The Golden Rule: A good bed is one that provides correct support and comfort. It has an important role to play in relieving and preventing back pain.
But, as we all know, beds cost money. And sometimes a lot of money!
Here is some important advice before buying a bed:
- A bed that’s supportive and comfortable is key. Don’t just buy a bed because it says it’s good for your back! It is important to remember that people’s requirement for support differ depending on their weight and build.
- The term ‘orthopaedic’ generally just means an extra firm bed - it is not based on any medical or other common standard. Don’t get sucked in by medically sounding terms or bed names.
- Firmness is not determined by price – you can buy a cheap bed that’s as hard as a rock or a very expensive bed that’s as hard as a rock. In all bed shops you will find that luxury, comfort, durability and added features such as adjustability come with higher price tags. But be very careful not to fall for an enthusiastic sales person's enthusiastic babble about just how wonderful this bed is that cost thousands of dollars more than the one you thought were nice and comfortable at a fraction of the price!!
- There’s no single right bed to ease a back problem! Each different back problem may require a different solution. The right bed for you is the bed that you personally find supportive and comfortable, regardless of labels or price tags.
- Don’t get confused by the rows and rows of beds. Look at beds prices. Narrow your choice down to 2 or 3 beds that are affordable to you and then spend some time lying on these in your normal sleeping positions. Five minutes should be the minimum for each bed. If none of them feel good, select 2 or 3 more and repeat the exercise. If you are on a very low budget you may find your options limited so be realistic.
- Look for a supportive rather than a hard bed. Do not assume that “orthopaedic” or firmer beds are the best option. Often a medium firm bed with proper cushioning is better.
- A bigger bed will be of benefit both for the back pain sufferer and his/her partner – with less partner disturbance. Most couples sleep on a Queen size or larger bed.
- Most beds are a standard height but often bed legs can be changed to raise or lower a bed. Make sure you can get in and out of it with relative ease.
- Mattresses need to be turned from time to time to ensure even wear and tear. If this is likely to prove difficult (and good quality mattresses are heavy!) then look for a mattress which does not need regular turning.
- Choosing the correct pillow is also very important. It must support the neck in alignment with the rest of the spine. Too many pillows thrust the head forward or sideways (depending on your sleeping position); too few allow the head to tip backwards: both create a crick in the neck.
- Try and adopt a sleeping position which creates less physical stress on the back (e.g. lying on your side is better than lying on your front with your neck twisted to one side!).
Above all, make sure the bed is supportive and comfortable! If your first thought isn’t “I’d love to sleep on this bed”, then it may not be the right bed! And, lastly, remember: harder isn’t better!