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Frustrated and in so much pain 05 Aug 2017 19:01 #1

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Hello
I recently decided it was time for a new mattress. I've had lower back issues for a while and I could start feeling the springs in the mattress. It was a Sealy BacksaverX which worked fine for a few years but I knew it was time for it to go. I went to every store and tried everything. My physical therapist as well as my doctor recommended a firm mattress. I am very sensitive to chemical smells so memory foam was out (also, I've slept on one of those mattresses before and I hated it) and I'm midly allergic to latex. I almost got a Rockwood Luxury firm from Stearns and Foster that a local store recommended. I didn't love it but I thought maybe this was my only option. The guy was very nice but he was really pushing Stearns and Foster. Anyhow, I ended up going to Room and Board. I loved the feel of their mattresses and I was looking for something more traditional. They had innerspring but it didn't feel comfortable to me. I decided on their encased coiled firm since it felt good at the store. I got it 2 weeks ago and it's been so painful. I was waking up with some mild pain on my lower back with the old mattress every once in a whole, but it wasn't as bad as what I'm experiencing now. I wished I didn't let them take my old mattress away. I have a lot of pain in the thoracic area and my abdomen hurts. If I sleep on the couch, I feel better. I know people have told me that there's a breaking in period but I'm not sure I can't deal with this. I'm a side sleeper most of the time (I switch to my back in the middle of the night) and I'm wondering if this mattress is way too firm for me. I went to the store today and the sales people were super nice and I picked a softer mattress, the encased coiled soft version. It has an additional 0.75 inches of padding than the firm and felt more like a medium firm that a soft mattress. However, Old Bed Guy recommended a latex hybrid and because of my slim frame (I'm below 100 lbs and I'm 5'3") he thinks I need more padding so I wonder if the new mattress Room and Board is delivering in a few days is not going to be good enough. I'm frustrated and in pain. I even stopped doing yoga (which was causing me no pain before the mattress).
Is there another place I can look for a more traditional mattress (spring preferentially).

Thank you

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Frustrated and in so much pain 06 Aug 2017 11:54 #2

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Hi fridadc,

Welcome to the Mattress Forum! :)

I’m sorry to learn about your pains and struggles in finding a new mattress, and I wish you would have found use before purchasing your current mattress and receiving some of the “advice” that you have, but I’ll do my best to offer you some guidance. I hope it will help.

The first thing I’d like to do is help reset how to properly go about selecting a mattress.

Begin by reading the mattress shopping tutorial here . Two of the most important links in the tutorial that I would especially make sure you've read are post #2 here which has more about the different ways to choose a suitable mattress (either locally or online) that is the best "match" for you in terms of "comfort", firmness, and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences) that can help you assess and minimize the risks of making a choice that doesn't turn out as well as you hoped for and post #13 here which has more about the most important parts of the "value" of a mattress purchase which can help you make more meaningful quality/value comparisons between mattresses in terms of suitability (how well you will sleep), durability (how long you will sleep well), and the overall value of a mattress compared to your other finalists based on all the parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you (including the price of course and the options you have available after a purchase if your choice doesn't turn out as well as you hoped for).

Outside of PPP (which is the most important part of "value"), the next most important part of the value of a mattress purchase is durability which is all about how long you will sleep well on a mattress. This is the part of your research that you can't see or "feel" and assessing the durability and useful life of a mattress depends on knowing the specifics of its construction and the type and quality of the materials inside it regardless of the name of the manufacturer on the label or how a mattress feels in a showroom or when it is relatively new so I would always make sure that you find out the information listed here so you can compare the quality of the materials and components to the durability guidelines here to make sure there are no lower quality materials or weak links in a mattress that would be a cause for concern relative to the durability and useful life of a mattress before making any purchase.

In its simplest form ... choosing the "best possible" mattress for any particular person really comes down to FIRST finding a few knowledgeable and transparent retailers and/or manufacturers (either locally or online) that sell the types of mattresses that you are most interested in that are in a budget range you are comfortable with and that you have confirmed will provide you with the all the information you need about the materials and components inside the mattresses they sell so you will be able to make informed choices and meaningful comparisons between mattresses and then ...

1. Careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in the tutorial) to make sure that a mattress is a good match for you in terms of "comfort", firmness, and PPP ... and/or that you are comfortable with the options you have available to return, exchange, or "fine tune" the mattress and any costs involved if you can't test a mattress in person or aren't confident that your mattress is a suitable choice.

