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Orthopedic Mattress Side Effects and Disadvantages

An orthopedic mattress is a good choice for people who can’t sleep on a standard mattress owing to medical conditions. Doctors routinely prescribe orthopedic mattresses for patients suffering from persistent back pain. However, an orthopedic mattress, like any other form of mattress, has some downsides and adverse effects. In this article, we’ll discuss orthopedic mattress side effects and disadvantages and help you determine if you should buy one.

Orthopedic mattress side effects include back pain, aggravation of pressure points, muscle tension, and poor sleep quality. The disadvantages of using orthopedic mattresses are that they’re heavy, expensive, and not suitable for patients with all kinds of paints. 

While doctors prescribe orthopedic mattresses like this, there are several orthopedic mattress side effects to look out for.Orthopedic mattresses like this one can provide relief for people suffering from back pain and other physical conditions. Image Source: Amazon.

What Is An Orthopedic Mattress Made Of?

Orthopedic mattresses provide support for the spine, joints, and the entire body. Orthopedic is a term that’s usually applied to mattresses that aid in spinal alignment and relief from joint or back problems. Orthopedic mattresses typically come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are made from memory foam, latex, and innerspring. 

Orthopedic mattresses are typically made from memory foam, latex, and innerspring. These materials make the beds comfortable and supportive for the sleeper but differ slightly in the amount of support and firmness provided. 

Memory foam orthopedic mattresses like these are the most prevalent of the three materials. It is softer than innerspring and latex, and it can mold to the curves of your body. This material provides both relief and comfort, and it’s a terrific way to ensure that your body weight is distributed evenly. As a result, it’s an excellent alternative for people who suffer from back pain. Despite its benefits as a material for orthopedic mattresses, memory foam is poor at temperature regulation and tends to heat up. We explain a little more about this in our detailed guide on orthopedic mattress materials.

Orthopedic mattresses like these that are made of latex are firmer, but they lack cushioning and softness, which may be uncomfortable for individuals who sleep on their sides. Orthopedic innerspring mattresses have the ability to support the body and distribute body weight evenly for one or more sleepers, which is great for relieving pressure on joints. However, they are more expensive than latex orthopedic mattresses.

The design of this orthopedic mattress allows for proper support and even distribution of body weight.Orthopedic mattresses like this are made up of various materials including memory foam, gel foam, and inner coils. Image Source: Amazon.

Make sure to also check out our article explaining the 7 benefits of an orthopedic mattress for more details as well as how to choose an orthopedic mattress you can flip.

Orthopedic Mattress Side Effects – A Review

Doctors have clinically certified that an orthopedic mattress can aid in the healing of joints, back injuries, and the entire body. This type of mattress allows for the alignment of the spine as well as the rehabilitation of joints, and other ailments. 

Some orthopedic mattress side effects include back pain, excessive strain on pressure points, muscle tension, and poor sleep quality. Use a mattress topper that molds to the body to alleviate these discomforts, while also supporting the spine. 

This article from the New York Times explains more about how to select a mattress that is suitable for you. Keep in mind that not every mattress that is said to be orthopedic is actually orthopedic, so do your homework before purchasing one. 

You can read up on orthopedic mattress sizes to find out more about how to choose the correct orthopedic mattress for your needs. It might also be a great idea to watch this video review to get an idea of what beds are available for neck and shoulder pain.

Here we outline the possible side effects of using an orthopedic mattress:

1. Back Pain

Some orthopedic mattresses like these, have a firmer surface that keeps the sleeper from sinking into the mattress. For people with particular back injuries or disorders, this could pose a serious problem. Sleeping on the wrong type of orthopedic mattress that is too hard, can feel like sleeping on a table, and cause back pain or worsen your condition. For example, in this study from the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, it was found that patients with lower back pain had the lowest sleep quality when they slept on orthopedic mattresses. This is because, some orthopedic mattresses may prevent the body from settling into a natural sleeping position, which leads to spinal misalignment. In our article on how to choose a mattress topper for back support, we provide alternatives to buying an orthopedic mattress. 

An orthopedic mattress side effect is that it could be too hard and prevent the body from settling into its natural sleeping position.A very firm orthopedic mattress like this one can actually aggravate your back pain. Image source: Shanti Spine Surgery.

Also, be sure to take a look at what to do if an orthopedic mattress hurts your back. Our related article will explain more about it.

2. Excess Strain on Pressure Points

If you buy an orthopedic mattress that is too firm and does not adapt to the shape of your body, it will put too much strain on your pressure points and prevent you from settling into your natural sleeping position. When you wake up, you may experience pain in your neck, hips, and shoulders, as explained in this article by Nael Shanti, MD. That is why it is critical that you select a pressure-relieving mattress like this, if it is appropriate for your circumstances so that it does not worsen rather than alleviate the problem.

