Where you sleep can be as important as how long, especially for people with joint and back pain. An injury, whether work- or sports-related, or an old injury that occurred many years earlier, can continue to cause pain and discomfort. Some choose to turn to chiropractors for relief. These professionals use joint realignment and manipulation to relieve chronic pain. In addition to therapy, they also sometimes recommend specific types of mattresses to alleviate symptoms.
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Some chiropractors recommend a Tempur-pedic brand mattress to an individual suffering from chronic joint pain. Tempur-pedic brand mattresses are made with a special type of memory foam that contours to an individual’s body shape so that there is less open, unsupported space between the body and the mattress. Mattresses range from very firm to soft and can be purchased alone or with a Tempur-pedic brand foundation mattress (the company’s version of a box spring).
Other companies making mattresses like those made by Tempur-pedic include Sealy, Serta, Angel Beds, Select Foam and Memory Foam. Whichever brand you choose, go to a showroom and try lying on the mattress for 20 minutes or more to get a good feel for how you will respond to that mattress. Try to determine whether or not it is the right one for you and whether or not you feel it may relieve your chronic joint or back pain.
The Winter 2006 issue of the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine reported that medium-firm mattresses were best in helping people with lower back pain. Contrary to popular opinion at the time, firm mattresses may not be best for those with bad backs. Dynamic Chiropractic reports that while orthopedists had long recommended firm mattresses, chiropractors recommend that a 1 1/2-inch- to two-inch-thick layer of padding should be laid on top of a firm mattress because the extra padding conforms better to the natural curves of the human spine. Medium-firm mattresses, or mattress pads, provide more support, which in turn helps the body distribute pressure more evenly, preventing pain in any one area.
Innerspring mattresses are the most common type of mattress on the market and are filled with springs, or coils, that provide varying levels of firmness to sleepers. Chiropractors recommend innerspring mattresses over water beds and mattresses made only of foam. Chiropractors also advise using a box spring designed to pair specifically with a mattress and using them together for optimal back and neck support. Dr. Mark Mandell, DC, MBA and a third-generation chiropractor, recommends innerspring mattresses on the Dynamic Chiropractic website. He suggests that an individual meet with a chiropractor prior to purchasing a mattress to gain assistance in selecting a mattress that addresses the patient’s specific needs.