What to Do if Your Memory Foam Mattress Is Causing Shoulder Pain

shoulder pain

When your bed turns into your enemy and makes your shoulders hurt, you’ve got to find a way to fix that.

And to find the solution, let’s first figure out why exactly your memory foam mattress is causing shoulder pain.

Reasons Why Your Mattress Might Be Causing Shoulder Pain

Now, I understand that shoulder pain can be unbearable sometimes. If you don’t wish to waste any time and can’t deal with the issue anymore, perhaps you want to get a new bed right away and forget about the pain caused by your old mattress. In this case, you might want to check the selection of the best mattresses for shoulder pain by Sleepingocean. All of them can offer the optimal conditions to take care of your sore and tender shoulders.

Now, there are other things you can try, but in order to pick the most effective pain-relief method, it’s important to understand the core of the problem.

So, why is your memory foam mattress causing shoulder pain? Here are the possible reasons:

  • It is overly firm. Not every shopper knows how to choose the appropriate mattress firmness, and that’s natural. But the results can be quite upsetting. If your mattress is too firm for you, your body will crash into it and develop painful pressure points. This is especially bad if you are a side sleeper. When lying on one side on a stiff surface, the tension builds up in the shoulder and can lead to pain.
  • It is too soft. Let me put it simply: an overly plush bed cannot deliver proper support for the spine. And when the spine is not supported, it falls into misalignment, which affects the rest of the body, including the shoulders. As a result, too much pressure may appear in the shoulder area and can lead to stiffness and pain.
  • It’s old and saggy. Another reason why you might be experiencing shoulder pain caused by a memory foam mattress is the body impressions on your bed surface. Those impressions (or sags) tend to develop with time, when the foam is old, retains the shape of your body, and can’t get back to its original shape because it has lost its properties. Again, consequently, this affects the level of support your mattress can provide. The mattress fails to keep your spine in a healthy, neutral position, causing its misalignment and pressure points (including in the shoulders).
  • It is unsupportive. Maybe it’s too thin, maybe it’s old and the foam has lost its resilience. Whatever the case is, an unsupportive mattress can cause shoulder pain due to insufficient back support and spinal misalignment, which I have mentioned before.

What to Do to Fix the Issue: Top 7 Tricks You Can Try

Here’s the deal:

If your memory foam mattress is causing shoulder pain, you can improve the situation.

In fact, there are many tricks you can try in order to make your bed more comfortable, alleviate shoulder pain, and start sleeping better. Here are the ones we find the most effective:

  • Change the mattress. Yes, this is the most expensive (yet, the easiest) solution.  If your old memory foam mattress is causing you to experience shoulder pain, ditching it and getting a better mattress would be ideal. Make sure you pick the proper firmness level for your sleeping position (softer for side sleepers, medium for back sleepers, and firm for stomach sleepers). And if your budget allows for it, get a quality mattress that uses high-density foam. Chances are, it will remain supportive longer, which can mean a guarantee of your healthy spine and shoulders.
  • Add a topper. If your memory foam mattress is either too soft or too firm, you can change the way it feels with the help of a good topper. It’s quite simple really: for a soft mattress, pick a firm, resilient topper. You can choose a latex one or a dense memory foam model. For an overly stiff bed, get something plushier (and thicker for extra pressure relief).
  • Switch positions. While you are waiting for your new mattress (or topper) to arrive, you can try switching to a different position to reduce the shoulder pain levels. If you are a side sleeper, try to avoid lying on your sore shoulder. You can also try to sleep on your back, as this position is the most optimal for proper spinal alignment and can aid pressure relief too. You can also use the pillows (strategically) to alleviate the pain. For instance, hug a thick pillow when lying on your side to reduce tension from the shoulder. Or you can place a smaller pillow between the knees to promote a healthy spinal alignment.
  • Try a mattress pad. It might not work if your mattress is really old, but if it’s still maintaining its supportive properties and simply feels too stiff, a fluffy mattress pad can add some plushness and cradle your sore shoulders. There are many options available, including heavenly-soft wool, down, and faux feathers. A mattress pad can also improve the breathability of your sleeping space, which can lead to cooler sleep.
  • Get a new pillow. Sometimes your mattress might not work because of the pillow. Let me explain: even if your bed is keeping you fairly comfortable, a bad pillow can ruin your mattress’s “efforts”. When the pillow is either too tall or too thin, it creates a curve in one’s neck. This leads to misalignment and, of course, can affect the shoulders, causing them to tense up and even to ache. So, remember that side sleepers need loftier pillows, back sleepers require something thinner (preferably with a special roll in the neck area), and stomach sleepers are recommended to use thin pillows (or to sleep without one).
  • ●       Try to change the bed frame. Sometimes a new bed frame can change the way your mattress supports your body. For instance, you can switch to a model with solid wooden slats that would create a sturdier base for your mattress. And if you want your bed to feel slightly bouncier and a tad softer, you can choose sprung slats that would respond differently to applied pressure and adapt to the different parts of your body (heavier and lighter) accordingly.
  • Stretch before and after sleep. Another trick you can try while waiting for your new mattress or topper is light stretching. It can help you reduce tightness and pain, plus it might aid fast muscle relaxation (which would come in handy when preparing for sleep). 

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