The market of bed and mattress suppliers is also discovering this. But it doesn’t always have to be the highest price class, says orthopaedic surgeon Dr Bahman Ajali. Sitting on the wrong mattress for more than one night puts the spine under strain.
Anyone who wakes up with back pain in the morning has an old mattress, or at least the wrong one. “A cheap mattress can cause back pain,” says Dr. Bahman Ajali.
The senior physician of the Clinic for Orthopedics and Trauma Surgery at the Alexian Clinic GmbH Krefeld confirms an examination on this point which was initiated by the association Aktion Gesunder Rücken.
Accompanied by the sleep researcher Professor Dr. Jürgen Zulley, the association has interviewed 75,000 people and determined that the majority of them get up in the morning occasionally or frequently with back pain and are dissatisfied with their own sleep quality.
The cause is poor bed systems – which is why the association recommends a slatted bed system from a particular manufacturer, which has helped many of the 250 selected test sleepers.
Ajali is sceptical. “There has not yet been a scientific study that proves the connection between back problems and mattresses,” he says. Whether it’s a slatted frame or not, a medium-priced or luxury mattress – it always depends on the sleeper’s needs. And this is shown by the fact that the spine is relieved.
Sitting puts the most strain
“The spine is most stressed when sitting, least when lying down and when walking, the degree of stress lies in between. This also means that people with chronic back pain have less pain when lying down. Those who then bend their legs provide additional relief.
We make therapeutic use of this with the so-called step positioning. If the legs are positioned higher up, this cancels out the curvature of the lumbar spine, the lordosis,” says Ajali.
“This way the intervertebral area is widened, the nerve vertebrae are relieved, the intervertebral discs are pulled in a little.” This takes away pressure. And it even works most of the time with hyperlordosis, the hollow back.
Very bad and saggy mattresses can offer too little resistance, so that the body “lies through” itself. Ajali refers to the S-shape in which the spine is held by the vertebrae and muscles.
“We wish that this form is also held during sleep. It is ideal if a mattress provides a little more resistance in the area of the thoracic spine and more support in the lumbar region”.
Wear over years
But the specialist also says: “Even the cheapest mattress, which causes back pain after getting up, cannot cause back damage overnight”. Spinal wear is a process that takes years.
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Whether soft or hard – this is a question of personal preference when buying a mattress. Ajali states as a rule of thumb: “The older you get, the flabbier the muscles become.
Then the mattress must take over this task and should be harder. The natural S-shape of a young person is still maintained by good muscles.”