2. Checking to make sure that there are no lower quality materials or weak links in a mattress you are considering relative to your weight/BMI range that could compromise the durability and useful life of the mattress.

3. Comparing your finalists for "value" based on #1 and #2 and all the other parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you.

Regarding your current mattress, I don’t know which model you selected (Room and Board offers quite a few), so I wouldn’t be able to comment upon the specifications of this item. Also, I’m not sure if you’re able to return the mattress or if you’re going to have to keep the exchanged mattress that you are having delivered, so I can’t offer much advice in that area without more information, as it’s unclear to me.

As for the guidance from your PT and your physician, for a “firm” mattress, this is usually an indication that they desire you to have something that allows for very strong support and alignment, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the item will have a “hard” surface comfort. There is also more about primary or "deep" support and secondary or "surface" support and their relationship to firmness and pressure relief and the "roles" of different layers in a mattress in post #2 here and in post #4 here that may also be helpful in clarifying the difference between "support" and "pressure relief" and "feel".

If you are very sensitive to odors, mattresses using fewer polyfoams or memory foam, and more natural materials, such springs and latex are common alternatives for people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS). Regarding your latex sensitivity, you may wish to read through the latex allergy thread here and the many posts to which it links. A true latex allergy is quite rare. Post #49 here describes in more detail the three types of clinical reactions that occur to finished latex products.

Regarding a new mattress breaking in, there will be a break in and adjustment period for any new mattress or sleeping system as the mattress loses any of its "false firmness" and the cover stretches and loosens a little and your body gets used to a sleeping surface that is different from what it is used to (see post #3 here ). This would typically be a few weeks but it can be shorter or longer depending on the specifics of the person and the mattress. Again, I can’t speak more about this because I don’t have the specifics on the mattress you selected. It is possible that you desire more surface comfort (being a side sleeper ), but if the componentry within the mattress uses lower density foams or lower quality materials, using a new topper, while providing extra comfort, will be a bit of a band-aid, as over time the less durable foams will lose their comfort life faster than higher quality materials.

Overall, I’d need more information about your current mattress (or the one that you’re exchanging for) regarding the materials on the inside in order to give you more complete information, and then also I’d need to know if you are able to return any of these mattresses and “start over”, or if you’ll be left with the mattress from Room and Board. From there, I can provide more complete information.

Phoenix
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Frustrated and in so much pain 06 Aug 2017 16:46 #3

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Hi Phoenix
Thank you for your reply. I really appreciate this site and all the information. I'm not sure if it's cool to post links so I'll just write the name and/or the item numbers of the mattresses I was deciding on.

I started looking for a mattress about 2 months ago. Because of the sensitivity to odors, I was trying to stay away from these kinds of foams, which is hard to do nowadays since there are so many hybrids out there. However, after some research these were the tops runners:
1. From Macy's: Beautyrest Recharge Keaton Luxury Firm mattress web id 2805589
2. Mattress Firm: Beautyrest Recharge Signature Select Ashaway Plush mattress product code mfi113031
3. The Mattress Connection (local store in Rockville, MD): Stearns and Foster Rookwood Luxury Firm (don't have item number since they don't have it on heir website).
4. Room and Board: R&B Encased Coil Firm item number 202362.

I wasn't in love with options 1-3. When I went to Room and Board, I loved the feeling of the mattresses I tried. They have a limited selection but based on what I knew I wanted (spring mattress, no memory foam), the Encased Coil was the best choice for me. In hindsight, I think I made the wrong choice in terms of softness. I kept thinking, I need a firm mattress, and when deciding between the firm version (item 202362) and the soft version (item 352745) I went with the firm one. I now realized after reading your site and your message that yes, when my doctor and physician and PT were referring to wasn't for me to get the hardest mattress around. And given the selections I had chosen at other stores, I should have gone with the softer version.

To be honest, this process has been so new to me. I never had a new mattress and the one I had in the last few years wasn't the best and I slept on it way past its expiration date. That mattress (Sealy BacksaverX) sat in my guest bedroom for a while until I moved to live by myself about 8 years ago. So I was overwhelmed and confused so I think I made the wrong decisipn. I did try a couple of latex versions (Room and Board and a local organic store, I can't remember the name) and regardless of the allergy concerns , they weren't for me (also, I work in a lab and after years of using latex gloves, I started to get very itchy hands so I've been wearing nitrile gloves since then).

