Back Care Products – The Buyers Guide 2019 – 2020

Back Care Products

Back pain is a big problem in today’s society. It is something many people will suffer from during the course of their lives and it is often attributed to poor posture, sedentary lifestyle (e.g. spending your day sitting behind a desk), bad mattresses, stress, carrying heavy bags and more. Back pain can affect any part of your back from the neck right down to the hips. Back pain isn’t normally caused by anything serious and there are various steps you can take to alleviate it.

If you or someone you know is experiencing back pain then our list of back care products should help you alleviate the symptoms. Read on to find out how you can stop back pain affecting your day-to-day life!

Important

The following products are designed for people who are either experiencing mild or moderate back pain or people who know the cause of their back pain. If your back pain has lasted for more than a few weeks with no change, if the pain is so severe that it stops you functioning in your day to day life, and/or if the pain is getting worse and you are worried then you should consult your doctor who will be able to refer you to a physiotherapist.

Whilst the causes of back pain tend to be pretty benign it isn’t always the case. Back pain can, for example, be the result of an injury, slipped disc or irritated nerve. Specific back pain is treated differently to non-specific back pain and so some of the treatments used for one type of pain may be ineffective or even harmful if your back pain is caused by something else.

You should also consult a doctor before using an electronic massage device if you have a pacemaker, high blood pressure, thrombosis, if you are pregnant or if you have any other pre-existing conditions.

Neck Massager’s

One in three people today suffer from neck and shoulder pain. A relaxing and effective massage is a great way to alleviate pain and relax the muscles, but not everyone has the time, money or desire to go and get a professional massage from a masseuse. If for whatever reason you don’t wish to get your message from another person there are electronic massage machines which can simulate the feeling of a real massage in the comfort of your own home.

What Is A Shiatsu Massage?

Shiatsu is one of the most popular and effective types of massage therapy available. The word Shiatsu does not refer to a specific brand, but it is in-fact a specific style of Japanese massage and the word literally translates to “finger pressure”.

Shiatsu massagers are seen as a method of medical therapy in Japan because they are used to correct imbalances in the body and promote general health and well-being. Shiatsu massages are great for relaxation stress management, getting rid of toxins, increasing your flexibility, improving your blood circulation and blood pressure, reducing anxiety and it can generally put you in a better mood. These massages may feel a little uncomfortable for some people, and if you don’t like it there are other types of massage available, but even if the initial feeling is slightly uncomfortable it still worth giving it a fair try. Often the initial discomfort is a result of your tight muscles or other pain starting to seep out of your body and you’ll most likely feel a lot better afterwards.

How Does it Work?

Electronic shiatsu massagers operate via the use of 4-8 shiatsu balls. These balls are contained within the massage unit and, when the unit is turned on, the balls move in a circular or curved pattern which is designed to mimic the feeling of a human massage.

Other Massage Options

Electronic massagers which follow the shiatsu method are a great choice, but they are not the only choice. Many electronic massagers will incorporate one or more massage methods to give you a wider range of options.

Acupressure

You are also able to buy units which use the acupressure method. This is similar to Shiatsu because it concentrates on specific points in the body to improve overall health and well-being, but acupressure units focus on specific pressure points (often in the feet) which are thought to benefit the entire body as our nerves, organs and pressure points are connected.

Heat Therapy

Applying heat to sore muscles is a well-known method of loosening tight muscles and reducing muscle ache, so it stands to reason that you would be able to buy massagers which incorporate heat therapy as part of the overall treatment.

Vibrations

Do you want to alleviate pain and lose weight at the same time? Then a vibration massager may be for you! Vibration machines literally feel like they are shaking your muscles from the inside and, whilst this may feel a little unpleasant initially, they are known to reduce stress, improve circulation and lessen pain.

Vibration technology is thought to give your muscles a thorough workout with little or no effort on your part and so they can make your muscles contract and relax as if you were doing strenuous exercise, and therefore it may help people lose weight without having to work out. Of course, it is recommended that you exercise regularly to improve your overall health and you shouldn’t try to substitute this by vibrations alone, but vibration massagers can certainly compliment a healthy lifestyle.

