Sunday, November 29, 2009

Can Memory Foam Mattresses Cause Back Pain and Night Sweats?


Not only have I had issues with night sweats but also many problems with low back pain. It all started after a visit to a wonderful bed and breakfast in Napa Valley where I fell in love with the super soft beds. When I got home, I convinced my husband that we should add a memory foam mattress pad to our own bed.

The bed felt great…just like a cloud. Then about two weeks later I started having low back pain and night sweats. Could this be menopause? I had read that joint pain and night sweats are all part of that thing called menopause. My back pain continued to get worse and my night sweats got better only when I started wearing wicking pajamas.

In the past two years, I’ve had steroid injections in my back, had MRI’s, taken anti-inflammatories, visited physical therapists, acupuncturists and orthopedic surgeons. Nothing helped my back pain.
Then something interesting happened. I had to take a business trip to Turkey and was gone for about 10 days. I slept on a firm platform bed with a relatively firm mattress. In those 10 days, I did not have night sweats and my back pain went away for the first time in 2 years. I thought it was perhaps because of the back exercises that I was doing. Then a few days after I returned from Turkey and was sleeping in my own bed, the back pain came back.

Then it all made sense. It never dawned on me that the back pain and night sweats could have been caused by the memory foam pad on my bed. I immediately removed the pad from my bed and within days, the pain and night sweats both subsided. After two weeks, I am once again pain free and sleeping much cooler at night.

If I had to guess, I believe the memory foam just does not provide enough core support which in turn can cause serious back pain. Additionally, the foam makes the bed much too warm. Now as long as I’m wearing my Cool-jams pajamas, I am almost sweat-free at night.

After discovering this problem with memory foam, I surveyed several other women to see if they might have had similar issues. 3 out of 4 people that I surveyed stated that they also had to get rid of the memory foam due to similar back and heat issues.

If you suffer from back pain, you might consider switching to a firmer mattress. Who would of thought it could be that easy!
Photo by Christine Mary

36 comments:

Philip said...

My wife and I started to use a memory foam mattress pad (about 3 inches thick) two weeks ago. Since the next day of using it, I have been having left leg pain. The pain has been getting worse. I thought it might be related to the mattress, but was not sure. Finally, yesterday morning, I could not stand the pain anymore. Then I decided to take it off from my bed and sleep without it for a week to determine whether it is the mattress causing the problem. Last night, I slept on my bed without the mattress pad. When I woke up during the night, the pain was eased obviously. I will return the mattress pad back to Costco this weekend. The material might be good for pillows. It could be a bad idea for mattress. My son is using the same kind of mattress pad and claims the same kind of pain as mine.

memory foams said...

Memory foam mattresses are fantastic. I have one and it really helps me sleep well.

Anonymous said...

My partner and I spent a fortune on a memory foam mattress about 4 years ago - I have been in back pain and 'night sweat hell' ever since. Unfortunately that was all the cash we had to spend and it will be awhile before I can get a new mattress. I too have had my thyroid tested, hormone levels, chiropractic work, massage. it's all undone after one night in the bed. We travelled to Italy last year for 3 weeks and I was sweat and pain free. It was bliss. That said, some people adore their memory foam. Because they are so expensive, I would reccommend a test drive if possible before a purchase.

Anonymous said...

I've got a foam mattress and had a bad back ever since they are too hard no support and no spring in then

Randall said...

I am grateful to have found your posting this morning. I purchased a memory foam mattress in November 2011 and have been nearly every week to see my chiropractor since. Every morning my lower back is under tension like I have been working out all night. I have to spend several minutes in the floor each morning to stretch and get some mobility back. I have been thinking lately that the mattress could be the problem so this weekend I slept on the sofa. It's not necessarily the most comfortable sofa but a couple nights on it and my lower back tension was much less when I got up. Last night I slept on the memory foam mattress and got up with the same extreme tensions. While I was on the floor stretching I grabbed my phone and did a quick search to see if "memory foam mattress causes back pain" and came across your blog. What a relief to find someone else had come to the same conclusion. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. I will be contacting the store where I purchased the mattress to ask them to help sort this out. Again, thanks!

Memory Foam Toppers said...

I found your site on Google and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.
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Anonymous said...

I bought my memory foam mattress a little less than 2 weeks ago and I began feeling mild lower back pain on day 1. It feels like its caused by my core/butt sinking in. My pain has increased gradually to the point that I have to get up after 4 hrs to give my back a break and then it becomes a whole project to fall back asleep and get at least another 2 hrs, 6 total when really I need a solid 8 to b on my game.
Originally, I was hoping thAt my bed was adjusting to a new bed, but now I dunno. Not sure what solutions there to make this matress workable

Anonymous said...

I have had my memory foam mattress for about 2 years, but i have had serious lower back and hip pain for about a year. I`v had all kinds of treatment to no avail. I decided to ask this question because i suspected it might be the mattress, now i`m convinced. The trouble is my husband has no problems with it. I also get the sweats in it.

