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30-something with lower back issues seeking mattress recommendation 26 Aug 2017 17:01 #1

I was hoping for some recommendations. We currently have an innerspring/memory foam Simmons Beautyrest mattress that is 7 years old. We routinely wake up with back/shoulder stiffness and soreness. I bought a soft 3 inch talalay latex foam topper from Brooklyn Bedding which made it slightly better but we know we need to replace what we have. I weigh 190 and my husband weighs 160 - we are 39 years old. Both of us are back/side sleepers (it varies throughout the night). I previously herniated two discs in my lower back (had surgery due to related back and nerve pain in my leg) and was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease. We need something that is supportive but not too firm. What do you recommend as far as natural latex or memory foam/latex combo mattresses? We are in the Chicago area but also open to purchasing online.

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30-something with lower back issues seeking mattress recommendation 27 Aug 2017 14:25 #2

Hi jennmllr,

Welcome to the Mattress Forum! :)

I was hoping for some recommendations. We currently have an innerspring/memory foam Simmons Beautyrest mattress that is 7 years old. We routinely wake up with back/shoulder stiffness and soreness. I bought a soft 3 inch talalay latex foam topper from Brooklyn Bedding which made it slightly better but we know we need to replace what we have.


Yes, I’d agree that with the density of foams commonly used in that mattress line back when you bought it, you’re definitely near the end of a normal comfort life for such componentry and the topper would only provide a softer (and more durable) surface comfort, so I would be in agreement with your assessment.

I weigh 190 and my husband weighs 160 - we are 39 years old. Both of us are back/side sleepers (it varies throughout the night). I previously herniated two discs in my lower back (had surgery due to related back and nerve pain in my leg) and was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease. We need something that is supportive but not too firm.


Side sleepers generally need a bit more pressure point relief on the surface to accommodate the wider dimensional variances between the shoulders and the hips and the waist. There’s a bit more about different sleeping positions here .

I’m very sorry to hear about your low back issues, so with that in mind you’d definitely want to make sure that whatever you choose has very good deep down support to promote a more neutral alignment. The two basic functions of a mattress are to provide support/alignment and then comfort, and between the two I’ll recommend to defer first toward support. This is described a bit more in the basic functions of a mattress here .

What do you recommend as far as natural latex or memory foam/latex combo mattresses? We are in the Chicago area but also open to purchasing online.


The one thing this forum is designed to do is to assist and give you the tools to help with the “how” to pick out a mattress, not the “what”. Overall, it's just 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 (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences) 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 ).

With that being said, I can provide you an outline of some of the steps you should take when shopping for or considering any new mattress, and these will help you make an informed decision.

I would first being with the mattress shopping tutorial here . It 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. Read through it and use it as a reference source – don’t attempt to memorize every detail.

Two of the most important links in the tutorial that I would especially make sure you've read:

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 (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own 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.

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).

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. You can’t “feel” quality or durability, so assessing the useful life of a mattress depends on knowing the specifics of its construction and the type and quality of the materials inside, regardless of how a mattress feels in a showroom or when it is relatively new. So you should always make sure that you find out the 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.

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.

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.

The materials you are considering can both be useful in persons with low back issues. Latex itself is quite point elastic (conforming) but also resilient (has good “pushback”), so it can be useful in both the comfort and support layers of a mattress, and can be had in many different levels of softness. Memory foam is also a very point elastic material, but it is not very resilient (not supportive), so it is more appropriately used in the upper comfort layers of a mattress.

I would consider all latex you would encounter to be a higher quality and durable material. For memory foam, the minimum guidelines (from the link I shared earlier) would be 4 lb in density, with 5 lb being better. An overview of mattress comfort layers is here . My concern with your low back issues would be to make sure that you don’t choose something with too much plush comfort material in the uppermost layers of the mattress, and as I mentioned previously defer first to alignment and deep support and then just enough surface comfort to get the job done.

