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If your disc slipped, you’re likely in excruciating pain shooting up and down your arms or legs. And there’s a high probability that no matter how you try to recover, your old mattress is only making things worse. You may wake up in more pain than when you went to sleep.
But where do you start? There are so many different models, materials, and constructions that you can’t even begin to understand what to look for when choosing the best mattress for your herniated disc.
Fortunately, we’ve prepared this guide to help you with that. After a selection of models that should be safe and that should help you sleep better, we have a buying guide to help you understand what the different materials and constructions mean.
4 Top Rated Beds for Herniated Discs
Perfect Cloud Atlas – Best Temperature Regulation
In our opinion, the best mattress for a herniated disc is Perfect Cloud Atlas.
As memory foam is known for its heat retention, it needs a system to regulate its temperature. That can be even more significant if you have a herniated disc, as heat can make the pain worse. This Perfect Cloud model has an infusion of cooling gel directly into the top layer, and under it, there are two airflow layers to help guide the heat away from you.
That way, the surface should remain refreshing, which should help relieve some pain. At the same time, the mattress won’t lose its supportive qualities due to overheating. And, your body will be correctly supported and aligned the whole night, leading to a more relaxing night’s sleep.
It also comes in a wide variety of profiles, some of which are firmer, so you’re sure to find something you like there.
So, if you’re looking for a mattress that can keep you refreshed throughout the night, this one might be what you’re looking for. It uses two cooling methods, gel and air, and it should help you relax and find a position in which you can comfortably sleep.
Purple – Best in Support
If you have a herniated disc, you might want a mattress that will align your spine correctly. If you sleep on your back, it should be curved, and when you’re on your side, it should be straight. That’s why you might need a surface that is adaptable enough to provide support for both of those positions.
This Purple solution should prop you up in all the right places. It uses a proprietary kind of polyurethane foam to provide just the amount of support your current position needs. Its top layer is also aerated, which should further cool the surface down. And, as it isn’t made of memory foam, it shouldn’t have problems with heat retention.
It should provide enough support to keep your body in a proper position regardless of your sleeping position, and its high-density foam base should make sure that you don’t sink too deep. Overall, its surface should be soft enough to be comfortable, but firm enough to reinforce you properly.
Nod by Tuft & Needle – Best Bed-in-a-Box
Buying a bed-in-a-box can be difficult. You don’t get to try it out before you buy it, but you can rely on consumer reviews. Especially if you wish to save some money, you can buy Nod by Tuft & Needle.
As it doesn’t use memory foam, its surface should remain cool. Its proprietary foam should also keep it more responsive than other foam beds. At the same time, it should support your body in all the right places, helping you relax better and get a rejuvenating night’s sleep.
That way, you’ll get all the benefits of memory foam without its drawbacks. Your pain should be relieved, and your nights should no longer be as warm. Most owners have praised these qualities, mostly focusing on its support and refreshing surface.
That’s why this mattress should be a well-rounded option for those that want something to relieve their back pain caused by a herniated disc. It should provide a soothing and refreshing surface while still reinforcing your body in a proper position.
Layla Sleep – Best Flippable
If you’re suffering from a herniated disc, your preferences might change on good or bad days. Some days, you might find something firmer more comfortable, while other days, you might prefer something softer. Fortunately, you can get that without having to buy two beds.
This Layla Sleep model has two sides, one has a medium-plush feel, while the other is firm. That way, you can change them according to your preferences and pain relief. And, whichever side you choose, you can be sure it will be as fresh as possible, as they are both made of memory foam that is cooled with an infusion of copper.
Most owners have praised these qualities, noting how comfortable both sides are regardless of their firmness. And, as you’re basically getting two mattresses for the price of one, if you flip it regularly, it can last longer before it starts sagging.
So, if your firmness preferences or needs change from time to time, you might find this mattress interesting. While having different firmness feels, they still provide enough support to keep your body in a correct position throughout the night, helping you get a more relaxing night’s sleep.