Anonymous said...

Hallelujah! Someone finally wrote a post. I hope there's more information out there. The whole memory foam craze is quite stupid. There's too much marketing information clouding the truth, that memory foam just is not for everyone. I got a new gel infused memory foam mattress which is firmer than ordinary memory foam, it also springs back quicker, but the reality is, it not only creates a cast of your body, it does not provide additional support for the heavier parts of the body. The marketing information out there is so misleading! I can understand decreasing pressure on parts of the body that are underneath, but these foam mattresses do not help with spinal alignment. Ever since I got mine, I've started to sleep more often on my back, which I haven't done in years.....at first I considered that a good sign, but turns out it's giving me lower back pain (I'm only 32...not ready for back pain and arthritis issues). Anyways, thanks for the post, I hope there's more out there. I'm looking into returning my mattress within the exchangeable period and getting a traditional spring mattress. Also, people should bear in mind, for most of human existence, we've been sleeping on harder surfaces than what you encounter these days.

Hawksy said...

I too am suffering back pain from a memory foam mattress. I purchased it a year ago and have had lower back pains since. I have spent a small fortune on physioptherapy and would you believe it, last week I went camping and slept on an airbed, and hey prest, no back pain. Told the physio and he just laughed.

Randall said...

I got the place I bought my memory foam from to take it back and give me 75% credit toward the purchase of a conventional inner spring mattress. My troubles went away almost overnight.

Anonymous said...


Maritza

Anonymous said...

I've had my memory foam top for awhile now & it never dawned on me that this may be where the back pain comes from & I sweat like crazy, like I've never sweated before!! I've visited relatives & slept on a regular mattress & wondered why I didn't have the problems that I have with my bed. I hate to get rid of this mattress top, but looks like I have no choice!!!

Anonymous said...

My mother bought my husband and I a gel memory foam mattress and the first few nights seemed great. Then I started getting mid back pain and pain in my legs. From reading all the comments, I think I too will remove it tonight and see how I feel over the next few mornings. Thanks for all the comments.

Icooper said...

Halleluiah! I've been having back problems for the last year. I'm 59 and I thought it was just age. After one of my many Chiropractic appts. the doc finally told me that it sounded like it was my mattress. Of course not! I thought, it is new and we paid tons for it-- but my husband wanting to make the mattress better, bought a foam topper at Costco. We decided to take it off today. Can't wait to go to sleep tonight. Keeping my fingers crossed. I turn over a lot throughout the night. I read somewhere that the foam doesn't give you the support when you are turning over. We'll see!

Tish Hicks said...

I too have been having a lot of lower back pain that has now extended into my hips and legs. I was wondering if it could be the mattress. It is a memory foam 10" mattress with an adjustable bed. I like the adjustable bed part so now I don't know what mattress to get that won't put me further in the hole but I am going to have to find something....any suggestions from anyone who has already made the switch from the memory foam mattress?

Anonymous said...

SOS I need HELP here... We bought A 10 in memory foam mattress 2 months ago...first week was great I Slept Good.. but the past month for me has been Torture to my back (1) Getting off it each time triggers back Spasms each morning, where I need to lie on my Ergonomic chair for half hour to subside the spasms, which I firmly believe are caused by " body mold Shape" the mattress causes and the Actual Body Sinking resistance experience and physical work just trying to get off the mattress .The Struggle to get off this Mattress is the trigger. it throws my mid back into spasms causing my Diaphram restricting me to breathe if I try hard to stand up straight to Walk. Unfortunatelly My Wife Loves it, so I'm Stuck with it because She Trully Sleeps All thru the Night Every Night and I wont take that peace and comfort to her. I may need to place a firm addition into my side of the mattress. ANY Suggestions??????

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Anonymous said...

I have a memory foam mattress since 3 yrs and had back pain on nd off for couple of years now. I also tried different things xray mro but nothin. Then luckily I went on a trip to vegas and suddenly my back pain went away. Thanks for the post, I appreciate you taking time and posting this blog

Anonymous said...

No suggestions, but have similar problems. Lower back and right leg aches. Also, upper back aches, stiffness and literally creaking. Had physio, ultra sound, chiropractor treatment and going to yoga. they have eased troubles a little, but don't prevent or identify route cause. Been on holiday in Malysia and stopped in 3 differing hotels with 3 normal firm beds and my problems were significantly improved. I am therefore 90% convinced it is probably my memory foam mattress. My husband is fine with it though Q. Can I get a normal mattress type topper to fit just my side of the bed?

Michelle Rosario said...

I bought a 10/3" memory foam mattress on March 18, 2013. I have been okay besides the nasty night sweats. In early July I began experiencing lower back pain. It did not dawn on me that it could have been the mattress. I have been to doctors, clinics and hospitals with no resolution. The pain radiates through my hips and down my legs. The pain is mostly on the right side which is the side I usually sleep on. The body memory can seem good, however it really applies pressure on other areas that are not use to being strained during sleep. I too notice that I sleep more on my back now as oppose to my side or stomach. I will be getting rid of this mattress, ASAP.

