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New Latex Mattress = New Lower Back Pain

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30 Dec 2015 08:28 #1 by shaxpere
Hi, I'm very much a newbie at mattress buying, and now am in a predicament of my own making. I'm hoping that I can get some sage advice from this forum. Please excuse my blatant ignorance and obvious mistakes.

This fall my wife and I decided to finally replace our 10 year old Restonic innerspring mattress that was sagging in the middle. After almost no research, other than to determine that organic latex seemed like a good idea, we ordered a medium-firm Harmony from Astrabeds. Construction is three 3" layers of Dunlop latex, with densities of (bottom to top) 90, 80, 70, topped with a wool comfort layer.

Mattress delivered and installed, we started using it and I started getting lower back pain that I could not relieve by changing position. Not every night, but more often than not. I'm mostly a side sleeper, and on the old mattress if I would ever start to feel pain, I would just rollover, which would realign things. Thinking I needed the new mattress to be firmer, I reversed the order of the layers. Not only did this not help me, but my wife hated the change. We finally gave up and returned the mattress.

Thinking that I still needed firm, but with better conformity/comfort, I discovered Essentia, which makes a slow-release latex akin to memory foam. This time I visited their store in New York City while on a work trip. After talking with the rep and trying the different mattresses, I got a queen Classic 8, which has 6" of Dunlop latex (no idea of density) topped with 2" of 5.25 lb latex "memory foam".

Mattress delivered and installed, first night was awful. Neither of us could get comfortable. Second night (last night) we added an old 2" foam egg crate layer we had on the guest bed. It was marginally more comfortable, but I still had back pain.

To add to my confusion, during the interim between the Astrabed and the Essentia, we used our guest bed, which is a 25 year old (at least) double innerspring with the 2" egg crate. We both slept really well!

So here we are. I've read a bunch of posts here this morning, and I apparently had my head on backwards. My wife (5'3" and 120lbs) and I (5'9" and 145 lbs) are fairly light and are both back and side sleepers. So I guess we should have been looking at softer mattresses. So what do we do? Exchange this mattress for another Essentia? Add additional comfort layers? Return it and go with yet another brand?

Please help!

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30 Dec 2015 13:01 - 13 Dec 2018 05:21 #2 by Phoenix
Hi shaxpere,

So here we are. I've read a bunch of posts here this morning, and I apparently had my head on backwards. My wife (5'3" and 120lbs) and I (5'9" and 145 lbs) are fairly light and are both back and side sleepers. So I guess we should have been looking at softer mattresses. So what do we do? Exchange this mattress for another Essentia? Add additional comfort layers? Return it and go with yet another brand?


I'm sorry to hear that your mattresses didn't work out for you as well as you hoped for.

While both of the mattresses you purchased use good quality materials ... It certainly sounds like neither one of them was a good "match" for you in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your Personal preferences).

While it's not possible to "diagnose" mattress comfort issues on a forum with any certainty because there are too many unique unknowns, variables, and complexities involved that can affect how each person sleeps on a mattress in terms of "comfort" and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your Personal preferences) or any "symptoms" they experience ... there is more about the most common symptoms that people may experience when they sleep on a mattress and the most likely (although not the only) reasons for them in post #2 here .

There is also more about primary or "deep" support and secondary or "surface" support and their relationship to firmness and pressure relief and the "roles" of different layers in a mattress in post #2 here and in post #4 here that may also be helpful in clarifying the difference between "support" and "pressure relief" and "feel".

These posts are the "tools" that can help with the analysis, detective work, or trial and error that may be necessary to help you learn your body's language and "translate" what your body is trying to tell you so you can identify the types of changes that have the best chance of reducing or eliminating any "symptoms" you are experiencing (at least to the degree that any symptoms are from your mattress rather than the result of any other circumstances or pre-existing issues you may have that aren't connected to a mattress).

While the most common cause of lower back pain is a mattress that is too soft ... it can also be caused by a mattress that is too firm and if I had to guess based on your comments I would say that this is probably what is happening in your case.

There are also some comments about Essentia and some of the misleading claims they make and some forum discussions with them (as well as some of the FTC issues they have had about their claims) in this thread and this thread and posts #3 and #4 here ). I certainly wouldn't treat the information on their website (or on some of the other websites I've seen that write about them) as a reliable source of "fact based" information and I would also make some very careful "value" comparisons before considering any Essentia mattress because they tend to be in a much higher budget range than other mattresses that use similar quality materials as well and for most people they certainly wouldn't be the best value choice.

It's possible that adding a topper may solve the issues you are having ... but if you can't test the mattress/topper combination in person then there is always some risk and uncertainty involved in adding a topper because the specifics of the mattress itself along with your own body type, sleeping position, and preferences can affect which specific topper would be a suitable choice on any specific mattress.

While only you can decide what to do ... given the cost of the Essentia mattress and the uncertainty that can be involved in adding a topper ... if I was in your shoes I would probably lean towards returning it and starting over again so you can choose a mattress that is a better "match" for you in terms of PPP.

