Back surgery can be a rewarding experience in the long term. The problem is that there is a difficult recovery period while the spine and incisions heal. The pain and the immobility from back braces become more of an issue when trying to sleep. Old mattresses feel lumpier and less supportive during recovery time. It might be time for a new mattress, but which is the best option post-back surgery?
This guide will consider three different types of mattresses for patients post-back surgery, 1.) air mattress or inflatable air bed, 2.) Tempurpedic foam mattress, and 3.) SAT mattress.
Try An Inflatable Air Bed
As a patient, you could just buy an inflatable air bed, which is quick, easy to set-up, and not too expensive. However, inflatable air beds aren’t always the most popular type of mattress around. Many associate them with guest rooms and camping trips, not a post-surgery recovery solution. Still, air beds have different benefits that might suit patients recovering from surgery.
- Adjustable Firmness
- Portable, use on demand
- Very Cost-effective
The main benefit of sleeping on an air mattress is that firm, strong surface. The inflatable mattress should provide a firm place to sleep with the right amount of inflation. This is vital for a better night’s sleep. This rigid approach means the best support for the spine and its discs as they fuse together. Those that regularly top up the air and check for damage should also find that this rigidity doesn’t deteriorate too much over time. This shouldn’t sag like a more traditional mattress.
These mattresses are also portable. Users can inflate and deflate them as needed, which is one of the reasons they are more commonly used as guest beds and camping beds. This means that users could set them up in a different room of the house. There are some couples that may struggle during this period of back surgery recovery. Patients that struggle to sleep may disrupt the sleep of their partner – however unintentionally. So, it might be best to set up one of these light, portable air mattresses in another room as a secondary option.
The other benefit with this air mattress is the cost. Many mattresses can be quite expensive, especially those with technical features and materials. The more layers and the longer the specification, the more that consumers often have to pay. By comparison, the air mattress is actually pretty cheap. This is important for those that see this as a temporary solution during recovery, and don’t really want a new mattress.
The potential problems of sleeping on an air mattress come with the comfort and the noise. There are some people that just can’t seem to get comfortable on these mattresses. Many become used to the cushioning and feel of regular mattresses and struggle against the latex and plastic here. These mattresses can also be a little low to the ground, which is sometimes a problem when getting in and out of bed for older people.
What About A Foam or Tempurpedic Mattress?
This is the most obvious choice for those that need to invest in a more supportive mattress. Buyers need to make sure that their mattress is as firm as possible. A soft mattress may be pillowy and well cushioned but won’t offer support and relief to those that have undergone surgery. These memory foam mattresses have layers of foam and other materials. They provide a smoother surface, but enough give and support where needed. This should help users to find the ideal sleeping position and rest a little more easily.
The biggest issue with these foam and Tempurpedic mattresses is the heat, but some now have cooling gel infused. The older models aren’t as cool and breathable as some of the other mattress around. This is a problem for those that feel uncomfortable in warm rooms and may get a little clammy. Switching to memory foam in the summer after surgery might not be a great idea. There are also some concerns over the cost. The costs of memory foam mattresses are falling. This comes with greater choice and cheaper materials. Yet, there is still a broad range and the most interesting, supportive and eco-friendly beds can be pricey.
The Pros And Cons of the SAT Bed
This is the option that many people won’t have heard of just yet. This is the most recent development in supportive mattresses and has proved popular. This sort of model is now available in many hospitals and medical centers as the ideal sleep solution for patients. This is because of the adaptive technology within the mattress.
Foam mattress has the ability to move and cradle users in the right position. However, they also have a habit of retaining that shape over time. They are a great solution for individuals, but not communal hospital beds. They also have that issue of heat in the dense foam. SAT beds are different. These beds adapt to the user as they move in bed. They are much more responsive and therefore more supportive. This is great for back surgery patients that roll over in the night and put the discs at risk.
The problem with this option is the cost. This is a great idea in theory, but many patients won’t want to spend this much money on a new mattress. It all depends on whether users see this as a temporary solution after surgery, or a new mattress for many years to come. If it is the latter, it could still prove to be a great long-term investment.
Skilled neuro or ortho surgeons provide relief and corrections for back injuries and complaints. With time, patients can become more mobile and live a pain-free existence. A better night’s sleep after back surgery requires more thought than just a new mattress.
It is easy to focus on the new mattress and the choice between different types. Yet, there are other considerations here. A new mattress isn’t always a practical, affordable option. Even when it is practical and affordable, there are other factors to consider for the best experience.
