How a New Mattress Helped My Hip and Back Pain

I really like sleeping. But I'm like goldilocks when it comes to mattresses. Most are too hard or too soft. They're too hard, the guy at Mattress Firm told me, because my 100-pound frame doesn't have enough "heft" to press them down. And I don't want them too plush because my hips and back need support; I have sciatica, an asymmetrical pelvis, and a serious curve in my lower spine (hyperlordosis).

Hip and back pain are a common complaint for people with endometriosis. I don't know if I have endo on my spine, but it's always way harder for me to snooze through my sciataca when I'm close to my period.

But with my new mattress — a Tulo medium — I'm sleeping pain-free for the first time in years. Here's how it helps.

What's the "right" mattress?

It's hard to say because everyone is different. You'll need to take your own body weight and sleep habits into account. And do you sleep with someone else? You'll have to think about them too. Thankfully, my husband can sleep on anything.

I chose the Tulo after scouring the internet for every "best mattress for sciatica" article I could find. It seemed a good choice for me because it's recommended for couples and people who sleep in multiple positions. And I read a lot of reviews where people said it really helped with their lower back pain.

Why I love my new mattress

There were gaps between my bones and my old bed. If I tried to lie on my back, I could feel a space between my lower spine and the mattress. If I turned on my side, I could feel space between my waist and the mattress. That meant my body would sort of sag on itself. And most nights, I ended up twisting in a way that helped my hips but not my spine — a fact my physical therapist pointed out when I showed her my common sleep position.

Before I bought my new mattress, my physical therapist told me to  fill in the spaces with three pillows. But that was actually more uncomfortable. With my Tulo, my back and hips are supported in all positions. The secret is the memory foam top. It's soft  enough that I can press into it. But it's not so soft that there's no support.

My mattress-shopping tips

I'd suggest trying out a bunch of different options before you order one. Most of them are "worn in" enough that you can get an idea about how comfy they'll end up. I went to Mattress Firm and tested out the Tulo, Tempur-pedic, Purple, and other brands I don't remember.

If you can't test out a bed in person, you can try most — risk-free — at home. Most companies will ship the mattress to your house and pick it back up if you don't like it. But make sure you check the refund policy just in case.

And read the online reviews from customers.

Give your body time to adjust

I'd read one review that said the mattress didn't work for them overnight. It took them a few days to feel a difference. And that's what I noticed too. The first couple of nights I actually had more pain. But after a week, I was sleeping all the way through the night.

So if you're waking up with back pain, your mattress may not help. Finding the right one has made more of a difference than I thought possible. My only regret is not getting the king size.

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