If you decide to try a topper then there is more information about choosing a topper in post #2 here and the topper guidelines it links to which along with a conversation with a reliable supplier that can provide you with good information about how their toppers compare to each other or to other toppers they are familiar with that are available on the market can help you use your sleeping experience as a reference point and guideline to help you choose the type, thickness, and firmness for a topper that has the least possible risk and the best chance for success.

If you decide to purchase a different mattress ... the first place to start your research is the mattress shopping tutorial here which includes all the basic information, steps, and guidelines that can help you make the best possible choice ... and perhaps more importantly know how and why to avoid the worst ones.

Two of the most important links in the tutorial that I would especially make sure you've read are post #2 here which has more about the different ways to choose a suitable mattress (either locally or online) that is the best "match" for you in terms of "comfort" and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) that can help you assess and minimize the risks of making a choice that doesn't turn out as well as you hoped for and post #13 here which has more about the most important parts of the "value" of a mattress purchase which can help you make more meaningful quality/value comparisons between mattresses in terms of suitability (how well you will sleep), durability (how long you will sleep well), and the overall value of a mattress compared to your other finalists (based on all the parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you).

If you are looking at online options then the tutorial includes several links to lists of the better online manufacturers and retailers I'm aware of (in the optional online step) that include a wide range of different types and categories of mattresses in a wide range of different designs, firmness levels and budgets and many of them have good return policies as well.

If you are also interested in local options that you can test in person before a purchase then if you let me know your city or zip code I'd also be happy to let you know about the better options or possibilities I'm aware of in your area as well.

Phoenix

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Last edit: 13 Dec 2018 05:21 by Administrator TMU. Reason: Updating link to https: status

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31 Dec 2015 07:27 - 31 Dec 2015 07:28 #3 by shaxpere
Wow, thanks for the quick, detailed reply! I'll start reading through the information. My zip code is 17019.
Thanks, and Happy New Year!
Last edit: 31 Dec 2015 07:28 by shaxpere. Reason: Typo

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31 Dec 2015 09:23 - 13 Dec 2018 05:22 #4 by Phoenix
Hi shaxpere,

The better options or possibilities I'm aware of that are in reasonable driving distance of Dillsburg, PA (subject to making sure that any mattress you are considering meets the quality/value guidelines here ) are listed in post #2 here .

Phoenix

Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
Click here for TMU Discount Codes if purchasing from Our Trusted Members.
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Last edit: 13 Dec 2018 05:22 by Administrator TMU. Reason: Updating link to https: status

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07 Jan 2016 19:35 #5 by shaxpere
So I'm slowly working through the information you've pointed me to. Do you have a copy of the lab test results on the essentia foam? The link to it in the other posts are broken.

Also, we tried adding some more foam layers that we had around (don't ask, we're recovering pack rats...), for a total of five inches. We're now sleeping comfortably, though I think it may be just a little too soft. But at least I feel like I'm heading in the right direction.

I contacted Essentia by email, and one thing they said is that the mattress starts out hard because of the way it's compressed for shipping, but it softens up with used, and can take up to a month to reach its full softness. This seems a little odd, though it does explain why their return policy requires you to keep the mattress for thirty days before you can return it.

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07 Jan 2016 20:17 - 13 Dec 2018 05:23 #6 by Phoenix
Hi shaxpere,

Do you have a copy of the lab test results on the essentia foam? The link to it in the other posts are broken.


The links in post #63 here are working.

I contacted Essentia by email, and one thing they said is that the mattress starts out hard because of the way it's compressed for shipping, but it softens up with used, and can take up to a month to reach its full softness. This seems a little odd, though it does explain why their return policy requires you to keep the mattress for thirty days before you can return it.


There will be a break in and adjustment period for any new mattress or sleeping system as the foam layers lose any of their initial "false firmness" and soften a little and the cover stretches and loses any initial stiffness and your body gets used to a sleeping surface that is different from what it is used to (see post #3 here ). This would typically be a few weeks but it can be shorter or longer depending on the specifics of the person and the mattress.

Phoenix

Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
Click here for TMU Discount Codes if purchasing from Our Trusted Members.
For any mattress questions Ask An Expert on our forum
Last edit: 13 Dec 2018 05:23 by Administrator TMU. Reason: Updating link to https: status

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10 Jan 2016 14:46 #7 by delwind
I had the same problem with my latex at first. I did a knee walk slowly all over and it did take a few weeks and now I love it. Still contemplating a softer topper but it is coming up on a year I did the beautiful latex from pure latex bliss.

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10 Jan 2016 15:36 - 13 Dec 2018 05:24 #8 by Phoenix
Hi delwind,

Thanks for the update ... and it's great to hear that you love your mattress almost a year after your original feedback here :).

