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need a mattress that won't hurt hips, have tried everything 15 Oct 2020 19:54 #1

Hi! I have tried about seven mattresses over the last several years and even after a lot of googling about the right type for me I have not found one that works. The problem seems to boil down to: I sleep on my side and my hip bone digs in to the mattress and becomes sore. I have tried everything that I have seen suggested for side sleepers and people with pressure points; a softer mattress, a soft top layer, a topper, etc. I have tried both innerspring and various foam bed-in-a-box type mattresses of varying firmness. With soft memory-type foam that I thought would accommodate this problem, I feel like it is actually WORSE, because the foam is formed/cupped more tightly AROUND my hip bone and puts more pressure on it. The most comfortable thing I have found to sleep on is a very old all foam "futon" made by Otis bedding, and I even tried buying a new version of the same futon and was not comfortable. I have also found when staying other places that older innerspring mattresses that are very broken in are actually pretty comfortable. What seems to work about both of these is that they are soft but also sink in in a more "general" way where the whole area around my hip sinks in, rather than just the small spot, but that is just a theory. I know I sound crazy and like nothing will please me, but would love ANY suggestions about this. I am in the process of checking out all the guides on this site as well. Thank you!

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need a mattress that won't hurt hips, have tried everything 15 Oct 2020 19:57 #2

Also if it is helpful I am 5'7" 125 lb woman, fairly skinny with bony hips and shoulders.

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need a mattress that won't hurt hips, have tried everything 16 Oct 2020 13:58 #3

Juniper44,
I only mention this because you said you got relief from older mattresses where you can sink in. My pain isn't a pressure point but more in the hip joint itself. However it does seem like pressure when lying on a hard mattress.

I got an adjustable bed and was able to raise both my legs slightly while sleeping on my side. . I don't think I could do it with a pillow or towel as there is a small range for me where the pain just evaporates. However since older mattresses work for you sometimes you could try putting a folded towel under your knees and lower legs when laying on your side and see if it helps align your hips and spine better. Don't put it between your legs but under both legs (knee and below) to elevate them (slightly) when laying on your side.

I recommended it to the Naturepedic sales lady when I was mattress shopping and she tried it with her adjustable bed and reported with amazement that it worked for her hip pain. I also saw a study on it that may have been done in South America where alot of participants raised both lower legs together while laying on their side and got relief from hip pain. The nice thing with an adjustable bed is you can do micro adjustments until you get a sweet spot.

I paired the adjustable base with the Naturepedic EOS Pillowtop. I found the plush base coils with two layers of medium microcoils was the best combination for me. You are thin and bony so might do better with the Naturepedic EOS Classic with plush coils and soft microcoils. However if you find you still have pain with the soft microcoils don't be afraid to try the medium microcoils. For me they made the mattress more plush because I think I was bottoming out on the soft microcoils. But you are alot thinner than I am.

I found the best prices on adjustable bases to be at Sam's Club (great return policy), Walmart.com and Amazon.

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need a mattress that won't hurt hips, have tried everything 16 Oct 2020 15:42 #4

Thank you for this thoughtful response, I will think about this!

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need a mattress that won't hurt hips, have tried everything 18 Oct 2020 10:56 #5

Hey juniper44,

Welcome to the Mattress Underground :) ! Thanks for your question.

I have tried about seven mattresses over the last several years and even after a lot of googling about the right type for me I have not found one that works. The problem seems to boil down to: I sleep on my side and my hip bone digs in to the mattress and becomes sore. I have tried everything that I have seen suggested for side sleepers and people with pressure points; a softer mattress, a soft top layer, a topper, etc.


juniper44, you have my utmost sympathies with your mattress testing frustrations. Seven failed attempts over a several year period sounds as though more time is spent seeking proper support/ comfort for your personal preferences/ PPP than it is sleeping…definitely not a good thing. Your observations suggest you have a good understanding of how your personal statistics are interacting with different mattresses (or not, in this case). For those consumers who may be following your research, Phoenix article "Determining Your Personal Statistics" explains how an individual's sleeping style, as well as body shape/ weight distribution both play important roles when determining the best mattress materials and construction for you.

