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Help! The pain won't go away 12 Aug 2014 13:11 #1

Hi Phoenix,

Please bear with me as I explain my somewhat complicated situation.

I recently purchased the Queen 8-inch latex special from SleepEZ with a 2”soft-3”medium-3”firm configuration. After trying to adjust for a few weeks it seemed like I was stuck with lower back pain and knee pain (also in the back of the knee). Then I switched layers so I had soft-firm-medium but that didn’t help.

I called SleepEZ and spoke with Jeremy who suggested medium-soft-firm. I tried this for about 2 ½ weeks and it helped with the lower back pain but seemed to make the hip and knee pain a little bit worse.

Let me add a level or two of complication here. A bit of history. In 2011 I purchased a Bedinabox memory foam mattress because of the back and knee pain I was experiencing on my too firm inner spring mattress. It seemed to make things a little better at first. However, because it was 3” of only 3 lb. memory foam on 6” of 36 ILD polyfoam my pain returned. (I’m not sure if it ever really went away. I was thinking at the time that there was something wrong with me and not the bed.

I went to chiropractors, physical therapists, etc. but the pain persisted. Then, about 8 or 9 months ago, someone dropped off a pillow top innerspring bed at our house because they needed a place to store it. I started sleeping on it and after a month or so, I noticed that my pain was gone.

This was amazing, it was the first time in many years that I could walk and get into and out of a car without pain. Previously, getting into a car was often very painful, especially in the area behind my knees (I would guess the tendons.)

But then I began to notice that when I would lie on my side there was pain in the biceps, shoulders, and neck, and not just on the side I was lying on. It got worse and worse. Eventually the pain in my biceps was so intolerable that I could not lie on my side for more than about a minute without the pain starting and getting much worse. That’s when I decided I needed a new bed. I’m really not sure if this arm pain was related to the bed but it seemed to start after I started sleeping on it.

After much research and feeling that latex was less toxic than memory foam I went with the SleepEZ special. I figured there would be an adjustment period so I thought I would wait to see what happened. The pain in the biceps and to a lesser extent the neck and shoulders persisted.

I should mention that this pain was so intense that not only could I not sleep on my side, but after the pain started, even when I was no longer lying on my side, the pain was so intense that it was hard to get back to sleep. (It is currently so bad that it sometimes comes even in the day). So I experimented with other positions.
Back sleeping did not produce any pain in the biceps or related area when I slept, but in the morning, as I mentioned earlier, the back and knee pain was back. The only other position that was comfortable involved my lying on my stomach, sprawled out across the bed. But somehow, maybe due to how my body might be torqued/twisted or something else, when I got out of bed or tried to change position, I felt an intense pain in the hip/glute area.

I should mention, and this should be the last wrinkle, that there is also sometimes some numbness and shooting pain in my arms. Also some diminished feeling in my left leg (peripheral neuropathy) that has been there since around the time I started sleeping on the Bedinabox memory foam mattress.

I have read and reread the tutorial and assorted posts that relate to all this and I am still at a loss as to what to do next. I called Jeremy back and told him of me experience and he too was not sure what to suggest. He suggested maybe a non-stretch cover or maybe switch out the soft for another medium layer, but he did not seem so convinced that that would help.

I am currently trying your suggestion of adding a Wal-Mart polyfoam topper (1 or 1 ½ “ convoluted polyfoam) to see what happens. So the current configuration is:

Wal-Mart polyfoam
3” firm
2” soft
3” medium

I am going nuts and I am nearing the end of my layer exchange period. I have the stretch cover that comes with the special instead of the wool non-stretch one because of wool allergies. I am told it might not be a problem but before I just start spending hundreds of dollars on covers and randomly switching out layers I thought I would consult my mattress higher power.

Got any ideas?

Oh yeah,
I am 6’ 180-185 and I had been a combination back/side sleeper before the arm pain and would love to be able to sleep on my side again.

Thank you so much for any help you can give me.

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Help! The pain won't go away 12 Aug 2014 14:46 #2

Hi ddcfri,

There are too many unknowns and variables and too many complexities involved to be able to "diagnose" the reasons for your experiences or "symptoms" on a forum with any accuracy ... especially when there are pre-existing issues involved (it would be like a doctor trying to diagnose a medical issue on a forum without being able to see or examine his patient) and also because every symptom can have multiple causes ... but I can certainly make some general suggestions that can help with the detective work and some of the trial and error that may be necessary to find a combination or solution that may work best for you.

