As adjustable beds grow in popularity, many seniors are wondering how they can help them deal with things like chronic back pain.
Back pain affects 16 million adults in the United States and causes exhaustive, painful sleep. If you’re looking for an adjustable bed for back pain, this article is for you! Let’s take a look at how adjustable beds can help with your back pain and review some of the best adjustable beds for you!
What is an Adjustable Bed?
Adjustable beds use a series of motorized joints to raise or lower different sections of the bed for comfort and improved sleep. For example, a common position for adjustable beds is a raised head/torso and elevated legs; this creates a comfortable “laid back” position that can help seniors relax and takes some pressure off the spine.
Adjustable beds come in two parts: the “base” and the mattress. The base is where all the motors and moving sections, called “joints” are located. The mattress doesn’t do much on its own; it simply needs to be able to bend with the joints while remaining comfortable and supportive. The motors/joints are controlled by a remote and can be programmed to include different “presets” so that you can press one button and transition from relaxing to your ideal sleeping position!
Adjustable beds can also include a “split” feature; this means the mattress has a split down the middle at the head and one user can adjust their half of the bed independent of the other. This is a great benefit for couples who have different sleeping preferences and back issues.
As far as mattresses go, memory foam is the dominant material paired with adjustable beds. Memory foam is very flexible; it has no inner core or springs, so it can move and flex with the base. However, it still provides lots of support to the user. It’s the ideal combination of flexibility and support for an adjustable bed base!
How Can an Adjustable Bed Reduce Back Pain?
Seniors with chronic back pain know the frustration of waking up throughout the night in pain, tossing and turning to find a position that feels right. They also know how tired that fitful sleep leaves them the next day- not to mention sore as can be!
Getting a high-quality adjustable bed can help put a stop to the tossing and turning at night, as well as reaching for the ibuprofen the next morning! Adjustable beds allow you to customize the shape of your bed to the shape of your body, providing a more stable and ergonomic place to sleep! The best way to care for your back with an adjustable bed is by sleeping in what is known as the “zero-gravity” position- more on that below.
Having an adjustable bed allows you to customize several different areas of the bed that might put uncomfortable pressure on your spine and cause restless sleep and soreness. Laying on a stiff, flat mattress forces you to accept that you’re going to wake up sore, yet again, because you have no choice in sleeping position!
Using an adjustable bed can also help you sleep with more stability; elevating your back or legs will keep you from rolling over in the night and into positions that may unconsciously be worse for your back. With an adjustable bed, once you’re asleep, you won’t be able to move enough to switch to a less healthy position! It ensures stable, safe, and comfortable sleep for anyone who needs to avoid accidentally aggravating back issues in the night.
Finally, many adjustable beds come with basic massage features that can help to relieve tension in the spine. Tense muscles and tendons are a major cause of back pain, and being able to work out some of those knots at the end of the day paves the way for peaceful, dreamy sleep!
What is the Best Adjustable Bed Position for Back Pain?
There is no one “magic sleeping position”; the best position for you is the one that feels the best! Spine health is a lot more about comfort than most people think; when you feel the most comfortable, that is when your back is experiencing the least pressure and tension. For some people, that means sleeping with their backs flat and legs elevated. Many “side sleepers” can use a pillow to help straighten their spine while sleeping. Other people might prefer to sleep in the popular “zero gravity” position:
The “Zero-Gravity” Sleeping Position
The zero-gravity position describes a sleeping posture that centers your body’s weight across your entire spine, so no one part of your back will be supporting all of your weight. When all the weight is evenly distributed, the parts of your back that normally hurt experience lots of tension and pressure relief. This is accomplished by elevating the knees and feet slightly above the heart and keeping the torso slightly raised- it looks a bit like you’re being cradled by the bed rather than lying flat on it.
Sleeping in this position lets your back decompress and your spine rest; sleeping on your back or stomach still subjects the spine to a lot of pressure, especially in the lower back area. If you experience sciatic pain or more general lower back pain, sleeping in the zero-gravity position can help you wake up feeling refreshed and loose!
