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Aloe Alexis and Back Pain 15 May 2013 10:56 #11

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Hi mnmeater,

As your doctor suggested ... when the upper layers are too soft and thick for your body type then your pelvic girdle will sink into the mattress too far and can cause a tilt in your pelvis which in turn changes the curvature of the lumbar spine and the alignment and distance between the vertebrae so you are sleeping out of your neutral alignment position. This means your spine doesn't have the chance to decompress and rehydrate as effectively and often leads to the types of symptoms you are having with lower back pain. With layers that soft pressure relief wouldn't be the issue but alignment certainly would.

I have already included my more generic suggestions in my previous posts and I would personally try to get as close as I can with just the mattress layers rather than choosing layers with the intent of adding a topper which includes one more variable and will make your choices more difficult yet.

If you exchange your layers to firmer ones and you still need some extra pressure relief then you can use your personal experience to choose the topper that may be best instead of "theory". It's always "safer" to choose a little firmer if you are undecided than a little softer because it's much easier to "fine tune" a mattress that just needs a little extra pressure relief by using a mattress pad or a topper than it is to improve the support of a mattress that is too soft.

Phoenix
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Aloe Alexis and Back Pain 23 May 2013 13:32 #12

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Hi! Don't know why I am having such a hard time with my mattress, but we are now sleeping on our Aloe Alexis with a top layer of 24 or 28 and a middle layer of 32. We have had great customer service from Brooklyn Bedding and they sent us two layers of foam in a single shipment, so we could determine what works best for us. We have slept on both layers of the different ILD's for 3 nights each. The 24 and 32 feels ok, but almost too soft and the 28 and 32 ILD together feels really hard for us to sleep on. I am still waking up in pain and now know that this is because of my pre-existing back condition. I am prone to pressure issues (especially near my incision site) :-(, so the talalay latex has not been pressure relieving. When I called Brooklyn Bedding, they suggested that I might like memory foam as a comfort layer, but suggested that I go to one of my local stores to purchase and test it out. I am open to this idea, but am confused as to what to buy...The Rocky Mountain Mattress Factory told me that talalay latex would not be their suggestion for a bed for me given my back condition. They thought that memory foam would have been better, but thought that I should ask for opinions on this forum as to what thickness and density to purchase. They sell 3, 4, 5 and 8 lb. and thought their 8 lb. in 2 " thickness would be their softest when I explained that I like the feel of a luxuriously soft pillow-top. When I mentioned that sleeping hot was an issue for me, they thought that their Aleris topper (4lb, 12 ILD) might be a good choice. Even with my back issues, they thought 4 " of memory foam would be ok for me since I like such a soft comfort layer. Since I have been so uncomfortable on the latex bed I bought, I thought I'd ask again for help in suggesting a topper. I am solely a back sleeper and Rocky Mountain doesn't allow returns on toppers. I am wondering if anyone out there has any ideas for me? My husband and I also wondering if we should keep our very firm latex layers of 28 and 32 in the middle and then, just purchase a soft topper, or if we should keep our layer of 24 and 32 in the middle since it is softer, but still not pressure relieving or conforming to my body the way I like. Any help would be greatly appreciated! PS. My husband is fine sleeping on whatever! :-) The more feedback I get, the better! Thank you!!!

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Aloe Alexis and Back Pain 23 May 2013 14:26 #13

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You may want to wait until your mattress is more broken in (~75 days) before spending any more money. It might make for a few difficult weeks, but my wife and I found our bed softened a bit by that point from where it was initially.

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Aloe Alexis and Back Pain 23 May 2013 20:21 #14

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Hi mnmeater,

I think the first thing I would suggest is to "echo" what Padinn said which is to first give any new mattress or combination of layers a little more time if possibe. The initial adjustment period can take up to 90 days or so (although less is more common) and each change can also have an adjustment period involved as well as the body needs to catch up with the changes. Your mattress and each new combination will also go through an initial break in period during this time where any foam will go through its initial softening process.

In your case it may take some trial and error to find the best layering or material combinations for your specific circumstances because of the medical issues which aren't likely to be solved with a mattress and this makes things much more difficult and complex. You will also encounter a wide range of different "suggestions" from different people who all have differing opinions, thoughts, or experiences about what may help you best but as any health care practitioner will tell you each person is unique when it comes to medical challenges and what can work well for one may not work nearly as well for another even though their "symptoms" or circumstances may appear to be similar.

When you are healing then "going with what works best" temporarily even if it isn't the best choice for the longer term or for someone who doesn't have health issues can often be the best choice at least for a period of time. When your bone is broken then you need a cast temporarily until your bone has mended but once it has healed then what was "necessary" for the short term would become unsuitable afterwards.

What you are looking for is a mattress that will allow you to maintain the best possible and least painful sleeping experience for your circumstances and which relieves discomfort and pain to the degree possible while you are healing and this may also be different from a mattress which is best for you when there are no medical issues involved. Your own experience will end up being the best guideline because even "normal suggestions" may not be effective here.

