It’s not always easy to know what the best mattress for back pain will be any more than knowing what the best mattress for pressure points is. Most people will experience back pain of one kind or another in their lifetime. For some, it will be a brief experience from which they quickly recover. Others will experience lingering back pain stemming from issues such as herniated disks or bulging disks.
Either condition can lead to long-term back pain, short-term back pain or, in some rare cases, no pain at all. While you may not know the best mattress for aches and pains associated with a herniated or bulging disk now, you should be better prepared to find the perfect fit after reading this.
What is a Herniated Disk or a Bulging Disk?
Herniated and bulging disks are two different conditions, though sometimes they are lumped together in a discussion. A bulging disk bulges beyond the area is typically occupies. The Mayo Clinic describes its appearance as “a hamburger that’s too big for its bun.” This condition is not as medically alarming as it is in appearance as it is commonly associated with the aging process, though it’s quite common to discover on MRIs for people at any age.
Herniated disks, on the other hand, are the result of a crack in the outer cartilage of the disk that allows the inner core of the disk to leak out. This leakage results in pressure on the spinal nerve root, which may cause back pain, neck pain, and/or sciatica symptoms. The pain can sometimes radiate to the shoulder and down the arm as well.
Symptoms of Herniated Disks
Back pain is the most common symptom of a herniated disk. In many cases, the pain lasts a few days at first before getting better. There can be neck pain as well, depending on the location of the herniated disk in relation to the spine. In some individuals, there is the onset of leg pain, numbness, and even weakness to contend with.
It’s important to understand that not everyone who has a herniated disk will have pain of any sort associated with the condition. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, “It remains a great challenge for the doctor to determine whether a disk that is wearing out is the source of a patient’s pain.”
Causes of Herniated Disks
Unfortunately, this is a condition that is fairly natural as part of the aging process. There are, however, things you can do that may exacerbate the problem or help it along to some degree.
- Lifting heavy objects using your back, twisting while lifting, and failing to use proper safety devices while lifting
- Repetitive activities that strain the spine – such as in jobs that require a great deal of lifting, pulling, and bending
- Being a male between the ages of 30 and 50
- Sedentary lifestyle/inactivity
- Driving frequently
Can a Mattress Make a Difference?
While a mattress will not likely prevent you from getting a herniated disk, it can help you find relief from some of the pain associated with one. The right mattress will make a world of difference by providing adequate support to your back and encouraging proper spinal alignment. WebMD recommends a medium-firm mattress, such as you will find with natural latex mattresses, to give your spine the perfect balance of support and cushioning to relieve your pain. Further, a natural latex mattress also offers resiliency and longevity, which means it will provide long-lasting support for your back for many years.
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