Back pain is one of the most common health problems in the United States. Around 80% complain of having this and use this as an excuse for their absences at work and consultation with doctors. Though back pain causes severe discomforts especially in mobility, it is usually not dangerous.
There are two kinds of back pain— lower as well as upper and neck. The upper back pain is less common than lower back pain since the upper back is the most stable part of the spine. A significant portion of the upper back is attached to the rib cage, thus making its range of motion limited. Pain in the lower back is more typical than the upper back and neck area because it is connected to a complex network of bones, discs, nerves, spinal muscles, or tendons.
Symptoms and causes
As the term suggests, back pain is characterized by pain in any areas in the back, anywhere from the neck down to the buttocks. Aside from pain in general, you can also feel:
- muscle spasm
- sensitive to touch
The following are the major causes of back pain:
Aging – The older you get, the more you are at risk of back pain. Many people start to experience back pain when they are 30-40 years old and will go worse as they age further.
Lack of exercise – If you have poor physical fitness, you are prone to feel pain in your back.
Being overweight – Excess weight can put stress on the back and can result in pain.
Genetics – Hereditary diseases and disorders such as ankylosing spondylitis, a form of spinal arthritis, can cause back pain.
Your job and usual activities – If part of your job or daily activities requires you to lift, push, or pull while bending your spine, you are inclined to experience back pain. Sedentary workers who do not sit up straight can also feel pain in the back.
Sports injury and overuse of back muscles.
Diseases – Back pain can also be a symptom of a disease such as infection and cancer of the spine as well as pelvic inflammatory disease in females, bladder or kidney infections.
Bad posture – Improper posture leads to poor spine alignment, which can put tension on the spine and back muscles.
Sleepless in pain
Back and muscle pain can also interrupt your sleep. Sleep is very essential in the body’s healing and growth processes. Aside from relaxing your muscles, your slumber also prompts your body to release hormones responsible for fixing your body after stress.
Back pain contributes to insufficient sleep and vice versa. Hence, to benefit from sound sleep, we need to relieve ourselves from pain. And one thing that contributes to pain is the quality of our mattress.
Best mattress for back pain
Memory foam is made of viscoelastic material and developed for NASA airplane seats. This mattress type adjusts its shape to the body when heat and pressure are applied. This quality allows it to evenly distribute body weight. Once you the pressure is gone, it will go back to its original shape.
The viscoelastic quality of memory foam makes this mattress type friendly to your back because of the following:
It provides proper back support
It is its ability to mold in response to your body structure makes it flexible to the contours of your spine. This makes memory foam more comfortable to your back than other mattress types. Its flexible nature allows fully supports your spine and keeps it in well-aligned. Memory foam also maintains alignment of the other parts of your body, lowering the pressure applied on your hips and shoulders that can result to back pain.
It cradles pressure points of your body
Also, the memory foam viscoelasticity makes it among the top rated mattresses for pain relief. This nature allows memory foam to conform to your body’s pressure points, the tiny surface areas that bear a significant portion of body weight. Most prominent pressure points are the shoulders, hips, and knees. Memory foam helps support these pressure points, giving more comfort for your back.
It provides maximum comfort
Aside from being viscoelastic, top-notch memory foams also has these qualities for restful and undisturbed sleep:
- Temperature sensitive – Some models, such as gel memory foam mattress, can dispel or absorb heat to keep it at a comfortable temperature.
- Hypo-allergenic – Many brands are made of materials that will not trigger allergic reactions while sleeping.
- Motion-absorbing – The movements of your sleep partner will not disturb you because memory foams absorb energy and pressure.
In a study on pain and mattress types by Sleep Like the Dead website, memory foam ranked second to air among the mattress types that caused less back pain. But in the same study, the author points out airbeds’ lack of comfort layer, which is an issue for some people, especially side sleepers. On the other hand, memory foams offer overall support and comfort for majority of sleepers.
No wonder majority of more than 22,700 people involved in the research ranked memory foam the most comfortable mattress type, with 81% satisfaction rating.
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