I'm not sure how long you have slept on your mattress or slept on the initial layering but the first place I would start is post #2 here which has some initial suggestions that may be helpful when you have first purchased a mattress and can help eliminate some "non mattress" causes for your experiences. In most cases for the first few weeks it's best to do nothing (outside of the suggestions about your protector or any mattress pads on the mattress or changing your pillow) so your mattress has a chance to break in and you have the chance to adjust to a new type of sleeping surface and while I know you are past the first few weeks it's always a good idea to eliminate as many possibilities as possible.

Once you have slept on your mattress for a month or so (or at a minimum a few weeks) if you are still experiencing "symptoms" (which you are in your case) then post #2 here and the posts it links to have much more information about the more common symptoms that people may experience on a mattress and some of the more common reasons behind them.

I recently purchased the Queen 8-inch latex special from SleepEZ with a 2”soft-3”medium-3”firm configuration. After trying to adjust for a few weeks it seemed like I was stuck with lower back pain and knee pain (also in the back of the knee). Then I switched layers so I had soft-firm-medium but that didn’t help.


Lower back pain often points to a mattress where the comfort layers are too soft and switching the layers so that the firm is in the middle would be a standard approach to this so a a firmer layer in the middle can help "stop" the pelvis from sinking in as much. In some cases though it can also point to a mattress that is too firm though where you are experiencing pressure points on your side and then "twisting" away from the pressure with part of your body so that you have rotational alignment issues which can cause pain issues as well. Many back issues come from twisting motions more than bending motions for example.

While I don't know how long you tried this combination and I would make sure that you try each configuration for more than just a day or two so that you can identify patterns in your experience and are confident that your experience isn't a holdover from a previous configuration or just an anomaly ... since it didn't seem to help much then your next combination would be the most likely combination that I would also have tried next as well.

I called SleepEZ and spoke with Jeremy who suggested medium-soft-firm. I tried this for about 2 ½ weeks and it helped with the lower back pain but seemed to make the hip and knee pain a little bit worse.


This is somewhat promising because of the improvement in your lower back pain but it also seems to have created more pressure issues so that the "balance" between the conflicting needs of pressure relief and alignment was still not there.

Let me add a level or two of complication here. A bit of history. In 2011 I purchased a Bedinabox memory foam mattress because of the back and knee pain I was experiencing on my too firm inner spring mattress. It seemed to make things a little better at first. However, because it was 3” of only 3 lb. memory foam on 6” of 36 ILD polyfoam my pain returned. (I’m not sure if it ever really went away. I was thinking at the time that there was something wrong with me and not the bed.

I went to chiropractors, physical therapists, etc. but the pain persisted. Then, about 8 or 9 months ago, someone dropped off a pillow top innerspring bed at our house because they needed a place to store it. I started sleeping on it and after a month or so, I noticed that my pain was gone.

This was amazing, it was the first time in many years that I could walk and get into and out of a car without pain. Previously, getting into a car was often very painful, especially in the area behind my knees (I would guess the tendons.)


While I don't know anything about the mattress that helped you so there is nothing specific to learn from this ... it's a very useful data point because it does point to mattresses with thicker and softer comfort layers possibly working for you.

But then I began to notice that when I would lie on my side there was pain in the biceps, shoulders, and neck, and not just on the side I was lying on. It got worse and worse. Eventually the pain in my biceps was so intolerable that I could not lie on my side for more than about a minute without the pain starting and getting much worse. That’s when I decided I needed a new bed. I’m really not sure if this arm pain was related to the bed but it seemed to start after I started sleeping on it.


This "symptom" is difficult to explain when working blind because I don't know the reasons for your experience but it's possible that it could have been a pillow issue which is a common cause of upper body symptoms (different mattresses can need different pillows to take pressure off the shoulders and to keep the head and neck in good alignment). It's also possible that you were sleeping with your arm under your body as an "attempt" to raise part of your body as a result of a mattress which was too far on the other end of the scale and was now too soft which in turn caused pressure issues on your arms. In some cases pain that is "sourced" in one part of the body can also "radiate" from other areas when there is restricted circulation or nerve or muscle issues.

