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How to compensate for my curves? 03 Aug 2013 16:22 #1

  • LisaD.
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My husband and I bought a Pure Latex Bliss Pamper floor model (for me) and got a great deal. I needed something with more support for my back and this seems very supportive and felt very good to me, so much better than the mattress we got rid of that was sagging.. I know most people put a topper on these because they are quite firm. I haven't purchased a topper yet, but have been experimenting with a 2 inch piece of memory foam. I sleep on my back and on my side. I don't have a psychological need for a soft bed. I would just like to sleep as pain-free as possible. I have a number of issues that make this difficult. I'm trying to get my spine in alignment to see if it helps. I'm 5'10 and weigh 145. So I am not carrying any extra weight to cause me to sink down into a bed. I have an hour glass figure. My husband says that even with the 2 inches of memory foam when I'm on my side, my waist is sagging toward the bed putting my hips out of alignment. What do I do? Please help.

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How to compensate for my curves? 03 Aug 2013 19:22 #2

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Hi LisaD,

Some of the links in mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here may give you some theoretical guidance but these are only generic and not specific to each person but they may be helpful.

Your own personal experience and testing is really the only reliable way to know whether a mattress keeps you in good alignment and I would go by any actual symptoms you experience on the mattress (such as back pain or discomfort in parts of your back) in addition to just eyeballing your alignment because each person's physiology may be different and it can be difficult to follow the exact line of your spine or know if it is in neutral alignment (for you) in some sleeping positions.

My husband says that even with the 2 inches of memory foam when I'm on my side, my waist is sagging toward the bed putting my hips out of alignment. What do I do? Please help.


Other than what it may look like ... what specific symptoms are you experiencing? Do you have pressure points or other symptoms or discomfort when you sleep on the Pamper by itself without a topper? What is the density of the memory foam in your topper (lower density memory foam may be too soft to provide reasonable support under the lumbar curve)?

There are also some ideas and suggestions in post #11 here and post #4 here that may be helpful about ways to create a form of direct zoning under specific areas of the body that may need more support for those that have a bigger differential between their waist and hips (usually women) or their waist and shoulders (usually men).

In most cases ... no matter what the price or value of a mattress ... it's a good idea to make sure that the mattress is suitable and has been carefully tested for PPP before you buy it (or has good options for exchanging the mattress or individual layers) because even the best quality and value mattress has little value to someone that can't sleep on it. Supportive in terms of firmness is not nearly as important as how evenly it supports your body profile in neutral alignment (for you) in all your sleeping positions.

It would be helpful to know the specific physical symptoms you are experiencing and the part of your body you feel them that need "correcting" rather than just what your alignment looks like on both the mattress by itself and with the topper. This would be more helpful to make educated guesses at the reasons behind them and some solutions that may be worth trying.

Phoenix
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How to compensate for my curves? 04 Aug 2013 13:23 #3

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Phoenix,

My primary pain issue when sleeping is my neck. I can hardly move it when I wake up in the morning. I have several health practitioners working on the problem, but the issues are complicated.

I have tried all kinds of pillows for side sleeping, and have tried a minimal pillow, towel roll & no pillow for back. I thought maybe getting my spine better aligned might help with my neck issues. And I figured a new mattress would help with general aches and periodic back problems.

With our old mattress I was getting pressure points with my hips. I have not noticed that with the Pamper. It has a 2" ActiveFusion Fast Natural Talalay 21 ILD comfort layer and 6" Natural Talalay Latex Support Core 40 ILD.

My husband was going to build a latex mattress, but the Pamper was a great deal. It felt really comfortable to me in the store and we knew we could take it apart and rebuild if needed or add another comfort layer. Almost everyone who reviews this firm mattress says that they purchased a topper for it, so I thought it might be better for me with a topper to shape a little more to my curves. That is why I was experimenting with an old memory foam topper that we already had (no idea what the density is). My neck pain has gotten worse since adding the topper, but I didn't relate it to the topper - but maybe. The other issue has been pain in my upper back when sleeping on my side.

I removed the topper last night and felt that I got a better night's sleep. My neck pain was less, but I had a great deal of upper back soreness when waking after sleeping on my side. This might all be due to some new neck and shoulder exercises I did yesterday. I'm going to try a few more days without any topper and see. (My husband says that my spine looks more aligned without it.)

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How to compensate for my curves? 04 Aug 2013 14:52 #4

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Hi LisaD,

I hope you have success with your neck issues ... dealing with back or neck issues can be both frustrating and complex as you know.

Based on your feedback though it seems that the Pamper by itself is fairly close. With your longer and lighter build the 2" of soft latex may be "just a little" too thin but would be more likely to be suitable than it would be for someone who was heavier. When you are on your side you may be "twisting" away from pressure issues as a result of your shoulders "going through" the softer layer and "hitting" the firmer latex underneath and this may contribute to the upper back pain. As you mentioned it could also be connected to your neck issues because upper back and neck issues are often connected to a pillow.

A body pillow may also be worth considering because it can help with alignment and "twisting" with side sleeping.

If your symptoms are primarily connected to your upper body and neck I would focus more on the neck and pillow and consider a topper in the range of 1" - 2" and focus less on the lower back or pelvis area which is probably OK. If you choose memory foam I would make sure it was at least 4 lbs density and if you are OK with a little firmer feel then 5 lbs would be more "supportive". If your memory foam topper is low density then you may be sinking into it more and your pillow may be holding up your head too high which could contribute to the neck issues. The more you sink into a mattress the less the gap becomes between your head and neck and the mattress surface and the thinner the pillow you need to keep your head and neck in good alignment.