Best Adjustable Bed Reviews
Best Adjustable Bed for Back Pain (Overall): Leggett and Platt S-Cape
Features and Benefits:
The S-Cape is an ideal combination of high function and reasonable price- similarly-featured adjustable beds can cost upwards of $3,500! The S-Cape, from trusted brand Leggett and Platt, has all the features needed to treat back pain and then some:
Best Adjustable Bed for Back Pain (Runners-Up)
Even though they didn’t quite take the prize, the adjustable beds below are still every bit worth it and can have real positive impacts on your back health!
Best Bed/Mattress Combo: Sven and Son Adjustable Bed + 14-Inch Memory Foam Mattress
Buying an adjustable bed is a large investment- sometimes, the mattress can cost just as much as the base does. Getting a high-quality combo like this one cuts costs and simplifies the whole process. This bed comes with a 14-inch, custom-fit mattress made with cooling gel and memory foam. It’s a pricey model, but it is loaded with features and the money you save by not having to shop for a mattress may equal things out!
This bed has advanced massage functions as well: the back and legs areas both have three different intensity levels, and they can be activated individually or together, on either side of the bed! This is great for a senior who needs a gentler- or more intense- massage to help them prepare for bed. Studies have shown that a fifteen-minute massage before bed can help you sleep better and experience less pain, so this bed is a great benefit!
Best Bang for the Buck: iDeal Bed 4i Customizable Bed Base
If budget is a concern for you, you can trust that this adjustable bed will deliver years of peaceful sleep, without breaking the bank! It includes all of the most important features like massage, zero-gravity, and customizable presets- it even has an option for a split frame!
The iDeal Bed 4i has great massage features you can select between three different intensities and four different massage modes to find the perfect bedtime relaxation for your needs. One of the best things about this bed is the easy setup- simply unpack the box, screw in the legs (at your desired height), and plug it into the wall! That’s all it takes to go from delivery to relaxation in the iDeal Bed 4i.
Buying Guide: Tips for Finding the Best Adjustable Bed for Back Pain
Find a Good Massage
For many people, the massage functions on their adjustable bed are an afterthought. For seniors who experience back pain, however, they are essential to a good night’s sleep. Look for an adjustable bed that doesn’t skimp on the massage functions; getting in a few minutes of massage at the end of the day can make the difference between waking up refreshed and waking up with yet another knot in your back!
There are many products that you can safely buy from just about any manufacturer, but adjustable beds aren’t one of them. Buying an adjustable bed is a major investment in your health; the last thing you want is for that $1,000+ investment to go down the drain. There are many things that can go wrong with an adjustable bed: the mattress can slip, the massage can hurt more than it helps, and the motors can break without warning. When shopping for an adjustable bed, make sure you are looking at the reputation of each brand! It makes a big difference between years of amazing sleep and the frustrating realization that you’ve been duped!
There are many features that won’t be needed by everyone but make a big difference for you. For instance, if you have a very stiff back and many health concerns, you’ll want to look for a bed with height-adjustable legs. This will let you set the bed height to the right level; you’ll be able to gently sit and lay on the bed without stooping too low or risking a fall.
Other features that you may want to look for are split bases for couples, gel mattresses for hot sleepers, and customizable remote presets. None of these features are absolute must-haves, but they can really improve your experience of the bed and help you get the most out of it.
This is another area that won’t make or break your purchase, but can be a great benefit when something goes wrong. Some companies, such as Sven and Son, have limited 25-year warranties and full 1-year warranties. Others, however, have limited short-term warranties that they’ll fight tooth and nail not to honor. Before purchasing, check into the type of warranty that a company offers, and research to see if other customers have had warranty issues! This can save you from a lot of headaches down the road.
Finding a good adjustable bed for back pain can feel intimidating, but it’s well worth it. Using an adjustable bed, in combination with massage features, can relieve muscle tension and help you sleep with stability and peace. If you deal with chronic back issues and consistently wake up sleepy, consider how a high-quality adjustable bed might be able to serve you!