From platform shoes to vinyl records, there are many things that tend to come back into vogue again after many years. One of these recently rediscovered fads is waterbeds. Once a staple of the ‘80s and ‘90s, newer versions of these beds are now becoming increasingly available. But just how good are they for your back? Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of waterbeds when it comes to your spine’s health and wellbeing.
The big plus for waterbeds is that they contour well to your body, more so than what’s possible with a typical standard mattress. Pressure is more evenly distributed throughout your spine and its supporting parts as you sleep. Waterbeds can also be heated, which increases the flow of oxygenated blood to tissues in and around the backbone.
We can’t talk about waterbeds without mentioning waves. Newer models have features that allow you to create a small, controlled wave effect, which could provide benefits similar to what you would get with a massage. However, you won’t want to leave the wave function running all night as you sleep since too much stimulation could overstress certain parts of your spine.
A waterbed may help with your back pain, but if you have a serious issue with your spine, you may want to consider options such as spinal fusion or one of the many back fusion alternatives. Los Angeles patients can take the first steps toward living a pain-free life by reaching out to Dr. Hyun Bae and his team of expert surgeons at The Spine Institute.
There are some waterbed drawbacks to keep in mind as well before you ditch your traditional bed. First of all, there’s research suggesting they don’t do much in terms of controlling spine-relate discomfort. In one study, 15 percent of participants with back pain reported relief when they switched to a waterbed, but 9 percent said they noticed an uptick in their discomfort.
Also, waterbeds don’t provide a lot of resistance for the spine, which means there’s a lack of sufficient support. Plus, if you naturally sleep in a position that places extra pressure on your spine, you may end up with pain related to alignment issues. If you have existing back pain, the general recommendation is to go with a firmer sleeping surface. This isn’t what you’ll get with a waterbed. You also don’t get much motion control, which boosts your odds of being woken up in the middle of the night by your partner’s movements.
Take time to personally try out different bed models, but never buy any type of mattress or bed without actually trying it first. Also, take advantage of any free trial offers you may find so you can test out your bed in the comfort of your own home for a brief time. With bed selection, it can also be helpful to:
• Ask about available comfort features, including anything that might be adjustable
• Really test a mattress by fully lying down on it to get a feel for what kind of support it offers
• Talk to your doctor first to get a better idea of what kind of support you need for your back
If you do invest in a waterbed, be careful about your posture and sleeping positions, and discuss any new or increased back pain with your doctor or a spine surgeon. Los Angeles residents who would like an in-person evaluation of their back pain can call The Spine Institute today at 310-828-7757 to schedule an appointment.