2020 Research

Herniated Disc Mattress Guide

Read our complete Herniated Disc Mattress Guide Below

A herniated disk refers to a problem with one of the rubbery cushions that stack up to make your spine. A spinal disk is a little like a jelly donut, with a softer center encased within a tougher exterior. Sometimes called a slipped disk or a ruptured disk, a herniated disk occurs when some of the softer “jelly” pushes out through a tear in the tougher exterior. A herniated disk can irritate nearby nerves and result in pain, numbness or weakness in an arm or leg. On the other hand, many people experience no symptoms from a herniated disk – those are the lucky ones!

How do you correct it?

Most people who have a herniated disk don’t need surgery to correct the problem. Some common treatments for a herniated disc include:

  1. Psychical therapy
  2. Corrective surgery 
  3. Alternative medicine (such as acupuncture)
  4. See a chiropracter
  5. Medication

What prevents sleep?

Millions of people experience back or neck pain due to conditions such as arthritis of the spine, spinal stenosis, sciaticadegenerative disc disease and herniated discs . During sleep, lack of movement and motion allows for the body to remain in one position for long periods of time. These put added stress on any component of your neck or back, which can potentially worsen these conditions.

When about a third of the day is spent in bed, it is critically important to have proper spinal alignment while we sleep, just as we would try to have good posture throughout the day while sitting or standing. Good spinal alignment is essential to preventing herniated disc symptoms while sleeping, so that a person can reap the full benefits of a good night’s sleep.

What a good night's sleep looks like with a herniated disc

Someone suffering from a herniated disc often experiences a variety of night time symptoms, and these include:

  1. Numbness & tingling
  2. Arm and leg pain
  3. Weakness in muscles, which can affect daily activities, including the ability to get a good night’s sleep

Envisioning a good night’s sleep with a herniated disc includes the alleviation of pressure on the nerves in the back, neck and spine. A good quality mattress and adjustable base is a fundamental investment to help sooth these conditions. Some medical professionals also recommend sleeping in a reclining chair or using a wedge pillow as a solution to keep the body elevated. But, reclining chairs don’t typically allow the same level of customization as an adjustable bed. As for wedge pillows, they limit sleeping positions, such as sleeping on the side and/or stomach. Therefore, only allowing back sleeping, which increases the incidences of snoring and snoring can lead to acid reflux. So in most cases an adjustable bed is your best choice.

What to look for in a mattress if you suffer from a Herniated Disc

A Herniated Disc not only makes sleeping more difficult but can harm concentration, moods, and other areas of life. Getting a good bed for this common condition is a step in the right direction for reducing your symptoms or, at least, making them more manageable. Below are six important factors to consider when choosing a mattress for herniated disc pain relief:

Spinal Alignment

You may not realize it, but good posture is important when you sleep. The muscles and ligaments (tissue that holds joints together) in your back need to relax and recover while you snooze. If a mattress is too firm — or too squishy — it won’t support your spine at your neck or lower back the way it needs to. If you have wide hips, for instance, a slightly softer surface may be better. You need some more give in order to keep your spine in alignment. Someone with narrower hips might be better off with a firmer surface.

Firmness

Firmness levels and options will be key in determining your comfort. “The best advice I could give is the ‘Goldilocks Method’ — not too hard, and not too soft,” says Dr. Tamlyn. What’s firm enough (but not too firm) is different for everyone.  In these cases, a mattress that offers dual firmness — different firmness settings on each side of the bed — may be the best option.  If you have wide hips, for instance, a slightly softer surface may be better. You need some more give in order to keep your spine in alignment. Someone with narrower hips might be better off with a firmer surface.

*Remember to shop for the best quality and value of a mattress rather than for price. A higher quality mattress will be more expensive.  So, look out for sales and promotions that will allow you to make good comparisons between brands.

