A guide to choosing a mattress

An old myth when it comes to lying on your mattress is “the harder the mattress the better it is for your back!” – in fact hard mattresses are not necessarily the best option for people with a bad back.

So what should you look for? Well, here’s a guide to choosing a mattress

Lie on your back on the mattress

Put your hand in under the small of your back. If there is a gap between the mattress and your back then the mattress is too hard. If your back is rounding as it would in a hammock then the mattress is too soft. If your hand slides through and remains in contact with your back then you have found yourself a good mattress.

Lie on your side on the mattress, with a pillow supporting your head and neck.

Get someone to look at the curves of your spine. Your spine should be in a fairly straight line when viewed from the back – not dipping too much towards the floor.  Bear in mind that if your hips are much wider than your waist then your lower spine is bound to dip down towards the floor. If this is a problem you may need to support your side with a pillow.

The heavier the person the deeper the mattress needs to be – a soft sprung mattress with a heavy body lying on it means more sagging.

If you can buy a new bed – base and mattress – rather than just replacing an old mattress because a great mattress on a bad base will still cause problems. Look for a good quality full sprung edge base.

Talking about quality, when buying a mattress, once you have found the right degree of firmness for you, bear in mind that you get what you pay for. A cheap mattress will probably lose its firmness faster than a more expensive one.

Interior sprung mattresses are the best, the more springs they contain the more expensive the mattress.  Choosing a new mattress or bed is an important decision and this is not a time to cut corners on cost because if you buy an unsuitable “cheap” mattress you may end up paying out fees to a professional who has to correct your back pain.

The waterbed has gone out of fashion since it’s popularity in the 1970s and 1980s. However, a good waterbed can support your spine very well. The downside is that they can be quite expensive. Ideally, you should try one out before you buy one. They can present good support without pressurizing any one point greatly and are particularly suitable for elderly people.

I hope that guide to choosing a mattress is helpful. If you have any questions please leave a comment in the box below and we will happily respond.

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