One disadvantage of orthopedic mattresses is added strain on pressure points.   Choosing the wrong type of orthopedic mattress can cause aggravation of pressure points. Image source: nytimes.com.    

3. Muscles Tension 

When sleeping on a very firm orthopedic mattress that does not suit your condition, your body remains on top of the mattress without sinking into it to take its natural posture, which leads to muscle tension and tight, aching muscles. A softer orthopedic mattress like this would be better.

4. Poor-quality Sleep

Because an orthopedic mattress is not ideal for everyone, picking the wrong one can lead to poor sleep quality. When your body does not take its natural position while sleeping, you will find yourself tossing and turning in bed for an extended period of time to find a comfortable position. This will have a negative impact on the quality of your sleep, so why not try a mattress like this, that can conform to your body better. 

Be sure to take a look at our article explaining how to choose an orthopedic mattress for hypermobility. You may just learn something new!

Orthopedic Mattress Pros and Cons

Patients with arthritis, muscular pain, and upper back pain can benefit from orthopedic mattresses, which is why doctors recommend them. They are also good for providing physiological support when sleeping. However, they have a few drawbacks, such as being big and expensive when compared to regular mattresses.

Consider orthopedic mattress pros and cons before choosing one. The pros include spinal support, pressure relief, and excellent comfort. The cons are that an orthopedic mattress is not suitable for everyone, is expensive, is heavy, and it is difficult to recognize a real orthopedic mattress.  

This orthopedic mattress is beneficial for people with arthritis, muscular pain, and back pain.This orthopedic mattress provides the correct physiological support while you sleep. Image source: Amazon.

You might also find interest in our related article explaining the difference between an orthopedic mattress vs. a spring mattress. Be sure to check that one out too for more detailed information. Additionally, you might find interest in learning if medicare will pay for an orthopedic mattress. Make sure you check that article out as well.

Orthopedic Mattress Disadvantages

Disadvantage 1. Not Suitable for Everyone 

Orthopedic mattresses have a number of drawbacks, one of which is that they are not ideal for everyone. While this may not be a significant issue for solitary sleepers, it can be a significant one for couples sharing a bed. This is because, while the mattress may benefit one person with a back problem, it may harm the other. As a result, an orthopedic mattress is not recommended for couples, unless you use a split adjustable bed and mattress set like this, as we explain in our article on how to choose an orthopedic mattress for an adjustable bed

Disadvantage 2. Heavy Weight 

An orthopedic mattress is big and heavy to transport and is difficult to move from one location to another. This is related to the mattress’s materials as well as the type of support it provides.

Disadvantage 3. Very Expensive 

Another disadvantage of Orthopedic mattresses is their high cost. The price of an orthopedic mattress is more than that of a standard mattress due to its design and the materials used to make them. 

Disadvantage 4. Hard to Distinguish 

It is difficult to differentiate between an orthopedic and an ordinary mattress since some mattress manufacturers advertise their conventional mattresses as being orthopedic. Unfortunately, cheaper options are often not the real deal – if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. We suggest that you buy an orthopedic mattress like this from a reputable manufacturer or supplier to be sure that the mattress you are buying is actually orthopedic. 

You might also find interest in learning how to choose an orthopedic mattress for elderly sleepers.

Is an Orthopedic Mattress Hard?

As previously mentioned, the firmness of the mattress is the most common quality that unites all types of orthopedic mattresses. This does not, however, imply that orthopedic mattresses are exclusively firm or hard. There are orthopedic mattresses that are firm, moderately firm, and very firm.

Typically innerspring orthopedic mattresses are harder or firmer than traditional innerspring mattresses because they use a 1.94 mm 12 gauge spring which is the firmest gauge wire to be used in a mattress spring. 

What Is A Semi-Orthopedic Mattress?

Unlike orthopedic mattresses, which come in firm, moderately firm, or extremely firm designs, a semi-orthopedic mattress can provide an optimal level of support while still having a plush surface. With this type of mattress, you can avoid the side effects associated with very firm orthopedic mattresses. 

Semi-orthopedic mattresses are less firm than orthopedic mattresses but still provide enough beneficial support for the sleeper. Use a semi-orthopedic mattress for its spinal support but without experiencing the muscle strains associated with fully orthopedic beds.

Sleeping on a semi-orthopedic mattress means that bodyweight is distributed evenly so that there is not too much pressure on the heaviest parts of the body, including the hip area where pressure on the joints can cause nerve pain as we explain in our article that provides tips to choose an orthopedic mattress for sciatica pain.

This semi-orthopedic mattress provides great support while still having a plush surface.This semi-orthopedic mattress can be a great choice for people who want to avoid the negative side effects of orthopedic mattresses. Image source: Amazon.