Toppers for Back Pain
Many people who have had “slipped” (herniated) disks or other nerve injuries to the back will endure very hard mattresses in order to keep their spines stable during the night. It makes sense, as the electric pain of sciatica can be acute. But there are better solutions.
Generally, a very deep or ultra-soft mattress topper, while it may feel wonderful for a few minutes in a showroom, is a risky choice for people with severe back pain. After a few nights or weeks, the pain may flare up again. Pain that results from injury or disk problems can be re-triggered by toppers that allow a back sleeper to “sink in” too far.
But even people with these back issues can enjoy a more comfortable mattress, with a fiber-filled topper that’s not too thick. A 3" wool-filled topper will gently cushion the mattress, improve air circulation and reduce heat build-up beneath the sleeper. These toppers won’t compromise spinal support.
Simple pressure point areas in the back, such as over the tailbone, can be relieved by almost any topper. You can choose whichever style appeals, and any depth that feels comfortable.
A Note on Memory Foam Toppers
The contouring reaction of this synthetic foam occurs when your body heat sets off a chemical reaction within the foam. It’s a molding, almost clasping feel that some users compare to sleeping in damp sand. If you’ve never encountered memory foam before, the novelty of the sensation can feel exhilarating—at first.
Apart from the toxic chemicals, another downside of memory foam toppers is that the foam not only requires trapped body heat to create its close-fitting feel—but also to maintain it. This means that every time you shift or adjust position during the night, your body has to re-heat the foam to make it feel good again. The full response can take up to 15 minutes, so many people find that despite its gadget-y appeal, memory foam makes sleep more restless.
Natural latex is more supple, more breathable, and safer for your health than memory foam, hybrid foams or gels.