Aches and pains in the muscles and joints first thing in the morning is a common complaint. Sometimes, it’s easy to identify the cause of the pain- the sufferer has a chronic condition such as arthritis or has sustained an injury. However, many of us wake up with soreness and aching in the morning with no obvious cause. If this sounds like you, you may be wondering: how to I address my morning aches and pains?
Whether your soreness is caused by a condition or has no clear reason, if it’s worse in the morning then it’s very likely that your bedding or sleeping position is at least partly to blame. Of course, changing your mattress, pillows or sleeping position won’t cure an ongoing health condition. However, it can help to ease pain that’s worse in the morning, whatever the cause. So, exactly how do you ease morning pain?
Signs your pain is caused by your mattress
There are a few key signs that should lead you to believe that your mattress is responsible for your aches, or causing them to be more severe:
- Your pain feels worst when you first wake up and then gradually improves once you’re up and about
- The mattress hasn’t been replaced in a long time (around 8 years or more)
- There are visible signs of sagging, the mattress is uneven or lumpy in texture
Any of these are a good sign that it’s time to find a mattress that is well-designed to ease your discomfort.
How do I choose a good mattress for aches and pains?
Most people who experience night-time soreness feel it in their lower back or in their joints, especially the hips, shoulders or knees. Luckily, choosing the right mattress for back pain or joint pain is easier than it sounds, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, there are just three key features that you should look out for:
- Adequate support: In order for you to achieve a healthy spinal alignment while you sleep, you need a mattress with a proper level of support. This can help to ease back pain in particular. There is a general belief that memory foam mattresses are best for back pain. However, the truth is that any supportive mattress will do a good job of easing aches and pains in your back. When you’re buying a mattress, always check that it is highly-rated in terms of support.
- Pressure relief: If your mattress doesn’t relieve pressure, you can end up with sore and aching joints in the morning. Many different types of mattresses can help to take pressure off your joints while you sleep. However, if joint pain is a chronic problem for you, a material that can conform to the shape of your body such as memory foam, gel or latex is a good idea.
- Comfort: No matter what you’ve read about a mattress’ amazing ability to relieve pain, if it doesn’t feel comfortable to you then you won’t sleep well on it. Whilst keeping the above points in mind, it’s important to choose a mattress to suit your own sense of comfort.
Morning aches and sleeping position
You may not be aware that your sleeping position can be responsible for either worsening or improving morning aches and pains. Most of us sleep in one of three positions: on the back, the front or the side. Some people also switch between two or more of these positions throughout the night. So, should you change your sleeping position to improve your discomfort, and are there any ways to make your position more comfortable?
Side sleeping is the most common position and is a good choice for keeping your spine well-aligned. However, this position can also exert pressure on your shoulder and hip joints, causing you to wake up feeling achy. For this reason, side sleepers should choose a medium-soft or medium mattress to relieve pressure and allow their body to sink in. If you are suffering from pain in your hips or back, a pillow between your knees can also help to ease any discomfort.
Back sleeping is also a good position, especially if you suffer from back pain. That’s because this position supports a healthy spinal alignment. However, back sleepers need a little more support than side sleepers. So, select a mattress that’s medium-firm to firm. Sleeping with just one thick pillow under your head is a good idea if you sleep on your back, as this is the best way to avoid aches and pains in your neck.
Unfortunately, it’s not such great news if you sleep on your front. Not only does this position hinder proper circulation, but it also forces your back and neck into a less-than-ideal position. This can lead to all manner of aches and pains in the morning. The best advice is to try to sleep in a different position.
However, if you absolutely can’t sleep in any other way, you’ll need to take steps to limit any potential damage. Your back needs a lot of support in this position, so it’s a good idea to opt for a very firm mattress. Switching the position of your pillow from under your head to under your hips is also a good way to encourage your spine into a healthier position.
Do I need an orthopaedic mattress?
If you suffer from morning aches and pains, you may be wondering if you need a special ‘orthopaedic’ mattress. These mattresses are extremely firm, and it’s a common belief that people who suffer from aches and pains, especially in the back, should buy one. However, in the majority of cases an orthopaedic mattress is not necessary. In fact, most people will find them far too hard to sleep on properly. However, you may be advised to use one by a doctor or physical therapist in certain situations.
The bottom line
Hopefully, you can see that there are a few simple ways that you can ease any aches and pains that trouble you in the morning. Many people find that switching their mattress can be a great way to get rid of pain and discomfort. However, if your pain is chronic or severe, it’s a good idea to get yourself checked out by a healthcare professional to rule out any underlying medical condition.