Ultrasonic Massagers

Ultrasonic massager’s harness ultrasonic waves to provide you with an in-depth and powerful massage which should only take about 15 minutes to achieve the required results. These massagers are not designed for deep tissue and should not be used on certain parts of your body (including your feet) but like vibration massagers, ultrasonic technology is thought to help with weight loss and muscle toning in addition to pain alleviation.

If you use the massager on areas of cellulite it may be able to lessen the cellulite in that area. Ultrasonic massagers require conductive gel (just like ultrasounds do) so they may be a little more expensive.

Which Electronic Neck Massager Is Right For Me?

The type of electronic massager which is right for you will depend on where the pain is and how far you need the massager to reach. If the pain is mostly concentrated in your neck or shoulder then you should be fine with a pillow-style neck massager. If your pain is further down, or if you want a massager that can be used for more than one area, you may want to opt for a shoulder massager instead. These units normally come with arm straps which enables you to use them on more than one part of your body and they may offer a wider range of massage settings and options.

Neck pillows are placed directly over the affected area and concentrate on that specific place, whilst larger massage units can work on larger areas of your body such as your entire back. Neck pillow massage units are designed to alleviate pain on the go, i.e. at work or in the car, whilst larger massage units are designed to give you a more in-depth massage experience. Neck pillows literally resemble the size and shape of a regular pillow, whilst shoulder massagers are larger units with arm straps which allows you to use the massager on different areas of your body.

Shoulder Massage Units

Shoulder massagers are larger than neck pillows and are therefore able to reach more parts of your body. These massagers are suitable for a more ‘authentic’ massage experience, they are ideal for people who find it difficult to reach their backs, and they can even help reduce cellulite and muffin tops! Read on to find out more.

Price

Shiatsu shoulder massagers are more expensive than smaller pillow massagers and as with anything else you are likely to get what you pay for. You may automatically want to opt for the cheapest possible option, but if it turns out that the cheaper product is ineffective then you may end up spending twice as much if you have to buy a new massager which actually works. Higher-end models may come with a wider range of features and speed settings which you can use to create custom made massages for yourself.

Speed

Some higher end shoulder massagers come with multiple speed modes which you can pick and choose between. This gives you more choice and flexibility over the type of massage you are able to have, but this feature is likely to rack up the price tag.

Heat

Some shoulder massages will come with heat options which can help alleviate tension and loosen tight muscles. Heat features are normally optional so you can select them as and when you want. It’s a good idea to invest in a shoulder massager which comes with heat options because heat is often used to loosen tight and painful muscles and if it is used in conjunction with a massage it can be really effective.

Controls

Your shoulder massager should come with various controls including speed controls and possibly a selection of different massage options. These controls should be accessible, straightforward and user-friendly so you won’t have to waste time figuring out how the massager works.

Direction

Some electronic massagers will let you reverse the direction so that the massage nodes (or balls) are able to perform clockwise or ant-clockwise movements. This can help you create a more authentic massage experience and make your massages more versatile, but units which offer this feature may cost a little more.

Material

Your electronic massager will be in regular contact with your skin, so it is important that the material is comfortable and won’t irritate your skin. Faux leather and PVC are popular choices, and many will be lined with cushioning fabric to make the unit more ergonomic.

Appearance can be an important factor as well. You will want something that you find aesthetically pleasing especially if you are planning on using your massager in public. Most electronic shoulder massagers come in standard black or brown colours which are likely to appeal to most people, but there will be various designs and styles available so you should be able to find something you like.

Versatility

Even if most of your back pain is concentrated in your neck right now it doesn’t mean that another part of your body won’t experience pain at a later date. It’s a good idea to buy a massager which can be used for other parts of your body aside from your neck.

Other areas you may wish to massage includes the lower back, ankles, knees and elbows. Having more options ensures that you can alleviate pain in more than one area and makes it less likely that you would have to buy another massager with more options later on.

Battery Life

Many electronic shoulder massagers will be battery powered and will need to be charged before you can use them. Some units last longer than others and times may vary from thirty minutes to over two hours. It’s a good idea to check the estimated battery life before making a purchase and double check online reviews to make sure the details listed in the product specifications are accurate. If your unit is battery powered you should also make sure that it comes with a charger and, if required, an adapter.