Michelle Rosario said...

I bought a 10/3" memory foam mattress on March 18, 2013. I have been okay besides the nasty night sweats. In early July I began experiencing lower back pain. It did not dawn on me that it could have been the mattress. I have been to doctors, clinics and hospitals with no resolution. The pain radiates through my hips and down my legs. The pain is mostly on the right side which is the side I usually sleep on. The body memory can seem good, however it really applies pressure on other areas that are not use to being strained during sleep. I too notice that I sleep more on my back now as oppose to my side or stomach. I will be getting rid of this mattress, ASAP.

Anonymous said...

Same story. Have a 3 inch memory foam topper on a hotel collection pillow top mattress. At first it felt great! We both loved it.

After a few weeks I began having extreme power back pain each morning and then throughout the day. A few seemingly wasted trips to the chiropractor later, I decided to pull the topper last night. Woke up this am with significantly less pain. Then found this page. Sadly, seems I'm going to have to lose it for good.

I believe it has something to do with being stuck in the same (and likely wrong) position for so long/all night. Memory foam seems to make a mold if your body and lock it in their not allowing for the body to adjust overnight while sleeping. Had this issue several years ago with a memory foam pillow. Should have known. I guess they are not for some people.

Cooling Gel Mattress Pad‎ said...

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Priyanka jain said...

Memory foam mattresses are the best mattress for the relief of back pain So, if you are suffering from back pain visit springwel.in and buy memory foam mattress.

Priyanka jain said...

No, memory foam mattress aren't causing the back pain while this mattress is very beneficial for back pain relief, I also use a memory foam mattress and in a week I get relief from back pain. If you want to get a memory foam mattress, then springwel is the best option from where you get your size mattress.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I have had a memory foam topper for about a month now, and my pain has steadily gotten worse since! luckily, a bit of internet research led me to your post and many others like it.

Anonymous said...

The damn memory foam mattress messed my back. It was fine for the first six months. After that I woke up with a stiff back. Was a bit depressed that i was having a backache in my late 20's. Took me a while to figure out that it's my mattress. I sleep better on my 120$ Walmart futon now. Wonder what % of users suffer from this... Thanks for your post and all the comments too. I will throw the mattress out when I move out this time

Anonymous said...

Ive been using my 3" memory foam topper for a year. In factI threw out the receipt just last month.Guess what? I started getting backaches that kept me up at night, all of a sudden. I also wondered why I always felt so hot at night.I could kick myself for tossing that receipt,but not for tossing that stupid topper!!!!

Denise Backache said...

Ive had my 3"memory foam topper for about a year.At first it felt great,although I seemed to get night sweats more often.Just recently, I threw away the receipt, thinking all was ok. Guess what? I started getting backaches that kept me up all night. I could kick myself for tossing that receipt. But I did toss that topper after reading these blogs!!!!

Anonymous said...

I put a thin memory pad on my Queen bed 4 years ago and everything was fine. We moved and replaced the old pad with a newer softer 3 inch + foam topper. All was fine for 2 weeks, then about the 7th hour of sleep I would have lower back pain and found myself turning every 10 minutes to releive the pain. Sometimes I enjoy 10-11 hours of sleep, but those days are gone now. I think I will purchase another thinner foam pad.

Anonymous said...

We have had our gel-foam mattress for about 3-4 years. I have seeing my chiropractor about every 3-4 weeks to have my back straighten out. It has been getting more painful each month and my left hip hurts. Recently I slept in the guest room that has a regular mattress for about 3 days and my pain went away. Then I tried my foam mattress again and the pain is back. I thought I was loosing my mind. Thank you all for your comments.

Anonymous said...

I have gone thru 2 Memory foam mattresses, I thought the move from an earlier model mattress to an new modern firm cooling memory foam would fix it. It was an improvement but waking every day with back, neck, hip, shoulder and leg pains. constant sore shoulder, hamstring, and lower back muscles. These problems started happening about 6 years ago when we bought the first one. More trips to the chiropractor and chalking it up to the fact that I train hard and am getting older now at 39. Desperate for relief I flipped my foam mattress over, (which it was not designed for), to the firm base side. After 3 nights all of my issues have nearly dissappeared. I now believe the hype is all about selling a new technology with theoretical benefits. I will probably go shopping for new mattresses now as I do not want my son who is sleeping on my old mattress or my spouse to develop any serious long term problems from sleeping on these. Its a shame to throw away all that $ but our health is worth more.

Anonymous said...

I am so happy I have found this ---I thought I was the only one out there. My hip feels like it sinks in and hit nothing but hard bed, even though the bed is foam. I try to explain it....the sales reps think I am crazy. If I lay on my side with my legs completely straight- this evens out the pressure and then I don't feel the pain---but I am waking up with a on my side everyday adn sleeping straight on my side. I guess my body found this way as comfortable as I sleep. Have any of you tried the regular spring beds after these ?