Phoenix

Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
Click here for TMU Discount Codes if purchasing from Our Trusted Members.
For any mattress questions Ask An Expert on our forum
Last edit: 13 Dec 2018 05:24 by Administrator TMU. Reason: Updating link to https: status

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25 Jan 2016 16:55 - 13 Dec 2018 05:24 #9 by shaxpere
I haven't had much time to look into mattresses, but since reading the poor view of Essentia on this forum, I've done a little digging. Their website is a marketer's dream, and is a mire of obsfucation and somewhat misleading statements. For example, they talk about their organic Dunlop latex, and the importance of organic mattresses, but they never actually say that their "natural latex memory foam" or the mattress as whole is organic! Since I was under the impression I was buying organic, I'm disappointed, to say the least. That said, I'm still trying to wrap my head around a company claiming to make a latex based memory foam that, based on the test results Phoenix showed me, appears to have no latex in it at all! So either they are flat out lying, the test results are incorrect, or somewhere in-between. For example maybe they are making a fairly standard memory foam, but including enough latex to say it has latex, but not enough to be picked up in the lab. I don't know.

In my quest for knowledge, I asked Essentia directly via email about the ingredients in the memory foam, and they pointed me to this page on their website:

www.myessentia.com/learn/the-icky-truth/...icals-in-mattresses/

So, let's assume for the moment that this is accurate. Can those of you who know more about how foams are made translate this long list of chemicals for me? Does it look complete?

Also, for those of you who are interested, I took a closer look at the law tags for my mattress and pillows. I can provide pics if anyone cares to see them. Here's what they say:

Classic 8 Mattress:
Shell - 100% Organic Cotton
Liner - 100% Kevlar Knit
Filler - Organic Cotton, Natural Latex Memory Foam

Comfort Pillow:
Shell - 100% Organic Fabric
Liner - 100% Organic Cotton
Filler - Natural Latex Memory Foam
Last edit: 13 Dec 2018 05:24 by Administrator TMU. Reason: Updating link to https: status

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25 Jan 2016 17:49 - 13 Dec 2018 05:25 #10 by Phoenix
Hi shaxpere,

For example, they talk about their organic Dunlop latex, and the importance of organic mattresses, but they never actually say that their "natural latex memory foam" or the mattress as whole is organic!


That's because their latex and their mattress isn't certified organic. They do have a Greenguard certification that tests their mattresses for harmful VOC's so I would consider their mattresses to be "safe enough" but it's also true that all of the latex you are likely to encounter (either Dunlop or Talalay that is made with either natural or synthetic rubber or a blend of both) will have a reliable safety certification such as Oeko-Tex, Eco-Institut, or Greenguard Gold and based on actual testing I would consider any type or blend of latex to be a very "safe" material in terms of harmful substances and VOC's.

There is also more information about the different levels of organic certifications in post #2 here and some of the benefits of an organic certification in post #3 here and there is more about the different types of organic and safety certifications in post #2 here and more about some of the differences between organic and safety certifications in post #2 here that can help you decide whether an organic certification is important to you or whether a "safety" certification is enough.

In my quest for knowledge, I asked Essentia directly via email about the ingredients in the memory foam, and they pointed me to this page on their website:

www.myessentia.com/learn/the-icky-truth/...icals-in-mattresses/

So, let's assume for the moment that this is accurate. Can those of you who know more about how foams are made translate this long list of chemicals for me? Does it look complete?


All latex foam (including 100% natural Dunlop and Talalay and organic latex) uses a small amount of chemicals to manufacture the latex (see post #18 here ) but the manufacturers don't release the specifics of their compounding formula which is a closely guarded secret.

While I'm not a chemical engineer so I can't speak to all the differences in their chemical formulations ... the two main "chemical" differences between Talalay and Dunlop is that Talalay latex uses carbon dioxide gas as a gelling agent while Dunlop latex uses sodium fluorosilicate. Natural Dunlop latex is also often manufactured closer to the latex plantations so in many cases it needs less ammonia or other stabilizing agents to stabilize the latex and prevent it from coagulating or putrefying before it's used while Talalay is made in Holland (Radium) or in the USA (Talalay Global) so the liquid field latex they use may contain higher levels of ammonia or other chemicals to stabilize it before it's used to manufacture the latex. Most of the ammonia is removed during the foaming process either way.

You can also see some comments about the chemicals that they have listed in post #60 here .

Also, for those of you who are interested, I took a closer look at the law tags for my mattress and pillows. I can provide pics if anyone cares to see them. Here's what they say:

Classic 8 Mattress:
Shell - 100% Organic Cotton
Liner - 100% Kevlar Knit
Filler - Organic Cotton, Natural Latex Memory Foam

Comfort Pillow:
Shell - 100% Organic Fabric
Liner - 100% Organic Cotton
Filler - Natural Latex Memory Foam


It would be great to attach a picture of your law tag to your post. You can also see some comments about their law tags (and a picture of a law tag for the Opus mattress) in posts #21 - #25 here . Their law tags are ambiguous because even if you give them the benefit of the doubt the natural latex in their mattresses is a different material from what they are calling "natural latex memory foam" and they should probably be listed as separate ingredients. The first two words may also be referring to the latex and the last two words may be referring to the memory foam so it's possible that they are written to only "look like" a single ingredient when in fact they aren't.

Phoenix

Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
Click here for TMU Discount Codes if purchasing from Our Trusted Members.
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Last edit: 13 Dec 2018 05:25 by Administrator TMU. Reason: Updating link to https: status

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