Hi there,

I had a spinal fusion, top to bottom, done in my early teens. I am now in my late 20s, and have been having disc degeneration issues in the lumbar area. It was recommended that I get a firm mattress.

I've been going to mattress stores for about a month now. First, with the salesperson, we settled on a firm memory foam - Sealy Soleil. After consulting a few mattress sites, some say that memory foam is not ideal for the problems I'm having. I realized after this that memory foam is hard for me to move and get up on.... Since then I've changed my order twice, and haven't taken delivery yet.

I believe I've narrowed it to two models, budget allowing too....both double:

Beautyrest Recharge Elite Essence Tight Top

* Coils: 704 coils, 13.75 coil gauge
* Quilt: 1" surface tech foam (silk wood blend fibre)
* Upholstery: 1/2" posturized geltouch foam, 1/2" firm foam

This one I find I'm supported the most, but I do notice my shoulders have some pain.... and might have tingling in the arm. I must say that I'm coming from a soft foam used in cushions...not really any support...

Beautyrest Recharge Elite Wilshire Pillow Top

* Coils: 704 coils, 13.75 coil gauge
* Quilt: two layers of 1" surface tech foam (silk wood blend fibre)
* Upholstery: 1/2" posturized geltouch foam, 1/2" firm foam

The shoulders seemed better, but still had some getting used to it. I do find that I'm sinking more in, I'm guessing due to the extra layers. I laid down on each for about 10 minutes+... spending about 2 hours in the store..

After reading online, I understand that pillowtops might breakdown quicker... but the salesperson said they last longer than toppers.

Looking online, people also say if a mattress is too firm to add a 2" latex topper. I went to another store in the area and tried out a similar bed with their ZedBed latex / memory foam R2 2" topper. It felt good... I also managed to try out latex beds with mem foam on top and wasn't keen on it... The 2" all latex topper from ZedBed is $479 + tax.

Price difference between the Tighttop and Pillowtop is about $200. I'm debating whether to go for the Tight top...due to reading and some sensitivity I had to sagging... Which would any of you think be the better outcome? I'm thinking the firmer one and If I need to soften it there are options... I currently have a feather bed topper that I hardly fluff due to effort, so am looking for something easier...

Now I'm stumped again ;) . I've been struggling for a month to find a mattress to get as the current one doesn't support much anymore. I've been visiting the mattress stores about 2x a week, and spending an hour+ at times. I've been trying to keep the idea that the spine needs to be straight when lying on my side... and on my back, I'm trying to find something that supports it well... without feeling sagging, because with some of these mattresses (like the Soleil and Kingsdown), I felt some sag already, and something like that might just get worse over time... I understand that the mattress needs to conform to me too, but maybe I'm getting thrown off in that area. The sales person did mention that it will take about a month to get used to a mattress.

I've also contacted some of the manufacturers, for some info at some point.

Other beds that were suggested was the Kingsdown Rockwell, with 768 14.5 gauge, twice tempered 9" coils. They say its got 19% more coils in the center. The Kingsdown rep said that they have the lowest defect rate... Layering is about 3" gel (22 ounces), 1/2" foam gel (unknown densities, did not inquire, more focused on the coils). This one seemed good, but I did not feel like the hip area was supported enough. I'm comparing this more to when I injure myself then I need to go on a carpeted floor to relieve the pain. This is another reason why I might be aiming for something with lots of support instead of full comfort...because if I start hammocking a year down the road it won't be good. I've read some user reviews online about the Kingsdown sagging after a month. Some other experts find that Kingsdown is limited distribution and not to be considered...etc...another orthopedic model they have has a coil gauge of 15, but more coils... Both Kingsdown models have a foam separator in the middle that stops a few inches before the top. I'm single, but was told by the rep and salesperson that they've never had an issue about it...

Memory foam, foam cores, is one I couldn't find enough support for.

Store #2 I went to... has a brand called Mat Tech. The salesperson said they supply the hospitals... their coils are compressed by a few inches... Here I also learned that a 13 gauge coil is something to look for in a pocket coil.

