Tips to Choose an Orthopedic Mattress for Sciatica Pain
An orthopedic mattress is a firmer mattress that better supports the sleeper compared to standard mattresses. Orthopedic mattresses were first manufactured in the 1950s to help those suffering from back injuries and severe back pain. In this article, we discuss how to choose an orthopedic mattress for sciatica pain.
Choose an orthopedic mattress for sciatica pain that is breathable, has the ability to contour to the shape of the back, and offers medium-firm to firm support. Breathability aids in supporting body temperature, contouring aligns the body, while maintaining firmness reduces pressure on the back and joints.
Nowadays, orthopedic mattresses like these are used even by those that don’t have existing back injuries or pain. Some simply prefer them over other mattresses. Orthopedic mattresses can relieve pressure and provide better spinal alignment while sleeping. In this article, we will give you some tips on how to choose an orthopedic mattress to alleviate sciatic nerve pain.
What is Sciatica and How Do You Choose the Best Mattress for Sciatica?
Sciatica refers to pain resulting from pressure on the sciatic nerve which can be acute pain for a few weeks or an ongoing chronic issue. Choose an orthopedic mattress that provides the correct amount of firmness to promote proper alignment of the body and reduce joint pressure.
Sciatic pain usually affects one leg but in some cases, it can affect both. Sciatic pain becomes more severe when walking, lying down, or sitting.
Since sciatica is due to pressure on the sciatic nerve, minimize pressure on the nerve as much as possible during the day and while sleeping. Choosing a suitable mattress with a good level of firmness like this, can help in relieving pressure on the back and promoting the best posture alignment possible.
Let’s look at how a mattress can be helpful in alleviating sciatica:
As outlined in this article by Amerisleep, a mattress manufacturer, and Dr. Nayantara Sathi, a moderately firm orthopedic mattress like this, helps to support the body and minimize pressure on the joints and back. Softer mattresses make your body sink in the mattress increasing pressure on joints and nerves including the sciatic nerve. Conversely, mattresses that are too firm like these. will not allow your body to naturally move into a comfortable sleeping position. Our article that explains how to soften a bed using a mattress topper will help you to solve this problem and help you to find this middle-ground of firmness which is crucial to helping your sciatic pain go away.
A mattresses’ breathability refers to its ability to circulate air and keep moisture away while sleeping. You might be asking yourself, “How can breathability affect my sciatic nerve pain?” The answer is that a mattress that has great breathability like this, will last and be comfortable, making it more enjoyable for you to sleep on it. A mattress that has poor breathability will be affected much faster by built-up moisture and increased wear-and-tear. So, even if the mattress itself is firm enough, being made of poor materials can lead the mattress to sag and become unsupportive.
3. The Ability to Contour to the Shape of the Back
The doctors at RegenerativeDocs, a chiropractic center, state that a mattress’ ability to contour the shape of your back is crucial especially for people with sciatica. A mattress that contours to the shape of the body (like this one) need not be very soft nor very firm. It needs to be a medium-firm to firm. When the mattress contours to the shape of the body, it helps to distribute your body weight evenly and prevents pressure on your joints and nerves. This is very important for side sleepers specifically. It provides better alignment for the spine and helps prevent the build-up of pressure points in the back and hip area. This eventually helps to alleviate the sciatic nerve pain.
Be sure to also take a look at our guide to orthopedic mattress sizes. This guide will help you find the right size mattress for your needs. Similarly, our related article shows you how to choose an orthopedic mattress for an adjustable bed. Make sure to take a look at that as well.
Choosing an Orthopedic Mattress for Sciatica Pain
There are a variety of orthopedic mattresses available for you to choose from. They include memory foam, latex foam, reflex foam, and pocket spring orthopedic mattresses. Each of these has its pros and cons but they all provide support, although they differ slightly in the amount of support and firmness provided.
Doctors recommend memory foam orthopedic mattresses for sciatica pain because they reduce pressure on the back and nerves, which are the main cause of sciatica.
Be aware that many retailers call a mattress orthopedic for commercial purposes when it actually isn’t certified as orthopedic. To avoid picking an uncertified model, only buy medically recommended brands, like this one. Check out this medically reviewed article by Healthline to get a better idea of how to choose your mattress. Additionally, as the saying goes, “if it seems too good to be true, it is”—orthopedic mattresses tend to be more expensive than regular mattresses.
Sciatica Nerve Pain
Memory foam and latex foam are great options for people with sciatica. Memory foam is one of the greatest mattress materials for conforming to the shape of your body while you sleep. It has the ability to provide exceptional pain relief and can be made even more comfortable as explained in our article that provides tips on how to raise a memory foam mattress. Latex foam is also a great material for comfort and support in a mattress like this. Check this guide on Medtrica discussing the best orthopedic mattress type for sciatica, and you can also read this comparison between memory foam and latex foam for body support, from King Koil, a mattress manufacturer.
For hip pain, memory foam mattresses like these are recommended. For side sleepers, it is important to get a mattress that can contour to the shape of your body during sleep. Read our article that explains the difference between smart grid vs. memory foam to learn more about the properties of memory foam. When a mattress can distribute your weight equally and reduce pressure on the hip, it will alleviate pain. Healthline discusses how good memory foam mattresses can be for hip pain here.
For back pain, reflex foam orthopedic mattresses are helpful. Reflex foam mattresses have small holes that help the mattress support your body. Reflex mattresses like these are effective when it comes to spinal alignment and chronic back pain. You can choose a mattress made only from reflex foam or a mattress with only a reflex support surface. However, a block reflex mattress is usually more effective. You can check out this article, from mattress online, on the effect of reflex foam for back pain.
The way we sleep has a direct impact on our back and spine. It’s important to sleep on a mattress that supports your body. The firmness of the mattress is not enough in supporting your body. It’s important that the mattress itself is built to support your body, and pocket spring mattresses like these are perfect for that, as explained in our guide that provides tips and tricks on orthopedic mattress materials. JohnRyanbyDesign discusses how the pocket spring mattress is great for back pressure.
|Type of Sciatica Pain||What To Look For In A Orthopedic Mattress||Example from Amazon|
|Generalized Nerve Pain||Medium-firm to firm, with breathability||Lucid 12 Inch Latex Hybrid Mattress - Memory Foam |
|Hip Pain||The ability to contour to the shape of the back||Swiss Ortho Sleep |
|Back Pain||Firm surface for better support of the back||Gentle Night Omniconstructed Mattress with Comfort Reflex Layer |
|Back Pressure||The ability to contour to the shape of the back||Olee Sleep 13 inch Galaxy Hybrid Gel Infused Memory Foam and Pocket Spring Mattress |
Make sure to take a look at our orthopedic mattress price guide for more detailed information too.
How to Sleep in a Bed with Sciatica
It is important that a person with sciatica is mindful of the position that they sleep in.
To sleep in a bed with sciatica and relieve pain, side sleepers should sleep with a pillow between the knees, and back sleepers should sleep with a pillow under the knees.
It is possible to relieve such pain and discomfort by sleeping with an extra pillow like this, between or under your knees, depending on your preferred sleeping position.
If you’re a side sleeper, place a firm pillow below your knees. This helps to reduce pressure on your joints. Also, use a pillow with an extra-wide surface to support your neck and shoulder. This position will give you the best result and will help to relieve back pain.
Avoid sleeping on a high pillow because it does not keep your spine aligned. Also, get a medium-firm to firm mattress like this, to help support your body during sleep. A saggy soft mattress can cause you a lot of problems and give you severe back pain when you wake up.