After much research and feeling that latex was less toxic than memory foam I went with the SleepEZ special. I figured there would be an adjustment period so I thought I would wait to see what happened. The pain in the biceps and to a lesser extent the neck and shoulders persisted.

I should mention that this pain was so intense that not only could I not sleep on my side, but after the pain started, even when I was no longer lying on my side, the pain was so intense that it was hard to get back to sleep. (It is currently so bad that it sometimes comes even in the day). So I experimented with other positions.


This could still be a "holdover" from your previous mattress where you are still sleeping in a similar position or it could still be a pillow issue. It could also be the result of an issue that developed while you were sleeping on your previous mattress that hasn't resolved or healed yet. The fact that it persisted when you weren't sleeping on your side is a further indication that it may involve something that needs to heal before it can be resolved.

The only other position that was comfortable involved my lying on my stomach, sprawled out across the bed. But somehow, maybe due to how my body might be torqued/twisted or something else, when I got out of bed or tried to change position, I felt an intense pain in the hip/glute area.


Stomach sleeping is the most risky of all sleeping positions and while it can be useful in some circumstances while you are recovering from some types of injuries ... it can also bring up a whole new set of issues because stomach sleeping normally requires a thinner/firmer comfort layer and increases the risk of sleeping with a hyperextended spine or "swayback" position which can lead to a whole new set of "symptoms" which can be localized or radiate from other areas.

I should mention, and this should be the last wrinkle, that there is also sometimes some numbness and shooting pain in my arms. Also some diminished feeling in my left leg (peripheral neuropathy) that has been there since around the time I started sleeping on the Bedinabox memory foam mattress.


This also "points to" a mattress that may be too firm and is causing some kind of pressure issues.

I have read and reread the tutorial and assorted posts that relate to all this and I am still at a loss as to what to do next. I called Jeremy back and told him of me experience and he too was not sure what to suggest. He suggested maybe a non-stretch cover or maybe switch out the soft for another medium layer, but he did not seem so convinced that that would help.


A less stretchy or quilted cover may be helpful in some cases because it would firm up the mattress a little and reduce the amount of contouring in the latex below it which can add some firmness under parts of the body that need to be "held up" more but if the symptoms you are facing are from a mattress that is too firm then it probably wouldn't help because it can also affect the softness and contouring of the latex underneath it. A quilted cover can also reduce the resilience of sleeping directly on latex and create a more "relaxed" sleeping surface which may also help some people who are more sensitive to sleeping directly on a highly resilient sleeping surface but the only way to confirm this would be through trial and error when you are dealing with issues this complex.

I am currently trying your suggestion of adding a Wal-Mart polyfoam topper (1 or 1 ½ “ convoluted polyfoam) to see what happens. So the current configuration is:

Wal-Mart polyfoam
3” firm
2” soft
3” medium

I am going nuts and I am nearing the end of my layer exchange period. I have the stretch cover that comes with the special instead of the wool non-stretch one because of wool allergies. I am told it might not be a problem but before I just start spending hundreds of dollars on covers and randomly switching out layers I thought I would consult my mattress higher power.

Got any ideas?


For the time being I would also avoid switching covers until the reasons for your experiences and symptoms become more clear. Based on your feedback and comments (including your comments about the mattress you slept on for a month) and some "guesswork" you may need a mattress that has slightly softer/thicker comfort layers than your current configuration but not as soft as the pillowtop that you slept on for a month. Your situation is also made more complex by some of the issues you are facing that may have more to do with your body and any healing required than it does with the mattress.

Having said that ... I would probably avoid using the firm layer on top and would consider trying the polyfoam topper with (from top to bottom) your original soft/medium/firm layering or your medium/soft/firm layering. The polyfoam will create a softer and less resilient sleeping surface which may be helpful but I would use your specific experiences on each combination and how your symptoms change with each combination as a reference point to assess the effect of your topper compared to the other combinations you have tried.

I would also suggest asking for an extension on your trial period which they may give you for a month so that you have a chance to try some additional combinations and more accurately assess how they work for you.

While you may have done better with one of their mattresses that had a 3" comfort layer and a wool quilted cover ... that can't be changed now so I would work with what is available to you (including the topper you purchased) to see what can be "learned" from the combinations that it makes possible.