Other Sleep Considerations And Benefits
From here, the guide will cover other considerations for a better night’s sleep after back surgery. This includes the benefit of mattress toppers, sleeping positions, and sleep hygiene.
Think about the sleeping position on these new mattresses as well as the materials. Make sure the mattress is at the right height on the bed. Consider a mattress topper rather than a mattress.
The Sleeping Position
The perfect mattress can only do so much if users sleep in the wrong position. A bad position can cause discomfort and strain, increasing the recovery time and putting patients at risk of setbacks. Don’t sleep on your stomach as this puts added pressure on the discs and bones as they heel.
Surprisingly, many suggest sleeping on your back for the best support. Avoid raising your arms as this can put a strain on the shoulders and neck. Also, raise your knees with a pillow underneath to improve the position. Some people are much more comfortable sleeping on their side. Here it also helps to bend the knees with a pillow between the legs.
The Mattress Height
The height of the mattress is another important consideration when dealing with back pain. Users need to be able to get in and out of bed with ease. Experts suggest tightening the stomach and using a log roll movement when getting out of bed. This should provide the best posture and support without straining the area.
The problem is that patients don’t want to do this too low down to the ground. The mattress should be at a height that is comfortable to get in and out of. This is as much to do with the height and style of the bed as the mattress itself.
Compromising Solution Is To Use A Mattress Topper
Mattress toppers offer a good layer of supportive material over the current mattress. There are memory foam options and Tempurpedic models that come in different styles and thicknesses. They should help to improve the sleeping experience on a familiar mattress. Of course, these mattress toppers can only go so far to help users. They won’t do much good on a mattress that is lumpy, heavily dented and falling apart. Here users will still be able to feel those issue beneath the surface.
This is also a more cost-effective solution for those on a tighter budget. Some back surgery patients are understandably concerned that this investment won’t pay off. Either it won’t provide the support needed for their recovery, or they will hate using it post recovery. Many also don’t want to buy an expensive new mattress after the medical costs of back surgery. This is especially true if the mattress wasn’t that old, to begin with.
One mattress topper that is popular with people recovering from surgery is the Isotonic Iso-Cool mattress topper.
This clever product appeals, to users because it removes a big issue with some of the foam mattresses – the heat. This model has a clever use of materials and their Outlast Adaptive Comfort to reduce this risk. There is visco-elastic molded foam with spiral-spun polyester and a 300 thread-count cotton cover. This means it doesn’t hold body heat in quite the same way, offering a cooler, more comfortable sleeping experience.
Other considerations when getting a new mattress or mattress topper for back problems
- Where to purchase a new mattress or topper for the best experience
- Testing materials before committing to them
- Improving sleep hygiene for a more well-rounded experience
One thing to consider here is the choice in ordering online, rather than going to the showroom.
This is a great idea for those that are a little immobile after back surgery. All the heavy lifting and transportation is no longer an issue. Some of the best mattress brands with memory foam and orthopedic options also ship in small, compact boxes. This makes them easier to handle at home. Users just open the box, let the mattress air out for a while and then enjoy the comfort. Of course, deflated air mattresses are also going to be light and compact during the delivery process.
The downside to this online approach is that it isn’t as easy to try before you buy. Showrooms provide a chance to test beds at the convenience of the buyers. This means different heights, different comfort levels, and different materials. It is a great way to learn more about options and find a good fit. This should be an important consideration with back surgery recovery. However, many individuals in this situation find it difficult to test them out in the first place. It is still more convenient to gamble on a highly rated option and its money back guarantee.
Improving sleep hygiene, as well as the mattress, for the best experience
A new mattress, or temporary mattress solution, is the best place to start for improved sleep in back surgery recovery. But, this is not the only thing that people can do to make positive changes. Sleep hygiene measures can also prove useful for those suffering in this situation. Simple tips like creating a darker room, cooler temperatures and better routines all help. Some that struggle with back issues in this manner may decide to nap during the day. This is best avoided as it can disrupt nighttime sleep.
Trial And Error With Some Of These Options
There is a good chance that consumers and back surgery patients won’t find the ideal solution the first time. This is where it helps to test out materials, comfort levels and options before purchasing them. Still, this isn’t always practical with some mattresses. Look for toppers that provide a high-quality foam or Tempurpedic layer.
This can point you in the right direction with mattresses in the future. Also, don’t forget to pull out the guest air mattress and try that. This under-rated option may have the support, ease of use and portability needed. Whatever the style of mattress, and/or topper, comfort, support, and a good night’s sleep are essential to healing. Find that and back surgery recovery will become a lot less stressful.