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Adjustable Beds and Back Pain

What you sleep on can make a big difference in the quality of sleep you get every night. A mattress that does not offer enough support for your spine can lead to muscle fatigue and a poor night's sleep. A good mattress will allow you to maintain the same natural spinal alignment that you have when standing. When your body is allowed to rest in its natural position, muscles are relaxed and sleep is more refreshing.

For patients with back pain, however, lying flat is not always comfortable. For these patients, adjustable beds may be the answer. While there are no scientific studies that prove adjustable beds can relieve back pain, some of their features may be able to help patients with back pain get more comfortable during sleep.

What is an adjustable bed?
Adjustable beds are different than standard flat beds because they allow users to change the incline angle of the head of the bed and, in many cases, at the foot of the bed as well. A slight incline of the head (no more than 45º), coupled with additional support under the knees, can help reduce pain, particularly leg and back pain from herniated discs and/or spinal stenosis. It also helps a patient to get out of bed without having to roll and sit up as much as if one who was rising from a flat position.


ClassicBed from Relax The Back
The ClassicBed by Tempur-Pedic™ on an Adjustable Base
Visit www.relaxtheback.com


Features to look for
If you are considering an adjustable bed, the first thing you should do is to find out if you are comfortable enough in an upright or inclined position to sleep in that position for an entire night. One way do to that is to try the position for a night or two using pillows. If the inclined position helps relieve your pain, an adjustable bed may be a good choice for you. Another way is to purchase an adjustable bed from a manufacturer who offers a 30- or 60-day money back guarantee.

In addition to the adjustable head and foot, there are other features available on many adjustable beds, including:


  • Programmable memory controller that allows you to select and return to previously selected positions for reading or watching television.


  • Built-in muscle-relaxing massage with variable speeds that automatically shuts off for safety and optimal comfort.


  • Zero-gravity positioning where you can position your legs above your heart for improved circulation and comfort.



  • Split base design to allow you and your partner to recline at the angle you each prefer.

Relax The Back, one of the nation's largest back care retailers, offers a variety of pillows with cervical support including the Tempur-Pedic Neck Pillow as well as a full line of Tempur-Pedic mattresses that work with adjustable bed bases.


Tempur-Pedic Neck Pillow from Relax The Back
Tempur-Pedic™ Neck Pillow
Visit www.relaxtheback.com


The best way to sleep
Everyone is different and there is no one sleep position or sleep surface that is best for all. However, the following tips may help you to find the best way for you to sleep:


  • Place your pillow under your head, not under your shoulders.



  • Avoid overstuffed pillows - they do not allow you to rest with your head in a neutral position.



  • Sleep on your side, with your knees slightly bent and with a pillow between your knees. This is the best way to maintain proper body posture when lying down. Avoid curling up with your knees to your chest. " If you must sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees to support the normal curve of the lower back.



  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach, as this may aggravate back and neck pain.



  • Many mattress manufacturers promote extra firm surfaces, but it is possible for a mattress to be too firm. Similarly, some mattresses may be too soft, especially ones that come with extra soft feather tops. Neither situation allows your muscles to rest, as they must work through the night to find a comfortable position and maintain correct posture.



  • What is under your mattress is also important. Box springs can extend the life of your mattress by helping maintain support and durability. If you are buying a new mattress, consider purchasing the box spring that goes with it.


A matter of preference
The most important thing to remember about what you sleep on is if you are comfortable. If you find yourself tossing and turning all night long on a standard flat mattress, and you find the slightly inclined position to be comfortable, an adjustable bed may be a good choice. However, if you have a spinal condition or chronic back pain, talk to you doctor about your sleep position. Make sure there are no medical reasons why you should not have an adjustable bed before you purchase one.

Updated on: 09/07/12