I have tried both innerspring and various foam bed-in-a-box type mattresses of varying firmness. With soft memory-type foam that I thought would accommodate this problem, I feel like it is actually WORSE, because the foam is formed/cupped more tightly AROUND my hip bone and puts more pressure on it.


While memory foam has strengths in the area of pressure relief/ movement isolation, it also has some drawbacks from its different qualities and structure, including its tendency to sleep hot (for those who are sensitive to this) as memory foam is not as breathable or open celled as other types of foam. Also, it absorbs energy, has little resilience and is a poorly supportive material, relying on the layers underneath to provide support and spinal alignment. This may also mean that with thicker layers there is little support for the lumbar area which does not come in firm contact with the support layers and will not be held up well by a foam that "melts" under pressure. Finally it is difficult to control how far you sink into a memory foam layer as it may soften over the course of the night, with what started out as correct spinal alignment could become a "hammock" position and a backache by morning.

The most comfortable thing I have found to sleep on is a very old all foam "futon" made by Otis bedding, and I even tried buying a new version of the same futon and was not comfortable. I have also found when staying other places that older innerspring mattresses that are very broken in are actually pretty comfortable. What seems to work about both of these is that they are soft but also sink in in a more "general" way where the whole area around my hip sinks in, rather than just the small spot, but that is just a theory. I know I sound crazy and like nothing will please me, but would love ANY suggestions about this. I am in the process of checking out all the guides on this site as well. Thank you!


Other consumers have made these same comments regarding older all-foam futons, as well as older innerspring mattresses; perhaps quilted cover/ ticking styles play some small role in the comfort "feel" you experience with them. Both the quilting and ticking layers of a mattress integrate with the overall comfort layers, helping provide pressure relief, temperature regulation and breathability to the mattress. This may account for your feeling of "what seems to work about both of these is that they are soft but also sink in in a more "general" way where the whole area around my hip sinks in, rather than just the small spot, but that is just a theory".

As you have been researching the forum for more information and likely have read other consumers' posts, you know now is when I ask questions to help guide you along: what mattress are you currently sleeping on/ what (if any) are some of the qualities you like about it; what size mattress are you interested in; what is your budget; and are you located near a mattress manufacturer/ retailer where you feel comfortable making store visits for product testing? Looking forward to learning more details, juniper44.

Thanks,
Sensei
Sensei(@ TMU Team)
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need a mattress that won't hurt hips, have tried everything 20 Oct 2020 11:44 #6

Thank you! I may actually be one of the people who has mentioned foam futons and older innersprings before, as I asked this same question months ago but got diverted from my mattress search and did not follow up. I really appreciate your help! The mattress I have now is the old foam futon from Otis bedding - I like that it is soft and a bit bouncy and that (as I tried to describe, not sure if it makes sense) my hips and shoulders can sink into it but not like they would in a memory foam mattress where just one small spot sinks in. It's also a mattress that I inherited from a relative and it was more comfortable on their wooden frame than on my current metal frame for some reason. I want a full size mattress and may even consider a twin as my current bedroom is quite small. My budget is low, I really could not spend more than maybe $700-$800, maybe a bit more depending on circumstances. I would LIKE to avoid going into stores and testing for now at least but there are stores like Mattress Firm and similar near me and if eventually it were safer I would be willing to make a day trip to a specialized store.

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need a mattress that won't hurt hips, have tried everything 20 Oct 2020 14:42 #7

Juniper44 I'm in the same boat as you. I get hip pain if I sleep on my preferred side. Like you I found that higher mass mattresses, like memory foam and some latex, made the problem worse because there was more mass pushing into my dysfunctional hip joint. Your hip has to displace whatever mass lies in the mattress underneath it, for me my ilium, at the SI joint, would slip and displace itself over my sacrum before it would push and displace the heavy mattress underneath me. The mechanism of your mattress hip pain may be the same or something similar: parts of your hip pushing into other parts of your hip, dysfunctionally giving way inside your hip and causing pain, rather than pushing and displacing the mattress underneath you.

