Sunday, September 27, 2015

Mattress Guidelines for Sleep Comfort

The right mattress can really help one have a good night's sleep and wake up feeling rested and refreshed. Sleeping on the wrong mattress can cause sleeplessness, back pain, and overall aches and pains. For people with a back problem, a mattress that isn't a good fit can make the pain worse.

When searching for the best mattress, remember that mattresses are largely a matter of personal preference. There is no single type of mattress or bed that works well for all people, and there is no best mattress for back problems. Likewise, there
is no single sleep position known to be best for all people. This is due to several factors:

- There are many causes of back problems, and different back conditions may respond better to specific types of beds, mattresses and sleep positions.

- There is a high degree of personal preference for mattresses, and what works well for one person may not work well for another.

- There is very limited scientific study published on mattresses and back pain, and findings from the studies that have been completed are inconclusive.

- Overall, the causes of back pain can be quite complex, and it’s difficult to isolate whether or not a person's mattress has played a significant role in improving the pain or making it worse.

The bottom line is that the type of mattress that is best for any particular person is really a matter of personal preference.

The type of mattress one uses is not the only factor for patients with pain and sleep difficulty. Many other factors need to be considered that may affect sleep, including:

- Medication side effects

- Irregular sleep patterns

- Caffeine/alcohol/tobacco use

- Sleep apnea

- Anxiety/stress

If comfort is not the only thing making sleep difficult, it is advisable for the patient to consult his or her family physician to discuss other possible causes and treatments for sleeplessness.

Experiencing significant or persistent back pain may indicate an underlying back condition that has nothing to do with the mattress. It is always advisable for people with back pain to consult with a health care provider for a thorough exam, diagnosis, and treatment program.

As a reminder, sleep comfort is first and foremost a matter of personal preference. No one should expect that switching mattresses or beds will cure their lower back pain, and changes in the type of bed or mattress used should be made solely for the sake of comfort.

Sleep Positions for Back Conditions

An important factor that can influence individual preferences for mattresses, beds and sleeping positions is the specific back condition a person has. For example:

- Osteoarthritis. Patients with pain from osteoarthritis of the facet joints may prefer to sleep on their sides with their knees curled up (in the fetal position). This helps open up the facet joints in the spine and can relieve any corresponding pressure. Alternatively, sleeping in a reclining chair or an adjustable bed that allows the head and knees to be elevated can also relieve pressure on the facet joints.

- Degenerative Disc Disease. Patients with pain from degenerative disc disease may prefer to sleep on their stomach as this can relieve pressure on the disc space. Patients may feel most comfortable using a relatively firm mattress and placing a flat pillow under the stomach and hips, which can further reduce stress on the lower back.

- Spinal Stenosis. People with pain from spinal stenosis may prefer to sleep on their sides with their knees curled up (in the fetal position). This helps relieve pressure on the nerve root. Sleeping in a reclining chair or an adjustable bed that allows the head and knees to be elevated can also relieve pressure on the nerve.

- Bursitis. Patients who have inflammation of the bursa over their hips (greater trochanteric bursitis) can be especially susceptible to pain from a mattress that is too firm. If the mattress is too hard, a new mattress with thick padding on top, or placing an egg crate foam
mattress cover over the old mattress, can help provide some relief from the firmness.

- Hip Pain. Patients with hip pain who sleep on their sides can usually find some pain relief by placing a pillow between their knees. This decreases stress across the hip.

- Herniated Lumbar Disc. The most comfortable sleep position depends on the position of the disc. For a paracentral disc herniation (most common), patients will tend to do better lying on their stomach. For a foraminal herniated disc, sleeping on the side in a fetal position is usually better tolerated.

In general, elevating the knees slightly by placing a pillow under them while lying on the back can help many general forms of low back pain. Many patients also find that this is the most comfortable way to sleep after spine surgery.

Learn more about getting a good night’s sleep. Visit

Thursday, September 24, 2015


When the cervical spine (neck) is subject to whiplash, there is usually a combination of factors that contribute to whiplash pain in the neck and back, and ultimately need to be addressed individually by a chiropractor. Read the details below:

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Informational Video: Lumber Spine Adjustments

Chiropractic can be an effective nonsurgical treatment option for many types of low back pain, including those associated with facet joint or sacroiliac joint dysfunction and disc problems. Chiropractic manipulation is a common therapeutic treatment designed to increase function and decrease pain and nerve irritability. Here's a video explaining what it looks like and how it works.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Degenerative Disk Disease

Degenerative disc disease refers to any condition where the spinal discs are degenerating or degrading, often causing back pain. This interactive video provides information on spinal anatomy and how degenerative disc disease affects the vertebrae and spinal discs. It also gives an in-depth overview of symptoms associated with degenerative disc disease.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Herniated Disc: A Condition with Many Names

Whether it’s called a slipped disc, bulging disc, or ruptured disc, there are a lot of ways to label and describe a herniated disc. But regardless of the name used, the important goal is to have a doctor accurately diagnose the cause of disc pain, so it can be treated. This article explains the diagnostic process.

Featured Article:
Diagnosing Disc Problems

Treatment Options for a Lumbar Herniated Disc
In most cases, herniated discs are first treated with several weeks of nonsurgical treatments. If symptoms and pain don’t improve, surgery may be considered.  Learn More...

Exercise for Sciatica from a Herniated Disc
When a herniated disc causes nerve pain that radiates down the back of the legs, known as sciatica, there are many exercises you can do to ease this pain. Learn More...

Lumbar Decompression Back Surgery
If the main source of pain for a lumbar herniated disc is from a nerve impingement, a surgery known as lumbar decompression may be recommended. Learn More...

Friday, September 11, 2015

Massage Therapy Effective for Back Pain

Massages aren't just for pampering at the spa. Unknown to many people, there is evidence that shows massage therapy may be as-or more effective than- standard medical treatment for nonspecific back pain. Read all about a new study:

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

What's the Best Pillow to Use?

Patients with neck pain often ask "which is the best pillow to use?" and the truth is there’s no one pillow that works for everybody. This video reviews the advantages and disadvantages of different types of pillows.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Monday, September 7, 2015

Insomnia and Back Pain

Without sufficient sleep, aches and pains become more prominent. And many chronic pains can make it more difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep. This loop can make recovery more difficult unless sleep issues are addressed as part of a treatment program.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sciatica Treatment

When someone is suffering from sciatic pain, the first treatments should be heat or ice, chiropractic manipulations, massage, medications, and acupuncture, followed by exercises.