Bastyr Center for Natural Health, Seattle, Washington
Search
Health Information
Overview Health Conditions and Concerns Conditions A-M Conditions N-Z Healthy Lifestyle Tips Bastyr Health-E News News and Events Recommended Reading List Recipes National and Community Resources
Schedule an appointment today
Pain | Medium-Firm Mattress Is Helpful for Low Back Pain

Medium-Firm Mattress Is Helpful for Low Back Pain

Sleeping on a mattress of medium firmness is beneficial to people who suffer with chronic low back pain, reports a new study in The Lancet (2003;362:1599–604).

Chronic low back pain is one of the most common debilitating ailments afflicting people in Western societies. Low back pain affects the region of the back from the bottom of the rib cage to the folds beneath the buttocks, restricting movement of the entire body. It is often exacerbated by poor posture and certain physical activities. Treatment includes bed rest, stretching and exercise, applications of heat, spinal manipulation, massage, acupuncture, and anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving (analgesic) medications. The effectiveness of these therapies in relieving low back pain and reducing disability, however, is limited.

Mattress firmness is believed to be another factor influencing the course of low back pain, although that issue has not been subjected to rigorous scientific study. One study found that people with low back pain were more sensitive to the firmness of their mattresses than were people without back pain. While 76% of orthopedic surgeons answering a survey recommend a firm mattress to patients with low back pain, the optimal type of mattress for such people is not known.

The current study enrolled 310 people who had experienced low back pain while lying in bed or on rising. The pain had been present for at least three months, but the study participants were otherwise healthy. They were randomly assigned to receive either a firm or a medium-firm new mattress. Levels of low back pain and disability due to low back pain were scored using questionnaires at the beginning of the study and after 90 days. Improvements in disability scores and in overall scores for pain on rising were significantly greater in the participants receiving medium-firm mattresses than in those receiving firm mattresses.

These findings suggest that sleeping on a medium-firm mattress is helpful in managing chronic low back pain and reduces disability related to the condition. Furthermore, a medium-firm mattress appears to be more helpful to people with low back pain than a firm mattress. Future studies are needed to confirm these findings, to compare the effects of sleeping on other kinds of mattresses, and to assess the long-term benefits of this intervention.

Maureen Williams, ND, received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Seattle, WA. She has a private practice in Quechee, VT, and does extensive work with traditional herbal medicine in Guatemala and Honduras. Dr. Williams is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.

Copyright © 2004 Healthnotes, Inc. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of the Healthnotes® content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Healthnotes, Inc. Healthnotes Newswire is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional. Healthnotes, Inc. shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Healthnotes and the Healthnotes logo are registered trademarks of Healthnotes, Inc.

Learn More About It

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 |

Find a Provider

Want to find the provider that's right for you? Learn more about our health care providers.  »



Bastyr Center Disclaimer
gif
gif

The health information contained in this site is not intended as medical advice and should not be considered a substitute for appropriate medical care. Any products mentioned in studies cited in Healthnotes articles are not necessarily endorsed by Bastyr. As with any product, consult with a natural health practitioner to discuss what may be best for you.

gif

Appointments: 206.834.4100
Bastyr Center clinic appointments

Submit a contact request or call us to schedule an appointment »

Bastyr University Clinic in San Diego

Are you looking for Bastyr University Clinic, our new teaching clinic in San Diego? More »

Learn More About Our Services

Natural medicine can treat many types of conditions including:

More treatable health conditions »


Bastyr Center healthcare providers

Interested in finding a provider who's right for you? We recommend that your first visit at BCNH be with a Naturopathic Medicine Provider. »

Home  | Health Information  | Health Care Services  | Our Providers  | Patient Care  | Dispensaries

About BCNH  | Contact Us  | Appointments  | Privacy Policy  | Site Map | Bastyr University