Comprehensive Guide for Herniated Disc Mattresses
When you’re buying a mattress to help relieve the pain from your slipped disc, there are several factors you should keep in mind. This section will help guide you through them so that you can choose the best possible solution and ease some of that pain. But it’s always recommended to check with your doctor.
Material and Construction
The choice of materials can be a crucial factor if you’re suffering from this. It will determine your mattress’ responsiveness, bounce, firmness, and support, all of which can be important and can greatly relieve your pain if chosen correctly.
Typically, hybrid beds are made of an innerspring base and a foam or latex top. That way, they combine the support of foam with the bounce and quick response of steel coils, bringing you the best of both worlds. That’s what makes them an excellent choice for your back problems.
Higher quality models frequently use individually packed coils and combine them with several foam layers, the top of which is usually made of memory foam. The top can be made of latex, and while expensive, you might want to consider those, as they sleep cooler, and they’re much more responsive than memory foam.
Read more about top hybrid beds.
Latex can be either natural or synthetic. The natural kind comes from a foamed and vulcanized sap of rubber trees, and it is a more expensive option. It is, however, more responsive than memory foam, and it is just as supportive and durable. It also doesn’t retain heat.
Artificial latex is made from petroleum, and it can be cheaper, but not as durable. Both kinds are generally hypoallergenic, but a small number of people can be allergic to it. In that case, you should probably seek an alternative.
Also, if you have a slipped disc, you should make sure that the surface isn’t too firm.
Memory foam is the most common material today, and it is known for its superior support. It becomes softer as it warms up, so it should shape itself to your body when in contact with your body heat. And, as it cools, it returns to its original shape and firmness. That leads to its most prominent drawback – its heat retention.
In cheaper memory foam models, there is no cooling system, and the surface can get warm, which can be a problem if you live in a milder climate, or during hot summer nights. More expensive options, however, usually have either air cooling with an airflow layer under the top or with an infusion of gel or copper.
The cooling can be important because it can help relieve the pain and to boost the support the surface provides.
You should also pay attention to make sure the top layer is thick enough to support you fully, and not too firm so that it doesn’t make the pain of your herniated disc worse. Overall, this should be a reliable choice. Its surface should be soft enough, and you should make sure that it has some sort of cooling if you enjoy that type of feature.
Traditionally, innerspring mattresses have been made from steel coils for over a century. Chances are you’ve already slept on several of them. They are known for their responsiveness and bounce, but they can also provide plenty of support.
While they can reinforce your body correctly, they may not be the best choice for your herniated disc. Their surface may be too firm, and it doesn’t distribute the weight as efficiently as foam solutions. That could lead to quicker degradation of the parts under the most stress, which could start sagging.
If you’re going for this option, you should make sure that you buy something higher in quality, as that should provide the most support for the longest amount of time. If possible, you should also try and find something with a zoned support system, something that is reinforced in the areas that are under the most stress.
Those suffering from a slipped disc could need a bed with more support. But what does that mean? How does your bed support you, and what does that do to you? Why is support important?
The first way in which the mattress’ support is essential is in the way it relieves the pressure. The pressure is the greatest in your pressure points, which depend on your sleeping position. For back sleepers, it’s your lower back, and for those that sleep on their side, it’s your shoulders and hips.
When a bed relieves the pressure, it shapes itself to your body, molding to your contours. That, in turn, distributes the weight along the surface, which also helps ease the tension in your muscles. With less strain, your sleep becomes more relaxed, and you wake up refreshed and rejuvenated.
If you also have a herniated disc, proper pressure relief could greatly reduce your back pain and help you get at least some rest.
Another reason support is important is because it helps keep your spine aligned properly. If you lay on your side, your back should be a straight line right from your head to your hips. That means, your shoulders and hips should sink lower into the surface, depending on your build.
If, however, you sleep on your back, the mattress should shape itself to the natural curves of your spine. That should relieve some pressure and distribute it all along the surface. The lowest points should be under your shoulders and hips, and it can be crucial that your bed can accommodate that to reduce the tension in that area.