The goal is generally to relieve tension and decompress the spine as much as possible so it can relax and recover from the stresses put on it during the day and the discs can rehydrate and recover and maintain their flexibility and cushioning between the vertebrae. Of course there is much more involved in healing back issues as well that involves all the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and all the other tissues that can be involved in any particular health issues. There is not a "simple" solution to any of this.

As far as memory foam vs latex or any other material ... it will depend as much on the design of the mattress as it would on the material in most cases because you will find one person that is well informed and has had good success helping people may make suggestions that will be different from someone else who is just as well informed and has had just as much success with completely different suggestions. Even two different doctors may have different experiences or ideas or treatment modalities and will have conflicting opinions or ideas about the same health issues.

Memory foam will tend to provide a more "stable" pressure relieving surface which tends to restrict movement more because it is much less resilient. This more stable surface can be an advantage for some who would benefit from less movement over the course of the night and need to be as "still" as possible. Latex on the other hand is much more resilient and can assist movement more which means that it may be less difficult to change positions which can reduce the stress of movement or sometimes reduce the risk of aggravating certain parts of the body because it takes less effort and muscle involvement and less "jerky" motions are required to change positions than with memory foam. Each has their own benefit and each can help maintain alignment with the right layering combinations so your own experience is the deciding factor. Your own judgement and insight about the differences and how you prefer to sleep (or feel best sleeping) may be the best "pointer" to a solution.

Overall though ... I think my previous reply here and other replies in this thread and any insights they may provide regarding whether your issues are connected with primary support, secondary support, or pressure relief are the best suggestions I can make on a forum where there are too many variables and unknowns and I don't have the medical experience or knowledge (or qualifications) to make specific suggestions for medical issues.

I would also consider using the "best" possible layering with the mattress you have (which appears to be 24 over 32 or 28 over 32) and then adding a 2" layer of 4 lb memory foam which will lower the resilience of the surface and create a little more "stability" without compromising your ability to move easily as much as a thicker layer of memory foam because it would be thin enough to "allow" some of the resilience of the latex to come through. If you use 28 over 32 (which appears to be a little too firm for good pressure relief on its own) then the extra 2' of memory foam may also soften it up enough that the combination can provide both good pressure relief, good stability, and good support underneath.

If you did decide to go with 4" of memory foam (which would generally be somewhat "risky" especially with softer layers that are already underneath and as your doctor mentioned could create "pelvic tilt" because of the thickness and softness of the top layers) ... then I would use it over the firmest latex layering that was available to you or even over the single firmest layer if it fit in the cover. You also have the choice of using 3" of memory foam which could be used to replace one of the latex layers.

Of course these are "educated guesses" and your own experience may completely contradict this but if you are able to keep the layers you have for a short time until you can purchase a softer memory foam topper then this would give you some room to experiment with latex/memory foam combinations. The 8 lb memory foam would also be a good choice because it is very soft and conforming once it has softened and is more "supportive" than lower density memory foam but you have good support under the memory foam anyway and the 4 lb as they mentioned would be more breathable and also less risky in terms of cost if it doesn't work as well as you hope.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Aloe Alexis and Back Pain (due to pre-existing medical condition) 25 May 2013 14:39 #15

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Hi Phoenix,
So many thanks!
Just wondering if as long as I purchase a 2" layer of any kind of 4 lb memory foam to try as a topper, this would be ok to test out? I think I'll need to order something on-line, because my local Sam's, Target and Wal-Mart didn't have 4 lb foam w/o cooling beads.
I think that there are some on Amazon that are cheaper than the Aerus memory foam available from the RMMF.
I still have issues with my L3-4 disk and nerve roots being impacted. This is why I have been feelin' so much pain...just had another MRI and doc's appt. this last week.
I know that nothing is guaranteed right now and I just have to be patient (given my medical condition) and keep playing around with my mattress
Thanks so much!

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Aloe Alexis and Back Pain (due to pre-existing medical condition) 26 May 2013 10:01 #16

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Hi mnmeater,

Just wondering if as long as I purchase a 2" layer of any kind of 4 lb memory foam to try as a topper, this would be ok to test out?


I think that anything is "ok to test out" as long as it is accurately described and that they are able to give you good and accurate information on the phone about their products and how well it may match what you are looking for.

When you are making choices that are based on "educated" guesswork or trial and error ... or dealing with specific medical issues where your needs may be outside of the norm.... besides the quality and value (not just price) of your purchase and the quality and accuracy of the information and help you receive from a merchant you are dealing with, that the most important part of a purchase may be the exchange or return options you have available if the topper you choose doesn't work out.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Aloe Alexis and Back Pain (due to pre-existing medical condition) 12 Jun 2013 10:52 #17

