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How to Choose the Right Mattress for Neck and Shoulder Pain Relief?

If you regularly wake up with neck and shoulder pain or stiffness, your mattress could be to blame. The wrong mattress can fail to properly support your body’s alignment, causing tension that leads to aches and pains.

The good news is that finding the right mattress can provide lasting relief for neck and shoulder discomfort. Follow these tips to choose a mattress tailored to easing neck and shoulder pain:

Evaluate Your Sleeping Position

Your preferred sleeping position impacts the type of support you need from a mattress. Back and stomach sleepers need a firmer surface to keep the spine properly aligned. Side sleepers need more cushioning around the shoulders and hips which bear more weight.

If you change positions during the night, opt for a medium firmness level that provides a balance of support and contouring.

Focus on Mattress Firmness First

Mattress firmness is crucial for spinal alignment and pressure point relief. The best firmness level depends on your weight and sleep position:

  • Back sleepers: Medium-firm to firm
  • Side sleepers: Medium to medium-soft
  • Stomach sleepers: Medium-firm to firm
  • Combination sleepers: Medium

Heavier individuals need a firmer mattress to support their weight without sagging. Lighter people can get away with a softer feel.

Try different firmness levels in stores to pinpoint the right amount of pushback and contouring for your body.

Choose the Right Mattress Type

Beyond firmness rating, mattress type impacts support and pressure relief. Memory foam and latex conform closely to the body to cushion painful pressure points around the shoulders and hips. Innerspring and hybrid mattresses provide sturdy support for proper spinal alignment.

Here are top mattress types for neck and shoulder pain:

  • Memory foam perfectly cradles the shoulders and neck. Look for a responsive foam that adjusts to movements for combination sleepers.
  • Latex mattresses provide buoyant support to lift the shoulders and hips. Natural or blended latex offers more contouring.
  • Innerspring mattresses feature pocketed coils that adapt to the shoulders and hips for contouring support.
  • Hybrid mattresses combine coils and memory foam for contouring and spinal support. The coils provide airflow to keep hot sleepers cool.

Prioritize Pressure Relief

A mattress that evenly distributes your body weight helps relieve tension buildup around the shoulders and hips. Targeted pressure relief comes from:

  • Zoned support with firmer foam or more coils around the lower back and softer foam or fewer coils around the shoulders.
  • Deep contouring memory foam that cradles the shoulders and hips.
  • Pillow tops made of memory foam or latex that add extra cushioning comfort.

Avoid excessively thick comfort layers that allow the heavier parts of the body to sink in too deeply.

Think About Spinal Alignment

Proper spinal alignment keeps your neck in a neutral position to prevent pain. The best mattresses for neck and shoulder issues gently conform to the body to fill gaps, particularly around the lumbar region.

Look for zoning in the comfort or support layers that provides reinforced support in the center third of the mattress where your midsection rests. For hot sleepers, coils or latex provide more airflow for spinal support than solid memory foam.

Try Before You Buy

The only way to know if a mattress relieves your specific pain points is to test it out. Take advantage of generous sleep trials offered by mattress brands to try out a bed at home for 3 months or longer.

Lie on the mattress in your usual sleeping position for at least 15 minutes to evaluate the support. Roll over and change positions to test how the bed accommodates movement.

If pain or stiffness persists during the trial period, take advantage of hassle-free returns offered by most bed-in-a-box companies. It often takes several tries to find your ideal mattress.

Invest in Other Sleep Essentials

A supportive mattress sets the foundation for pain-free sleep but other accessories can help optimize comfort:

  • Pillows should keep your head and neck aligned with the rest of the spine. Side sleepers need a thicker pillow that fills the gap between the shoulder and head.
  • Mattress toppers like memory foam or latex soften a too-firm mattress surface.
  • Adjustable bases allow you to elevate the head to take pressure off the shoulders or raise the feet to support the lumbar area.
  • Comfortable sheets prevent excess friction against the shoulders.

Following these guidelines will lead you to the right mattress to meet your specific needs for easing neck and shoulder discomfort. Seek out sleep trials, zoning for targeted support, and customization with toppers or adjustable bases. With the ideal mattress and sleep set-up, you’ll wake refreshed and pain-free.