Scoliosis is the abnormal curvature of the spine that goes unnoticed on its first stages. As it usually occurs during adolescence, some teenagers write it off as mere back pain due to exhaustion. But as the person ages, the curve becomes more prominent and the pain turns excruciating. The treatment varies per person but it helps to have the best mattress for scoliosis to ease the suffering.
Some sufferers of scoliosis will experience bouts of pain at night as force is exerted on the spine and their joints. It directly affects the quality and duration of sleep the person gets. Thus, they become more tired and weak.
A poor choice of mattress can make the symptoms even more unbearable. Stiff bedding can’t support the body to alleviate the pain, unlike the best mattress for scoliosis that’s designed specifically for such purpose. But before we dive into the comfort of mattress options, here are some of the facts you need to know about scoliosis and sleeping:
What is scoliosis?
Scoliosis is the abnormal sideways curving of the spine that can develop in early childhood up to adolescence. Some cases of scoliosis correct itself as the individual ages, but there are also some that worsen as the person heads toward adulthood. It’s usually defined as the curve on the coronal plate. The degree of curvature varies from patient to patient.
Scoliosis can range from mild to chronic. Some won’t even exhibit physical manifestations unless studied closely. But for those who are enduring a bad case of scoliosis, uneven shoulders and a curved back will be obvious.
When scoliosis is left undiagnosed and untreated, the torso of the person may shorten. This won’t just cause more pain, but it will also impede the lungs from functioning properly. The more it goes unattended, the more organs will be put on the wringer.
The good news – if it can be called as such – is that only 10% of the people with scoliosis suffer from moderate to chronic cases. The majority of the patients don’t really need serious medication at all.
About 2-3 percent of the world’s population is suffering from scoliosis. In the U.S. alone, about nine million people are enduring this spine condition. In can occur to both men and women, but it’s more likely to develop on the latter for unknown reasons.
Causes of scoliosis
Medical experts don’t exactly know what causes scoliosis, but there are some findings that link it to some hereditary factors. Based on their observation, scoliosis usually runs in the family where at least two or more will be affected.
One of the common causes is associated with cerebral palsy where the person is unable to control his or her muscles. Also, doctors suggest that spine injury and infection are two of the most direct culprits to scoliosis. And if the condition developed early during childhood, it can be due to birth defects that affect the spinal area.
It’s most evident that scoliosis develops during the growth spurt phase upon adolescence. This can be a major cause too, with hormonal changes and a fast-paced growth of the bones. With that, scoliosis usually develops between infancy and teen years.
Aside from the risk factor of age and gender, family history is also on the pipeline. However, most kids who developed scoliosis early don’t usually have a history of the condition in his or her family. This makes scoliosis difficult to trace.
Symptoms of scoliosis
Like what’s said earlier, people with scoliosis may or may not exhibit physical symptoms. For those who are suffering from moderate to chronic scoliosis, it would be easy to spot. Uneven shoulders are the most common symptom where one shoulder blade is more prominent than the other.
Some would have uneven waists or a hip higher on the other side. As the spine curves on the side, the lower part of the torso will appear a bit twisted or lifted. The worse cases of scoliosis may cause the spine to twist aside from curving. When this happens, the ribs on the other side of the rib cage will stick out. This is more painful and dangerous for the person.
How sleep position affects scoliosis
Sleeping positions don’t necessarily cause or worsens scoliosis. However, a poor sleeping pose would subject the person to more pain. The symptoms would be more unbearable. However, the only consolation here is that your sleeping position does not, in any way, worsen the condition, but it doesn’t cure it either.
The only thing you have to consider when choosing a sleeping position is the comfort level. Are you more comfortable sleeping on your side or on your back? All these depend on your preference, but there’s one exception: never sleep on your tummy.
Sleeping on your stomach puts too much strain on your back and spine. Since most of your body weight is in the mid-body, there’s no way your spine will be relaxed at night.
Continuously sleeping on your tummy will worsen the symptoms of scoliosis. You may experience tingling sensations and numbness too. Aside from your spine, sleeping on your stomach isn’t good for your breasts as well. Pressing your bust on the mattress isn’t a good idea even if you have the softest bedding.
Tips to sleep comfortably
Aside from sleeping on your side or back, there are more tips that will make your nights more bearable. Here are some of the guaranteed hacks you can practice to ease the pain brought by scoliosis:
Pillows should go hand in hand with your mattress. If you’re a side sleeper, place a pillow between your legs. This will help neutralize the position of your spine and ease the twisting force that worsens the problem.