A mattress isn’t enough to achieve correct alignment. You’ll also need a pillow, or your neck could wind up in a weird position, which could increase tension and cause all sorts of problems down the line.
While a firm mattress is commonly advised for people with back pain, it can make things worse if you have a slipped disc. That’s because, if a surface is too firm, it won’t contour to your body, which will increase the tension in your pressure points. That can, in turn, make your pain worse, and your sleep quality is sure to suffer, as well.
That’s why it’s important to buy a bed with a surface soft enough to shape itself to your body. Apart from that, it should also keep your spine in its proper position, which isn’t possible on too firm a surface.
If you’re searching for bed with the right firmness for back issues, check our orthopedic mattress guide too .
Cooling Feature for Hot Sleepers
Cooling can be important for several factors. It can take the warmth away from the surface, helping you sleep through the hot summer nights. It also helps maintain the support of the surface, as memory foam becomes softer the warmer it gets.
Finally, if you have a herniated disc, a surface, or bed that cools you down should also help relieve the pain.
That’s why memory foam on its own should probably not be your first choice. If you still want to buy it for its support, you can always buy a cooling topper, as well, to help relieve that problem. You could always choose a mattress that has a cooling system, whether with a gel or copper infusion, an airflow layer under it, or an open-cell design that boosts the cooling.
Latex is also a solid alternative as long as it isn’t too firm. Innerspring and polyfoam options are probably not going to provide the best support and durability, so they should be avoided.
Important Things to Know About Spinal Disc Herniation
Disc herniation can be a difficult ailment to deal with, and a bad mattress could make things worse. This section will give you more information about the condition, and discuss the different factors that help you get better, chief among them, your mattress and sleeping habits.
Why Do You Need a Good Mattress for a Herniated Disc?
As we’ve mentioned earlier, a great mattress will provide a stable and supportive surface for your body. It will mold itself to your contours, which helps keep your spine in a good position while you rest. That, in turn, also helps relieve the tension in your muscles, which improves the quality of your sleep.
A stable sleeping surface should be even more valuable if you have a slipped disc. If your back is straight when you sleep on your side or curved in the right places when you’re on your back, your spine will be in a correct position, which can help with the healing process.
In fact, even though this condition is usually considered severe and can require surgery, some people have managed to recover without medical intervention. While it won’t guarantee success, a suitable mattress should at least help by keeping you in a proper position and reducing the tension.
That’s why you need something that will keep your body in the correct position. While it may not completely heal your slipped disc, it could make your recovery more comfortable while dramatically improving the quality of your sleep.
And, if you don’t have a herniated disc, but are in danger of developing one, a suitable mattress should help you rest properly and with that, it should reduce your chances.
What's the Best Sleep Position If You Have Slipped Disc?
A mattress isn’t the only factor you should be aware of when you have a herniated disc. While it can be significant, it is also less relevant than your sleeping position. A slipped disc can force you to change some of your lifestyle choices, and this is one of them.
And, as different positions have their advantages and disadvantages, especially when you take into account their effects on your spine, you should consider adapting your sleeping habits to your condition to help it heal better.
While this can be your ideal sleeping position, especially with a herniated disc, there are also several things you should keep in mind. Depending on the type of slippage and its locations, the recommendations could differ.
If the slipped disc is in your neck, and you sleep on your back, the bigger priority should be the quality of your pillow. Cervical pillows have been known for their exceptional results in this regard, as they have lowered middle, allowing your head to sink while supporting your neck.
Sleeping on your side can also help with the recovery. You should, however, make sure that your spine is in a proper position and forms a straight line from your head to your hips.
There are also special considerations. While it can be easy to remain in a steady position while you’re awake, while you sleep, you could shift into an uncomfortable pose. That’s why you should place a pillow between your knees: it should keep you locked into a proper position throughout the night.
Also, as with back sleepers, you could try a cervical pillow.
This position is generally not recommended if you have a slipped disc. You could quickly end up in a posture with a raised pelvis, which can increase the tension in your back and make things even worse.
