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HELP.. new 12" full tallalay mattress KILLING my back 07 Sep 2020 06:45 #1

On Saturday I received my fully custom 7-zone 12" talalay mattress and it is giving me the worst lower back pain I've ever had sleeping on any bed, cot, couch, or floor.. Please help. I know there's an adjustment period, but this level of pain is not acceptable as an adjustment. It is disappointing because i spent this small fortune to help FIX my back pain.
The mattress is non-refundable, but they do unlimited piece exchanges for 90 days.

I'm a 130lb 5'11 hemiplegic bit.ly/2XAQ9oR
what the illustration is missing, however, is that my left side has a reduced mass. but as you can see in the diagram, my left shoulder is quite small and hunched, and my hip sticks out a lot.I am mostly a left side sleeper (60-80%) and then I roll onto my back when the side isn't doing it for me. as you might imagine, my shoulder and hip bears most of my load. I do move my legs back and forth though, sometimes my right leg goes forward and therefore my right knee might bear some weight.

I've attached some pictures outlining:
- the bed map (softness-firmness on a scale of 1-7, pieces are moveable and exchangeable)
- a picture showing the inside of the mattress, for context
- I've tried to take pictures of my posture (not really sure what to look for).. the sheet-free bed is my 8-10 yo beautyrest nxg (memory foam on springs) which hurts my back modestly but is one of the better sleeps I've had in my life, and the sheeted bed is the latex one
so, the first night, I slept on the map as is (first sheeted image)(right side of bed) but it hurt my back so I took the 1's out from the bottom of the bed and replaced the 2s in the hip... I think it made the pain worse but it is hard to tell... it definitely made back-sleeping more painful. But I my posture looks better in the second picture?

the left side of the bed has a softer core layer (4 instead of 5) so I'm going to try that tonight.. if it gets worse i guess that means I need a firmer mattress? I don't know what to do because its not an exact science and the store I bought the bed from is 2.5 hours away so its not easy to exchange pieces... Any suggestions?

It is weird because, normally, my back curves to the left (I had a 30 degree spine curve when I was in my teens.. who knows what it is by now) but when i wake up in pain on this bed and i get up to stretch out the pain, I stretch to the RIGHT and NOT to the left.. which makes me think that it isn't my body complaining that my posture in bed is "too good", but rather, I might be sinking in at the shoulder or hip too far?Another interesting thing is i can stretch most of the pain out in a short time (a moderate amount of pain is lingering, but, most of it goes away when i get up and stretch my back to the right- right now I just have a lingering tightness ache in my lower rightside back)

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Last edit: by A-Raw.

HELP.. new 12" full tallalay mattress KILLING my back 07 Sep 2020 16:24 #2

Edit: I take it out. I can't stretch out the pain. My back has hurt all day.

It is very comfortable to lay on, but it causes really bad lower back pain over time.

I had a nap today on the other softer side and it hurt me as well.

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HELP.. new 12" full tallalay mattress KILLING my back 07 Sep 2020 16:31 #3

Also, I sleep on my left side and the pain is in my lower and right-side mid back. Is that telling of where the problem is at all?

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HELP.. new 12" full tallalay mattress KILLING my back 10 Sep 2020 21:03 #4

Hi A-Raw.

It’s unfortunate that you’re experiencing such intense lower back pain on your new mattress!

I know there's an adjustment period, but this level of pain is not acceptable as an adjustment. It is disappointing because i spent this small fortune to help FIX my back pain.
The mattress is non-refundable, but they do unlimited piece exchanges for 90 days.


Although I can’t say for sure … with the little I know about your condition I’d venture to say that in the case of your old mattress your body “worked hard” over a long enough period of time to compensate for all the imbalances you are mentioning and “learned” ways to adjust, cope and give you a relatively good night sleep. (although the back pains that you experienced on your old m mattress are already a red flag) While it still may be the case with a new mattress and your hemiplegic condition that your body would have to “unlearn old ways” and relearn new ways to adjust to a very different sleeping environment …. unfortunately, there’s really no way to tell if the mattress is the main contributing factor to your back issue and I would strongly recommend that you contact your healthcare professional for the best advice to assess, mitigate, correct neurological damage.