I'm looking forward to your feedback on the effects of your topper on the different combinations underneath it to see how each of them affect things.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Help! The pain won't go away 13 Aug 2014 07:06 #3

Thank you Phoenix!

As I always I am impressed with your knowledge and willingness to take the time to help. I REALLY appreciate it. I will keep you posted.

Thanks Again!

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Help! The pain won't go away 13 Aug 2014 11:55 #4

Hi ddcfri,

I'm looking forward to your updates and of course if I see anything that "jumps out at me" or seems to point in a certain direction based on your feedback I'll add my own comments as well.

Phoenix
Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
Click here for TMU Discount Codes if purchasing from Our Trusted Members.
For any mattress questions Ask An Expert on our forum

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Help! The pain won't go away 27 Aug 2014 07:39 #5

Ok here's my update. I tried the Wal-Mart topper with the SMF configuration and it made a big difference. However, I think there is a bit more tweaking to do. I still can't sleep on my side without the pain in the arms, neck, upper back and shoulder coming and then lastin sometimes for hours, but that could be somewhat unrelated.

It seems especially challenging for me to find that sweet spot where its firm enough to give enough support and soft enough to provide pressure relief. I bought another layer of the same polyfoam and I am currently allowing it to air out a bit. I wonder what effect 2 layers might have.

I haven’t tried the Wal-Mart topper with the MSF combo. I’ll give that a try and report back.

You mentioned that I may have done better with one of their mattresses that had a 3" comfort layer and a wool quilted cover. There is a possibility of swapping my 2” soft for a 3” soft and a deeper stretch cover plus an upgrade fee. Were you thinking the same configuration (soft-med-firm) but with a 3" soft layer and the wool quilted cover? Would that configuration but with an organic cotton cover like this one www.mattresses.net/quorcozimaco.html come close?

Thanks Again for all your help.

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Help! The pain won't go away 27 Aug 2014 11:42 #6

Hi ddcfri,

It seems especially challenging for me to find that sweet spot where its firm enough to give enough support and soft enough to provide pressure relief. I bought another layer of the same polyfoam and I am currently allowing it to air out a bit. I wonder what effect 2 layers might have.


Finding the right "balance" between softness and firmness in either comfort layers or support layers is always the biggest challenge. This is also why I would tend to take a "one step at a time" approach that made small changes each time and where you try each different combination for long enough to make sure that what you experience is a "pattern" rather than an anomaly. This way you can reduce the risk of making a change that is too much and "jump over" the combination that would have been best for you which can produce a new set of symptoms.

When you are facing more complex issues then I would also keep notes that are as accurate as possible so that you can "learn" as much as possible from your experience on each combination and how it changed from the one before it so you can use each one as a reference point for the next.

I would also keep in mind that when your circumstances are very complex and there may be many other factors involved outside of the mattress itself that there may be no "perfect" solution and "best possible" may be a more realistic target.

You mentioned that I may have done better with one of their mattresses that had a 3" comfort layer and a wool quilted cover. There is a possibility of swapping my 2” soft for a 3” soft and a deeper stretch cover plus an upgrade fee. Were you thinking the same configuration (soft-med-firm) but with a 3" soft layer and the wool quilted cover? Would that configuration but with an organic cotton cover like this one www.mattresses.net/quorcozimaco.html come close?


I have no way of knowing this but a thicker comfort layer would generally "act" softer so since you ended up looking for more softness it may have been a better choice initially (looking back in hindsight) but your own experience would have confirmed this. If you had started with this and then your experience indicated that you needed to make changes to that combination as well then it wouldn't have made much difference. It would probably have been a little softer but I don't know if any difference would have been "soft enough". For some people the wool quilted cover may be an improvement as well because it has a more "relaxed" and less resilient sleeping surface but this is a preference and some people prefer to sleep more directly on the latex. If neither one by itself had been your "best possible" combination then it wouldn't have made much difference because you would still need to do some fine tuning either way and the only difference in that case would be that the degree and specifics of the fine tuning with each of them would be different.

Phoenix
Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
Click here for TMU Discount Codes if purchasing from Our Trusted Members.
For any mattress questions Ask An Expert on our forum

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Last edit: by phoenix.
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