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Posted on 10-11-2016
In our previous blog we discussed choosing the right pillow, and now we will discuss mattresses! A question frequently asked by my patients is “Do you think my mattress could be aggravating or causing my existing back discomfort? The first question I ask is “How old is your mattress? Many of us don’t remember when we bought our current mattress. It reminds me of patients who call for an appointment and state that they think their last visit was a few months ago and it actually had been a year or more since their last adjustment. How time flies!!! To find out how old your mattress actually is, you can look at the tag on the foot of the mattress which should have the year it was manufactured. Just as important as the age of your mattress is the use of the mattress. A bed used by a single tiny person will outlast a bed where large adults plus the occasional child and, I must add, pets regularly sleep! One way to help prolong the life of your mattress is to regularly rotate your mattress. Regardless of the age of the mattress, is it beginning to sag? Do you and your partner end up rolling to the middle of the bed and spend the night feeling like you are trying to climb a mountain to get back to your side of the bed? No matter if your mattress is a few years or 10 years old, if it is not supporting your spine, then you need to replace it. Ideally, your spine should be supported throughout the night as you sleep on your back or on your side. You mattress needs to support your body in a neutral position, one in which your spine maintains its natural curvature, and your hips, heels, shoulders, and head are supported in proper alignment. There are many types of mattresses available such as innerspring, memory foam, a hybrid combination of coil and foam, and mattresses with air filled chambers. Innerspring mattresses can range from connected coiled springs in which all the springs move to a degree affecting the other sleeping partner, to pocketed springs which when compressed, move separately without disturbing your partner. Foam mattresses are temperature sensitive and conform to your body and maintain your shape but still remain firm enough to offer support. An old complaint with foam due to temperature sensitivity was that they would become extremely hot, but new models are now available with cooling gel so you do not overheat. Hybrid mattresses are innerspring mattresses with top comfort foam layers with the advantage of both of the above for maximum comfort. Air chambered mattresses have the advantage of allowing you and your partner to independently adjust the firmness of your side of the bed. To many of these mattresses you can also add an adjustable base. This can allow you to raise the head of the bed to help with snoring, sleep apnea, and acid reflux problems. If you read or watch TV in bed this can also put you in a better position to reduce neck discomfort. When choosing a mattress you should take your pillow along with you and spend at least ten minutes trying out each one in the different positions you naturally sleep. Please take a notebook with you and take notes of the store, brand, model name, and comfort level. I can tell you from personal experience that it is hard to remember the ones that you liked, especially if you go to numerous stores. I also want to let you know that major manufacturers make mattresses specifically for different stores. You may try out a mattress in one store that is identical in another store but has a different name. Very confusing!!! My husband and I recently bought a hybrid mattress with a head and foot adjustable base and are very happy with the combination. Even though our mattress is not the ideal one for the adjustable base, it has worked very well for us. It definitely improved our sleep. Using the right pillow and mattress are great for getting a good night’s sleep, but this is not the solution to back and neck discomfort caused by a misalignment of the spine and pelvis which we call a subluxation. Proper realignment by an adjustment performed by a licensed chiropractic physician is necessary to reduce pain, promote healing, and reduce inflammation. A bad mattress will surely cause you trouble, but replacing the mattress won’t replace an adjustment. Once you adjust your mattress, make sure you adjust your spine
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