In the Chicagoland area, we do have two site members with retail locations:
My Green Mattress[/url / Quality Sleep Shop
Beloit Mattress Company
Quality Sleep shop has a selection of latex mattresses, and Beloit Mattress Company offers both latex and memory foam products.

Aside from these two businesses, if you wish to visit other retail mattress stores, I would always confirm that any retailer or manufacturer that you wish to visit is completely transparent (see this article ) and also make sure that any mattress that you are considering meets the quality/value guidelines here . If you have any questions about specifications or certain products, feel free to post back on the forum and I’ll do my best to provide answers.

In the past, I put together lists of potential stores for people to visit in geographic regions, but I have decided to discontinue the provision of these listings (unless they are already approved site members), because of the difficulty in maintaining such lists in a retail landscape that is constantly changing, and most importantly the confusion it was creating with the consumer members who incorrectly assumed that these businesses had indeed gone through the strict vetting and qualification process to become approved as members of The Mattress Underground. Such an assumption was unfair to both the consumers seeking assistance, as well as the very businesses and manufacturers who have indeed qualified the be members here of The Mattress Underground.

If you do decide to search outside of your region, you may wish to start and look online and use the experience and expertise of the members listed in post #21 here who are all very experienced and knowledgeable and specialize in providing the type of help and guidance on the phone that can help you make good choices. There are a wide range of latex and memory foam options included in the choices there and I believe that all of them compete well with the best in the industry in terms of their quality, value, service, and transparency.

When you can't test a mattress in person and decide to shop online, 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, options, and firmness levels to different body types, sleeping positions, and preferences (or to other mattresses that they are familiar with) than anyone else. Their detailed knowledge of their mattresses and how they fit with different body types and sleeping positions along with your feedback from local testing, a customer base of many people that they can use as reference points, and any exchange, return, or any options they have available to customize a mattress after a purchase can help lower the risk of an online purchase. These online retailers or manufacturers can also be a good "value reference" for local purchases to make sure that if you are paying a "premium" for a local purchase (in exchange for the kind of "in person" guidance, service, and value that comes with dealing with a local retailer that can help you make more "accurate" choices that you have tested in person) is not too high.

I hope that information is helpful to you, and I’ll be interested to learn of your progress.

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

30-something with lower back issues seeking mattress recommendation 27 Aug 2017 17:58 #3

Thanks so very much. This is immensely helpful as I proceed to research.

In the meantime, I am curious if you have any specific thoughts on the new Casper Wave. It's being marketed towards people like me with spinal concerns.

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30-something with lower back issues seeking mattress recommendation 27 Aug 2017 19:24 #4

Hi jennmllr,

In the meantime, I am curious if you have any specific thoughts on the new Casper Wave. It's being marketed towards people like me with spinal concerns.


Marketing aside, it’s a new “higher-end” model from Casper that was launched first in Germany. Essentially, it’s their take on a zoned system, providing more contouring for the shoulder and hip/leg area, and also providing some extra support through an elastic polymer inserted into channel cut into the middle third of the mattress in the HR polyfoam layer of the mattress, just above the polyfoam core.

I’m not familiar with the mattress itself, and Casper doesn’t provide specifics of the densities of the foams within the mattress, but their promotional video, if accurate, shows a bit of information about the layers:

From the video specs (not sure if these are accurate)
Flo Soft polyfoam – approx. 1”
Latex – approx. 1.5”
3.5 lb 20 ILD memory foam – approx. 1.5”
2.5 lb 28 ILD R polyfoam – approx. 1.5”, with elastic polymer strips laid into the middle third channels cut into the foam
1.8 lb 36 ILD polyfoam core, approx. 6” with channels cut into the foam in the areas under the shoulders and hips/legs.

As for the applicability of this mattress to you, I wouldn’t be able to determine that and with it being such a new product I don’t have any feedback upon the exact componentry to give more accurate information. Casper does offer a 100 night trial on this new 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

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