Safety

Safety is important and although personal massagers are far from dangerous there are still some basic safety functions which can protect you against possible accidents. You may want to look for products which automatically turn off after a set period of time. An overheating sensor will also come in handy, and the unit should always be easy to switch off via an accessible shut-off button.

Weight

Portable massagers are unlikely to weigh very much at all, but depending on how you are going to use the massager you will want to make sure it is not going to hurt or strain your arms. Most units only weigh a few pounds, but double check just to make sure.

Sound

If you electronic shoulder massager is too noisy it can disrupt the relaxing effect and prevent you from concentrating on other activities. Many electronic massagers are quiet enough for you to use them whilst watching TV, listening to music or multi-tasking in other ways, but double check the product specifications and reviews to see if the noise levels on your chosen massager are likely to be a problem.

Warranty

Shoulder pillow massage units tend to be more expensive than pillow massagers and so it’s a good idea to choose a product which comes with a warranty. The warranty will help protect you against accidental or manufactured damages, plus it is a good indication of the products overall quality and standard as a manufacturer is far less likely to offer a warranty on a product they know is likely to break in the first few months.

Neck Pillow Massager’s

Read on to find out more about smaller pillow-style massage units.

Price

Neck Pillow style massagers are normally less expensive than other types of massage equipment and they are a good choice for budget buyers. However, it’s not a good idea to just buy the cheapest thing you see as you’re unlikely to get as much out of it. The general rule when buying something like a portable massager is that you get what you pay for.

You may be able to find a neck pillow massager for under £20, but in reality, this massager may not be effective and you may end up having to buy a more expensive unit at a later date. It’s a good idea to go for a mid-range item (which should still be fairly affordable) rather than a budget model to ensure you get the most out of your money.

Time

Electronic massagers will only be able to operate for a certain amount of time as they are often battery powered. This important to look into if you are hoping for a long and relaxing massage as you don’t want the massage to stop prematurely. Check the running time prior to purchase and then take a look at the customer reviews to see if the stated running time is accurate.

Balls

Shiatsu massage units will normally either have four balls or eight balls which follow a specific pattern in order to mimic the feeling of an authentic shiatsu massage. Eight-ball massage units are able to offer a more in-depth massage and so they can give you more effective results.

Heat

Some massage units will use a mixture of heat and knead sensations to reduce pain and promote relaxation. The heat feature will normally be optional so you can turn it on and off at will. The heat may use up more battery, but it is a useful option to have as it provides another element to the overall experience and heat therapy is known to loosen tight muscles and relieve muscle ache.

Appearance & Material

If you are planning on using your massage pillow regularly you will need something which feels comfortable on your skin and which you don’t mind looking at. Massage pillows normally come in standard white, black, grey or brown colours so you can pick something you find aesthetically pleasing, and in terms of material try and pick something which is both environmentally friendly and kind to the skin. Soft cushioning is important as an uncomfortable pillow may cancel out the therapeutic massage effects.

Warranty

Massage pillows are not particularly expensive and so the warranty probably isn’t at the top of your priorities, but it is still worth thinking about. If your massager is faulty when it arrives or it breaks within the first year you should be able to get a new one free of charge and unfortunately, you won’t be able to unless the product has a valid warranty. If a product comes with a warranty it’s always a good sign because it shows that the manufacturer has faith in that product which means it is less likely to be flimsily made or poorly designed.

Electric Massage Chairs

Electric massage chairs can provide you with a full back massage in the comfort of your own home. As massage chairs look like regular armchairs they can be used as regular furniture which can massage you as you watch TV, read a book or catch up on work. If you’ve ever used one of the massage chairs available in certain shopping centres you will know how relaxing they can be, so if you’re interested in owning your very own electric massage chair read on for our buyers guide.

Price

When you buy a massage chair you are buying a massaging unit and an arm chair in the same piece of furniture. This inevitably means that massage chairs are not particularly cheap and they should be viewed as a long-term investment rather than a spontaneous purchase. You may be tempted to buy the cheapest option possible, but it’s normally a better idea to buy something that has a range of different options so you can get more out of it.