I'm a 130lb 5'11 hemiplegic … my left side has a reduced mass. but as you can see in the diagram, my left shoulder is quite small and hunched, and my hip sticks out a lot.I am mostly a left side sleeper (60-80%) and then I roll onto my back when the side isn't doing it for me. as you might imagine, my shoulder and hip bears most of my load.


With the new mattress, it is possible for certain people to experience some discomfort and minor pains, but intense pain shouldn’t be part of an adjustment period. You mentioned the mattress is 7 zones and Talalay latex with unlimited layer exchanges for 90 days. Back pain in your “ lower and right-side mid-back“ could very well be an indication that your spine is not getting the alignment was adjusted to … It is very hard to say in your case and I am not a specialist. I would make sure to document all the changes you make to the zoning and collect enough data points to share with someone that is qualified to better help with this. You already have pre-existing conditions and back issues which really complicates testing out a new mattress, as it introduces new variables into the equation of attempting to objectively analyze your new mattress. This being said I’ll try to make some general comments that may be useful.

Alignment/support is the most important thing that a mattress does for you. You'll want to choose something that doesn't allow for too much of accentuation of your already preexisting 30+ degree spinal lateral curvatures when side sleeping, Generally, you'd want to look for something with "just enough" surface plushness to assist with contouring for your shoulders and hips. I wouldn't be able to tell you how much that would be, as there are so many variables involved, including your body type, the threshold of sensitivity, and of course your physical needs, but definitely t you had a good call on choosing something where the zoning can be rearranged and you can experiment with it.

I did notice from your images that your new mattress has an “egg crate” style top layer. I would suggest removing that and sleeping on the flat layers directly to see if that makes a difference. (make sure to change only one variable at a time to be able to draw conclusions.

so, the first night, I slept on the map as is (first sheeted image)(right side of bed) but it hurt my back so I took the 1's out from the bottom of the bed and replaced the 2s in the hip... I think it made the pain worse but it is hard to tell... it definitely made back-sleeping more painful. But I my posture looks better in the second picture?


All of these are good experiments but you would also need to give a little more time to your body to catch up with the change. Pain worsening is a good indicator that you need to move in the other direction with zoning combinations… hard to say from the photos if you got better posture as this is relative to your condition.

the left side of the bed has a softer core layer (4 instead of 5) so I'm going to try that tonight.. if it gets worse i guess that means I need a firmer mattress?... the store I bought the bed from is 2.5 hours away so its not easy to exchange pieces... Any suggestions?


It’s been a few days since you wrote to us. Have you since tried sleeping on the left side of the bed? If so, how did that go? Was the pain better/worse/the same?

You asked if the pain gets worse, would that mean you need a firmer mattress? It’s possible. It is hard for me to say for sure, as nothing can replace your own personal testing or experience on a mattress, especially as you do have some specific health considerations. Because the store you purchased from is a bit far, it may be worth a call to discuss what you’re experiencing with them prior to making the trip out for an exchange. They may have a few recommendations for you as far as the configuration – and ultimately whether or not an exchange is needed and if so, what kind of layer may be more appropriate.

Also, I sleep on my left side and the pain is in my lower and right-side mid back. Is that telling of where the problem is at all?


Again it is hard to tell as there are far too many variables involved .. but I did notice quite a bit torsion of your lower body.. I'd try some propping with pillows to make sure that you investigate that as a possible cause. There could many possible reasons for the pains you are describing....This could be the result of either mattress support layers being too soft…or comfort layers that are too thick and soft which can allow some parts of the body to "travel" too far. It can also be from comfort layers that are too thin or firm or support layers that are too firm where the "gaps" in your sleeping profile (such as under the lumbar curve or waist) aren't being filled in and supported which can also allow the more recessed parts of the body to sag or "travel" too far. These can both lead to pain and discomfort in either the back or joints when either the spine or joints are outside of their "neutral" alignment.