When I tried out the Simmons Essence, I found myself going back to the Kingsdown Rockwell quilting. The presentation of the mattress looks very nice, I have to admit...and I will also admit I did not feel pressure like I did with the Essence. The Wilshire feels better, as the pressure points are more relieved... but this is another case where if I find myself hammocking a year down the road I will be very displeased with my choice, and their warranty is 1.5".

The initial idea I had, was finding a mattress with firm enough support to make me feel like I'm on the carpeted floor, for the disc issues... but also something to which I could potentially add layers, if need be, and when I have a bit more cash for it.

I really don't know what else to do at this point...

Thank you for any help you can provide.

asked Feb 22 '14
Rajinder's gravatar image
Rajinder from Lasalle, QC
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Hi Rajinder,

Go adjustable. There are some reasonably priced adjustable bases that you can get, along with a mattress that is adjustable-friendly (either foam or pocketed coils). Try one in a showroom where you can lift your feet/lower body up until it's comfy, and the head as well. It really seems like you've been through a lot of different beds and none of them are exactly it. I would encourage you to try an adjustable to see what it's like. Stick in your budget and if you like, I can help you with some recommendations for the bases. You don't have to spend $2,000 for an adjustable bed. This isn't an up-sell. It's just when you can't find anything that works, the only way to really get a different bed is to change the shape of the surface you sleep on. Lifting the lower legs takes a lot of pressure from your back. It can really make huge difference.

answered Feb 25 '14
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Andrew Schle... ♦
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Thank you Andrew for your input I'm gonna think about this

(Feb 27 '14) Rajinder Rajinder's gravatar image

Hi Rajinder,

What a journey! But this is not that difficult, honestly. You have been trying some rather dense memory foam mattresses, and that are not all created equally. That dense foam is responsible for your inability to move and that too firm feel. The memory foam beds from Bed in a Box.com use a 3lb density foam which recovers instantaneously, making it very easy to move.

The reason I suggest this is because in my professional opinion, I would avoid any metal coil bed. I have seen many customers in your situation over my now 17 year career and metal coils only exacerbate your spinal issues. You need support without pressure, and only memory foam will provide this.

Another bed I would consider would be the new Gemma Plush. I carry it in my store. It's the only Oeko Tex Certified Memory Foam mattress. It too is not so dense.

Though I make a latex mattress as well, I would counsel against it, as latex rubber bounces energy back, making for a bit of pressure as well. Any push back by the mattress will make it painful on your back. Only memory foam will give you the pressure relief you need. Avoid toxic foams and fire barriers and avoid very dense memory foams.

All the best!

answered Feb 24 '14
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Joe Alexander ♦
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WOW! You've done your research and quite well. First and foremost go with your instincts. Having back issues makes you the best barometer of what will and what won't work.

I'm only going to make one suggestion (and it's not my first choice for most people): If I were you I would consider one of the Tempurpedic Choice (air) mattresses. Usually I reserve air for my customers who are very sensitive to the normal changes in mattresses with use AND those customers who have unique support issues. You seem to fit both of these categories. Tempurpedic's air is unusual in the industry for several reasons but the one that may help you is the three chamber support system. There are two for the head and foot AND a center or lumbar chamber. Just a bed to consider.

Also you may want to consider the addition (eventually) of an power (adjustable) base - the ability to raise your head or feet can take some pressure off. If the mattress you purchase next will work on an adjustable base, it gives you options down the road.

answered Feb 24 '14
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Ernest Shaver ♦
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Thank you Joe and Ernest.

I understand about the memory foam but I find it hard to move in as I sink a lot.. depending on the thickness layers.

@Ernest, thank you for the comments.... as for the tempur choice I think its out of my price range for the moment....

I'm leaning towards the Kingsdown but the coil gauge concerns me still..

Thank you both rajinder

answered Feb 24 '14
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Rajinder from Lasalle, QC
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Rajinder, not all memory foam feels that way. 5-7lb foam does. The beds like Bed In A Box.com and Gemma are made with 3.5lb foam, not very dense, thus the foam responds immediately and does not leave you feeling like you are in a hole. I sell hundreds of these a month.

(Feb 26 '14) Joe Alexander ♦ Joe Alexander's gravatar image
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Asked: Feb 22 '14

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