a bit more cush.  I found that the poly fill needs fluffing occasionally....I'll start to have a slight tightening of back muscles, and sure enough, need a quick fluff before I go to bed next time, and all good to go again.  Thank goodness that is all it takes!
BTW, I used to have RLS like your wife.  It felt as if calcium was leaching out of my bones at night.  If she hasn't already, tell her to stop drinking any soda(pulls calcium from the bones), and take two calcium plus tablets(originally Caltrate 600 Plus...purple label...other companies make their own cheaper version of this).  There is only one calcium pill that worked for me, because it has the correct trace minerals as well, and it works very well.  I take two before I go to bed and I stopped having RLS.  Hope this helps...it is miserable to suffer from that.
Kait

Kait, thanks for the info. She has had some success taking a homeopathic formula for it but I will get her some of this calcium you mention.

And I feel sorry - very sorry - to say that now my mattress is not working for me again! I can't figure out why but I do think the latex must have broken in a bit too much in 2 weeks, as we all know I am sensitive to slight changes in the mattress. Just wanted to say this here in this thread because I don't want to lead anyone astray.

I do think DIY mattress surgery is the answer for most or many people though. My wife has been very happy with her's. It's just that I am a very tough case due to scoliosis and back and shoulder injuries from auto accidents.

I think the great majority of people could have a great mattress that they like a lot by just cutting open a new mattress, taking out the PU foam and replacing it with latex.

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