Durability

Adjustable beds can cause more wear and tear due to the constant motion. As a result, mattresses with longer-than-average lifespans — such as air mattress, memory foam, and latex models — tend to be more suitable for these beds than mattresses with typically shorter lifespans.

Hospital Tested & Clinically Proven

In most cases, if a mattress claims one or both of these, they are most likely used to prevent bedsores for long term care patients at hospitals.  But, what most people fail to put together, is bedsores and back pain prevention are very similar.  Essentially these types of mattresses allow for Max. Body Weight Displacement, which in return provides pressure relief that not only prevents bed sores, but also provides pressure relief against the back and sensitive joints throughout the body. This can be extremely important for Fibromyalgia suffers.

Sleep Trial

If you have a great night’s sleep and wake up pain-free after staying at a hotel or in a friend’s guest room, copy down that mattress’s model number. Or choose a mattress that comes with a money-back guarantee: A growing number of companies will let you buy a mattress and use it for anywhere from 30 to 100 days and send it back for a refund if you’re not happy with it.

The Bottom Line

When researchers from Oklahoma State University randomly assigned over 60 people to sleep in a variety of new beds for 28 days, they found that almost everyone started to sleep better. That was true regardless of which model they were given, though people who slept in the cheapest beds did report more lower back pain than those in the medium- and higher-priced beds.

Best Sleep Positions for Herniated Discs

The best sleeping positions for herniated discs are ones that allow the spine to keep its natural curvature. Many specialists agree stomach-sleeping is the worst for spine health because it strains the muscles, ligaments, and vertebrae in your neck. Moreover, sleeping on your stomach could result in a deeper arch of your low back, causing increased pain.

While side-sleeping isn’t ideal, it’s still better than sleeping on the stomach. If you are going to sleep on your side, back-pain experts recommend placing a pillow in between your knees to reduce tension on the hips. If you can commit to a more drastic change, the best sleeping position for your herniated disc pain may be your back.

Sleeping on your back helps keep the spine in neutral alignment. If your pain is still relatively intense, try placing a pillow under your knees and low back for added comfort. This maneuver helps keep the spine flat. For patients with a herniated disc in the cervical spine, try to avoid using too many pillows for support, as this could cause more pain.

Therapeutic

Adjustable Beds

Do you have medical condition that requires you to sleep in an elevated position?

Apart from your sleeping position, an adjustable bed is your best choice when trying to find a solution to your herniated disc. With this type of bed, the upper and lower portions of the bed can be raised and lowered in a customized fashion (typically powered by a remote control). There are many advantages to an adjustable bed, including the ability to easily raise and lower portions of the bed throughout the night. Adjustable beds are available at a variety of price points and designs.

Natural Form®

Therapeutic Mattresses

Trying to find the right therapeutic mattress? Take a look at our mattress collection below.

Natural Form®

Therapeutic Mattresses

Trying to find the right therapeutic mattress? Take a look at our mattress collection below

Frequently asked questions

What to look for in a mattress if you have spinal stenosis?

Generally, memory foam mattresses are able to reduce pressure points better than any other types of mattresses, according to the American Sleep Association. You most likely want to stray from innerspring mattress if you want to give your body proper back support. Coil and traditional spring mattress do not hold shape as long as memory foam.

Remember to shop for the best quality and value of a mattress rather than for price. A higher quality mattress will most likely more expensive.  So look out for sales and promotions that will allow you to make good comparisons between brands.

How should you sleep with spinal stenosis?

Some medical professionals have recommended sleeping in a reclining chair as a solution to relieving pressure on the nerves.  But, there are plenty of mattresses that will meet your needs without requiring you to turn your living room into your new sleeping quarters.

What are the best exercises for spinal stenosis?

Bicycle riding, swimming & even working with a trainer at your local gym are effective ways to help strengthen and increase your range of motion.

What activities should be avoided with spinal stenosis?

Avoiding higher impact activities such as contact sports, jogging, long periods of walking