I would suggest, again, contacting your healthcare professional, giving the shop you purchased from a call and discussing your issues with them to see what kind of solution they can offer, and also experimenting with the layers and zoning you have but changing only one variable at a time and keeping good notes. Being methodical about your experiments in combination with the professional help, you get your body will slowly teach you what it needs.

Good luck! Looking forward to any updates.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by NikkiTMU.

HELP.. new 12" full tallalay mattress KILLING my back 11 Sep 2020 09:45 #5

Sleeping on the softer side of the bed increased pain and also gave me numbness in my right shoulder (although my posture looked the best I think, at that time)

The couple who sold me my mattress recommended the firmer left side configuration attached (1) and that configuration was less painful but certainly not pain free. I think my back for that configuration is pictured (2)
Following that, they told me to change the lumbar 3 to a 4 but that brought me back to peak pain.. but yet, again, I think my posture looks better... (3)

I don't know what to do . I can't just try 21^7 combinations.. and the problem is either
A) there are pressure points pushing on my nerves or my allignment is off
B) my posture is just too good for my broken body and it interferes with the adaptions it's made to function

I am inclined to think it is A not B, just because in my old bed, pictured in OP, My posture looks pretty good..

I'm going to see if I can find a PT or a Chiopractor to do a house call but I doubt it.. I live in a small town
Attachments:

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HELP.. new 12" full tallalay mattress KILLING my back 12 Sep 2020 22:12 #6

Hi A-raw.

Thanks for the additional information. You won’t need to “try 21^7 combinations.. “ .. you need to find something that works better and then move into that direction with just changing one zoning at a time to see how your body reacts ... small mindful steps.

If the firmer, left-side configuration is less painful, then I would venture to say continue down the path for firmer support as you experiment with your configurations. Perhaps firming the areas surrounding the lumbar without firming up the lumber piece itself may be a configuration to try? This is also something that would give you an indication if it is A or B. Typically in the shoulder or arm are pressure point issues and can come from a mattress (in your case the shoulder zoning) that is too firm and puts direct pressure on the shoulders, the shoulder blades, or on the back muscles and can also cause soreness and tingling in the arms but it can often come from postural issues as well. There is some much more detailed information on the shoulder and arm issues in posts #2and #3 here. I’d make sure to pinpoint the type of comfort/support (primary/secondary) issues that may contribute to your soreness and also assess the pillow you are using as this can be a big contributor as well. (Picture 3 shows a high loft pillow which might throw a wrench in the works).

In the case of hip pain, too soft zoning can cause your hips to be out of their neutral alignment and sink down too far which can hyperextend the hip joint and can lead to a burning feeling or pain from joints, muscles, and ligaments that are stretched beyond their neutral alignment. This would more of an alignment issue except instead of spinal alignment it's about joint alignment. I’d also make sure to check the pillow issue and verify that the bed has good central support and if it is not sagging under the weight of the mattress and the people sleeping on it.

Best of luck in your search for a PT or chiropractor who will do a house call. I am hoping you have you find someone willing to help out.

Please keep me posted with how different configurations end up working for you and if you have any additional questions!

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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HELP.. new 12" full tallalay mattress KILLING my back 12 Sep 2020 22:19 #7

Just a quick reply here.. I'm using a stuffed latex pillow or no pillow at all.. my shoulder is quite small and if I use a pillow, it bends my neck upward.

I actually did what you suggested on my own.. I switched the lumbar back to a 3 and I switched the shoulder from a 1 to a 2 and it increased pain from the 1.

I don't get it. There's no distinguishable pattern I'm seeing here. The pattern seemed to be firmer is better, but that was not the case with the shoulder

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HELP.. new 12" full tallalay mattress KILLING my back 13 Sep 2020 08:53 #8

Do you know, for context sake, what the firmness map/profile of a one-size-fits-all zoned mattress like dreamstar looks like, just for context?