Now, to move forward, I want to make sure I get the right mattress. Room and Board has been incredibly helpful and even though I've only had the mattress for a couple of weeks, they are making an exchange because I was in incredible pain (like I said before, my lower back and abdomen were killings me, I couldn't even do yoga because my core hurts so much). They have a 120 day sleep trial. Even the exchange mattress will have a 120 day trial. So my decision right now is between the soft version (item 352745) and the ultra soft (707411). Maybe I should start all over again, but since Room and Board is willing to work with me and the materials they use have low VOC emissions in their foams, I want to try them one more time. I tried both soft and ultra soft yesterday and the ultra soft felt too soft.

Thank you so much for your help. I really appreciate your site and all the knowledge. I hope I provided enough information. I also found out who makes the mattresses for Room and Board so perhaps I should call them to get more information on the specs. It's a company in Minnesota, Restwell is the manufacturer.

Thank you again.

FridaDc

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Last edit: by fridadc. Reason: Didn't use username

Frustrated and in so much pain 06 Aug 2017 18:32 #4

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Hi fridadc,

Thank you for your reply. I really appreciate this site and all the information. I'm not sure if it's cool to post links so I'll just write the name and/or the item numbers of the mattresses I was deciding on.


You’re welcome! Posting links usually isn’t an issue unless it’s promotional, but I appreciate your discretion and concern.

Regarding your first three choices, the major brands such as Sealy/Stearns & Foster, Simmons, and Serta all tend to use lower quality and less durable materials in their mattresses than most of their smaller competitors that will tend to soften or break down prematurely relative to the price you pay which is why I would generally suggest avoiding all of them completely (along with the major retailers that focus on them as well) regardless of how they may feel in a showroom along with any mattress where you aren't able to find out the type and quality/durability of the materials inside it (see the guidelines here along with post #3 here and post #12 here and post #404 here ).

As for your Room and Board Encased Coil Firm mattress (made by Restwell), it uses a pocketed spring unit for support with a foam-encasement to help with extra edge reinforcement. On top of this is 2” of soft convoluted polyfoam. There is no density listed, and you’d need to find that out in order to make an educated choice about the durability of this product. The quilt panel also has .5” of polyfoam, and you’d want to learn the density of that material as well.

I’m glad that Room and Board has been providing you good service with your comfort exchange, but you’d want to find out the density of those materials to determine if this mattress would be something for you to consider keeping if the comfort meets with you needs. While comfort is easier to assess in a showroom, you of course can’t feel quality or durability, so that is the reason for the emphasis on the specifications of the componentry within the mattress (that is information I linked to in my previous reply to you, but I know you haven’t had a chance yet to rad through all of that).

If you find out the specifications mentioned earlier, feel free to post back here and I’ll be happy to comment upon them.

Phoenix
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Frustrated and in so much pain 07 Aug 2017 05:19 #5

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Thank you so much Phoenix.
I've been reading your site non stop since I found it.
I was able to get a phone number for Restwell and I will call today so hopefully I'll be able to get those specifications on the density of the polyfoam they use.
I'll write back as soon as I get someone on the phone.

Thank you again!

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Frustrated and in so much pain 07 Aug 2017 09:17 #6

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Hi Phoenix

I just got off the phone with the guy at Restwell and he gave me some information:
1. Both polyfoams in the Room and Board Encased Coil Firm mattress (www.roomandboard.com/catalog/bedroom/randb-mattresses/encased-coil-mattress-firm) have a density of 1.2 lbs
2. Both foams in the Room and Board Encased Coil Soft mattress (www.roomandboard.com/catalog/bedroom/randb-mattresses/encased-coil-mattress-soft) have a density of 1.5 lbs.

Let me know if you need any additional information. I am very petite (BMI is 17) so from your reading this site, I realized that matters a lot as well when selecting a mattress.

Thanks in advance for your help.

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Frustrated and in so much pain 07 Aug 2017 13:53 #7

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Hi fridadc,

Thank you for that information.

Using a total of 2.5” of 1.5lb polyfoam puts you on the ”cusp” of what I would recommend for your lower BMI, but because the foams won’t go through as much compression, you may be able to get a decent comfort life out of the plush product. The .5” of polyfoam is stitched in the quilt, so this helps a bit with durability, but the 2” of convoluted polyfoam would be my main concern (convoluted foams can soften faster over time that similar solid sheets). My normal recommendation would be a product using 1.8 lb polyfoam (see this article and this article ), but again at a BMI of 17 the potential tradeoff of durability may be manageable for you if you end up enjoying the comfort of this newer plush mattress that is being exchanged for you soon.

