What Type of Mattress is Best for Arthritis Sufferers?

Buying a new mattress can be a big undertaking for anyone. But for someone with arthritis, the right mattress can mean the difference between a pain-filled night and a comfortable one. So, how do you know which kind to choose? Here, some things to consider before walking in the store:

  • Be prepared to spend. While you don't have to drop tens of thousands of dollars on the latest and greatest mattress (although you could), you should be ready to part with at least $1,000. According to Dr. Arya Nick Shamie, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery and associate professor of spine surgery at UCLA, this is the minimum that will get you a mattress with advanced technology that will support your back. "A certain amount of padding is important," says Dr. Shamie. "In lower-end mattresses, the coils may not be supportive enough."
  • Think about pressure points. Whether you go firm or soft is a personal preference, but more important is that the mattress supports your weight evenly and doesn't let you sink into the bed. "A good mattress "[takes] the pressure points away," Dr. Shamie says. "You have various curves in your back. If the mattress doesn't support your weight, you'll have more pressure in these spots."
  • Look at newer technologies. If you have very severe arthritis, going from a lying-down position to a sitting-up one can be challenging. Consider buying a bed that elevates your torso and legs with the touch of a button. Some people are fans of memory-foam mattresses, which don't have coils or springs at all but are made of dense foam. "This can help avoid pressure points, since it cups all of your body parts," says Dr. Shamie. "But it's not as bouncy as a spring mattress, which makes it more difficult to get out of the bed. It has to be tried before you invest in one."

What don't you need to worry about when buying a mattress? While beds that let you adjust the firmness may sound enticing, once you have a bed that suits you, you probably won't need to change the firmness of it on a daily basis. And you don't have to buy mattresses more often than anyone else, unless you're very overweight. In that case, your mattress may wear out more rapidly and you should think about replacing it more frequently.



Dr. Arya Nick Shamie, spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and associate professor of spine surgery at UCLA.