I tried a lot of different mattresses and toppers without much luck. I found two solutions that worked and allowed me to sleep on my preferred side without hip pain. The best solution was buckling column gel, in the US sold as Purple/SomniGel etc. With the buckling column your hip joint only has to push enough force into the mattress to displace and buckle the columns underneath it, not the entire mattress. The force the column pushes back into your hip joint to unbuckle itself is miniscule: only the 2cm or so gel walls of the buckling column trying to push themselves right compared to the entire mass of a memory foam or latex mattress resisting and pushing itself back into your hip.

The easy and fairly inexpensive test I did to see if a buckling column gel mattress would work for my hip pain was to buy a buckling column gel chair cushion for around $30 and sleep with it underneath my hip. If you wake up without pain, then you know a mattress with an entire top layer of the same material will do the same. I'd recommend a flat seat cushion without thick prominent sides, some of them are designed to have a slope to sit on which you don't want, while others are flat and more versatile like this:


I couldn't buy full buckling column gel mattress in my country, so I purchased a topper from a Chinese manufacturer off Alibaba. You probably have better retail and direct options and don't need to do that.

The other solution that worked, but wasn’t viable in the long run, were air mattresses. Because your hip only has to displace the air underneath it, and the air has no shear force resistance, and the tension from the walls doesn't apply a strong force back into your hip, I found I could sleep on them without any hip pain. The problem was all the air mattresses I could find on the market aren't designed to be used as a daily mattress, and only last around six weeks before they start leaking and you either need to re-inflate them during the night or wake up deflated on the base/floor. By analogy I think water beds will work too, because your hips only have to displace the water underneath you, and the water has no shear force resistance, and the walls don't apply a great force back into the hip joint. But for me that was too an expensive commitment without being sure it would work, and hard to back out of if it didn't, while the buckling gel column chair cushion was only $30 and an air mattress not much more.

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need a mattress that won't hurt hips, have tried everything 21 Oct 2020 13:27 #8

Wow thank you Aristophanes, this is so helpful! I think that the problem you are describing is a lot like what I have. My hip pain is a bit different, it is more that my hip bone sticks out and then becomes bruised when there is pressure on it, rather than internal displacement, but I have a lot of problems with my back going out of alignment so I think I understand what you are talking about. And I think the problem created is very similar, what you said about your hip needing to easily displace the mattress material makes so much sense and is I think what I am also looking for. That was a helpful way of describing it. And I have noticed being fairly comfortable on an air mattress when staying with a friend last year, and had not made that connection. I am going to check out the buckling column gel. Thanks!!

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need a mattress that won't hurt hips, have tried everything 31 Oct 2020 09:10 #9

have you considered a hip transplant? might be cheaper than all mattresses. mostly kidding ;)

seriously tho... i’m on team marshmallow with the naturepedic eos with microcoils suggestion. tho i don’t have any particular body pains, into find the microcoils to give a totally unique type of support. sort of plush + cloud like , but increasingly supportive at the same time. totally unlike any other mattress i’ve tried. i’m thin and un curvy and sleep on my side. eos classic (only one comfort layer) has been all i’ve needed. plush support coils and medium microcoils is my combo.

another mattress that has always piqued my curiosity as i would guess offers a similar type of support is the purple mattress, with their foam grid. the hybrid premier with 4” grid would prob be the best for your situation. don’t know about their materials tho. might be a toxic swamp compared to the naturepedic’s absence of all things questionable.

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need a mattress that won't hurt hips, have tried everything 31 Oct 2020 14:42 #10

duexcv, you are actually correct. I have the eos with microcoils (and an extra set of microcoils to try the coil on coil on coil thing but haven't got around to testing it yet) and I have a purple hybrid and there are some similarities between them. They both sleep very cool and provide a firm but also floaty kind of feel to me. I also just got some nano-coils which I haven't tested yet but am looking forward to trying. I got them from hickory springs but they only wholesale so you have to buy in bulk, 15 sheets minimum.

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