If that’s the only position you can sleep in, though, there are several ways you can make things more comfortable. If you place a thin pillow under your knees and pelvis, it will keep your spine in a healthy position.
What Is a Herniated Disc?
It is a condition in which the discs between the vertebrae that make up your spine shift position. When that happens, if you’re unlucky, it can also pinch a nerve, which could cause problems anywhere on your body, depending on the location of the disc.
The disc is made up of a robust, fibrous ring around a soft, gelatinous center. It’s what makes your spine mobile, making it possible to bend and turn your back and neck. When your disc gets herniated, the fibrous outside ring gives in, mostly from wear and tear, and the soft center gets exposed, sometimes spilling out and pinching a nerve.
In most cases, there probably won’t be any symptoms. There, the nerve isn’t pinched and surgery is likely not needed. When there are symptoms such as pain or tingling in your arms or legs, a nerve was probably compressed, and depending on the severity of the symptoms, it may need to be corrected surgically.
What Are the Types?
There are several different ways that a disc can become herniated. Some of these types are only degrees, as they happen before or after other types.
With prolapse, the center is still contained by the outermost layer of the fibrous ring. The disc still changes shape, and it can pinch a nerve if the prolapse happens on the wrong side, but the center remains contained within.
In most cases, you won’t need surgery for this type of slippage. With enough rest and a good posture, it can heal on its own. Otherwise, it could get worse. It could grow into an extrusion or even a sequestered disc.
With a sequestered disc, parts of either the nucleus or the fibrous ring around it make it outside, where they can put additional pressure on the nerve stems, causing all sorts of symptoms. This is the type that is traditionally called a herniated or slipped disc, and it can be the most dangerous kind, often requiring surgery to fix.
Several complications could arise, depending on where the disc is located. It could put pressure on your spinal cord, and that condition is called myelopathy. Another common complication is when the disc presses against exposed nerves at the end of the spinal cord. It is called cauda equine, or saddle anesthesia, which can, depending on the intensity, be considered a medical emergency.
Symptoms can include pain or tingles in your legs or arms, and their strength mostly depends on the intensity of the pressure exuded on the nerves. The injured disc can also get inflamed, which can further increase the stress.
Generally, you should see your doctor and see what the likely next steps are when the pain gets bad enough, when it changes position up or down the arm, or when it is accompanied by tingling, numbness, or general weakness.
In this type, the center doesn’t rupture the outside ring. It does, however, create a protrusion in a place with the greatest pressure. In time, it can lead to prolapse or even an extrusion. It can also heal on its own, as it’s the mildest form of slippage.
When enough damage happens, the outer ring can give in and rupture, leaving a space open for the gelatinous center to leave the disc, possibly pressuring the nerves around the spine. The disc, however, is still connected, and it remains in its place. If you’re not careful, it can further degrade and escalate to a fully sequestered disc.
What Are the Causes?
Usually, it is caused by disc degeneration, where the disc gets damaged by wear and tear, as well as aging and other lifestyle factors which we’ll list later. Certain positions also increase the tension, which can speed the process up, while others reduce the degeneration rate.
Walking, standing, and sitting in a proper position, without leaning forward, these are generally safe body positions, and they don’t increase the rate of wear and tear. Bending and twisting, as well as jumping, coughing, and laughing, are all causes of additional stress on the discs.
Similarly, lying down reduces stress by up to 50%, which is why a comfortable resting surface can be crucial.
What Are the Symptoms?
The most frequent type of disc slippage occurs in your lumbar spine on your lower back. That region is under the highest amount of stress. It has to hold most of your body weight, as well. Another common type occurs in your neck, in your cervical spine.
The symptoms usually vary between these two types, but there are some similarities. In the milder cases, you’ll feel a tingling in your arms or legs. Sometimes, they’ll also go numb, as well. The affected area depends on the nerve that is under pressure.
After a while, your muscles may begin to weaken, which could cause you to stumble if it happens in your legs. It could also limit your ability to lift things or to change positions. You could also have trouble holding something in your hands, as they’ll start to lose their grip strength.