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HELP.. new 12" full tallalay mattress KILLING my back 15 Sep 2020 08:40 #9

I've been changing one piece of foam to a 3 every night, starting with the hip, then the shoulder..
my bed is now 1 3 3 3 ....... (1 being the head)
each change to a 3 reduced the pain, but i woke up sore today sleeping on all the 3s (not pain in the night, but soreness in the morning)
the mattress never hurt to lay on - it was super comfortable (until last night- it was kinda meh in terms of comfort). I just woke up in pain throughout the night..
I slept fairly solid last night...
I am wondering though- if the pain was my body's way of complaining that my posture was good and it isn't used to it... To me, soreness is definitely an indication of mis-alignment, but pain could be something else.

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HELP.. new 12" full tallalay mattress KILLING my back 15 Sep 2020 15:45 #10

Hi A-Raw.

I'm using a stuffed latex pillow or no pillow at all.. my shoulder is quite small and if I use a pillow, it bends my neck upward.


I would not remove the pillow entirely but add a very thin pillow to elevate your head as the lack of a pillow will also add reverse curvature and cause misalignment. You can try opening your pillow and removing some latex shreds to remove some loft. If you don’t want to open the pillow you can experiment with a folded soft plush towel and see what the best head elevation is for you. But again this has to be done independently from anything else so that you can assess the result.

(Quote from Sept 13 post) I switched the lumbar back to a 3 and I switched the shoulder from a 1 to a 2 and it increased pain from the 1
I don't get it. There's no distinguishable pattern I'm seeing here. The pattern seemed to be firmer is better, but that was not the case with the shoulder

Two days later….

(Quote from Sept 15 post)I've been changing one piece of foam to a 3 every night, starting with the hip, then the shoulder..
my bed is now 1 3 3 3 ....... (1 being the head)
each change to a 3 reduced the pain, but i woke up sore today sleeping on all the 3s (not pain in the night, but soreness in the morning)


Looking at you repost on Sept 13 … it seems you switched two zones at the same time which means changing two variables at the same time. This approach does not allow you to draw a clear inference as you can’t be sure what change contributed to your pain, soreness, or both. “Switching” is not changing one variable at a time.

Following nights ..(Sept 14, 15)

Looking at your report on Sept 15 .. this time you seem to be approaching it correctly ..to see a “pattern” you need to change only one variable/zone, keep everything else unchanged, and watch how your body reacts. (For clarification for others that may read your thread… As you have two side by side zones each with its separate horizontal zoning you are probably using the zones from the side you are not sleeping on. Correct?)

In this context, I would assess your shoulder separately in this equation. Firmer may be better for your back and hips, but softer may be best for your shoulder

I am wondering though- if the pain was my body's way of complaining that my posture was good and it isn't used to it... To me, soreness is definitely an indication of mis-alignment, but pain could be something else.


It also looks like you are also making a chart and taking some notes, but with your special circumstances, I’d also do a pain log as the pain will tend to move, and change depending on the zoning you use. Something like:
Date/Time Zoning used/Changes Pain Level Location of Pain Pain Type Response from previous Change

I slept fairly solid last night... I am wondering though- if the pain was my body's way of complaining that my posture was good and it isn't used to it... To me, soreness is definitely an indication of mis-alignment, but pain could be something else.


Correct .. this is what I call “learned” posture where the body is doing its best to cope with an inadequate sleeping arrangement up to a threshold where everything may go haywire. When the body readjusts to a better sleeping environment it can also result in some lower-level pain in the process of “unlearning” and readjusting.
There are many different kinds of pain… I’d watch if the pain is mild/sharp, localized/diffuse, if the pain moves, if the pain fades during the day… and so on. Soreness/numbness when you wake up indicates that you are dealing with some pressure points. Watch this as well and make notes.
Once you get the best alignment you can get, I’d consider investing in a comfort pad to add a bit more cushioning and create a cradle. As I previously mentioned I am not a chiropractor, but if you can’t get hold of someone more qualified for the time being this approach is the next best you have.

Do you know, for context sake, what the firmness map/profile of a one-size-fits-all zoned mattress like dreamstar looks like, just for context?


I am not familiar with the dreamstar one-size-fits-all zoned mattress firmness map/profile.

Quite a puzzle you have on your hands, but from where I stand it looks like you are making good progress. I do hope you are able to find a configuration that works for your entire body.

Phoenix
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