If you consider how much regular visits to a massage parlour are likely to cost over time (as well as any additional travel costs) you will probably find that the chair is likely to pay for itself, but it can only do that if you continue to use it for the months and years to come.

Massage Options

The type of massage you can expect from a massage chair varies from product to product. More options are likely to result in a bigger price tag, but some of these options may prove essential to the overall experience. Cheaper models may just offer simple rolling massages, whereas higher-end models may feature shiatsu, vibration, kneading, pre-programmed functions, heat options and even inversion therapy options and zero gravity options.

We will discuss inversion therapy a bit later on, but if you don’t know what zero gravity is it is basically a feature which mimics the weightlessness that an astronaut would experience in space (i.e. in zero gravity. This function can help reduce tension, improve blood circulation and lower your heart rate.

Some massage chairs will offer thermal massages so you can get the most out of the experience, but again these extra features are likely to increase the price.

Full Body Massager

Most massage chairs will be able to massage more than just your back. A good model should offer leg and foot massages, and higher end models may also be able to massage your arms, head and even wrists.

Material

If you are planning on using the massage chair as a piece of furniture it is important that the chair compliments its surroundings and doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb. Many people will opt for a sleek leather material because they think it is better quality, but you may be surprised to hear that synthetic materials are actually a better choice when it comes to massage chairs. These materials are likely to last for longer and withstand any thermal heat that leather is not equipped to deal with.

Audio & Lights

Some massage chairs come with inbuilt speakers which you can use to play your own music. This is a pretty impressive feature, but you will have to ask yourself if it is actually necessary for your home. Some chairs will also come with LED mood lighting options which can help promote relaxation.

Adjustable Height

If you want to get the most out of your massage chair then it will need to massage (and be able to reach) the correct parts of your body. Some higher-end models will be able to sense where your shoulders are and so it will adjust its height accordingly, but many cheaper options will let you manually adjust the height.

Space

Massage chairs are fairly big (about the size of a regular arm chair) and so before you buy one you’ll need to make sure you have space for it. Many of these chairs have a recline option so they may end up taking up more space than you initially thought.

Warranty

Your massage chair is a big and often expensive investment and so you will naturally want to make sure it lasts for longer than a few months or years. A long warranty is a good sign when making a big purchase. A long warranty should protect you against manufactured or accidental damages (read the fine print to make sure the warranty does cover both of these areas) as long as the warranty lasts, so it stands to reason that a longer warranty is better as it protects you for longer.

However, there is also another reason why long warranties are a good sign and this is because it is a very good indication of quality. Manufacturers are unlikely to offer a long warranty on a product unless they feel confident that it is likely to last for at least as long as the stated warranty because they don’t want to lose money.

Inversion Tables

Inversion tables may seem a little bit bizarre, but they have been used for their health benefits for 24 centuries and we first used in 400 BC. Inversion tables are also used as weight machines so they can give your body a workout and help you build on strength in addition to alleviating back pain. There are lots of different models, features and prices out there so if you are new to inversion tables read on for our buyers guide which will give you a better idea of what an inversion table is, what it can do for back pain and what features you may or may not require.

What Is An Inversion Table?

Inversion tables basically hold the user upside down in an attempt to improve blood flow, reduce muscle pain, improve posture and remove toxins from the body. This may sound a little strange, but the idea is that the inversion table harnesses gravity to take pressure off of the spine. Hanging upside down (or at an angle) should decompress your spine and naturally stretch it out in an attempt to improve overall posture and reduce aches and pains. These tables should also help stretch out your muscles, flush toxins out of your lymphatic system, improve circulation and even stop you shrinking at night!

Frame

You will need a strong, controllable frame to make sure you have maximum support and your safety is not at risk. Try to find a table which will accommodate various angles. Eventually, you should be able to hang at a 60 or 90-degree angle, but the sensation of hanging upside down takes some getting used to and you may need to ease into it.

If you experience any headaches, nausea or other uncomfortable sensations you should be able to change the angle or easily move into an upright position. You should be able to start out at a 30-degree angle and work from there, so make sure this is an option for the table you are looking at. Double check the minimum and maximum weight requirements as these can vary from frame to frame.