In more severe cases, you could experience pain in the affected region. The pain could move around the affected area as you change position, cough, or laugh. If the herniated disc is in your lower region, usually, you’ll feel the pain in your buttocks or feet, and if it’s in your neck, it could move up and down your arm.
When you notice any of these symptoms, it is generally the time to consult your doctor and see what you can do about it.
Of course, if the disc doesn’t put pressure on your nerves, you could have no symptoms at all.
Who Is Most Likely to Be at Risk?
The rate of wear and tear on your discs can vary by several different factors. For some people, the discs will wear out sooner, while others could never have any problems.
– List of Factors
- Work-Related: people with repetitive physical workloads are under greater risks of back problems. So, if your job has you pulling, pushing, lifting, bending, or other similar activities, you could be putting more stress on your back, which could lead to a slipped disc in the future.
- It’s in the Genes: while occupational factors cause the most damage, some people are simply more prone to back problems than others.
- Overweight: extra weight can also increase the rate of wear and tear, as it puts more pressure on the discs, particularly in your lower back.
Simple Prevention Tips
The easiest way to reduce the risk of developing a herniated disc is to maintain your weight at a healthy level. Whether that means that you need to exercise more or eat less, this should be your first step, especially if you need to make repetitive motions for your work.
Another simple way to reduce the risk is to exercise regularly. Primarily, you should strengthen your core muscles – those on your stomach, back, and sides. They help distribute the weight and pressure evenly, and if they’re stable, they can considerably decrease your chances. Aerobic exercises also help.
You should also stretch regularly, especially after spending some time in an uncomfortable position, or if you spent some time lifting or moving heavy objects. You could also add stretching exercises to your strength training, as well as healthy flexibility considerably reduces the chances of disc slippage.
And, if your work requires you to lift heavy objects, you should at least try and do it with a proper technique. Lift with your legs, not your back. Keep your knees bent and your back straight.
Other than that, a proper posture should also help you maintain the health of your back. That should considerably reduce the stress your discs can be under, especially in your lower back. So, if you’re sitting, standing, walking, lifting, or turning, you should remember to straighten out.
Finally, as lying down decreases the stress on your back, you should buy a comfortable and supportive mattress. It will help you relax better at night, and give your back time to heal properly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Seniors More Prone To It?
Yes, because your disc degenerates naturally as you age, and the process is called degenerative disc disease. Usually, though, lifestyle and level of activity have more of an effect on the rate of degeneration, so if your job involves lifting heavy objects or sitting down throughout the day, the rate of wear and tear will be higher. That will leave you more prone to back problems.
For more details about good mattress for seniors, follow our guide.
Are Adjustable Mattresses Recommended?
It mainly depends on the type of slippage. If it’s in your lower back, sleeping in an upright position could help you get more comfortable, and it could relieve some of the stress on your back. If it’s in your neck, you should consider other factors before an adjustable frame, but it could help there.
This is mostly a personal preference, though. You should also keep in mind that a herniated disc is a temporary situation and that you may not need a mattress for an adjustable bed after it’s over.
Should Sufferers Use a Mattress Topper?
Toppers can help, especially if your mattress is old and not as supportive as it once was. If you don’t have enough money to replace it, a good foam topper could support your body well enough to help you heal and recover.
A herniated disc affects a large number of people every year, and the chances of developing it only increase with age. While you can reduce the odds by remaining at a healthy weight and exercising regularly, sometimes, not even those can guarantee success.
If your disc does slip even though you took care of yourself, your bed will play a crucial role in your recovery. It should provide a comfortable, yet supportive surface to keep your back in a proper position and give it time to heal correctly.
And even if it doesn’t happen to you, a great mattress will support your back correctly, which will reduce the stress and help it heal and rejuvenate better. That should, in turn, further reduce the chances of disc slippage.
All the mattresses in our selection should provide just that, and if none of them suit your needs, our guide should provide you with enough information to help make the choice more straightforward.