Using an Adjustable Bed for Back Problems

An adjustable bed has the potential to help anyone who feels more comfortable in an inclined position (such as sitting on a recliner with the feet up) rather than when lying on a regular flat mattress. The following provides a few examples of certain back conditions and how an inclined position in an adjustable bed can sometimes help the patient feel more comfortable.

In This Article:

  • Degenerative spondylolisthesis. For some people with degenerative spondylolisthesis, sleeping in a reclining position with support under the knees can reduce some of the pain discomfort in the lower back, making it easier to sleep through the night.
  • Osteoarthritis. Individuals with osteoarthritis in the spine, or facet joint arthritis, often wake up feeling quite stiff and sore in the morning. Sleeping on an adjustable bed may possibly provide better support and therefore decrease the irritation by minimizing joint compression.
  • Spinal Stenosis. People with spinal stenosis most often feel more comfortable when bending forward instead of standing up straight. Likewise, sleeping on a flat mattress can sometimes be less comfortable for people with stenosis than sleeping in the reclining position, such as that afforded by an adjustable bed.

In addition, after having low back surgery, some patients feel that an adjustable bed is more comfortable than a flat mattress. Like most choices when it comes to mattresses, this is largely a matter of personal preference.

In general, it is reasonable for a patient to consider the option of an adjustable bed if he or she feels better sitting in a reclining chair with the knees supported or slightly elevated and if he or she is having trouble getting a good night’s rest on a conventional flat mattress.

If a patient is not sure if they would benefit from an adjustable bed, or is not sure about buying a new bed, then it is also possible to use pillows to prop up the upper body (being careful to provide support for the lower back) and placing a pillow beneath the knees.

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