Materials

Hanging upside down by your ankles is a pretty vulnerable position which has the potential to go wrong pretty quickly. You will need a good quality inversion table which can hold your weight and you can feel comfortable using. A good indication of how sturdy the table is and how much weight it can hold is how much the table itself weighs. Good quality materials are gong to weigh more and whilst lightweight options are normally desirable in this case the table should be heavy enough to comfortably hold your weight.

Company

Another factor you should look into is how well known and reputable the company is. You should be wary of prices which sound too good to be true and companies which offer a lot but have limited reviews or presence in the real world. It’s worth paying more for a company which you can rely on, especially if the product involves you hanging upside down by your ankles.

It’s important that you feel secure and safe when using the conversation table because you won’t get a lot out of it otherwise. Check customer reviews, read specifications with regards to safety measures (i.e. security straps, locking pins, swivel parts etc.) and only choose something you feel sure about. Keep an eye out for safety and standard certificates which show that the inversion table in question meets certain requirements such as UL certified products.

Controls

It’s important that you find out how you are able to control the inversion table before you buy it. Some models will require the user to move the bed themselves, whereas more high-end models can be controlled via a switch or control pad.

Clamps

As an inversion table holds you upside down you will need something to keep you falling off. When you are using the table you will normally stand on a platform and clamp your ankles in place to stop you sliding off the table. Some ankle clamps will be padded for extra comfort, but this is not a guarantee so you should either choose something which does come with extra padding or provide the padding yourself through thick clothing. The platform should be adjustable to accommodate a range of feet different sizes, and if you would prefer not to be held by your ankles there are also padded knee bars which may prove more comfortable.

Backboard

The backboard on your inversion table may come with extra padding, light padding, no padding or something in-between. Some people will want thick padding for extra comfort whilst others may prefer no padding because they want to do specific exercises. Look at a range of options and choose what appeals to you.

Vibrations

Some inversion tables come with optional vibration pads which you can use for extra muscle relaxation. This can be a welcome addition to your inversion routine and it can really help with tight muscles, but the extra vibration sensation may be too much for beginners.

Space

The size of your home is an important consideration when you are looking to buy indoor fitness equipment as the item in question needs to actually fit into the required space. If you have limited space you should look for inversion tables which can be folded so you can easily put them away when you’re not using them.

Warranty

You should ideally opt for a mid-range inversion table which is good quality, strong, sturdy and reliable. This isn’t going to be the cheapest option, but it is going to be safer and more productive than something flimsy and easily broken. Seeing as your inversion table should be an investment for your health and well-being you will want it to last for a long time, so if possible you should make sure it has at least a one year warranty and preferably a two, five or even ten-year warranty.

A warranty is important for long-term investments because it will cover your product for the stated amount of time (usually a minimum of one year) and you can use the warranty to have the table repaired or replaced if it is accidentally damaged or it is faulty in the first place. A warranty is a good indication of quality and it should help set your mind at ease because manufacturers are far less likely to slap a long warranty on a product they know is likely to break.

Back Braces

Back support in the form of braces can be an effective and quick way of alleviating back pain and preventing future back problems. These devices are often able to provide instant pain relief, they can cushion your back and provide support for your lower back, they can promote correct spinal alignment and they can help improve your posture. If you are interested in trying a back brace then read on for our buyers guide.

Please note that you should only buy a back brace if you know the cause of your back pain. If your pain is caused by a slipped disc or other physical ailments then your doctor can provide you with help and advice on the best way to proceed.

Posture Brace

Posture braces (also known as posture correctors) are external devices which are used to help correct posture problems. They will keep your back, shoulder and neck aligned in an upright position as your body learns how to maintain good posture.

How Does It Work?

Posture braces force your back and spine to stay straight. This motion can help strengthen your core and take pressure off the shoulders and back. Posture braces are worn on the upper back and shoulders and they pull the shoulders back to stop your body from slouching.

Posture braces can help alleviate existing back pain, but they are also important for prevention. Strengthening and straightening the spine earlier in life can help you avoid spinal problems later on, and a healthy spine can help keep other parts of your body healthy too. Good posture can also make people appear slimmer and more confident.

Posture braces are normally worn for at least half an hour every day and you should start to see positive results within the first two-three months. You are not required to wear the brace all the time.