When it comes to the pillows on your head, be low profile about it. Don’t sleep on a mountain of cushion since this will disrupt the alignment of your spine. A pillow that has a moderate height and can be adjusted easily is best to prevent the numbness on the shoulder usually experienced by people with scoliosis.
Sleeping aids like towels, pillows, and blankets are intended to bridge gaps and spaces between your body and the mattress. This is so your weight is cushioned and the spine experiences the least possible strain. For example, if you’re sleeping on your back, there would be a gap in your lumbar area. You can cushion this part by rolling or folding a towel.
It’s important to ask the opinion of your doctor to ensure that you’re doing it right.
Good sleep hygiene
Nah, this isn’t about how clean your mattress is. When we say, sleep hygiene, it’s ensuring that your place of slumber is suitable for rest. It means that your bed is big enough to allow movement, the place is dark, and no gadgets are in sight. If you have a chronic case of scoliosis, you’ll want to maximize everything that will give you a good night sleep.
When we lie in bed while using our phones, we tend to hunch and crouch to put our face near the screen. Avoid any activities that will make you hunch on and off the bed.
Using the right mattress
For those with scoliosis, the common notion is that getting the softest mattress will do the job. However, the best mattress for scoliosis is one that is firm enough to support your back. Very soft mattresses tend to sag over time, thus it will lose its ability to support your back and body. But if you are a side sleeper, a moderately soft one can slip. It’s always best to ask the recommendation of your doctor to suit your case.
Some say that sleeping on hard surfaces is best for correcting the posture. Although it works for some, it’s a whole different story for those who have issues with their spine.
Choosing a mattress that supports the spine
There are more considerations when picking a mattress if you have scoliosis. You want to make sure that the firmness is perfect to support your body and your back. Your sleeping position would more likely dictate what mattress suits your condition. Here are some of the considerations:
Support level refers to how even the mattress stays when the person is sleeping on it. The best mattress for scoliosis is one that doesn’t sag and one that stays firm for long.
A mattress that conforms closely to the body is the best for those with scoliosis. However, don’t confuse it to having low support. A highly conforming mattress bridges the gap between the body and the cushion. The moment the person moved out of bed, it will go back to its original form.
Some consider support and firmness as the same. But technically, these are two different factors. Firmness is the overall feel of the mattress to the sleeper. It can range from soft to firm on which the firmness should increase in proportion to the sleeper’s body weight. However, a very soft mattress may not be best for those with scoliosis as this may tend to be flimsy and with motion control.
One reason why soft mattresses aren’t the best for scoliosis patients is its lack of motion isolation. Soft mattresses tend to be bouncy, thus low level of isolation. On this condition, the mattress absorbs the moving force less, thus more pain to the sleeper.
A decent sleep trial is one thing that people with scoliosis should look for. It can range from 30-365 days depending on the mattress manufacturer. The more you get to know the feel of the bedding, the more you can assess how comfortable it will be. If it doesn’t suit your comfort level, you can send it back to look for another mattress.
Recommended mattresses for scoliosis
Layla Memory Foam Copper-Infused Mattress
If you’re undecided on the firmness level, you wouldn’t want to miss the Layla Memory Foam Mattress. It has the “flappable firmness” where you get both a soft and a firm mattress in just one bedding. Layla Mattress also boasts its copper-infused technology that provides cooler and cleaner sleep. If you sweat intensely during the night, this would be an excellent mattress. It also has a cooling thermogel for more comfort.
This is a blend of high-density polyfoam and memory foam for the best conformity and the right support. For someone with scoliosis, this is the perfect mattress. It also has an excellent level of motion isolation so you can sleep soundly at night without the creaking noise of spring bedding.
The Layla mattress is best for those who have an average weight and who have combination sleeping positions. And with 120 nights’ sleep trial; you’ll surely get a nice feel of the mattress.
Purple Polymer Back and Hip Support Mattress
Purple mattresses have been making a name for its own, and true enough, they have something in store for those with scoliosis. Their mattress has an excellent memory foam technology with motion isolation so your body is supported on both back and side sleeping positions.
For those who sleep hot, this has free-flow air channels for utmost comfort. The best feature of this new Purple mattress is its Smart Comfort Grid. This is an elastic foam layer that bends and compresses as force is applied. It will spring back to its original form when the sleeper gets up. This offers customized sleeping experience and comfort, especially for those with back issues like scoliosis.
It cradles the body of the sleeper very well while avoiding body indent. Instead, the foam adjusts to the curves of the body without giving the sleeper a sinking feeling while on the mattress. However, compared to the Layla mattress, Purple is a bit on the steep side.
The best mattress for scoliosis is the combination of firmness, support, conformity, and comfort. With all these in the works, the symptoms would be more manageable.