While I know you don’t desire the comfort of the firm model, that is just as well, as at 1.2 lb polyfoam I would advise caution against purchasing something using that low of a density of polyfoam for your personal mattress.

Phoenix
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Frustrated and in so much pain 07 Aug 2017 14:13 #8

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Phoenix:

You have no idea how much I appreciate the information you're providing.

The new mattress should be here next Tuesday and I think the 3.25 inches of polyfoam in the new softer mattress will be helpful for comfort, though I wished it had a density of 1.8 lb like you typically recommend. So a quick question, was the lower density in the firm mattress (2.5 inches with the 1.2 lb density) the reason for how extremely firm the mattress was? Also, they do offer an ultra soft version that has 5 inches of polyfoam at a density of 1.5 lb. do you think that might be a better option than the 3.25 inch polyfoam? Maybe too much plush?

Again, sorry for all the questions but truly know how greatful I am for your help. I was feeling a little stuck in mattress hell until I found your site.
Thanks again.
FridaDC

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Frustrated and in so much pain 08 Aug 2017 09:15 #9

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Hi fridadc,

You have no idea how much I appreciate the information you're providing.


You’re most welcome. I’m happy the information here is useful to you.

So a quick question, was the lower density in the firm mattress (2.5 inches with the 1.2 lb density) the reason for how extremely firm the mattress was?


No, this would be a combination of any changes in the spring unit (I don’t know if they use a thicker gauge steel in this firm version), and mostly a difference in the IFD/ILD of the polyfoam used. IFD (Indentation Force Deflection) is the amount of force needed to compress a specific sized piece of polyfoam (usually 15” x 15” x 4”) 25%, and IFD (firmness) is independent of density. So you can have a lower density polyfoam that feels quite hard, or a higher density polyfoam that feels quite soft.

Also, they do offer an ultra soft version that has 5 inches of polyfoam at a density of 1.5 lb. do you think that might be a better option than the 3.25 inch polyfoam? Maybe too much plush?


I would advise caution with a product using 5” of polyfoam in the comfort layers of 1.5 lb density, as I linked to in my previous replies to you, with a few inches of this “being on the cusp” of what I’d advise for someone even in a lower BMI. If you eventually decided you needed a softer surface comfort, you’d be better off beginning your mattress search again and choosing something using higher density materials that would be softer than what you’re currently testing, or placing a higher quality topper over your mattress (should you decide to keep what you have).

Phoenix
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Frustrated and in so much pain 29 Aug 2017 05:57 #10

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Hi Phoenix

I just wanted to give you a quick update. I am enjoying the new, less firm mattress. I am still getting used to it but I do believe it is getting more comfortable as I sleep on it more. I have only been sleeping on it for a few days but so far so good.Thank you so much for your help.

One additional question. Because of the new mattress, my bed was a little too tall for me, I am very petite. And because my box spring needed to be replaced, I went ahead and stopped by a local mattress shop to get a low profile 5 inch foundation (the brand is Therapedic). I got it installed and I didn't think much of it but I think I made a mistake. I started to feel some pressure points in my hip and lower back (I sleep on both positions) which I wasn't feeling before the new foundation was installed and then I checked underneath and this new foundation has slats all across (correction, after talking to the guy at the local mattress store after I wrote this post, he told me that it does have slats across but they are underneath). I feel some big slats or beams on the top of the foundation so it's not a 100% flat surface I guess (hope I am explaining this ok). My mattress is an encase coiled mattress, here's the info : www.roomandboard.com/catalog/bedroom/ran...d-coil-mattress-soft
Is it possible that I got the wrong foundation? I didn't think it would matter too much but I guess it does. Do you have any recommendations?

Additional information I gathered after I wrote this post: I called Restwell, the factory that makes the Room and Board mattresses and the guy I spoke to recommended a box spring which they make (Room and Board didn't tell me they have box springs available). Anyway, the factory guy recommended I go back to the local store and have the foundation exchanged for a box spring. When I called the local store where I got the foundation, he told me they don't make box springs anymore. So I am waiting to see what the local store can do for me, before I place an order for a boxspring with Room and Board.

Thanks

FridaDC

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Last edit: by fridadc.
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