Are They Comfortable?

Posture correctors should not be uncomfortable after the first few days. There is a natural adjustment period which may last for several days and initially, the brace will feel strange and a little uncomfortable, but these feelings should subside after the first week.

Discomfort during the first few days is natural, but if it continues you should stop wearing the brace. Comfort is key and if you are uncomfortable your posture may not improve or may actually get worse.

Your posture brace may restrict your movements and it may become harder to do certain tasks such as driving, but as you won’t be wearing the brace all the time it should not negatively affect your regular activities.

Material & Appearance

Back braces come in many different styles and can be made out of a range of materials. You will be able to buy a posture brace in stretchable materials (e.g. spandex and rubber) and non-stretchable materials (such as cotton).

The brace will normally be fastened around the shoulders and cover most of the upper back. Posture braces are available in a range of sizes (they can be used by adults and children alike) and many braces have adjustable straps which you can use to make the brace more comfortable.

Male & Female Specific Braces

You can buy posture braces which have been specially designed for men and others which have been designed for women as well as gender neutral options and child-specific designs. Male posture correctors tend to be larger and focus on the back whilst female specific posture braces may take the form of a bra.

Female braces are a good choice for women who experience back pain because of their larger breasts. These braces are specially designed to support the breasts and evenly distribute the woman’s weight whilst simultaneously reducing the strain on her shoulders, neck and back. Many women with larger breasts complain that they suffer from regular back pain and so this could be a helpful alternative to medical or surgical procedures.

Cleaning

Posture correctors need to be cleaned regularly just like clothes, socks and underwear. Some posture braces can just be popped in a washing machine and tumble dried, but other options can only be hand washed. Make sure you have read the care instructions before you buy the posture brace so that it doesn’t shrink in the wash.

High-Tech Options

Some newer posture braces include various forms of technology such as calorie counters, step counters, sleeping trackers and some models can even track your activity and give you fitness advice.

Lower Back Support Belts

Lower back pain (e.g. lumbar pain) can affect a lot of people and it’s important to help support, stabilise and align that part of your spine so that you can reduce stress, improve your posture and alleviate pain. The lower back pain may be aggravated by sitting or standing in the same position for long periods of time, and if this is the case you will need to try and decompress the lower part of your spine.

Lower back braces can help reduce strain on your joints and muscles and, by restricting the movements of your back, these braces can help your lower back heal. If you are interested in lower back support belts read on for our buyer’s guide.

Why Wear A Lower Back Brace?

Back pain can be aggravated by certain physical activities. Rather than stop doing those activities (which is not always an option) you can wear a lower back support brace to help take some of the physical strain off of your back so that you are protected from future injuries.

Naturally, you should follow safe lifting procedures, not take on more weight than you can handle and avoid excess physical activity if you are in pain. However, some jobs do require physical labour and not all bosses are lenient enough to grant multiple sick days as a result of an injury. Wearing a lower back brace can be really important if your line of work involves physical activities and you want to avoid aggravating pre-existing injuries and having to take time off work as a result. It is however important that you don’t find yourself relying on the lower back brace too much and you don’t assume that the brace enables you to lift heavier loads or engage in dangerous physical activity.

Lower back braces can also be helpful for people with existing conditions. If you suffer from muscle strains, disc pain, spinal arthritis and other back-related injuries then these back support braces can help you go about your daily life. However, it is a good idea to consult your doctor before buying a back brace if you have not worn one before.

Maternity Support Belts

Pregnancy can put a lot of pressure and strain on the lower back and naturally when you are pregnant you are unable to wear regular back support belts or take pain relief medication. Many places to sell specifically designed maternity support belts which can help alleviate lower back pain and increase your general comfort.

Size

Make sure that the back support belt you are buying actually fits you. Make sure that the belt is adjustable and, if you are buying online, read online reviews to see how other people found the brace in terms of comfort and adjust-ability. You should also be able to easily tighten the brace when engaging in strenuous physical activity and loosen the brace afterwards.

Breath-ability

Your back brace should be made of breathable material to stop your skin getting over heated and uncomfortable, although excessively breathable braces are not advisable for certain injuries which require heat to be applied to the area.