There are some topper guidelines in post #2 here and the posts it links to that can help you use your experience on the mattress by itself as a reference point for the topper firmness and thickness that may be most suitable.

When you sleep in multiple sleeping positions then a pillow that can be scrunched and change shape can be useful. As you know side sleeping generally needs a thicker pillow to keep your head and neck in alignment than back sleeping which generally needs a little thinner and some support under the cervical spine. If you like a more resilient "feel" then shredded latex may be worth considering. The pillow thread here may also have some links and information that you may find useful.

It can take some detective work and trial and error to isolate the underlying cause of complex issues and decide on which changes have the best chance of success but to the degree that any mattress or pillow can help with medical issues it's certainly worth the time and effort.

If you make small incremental changes with a "plan" in mine, make sure that you test each change for long enough that it is more predictive of your longer term experience and not just the result of the many day to day variables that can affect your sleep, and carefully compare the results of each change with the last one to see which "direction" you are going in terms of degree of improvement, then your odds are much higher of finding the best possible mattress / topper / pillow combination.

Phoenix
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How to compensate for my curves? 11 Aug 2013 09:30 #5

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Phoenix,

As you said, my issue are complex. Two days ago I went for physical therapy for a knee problem (stretched ligament - no one know why) and the exercises caused my hip (a long time problem off and on) to go into severe spasm the first day making me unable to walk much, so spending more time than usual in the bed the past 2 days.

Anyway, I do seem to be frequently waking with pain in my upper back below my shoulder blades in the middle of my spine (about where my bra would be). I think this pain must be mattress related because it started happening when I was sleeping on my side after we got the new mattress (unlike the chronic neck issues and periodic but long term hip muscle problem).

We are looking at getting a 2 inch latex topper in an ILD range somewhat softer than the 2 inches of 21 ILD that is already over the 6 inch 40 ILD core of this mattress. Ideally, I might start with a one inch topper, but it is pricier to buy two 1 one inch toppers, and $ are tight (due to all the medical bills).. I rather suspect 2 inches will be needed since I have decided to stick with side sleeping because of a sleep apnea issue. It is not best for my TMJ problem, but my TMJ specialist has said to go ahead and do it, since he can't fit me with an appliance for the sleep apnea due to complex dental issues.

I would be glad for any additional thoughts about the reason for the upper back pain before I ask my husband to spend the money on a topper. We are going to have to do that very soon, (plus buy a twin mattress for him since he has been sleeping on the couch so his snoring (all night) doesn't wake me.) Oh, because of your body pillow suggestion I have also been using a pillow between my knees and arms (haven't purchased an actual body pillow like you suggested yet) I do think this is helpful, but seem to "lose them" in the night. I will look into a real body pillow soon.

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How to compensate for my curves? 11 Aug 2013 19:26 #6

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Hi LisaD,

Pain in your midback could come from many reasons and like diagnosing any health condition over a forum it isn't really possible to do much more than guess because it can involve trial and error to really know what will help or the source of the problem. Sometimes it's only possible to really know what the problem is by "retroactive deductive reasoning" after you have found a solution through trial and error.

If you were a back sleeper then it could easily come from comfort layers that were too thick and soft and allowing you to sleep in somewhat of a hunched or slouched position where your midback was either sinking in too far which pushed your shoulders forward or in combination with a pillow that was too thick was holding your head up too high. Both of these could cause your muscles to work harder to keep your spine in alignment over the course of the night. It could also come from comfort layers that were too firm which put too much pressure on the area of the symptoms although this would be less common for back sleepers where the midback is not normally a pressure point. Given your mattress design and that it happens with side sleeping this doesn't seem to be the most likely possibility.

You are a side sleeper though so it's more likely that it comes from pressure issues that causes your shoulders to rotate forward instead of sinking in or causes you to twist away from pressure and twists the spine in the area of your pain (a partly stomach partly side sleeping position). This is something that a body pillow may help with because it can absorb some of the pressure when you are sleeping in a "forward leaning / side position" (which means a thinner comfort layer may work better) and help prevent your back from twisting.

A topper could also add a little more thickness and softness and "allow" your shoulders to sink in a little more (so you wouldn't have to twist away from pressure) and would also have good odds of being effective. 2" is a good "average" choice although sometimes an inch (too much or too little) can make a difference. From your description though it "sounds like" you are more in the range of "a little to a fair bit" than you are in the range of "a touch to a little" in which case 2" would be close.

PLB also has a 2" 15 ILD topper which would give you the chance to test the specific combination of a very soft latex topper on top of the Pamper to see if your experience gives you any clues about how effective this may be.

Sometimes back pain and the nerves and muscles involved can be so complex that a "cause" in one area can lead to a "result" in another area completely and this would really involve trial and error and a "retroactive" explanation after you have found a solution but the odds of predicting a solution are usually higher if you look in the area of the symptom and try to "imagine" what could cause this particular kind of symptom. Sometimes "playing" with various positions either with stretching or moving in certain ways (such as pushing your shoulders forward or twisting in certain ways) to try and create the symptoms you experience or experimenting on the floor where it's firmness can lead to similar symptoms or sensations more quickly can help identify how your body is responding on the mattress and help you identify a cause.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.
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