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Hi Phoenix,

We have been testing our bed for awhile now after choosing 24 ILD for our top layer of the Aloe Alexis and 32 below as our middle layer. I also tried a piece of memory foam (4lb, 2.5 inches) from Sam's on top to make the bed softer for me since a pillowtop feel is what I tend to like with good support beneath, but it slept really hot and also was too firm for me, so I returned it. Would other memory foam (Aerus) be softer? My husband and I like our new bed ok, but it is not extremely comfy for either of us. I feel as though my upper body is not sinking as far into the latex as my gluts (I am sleeping w/a pillow under my knees) and am not sure why. Guess I must be heavier in this region and maybe the pillows are causing this too. I am still feeling like I am sleeping a little bit on a downward slope...My husband leveled our bed since the floor is not level in our 1800's house, so that is not the issue. To make the bed softer for me, is there something else you could suggest that might be pressure relieving? Also, I fully realize that no bed will be perfect for me right now since I have an anterior pelvic tilt, am still recovering from herniated disk surgery at L3/4 in mid Feb., so feel pressure when I sleep on my back. I have been sleeping some on my side, but naturally roll back on my back after awhile. Not even sure that this makes me feel better on the mattress. Sorry to complain so much. Do you know of any doctors in PA who help with selecting beds? I think this is what I need! When I asked my PT, he said he just likes to sleep on something firm. My surgeon was no help at all.

I appreciate any help you can provide since we cannot afford to send this bed back to Brooklyn Bedding and then, have money in our budget to get a new mattress. Finally, would going to a Sleep Number store help us in any way? I have seen the commercials with a machine that looks like it helps to customize beds for individuals...Maybe I could use some of the results to figure out how to improve the comfort of our bed.

Many Thanks!

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Aloe Alexis and Back Pain (due to pre-existing medical condition) 12 Jun 2013 13:28 #18

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Hi mnmeater,

I also tried a piece of memory foam (4lb, 2.5 inches) from Sam's on top to make the bed softer for me since a pillowtop feel is what I tend to like with good support beneath, but it slept really hot and also was too firm for me, so I returned it. Would other memory foam (Aerus) be softer?


This is hard to know because there are many different versions of memory foam which are difficult to compare outside of personal experience because the feel and response of memory foam changes with humidity, temperature, and time, and will react differently to different people. As a very general comment though I would say if you are talking about the same density memory foam in the same thickness and in the same environment then "probably not" even though your own personal experience is really the only way to tell. If the return policy is good and there is little risk then other memory foam toppers may be worth trying (and experimenting with different thicknesses) to see if it feels softer to you (regardless of how it may feel for someone else).

I feel as though my upper body is not sinking as far into the latex as my gluts (I am sleeping w/a pillow under my knees) and am not sure why. Guess I must be heavier in this region and maybe the pillows are causing this too. I am still feeling like I am sleeping a little bit on a downward slope


Your upper body is lighter than the pelvic area of the body and has a larger surface area (on your back) so it will tend to sink in less than the pelvis. While the pillow under your knees will tend to relieve tension in the Lumbar spine ... you are also facing issues that may not have an ideal solution until your back is healed.

Do you know of any doctors in PA who help with selecting beds?


No ... there are very few doctors that have much knowledge of mattress construction as it relates to specific people and they will mostly give very "generic" advice that is not individualized to their patients and based mostly on "what they've heard" rather than specific research or study (such as "try a firmer mattress" which has little practical meaning). They are generally no more informed about mattresses than consumers although there are exceptions that may be worth calling at places such as sleep clinics or doctors that specialize in sleep issues.

I appreciate any help you can provide since we cannot afford to send this bed back to Brooklyn Bedding and then, have money in our budget to get a new mattress. Finally, would going to a Sleep Number store help us in any way? I have seen the commercials with a machine that looks like it helps to customize beds for individuals...Maybe I could use some of the results to figure out how to improve the comfort of our bed.


It probably wouldn't help much to test the sleep number beds because even if you did discover a solution that seemed to work (and this would mean spending long enough on the mattress to make sure your results reflected your actual sleeping experience) it wouldn't really be possible to "translate" it into meaningful terms because the sleep number beds can change the firmness of the support layers but use the same materials on top as other mattresses and you can't change the support layers of your mattress. The only thing worth testing with an airbed would be one where the middle section can be made firmer to see if this helps.

It may be worth considering is a topper that can be "zoned" so that the upper part of the body has softer materials under it and can sink in more and the lower part under the pelvis is firmer. Some examples of these include ...

www.customsleepdesign.com/topper-king--14345 You can talk with Bob who can "split" the topper to make is softer on the upper part and firmer in the lower part.

www.flobeds.com/products/linens/mattress-toppers.htm These are shredded latex and there is a zipper to allow you to add or remove latex in different sections to make them firmer or softer.

A google search on "zoned topper" may also turn up some choices (mostly memory foam) but they will involve some trial and error and if you consider any of these I would make sure that the return policy is good if it doesn't work out for you.

Finally a wool topper may also be worth considering because it can reduce the amount you sink into the foam underneath it and still provide comfort (and temperature regulation) under your upper body. You can talk with some of the manufacturers listed here that make them to see what their thoughts are as it applies to your specific circumstances. One of them even makes a wool topper with a firmer center section. I would keep in mind though that wool tends to be firmer than soft foam ... especially when it compresses over time ... and once again the return policy may be an important part of a purchase decision to reduce the risk if it doesn't work out for you.

Phoenix
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