Don’t Overuse The Brace

You should wear your back brace where necessary, but don’t overuse it and only tighten it when undertaking a strenuous physical activity. Remove the brace when you are relaxing and just sitting around. Wearing the brace too much can actually make your back pain worse and could disrupt the healing process.

Mattresses

All of the options we have seen so far relate to equipment that you can use during the day, but what about when you are asleep? The quality and style of your mattress can have a huge effect on back pain because a comfortable and well-designed mattress can help prevent new aches and reduce existing pain, whilst another mattress could actually make your back pain worse. There is no such thing as a one size fits all mattress as our bodies are different and you will need to choose something that suits your personal needs. If you are looking to buy a new mattress read on for some suggestions so you can learn how to prevent back pain during the night.

Your Sleeping Style

When it comes to mattresses it can be hard to find something which is just the right mixture of firm and soft. Firm mattresses are important because you will need lower back support if you sleep on our back, but soft mattresses are able to mould to your body so you can sleep comfortably. Medium-firm mattresses are ideal for stomach and back sleepers whilst side sleepers will need some extra softness to cushion their shoulders.

The mattress which is right for you will depend on how you sleep (side, back, front), what type of back pain you have, and numerous other factors. Here is a brief list of your options so you can get a general idea of what is available.

Memory Foam

Memory foam mattresses are a popular choice because they are able to adjust to match your individual body heat and weight. As your body heat increases the mattress will become softer so that you can get the best sleep possible. Memory foam mattresses come with a top layer of temperature sensitive material which is not only able to adjust to your body temperature but it can also mould to the shape of your body.

The mattress is able to help with proper spinal alignment so that you can achieve the perfect posture even whilst sleeping. Memory foam mattresses are also able to support your lower back, cushion your shoulders and hips, reduce muscle tension and help your body’s natural processes.

Coil Mattresses

Continuous coil and open coil mattresses are made with wire, although continuous coil is made from a single loop of wire whilst open coil is made up of springs connected by a wire. These mattresses tend to be more affordable than other options, but the downside is that they may be noisy and are less likely to mould to the shape of your body.

Gel Mattresses

Gel mattresses are similar to memory foam in that they offer a lot of extra back support. Gel mattresses are able to mould to your body, but they also ensure that the bed doesn’t get too hot during the night.

Latex Mattresses

Latex is a cool, breathable material which, like gel filled mattresses, will stop yo overheating in your sleep. Latex is a durable, long lasting material which can provide the user with a firm mattress to support the lower back for extra pain relief.

Waterbed Mattresses

Waterbed mattresses are, as the name suggests, mattresses which are filled with water. These mattresses can be either hard sided or soft sided. Some models consist of a single water chamber with a free flow system, but higher-end products use wave reduction and even wave-less features to make sure that you can’t feel ‘waves’ inside your mattress when trying to sleep.

Waterbed mattresses are popular with some people because they are able to mould to your body and they put minimal pressure on the spine. They are also easy to clean and are therefore less likely to trigger allergies or become infested with dust mites. However, the beds can be difficult to move, expensive to heat, and they are naturally a water damage risk.

Futon

Futons may look uncomfortable, but some people swear that they are the best possible bed for back realignment and back pain alleviation. They provide a firm, flat surface for your back which may be beneficial for back pain (plus futons are generally smaller and much more versatile than other beds) but they may not be a good idea for chronic back pain sufferers as the mattresses cannot properly mould to your body shape.

Other Options

Back pain is often attributed to a sedentary lifestyle and too much sitting down, so some of the available options which may help prevent and alleviate back pain encourage the user to stand rather than sit. Standing desks, for example, are available in a range of heights and are designed to promote more movement. There are also a range of accessories including ergonomic back support rests, memory foam rests, seat cushions and back correctors which you may find helpful.

Finally, there is physical exercise. Simple exercises such as rolling down your spine to touch your toes or basic stretching exercises can do wonders for a backache and back pain prevention. There are many exercises which can target specific types of back pain and help straighten your spine and improve your posture.

You don’t need to be a yoga or pilates expert to spend 5-10 minutes every day stretching out your back. Other forms of physical exercise such as walking, jogging, going to the gym, playing sports or attending dance classes are also a great way of combating back pain.