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buying advice for side sleeper with L3 fracture 18 Oct 2016 09:59 #1

For decades now I've needed to side-sleep to avoid middle of the night Sacroiliac Joint Syndrome symptoms, leg pain and numbness. Then in '09 I fractured my L3 vertebra via a fall. Ever since, getting into and out of bed had been painful to that L3-to-hip zone, either when it torques from twisting to get into/out of position or just when settling into the foetal side-sleeper position. The pain subsides when settled in after a minute or so. Not a huge deal, can and do live with it.

But now it's time for a new mattress. My side of our Simmons is sagging after 10 years of my 315 pounds :ohmy: I know to a large extent it could be trial-and-error, but I just would appreciate any advice to make the errors less likely.

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buying advice for side sleeper with L3 fracture 18 Oct 2016 17:19 #2

Hi rootazoid.

For decades now I've needed to side-sleep to avoid middle of the night Sacroiliac Joint Syndrome symptoms, leg pain and numbness. Then in '09 I fractured my L3 vertebra via a fall.


I’m sorry to hear about your SI issues, as well as your fractured L3 vertebrae. Hopefully you’re healing up from that. As you’re already well aware, you have a specific pre-existing condition that unfortunately is probably going to cause you some degree of discomfort over time. Certainly your old mattress isn’t doing you any favors. While there is a huge variation in what people desire when they have extreme low back issues such as yours, sleep ergonomic research tends to lean toward something that has very strong support, combined with adequate comfort layers of proper density and firmness to assist you in keeping decent spinal alignment. However, in your situation there may be a certain level of alignment and comfort that best suits your specific injury, so your opinion is of course paramount.

I just would appreciate any advice to make the errors less likely.


While I can certainly help with "how" to choose ... It's not possible to make specific suggestions or recommendations for either a mattress, manufacturers/retailers, or combinations of materials or components because the first "rule" of mattress shopping is to always remember that you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress and there are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences involved that are unique to each person to use a formula or for anyone to be able to predict or make a specific suggestion or recommendation about which mattress or combination of materials and components or which type of mattress would be the best "match" for you in terms of "comfort", firmness, or PPP or how a mattress will "feel" to you or compare to another mattress based on specs (either yours or a mattress), sleeping positions, health conditions, or "theory at a distance" that can possibly be more reliable than your own careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in step 4 of the tutorial) or your own personal sleeping experience (see mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here ).

I'm assuming that you've read the mattress shopping tutorial here but 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", firmness, and PPP 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 (including the price of course and the options you have available after a purchase if your choice doesn't turn out as well as you hoped for).

While again nobody can speak to how any specific mattress will "feel" for someone else or whether it will be a good "match" in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP because this is too subjective and relative to different body types, sleeping positions, and individual preferences, sensitivities, and circumstances and you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress ... outside of PPP (which is the most important part of "value"), the next most important part of the value of a mattress purchase is durability which is all about how long you will sleep well on a mattress. This is the part of your research that you can't see or "feel" and assessing the durability and useful life of a mattress depends on knowing the specifics of its construction and the type and quality of the materials inside it regardless of the name of the manufacturer on the label or how a mattress feels in a showroom or when it is relatively new so I would always make sure that you find out information listed here so you can compare the quality of the materials and components to the durability guidelines here to make sure there are no lower quality materials or weak links in a mattress that would be a cause for concern relative to the durability and useful life of a mattress before making any purchase.

When you can't test a mattress in person then the most reliable source of guidance is always a more detailed phone conversation with a knowledgeable and experienced retailer or manufacturer that has your best interests at heart and who can help "talk you through" the specifics of their mattresses and the properties and "feel" of the materials they are using (fast or slow response, resilience, firmness etc) and the options they have available that may be the best "match" for you based on the information you provide them, any local testing you have done or mattresses you have slept on and liked or other mattresses you are considering that they are familiar with, and the "averages" of other customers that are similar to you. They will know more about "matching" their specific mattress designs and firmness levels to different body types, sleeping positions, and preferences (or to other mattresses that they are familiar with) than anyone else.

In its simplest form ... choosing the "best possible" mattress for any particular person really comes down to FIRST finding a few knowledgeable and transparent retailers and/or manufacturers (either locally or online) that sell the types of mattresses that you are most interested in that are in a budget range you are comfortable with and that you have confirmed will provide you with the all the information you need about the materials and components inside the mattresses they sell so you will be able to make informed choices and meaningful comparisons between mattresses and then ...

1. Careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in the tutorial) to make sure that a mattress is a good match for you in terms of "comfort", firmness, and PPP ... and/or that you are comfortable with the options you have available to return, exchange, or "fine tune" the mattress and any costs involved if you can't test a mattress in person or aren't confident that your mattress is a suitable choice.

2. Checking to make sure that there are no lower quality materials or weak links in a mattress you are considering relative to your weight/BMI range that could compromise the durability and useful life of the mattress (see the durability guidelines here ).

3. Comparing your finalists for "value" based on #1 and #2 and all the other parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you.

my 315 pounds


A high BMI presents special challenges and generally requires firmer materials in the support layers especially. This could be firmer latex or innersprings (the type of support component would be a personal preference and in the right design either could be suitable) or even a zoned construction. The same overall guidelines apply with higher weights though that PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) along with using high quality durable materials that will maintain their feel and performance for longer periods of time are the way to make the best choices. Heavier people in general will need firmer and thicker comfort layers and firmer support layers than those who are lighter and because no materials will last as long with much higher weights the quality and durability of the materials and components is even more important than normal. I wouldn't "rule out" any types of mattress and base your choices on your own personal testing.

Taking some time to read the mattress shopping tutorial will be your first step in making sure you are choosing a product with appropriately durable componentry for your specific needs.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Administrator TMU. Reason: Updating link to https: status

buying advice for side sleeper with L3 fracture 19 Oct 2016 04:41 #3

Phoenix thanks for your thoughtful and informative reply. It is as I expected, time for a lot of homework on my part.

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buying advice for side sleeper with L3 fracture 19 Oct 2016 09:29 #4

Hello rootazoid.

Phoenix thanks for your thoughtful and informative reply. It is as I expected, time for a lot of homework on my part.


When your health is at stake, it’s always worth a few hours of reading to make an informed decision. :)

I look forward to learning about what you decide to do.

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

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

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