Tips for choosing a mattress if you have back pain chest pain when breathing in

It makes a difference. For example, symptoms of spinal stenosis tend to present themselves when you are standing and walking, but not when you are lying down. For this reason, the question of mattress firmness is not a big issue in people with spinal stenosis only. If this is you, choose a mattress that makes you feel comfortable.

But if you have degeneration along with your stenosis, that’s a different matter, Perry says. In this case, or if you have spinal arthritis without stenosis, disc problems or non-specific back pain, you do need to consider the relative firmness or softness of your mattress. “People with these conditions do better with more support, i.e. a firmer mattress,” Perry says.

Perry also says that while everyone needs some support when they sleep, people who have undergone multiple back surgeries often need less, relatively speaking.


After several surgeries, the tissues have been altered and may be stiffer, he says. In this case, a softer mattress may be more comfortable.

When they compared the ratings with participants’ ratings of their personal bedding systems for the same amount of time, they found that the prescribed bedding systems helped to improve all three measures significantly. Your Sleeping Position

• Side Sleepers Most people are side sleepers, Perry tells me. They sleep in the fetal position with their knees drawn up toward their chest. But this position tends to put pressure on your hips and shoulders. For side and fetal sleepers, Perry recommends a slightly softer mattress, such as one from the Tempurpedic brand. The foam the Tempurpedic mattress is made of conforms to your body, especially in the thoracic and lumbar regions of the spine, he says.

• Stomach Sleepers But for the stomach sleeper, soft mattresses such as the Tempurpedic may irritate the back. A soft mattress encourages your abdomen to sink into the bed. The position that results is known to increase the arch in your low back and cause pain, he asserts. Perry suggests that a medium firm bed surface is good for stomach sleepers. The idea, he says, is to derive support from your chosen mattress, but without the abdominal sinking experience. By the way, the sinking effect is amplified if you have a large abdomen. For thin people, sinking may not be as much of an issue.

• Back Sleepers And finally, if you sleep on your back, Perry recommends putting a thin, rolled towel or pillow under your knees and low back for support. Pillowing under these areas will likely help support them, as well as provide you with more comfort, he says.

Researchers divided the participants up according to their usual sleep position. Participants were assigned to a medium firm mattress with a combination of foam and latex layering that was based on their preferred positioning choice – choices that correspond to Perry’s descriptions as noted above. The participants were rated for sleep comfort and quality every day for three months.

The researchers found that the patients’ back pain and stiffness improved with the new mattresses. For this reason, they concluded that sleep surfaces do relate to sleep discomfort and that it is possible to reduce your pain by replacing your mattress with one uniquely suitable to your particular spinal condition. Individual People Deserve Individual Mattress Choices

Different people need different things but in general, support is better, Dr. Perry concludes. If you have back pain, the best way to go about buying a mattress is to do your research and base your final selection on your particular need for both support and comfort.

Kovacs FM, Abraira V, Peña A, et al. Effect of firmness of mattress on chronic non-specific low-back pain: randomised, double-blind, controlled, multicentre trial. Lancet. 2003 Nov 15;362(9396):1599-604. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14630439