Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes muscle pain and fatigue. People with the disorder may have tender parts of their body, stiffness in the morning and often have trouble sleeping. It’s estimated that 5.8 million Americans suffer from this chronic condition. Many mattresses only exacerbate painful pressure points, making it all but impossible to fully recharge with an uninterrupted, restful night of sleep.
Finding the best mattress for fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia sufferers may be most comfortable on a memory foam mattress. Instead of irritating the pressure points, memory foam molds itself to the contours of the body, providing additional support. There are a few other options when it comes to memory foam, too.
Gerry Borreggine, chairman of the International Sleep Products Association, says gel foam is the newest technology all major mattress companies are utilizing for fibromyalgia sufferers.
“It is a viscoelastic mattress that has actual gel liquid or beads swiveled into the foam. One of the few negatives about memory foam mattresses is they sleep hot on the surface,” he explains. “Gel foam is something that actually sinks into the foam and absorbs the heat. It gives the mattress about a 5-degree cooler sleeping surface.”
Borreggine says the support factor is still there with these gel foam mattresses, and for someone who has upper back pain, this is the best choice on the market.
Balance between softness and support is key
When shopping for a mattress for fibromyalgia, the key is finding a mattress that provides an optimal balance of cushiony softness and firm support. Innerspring mattresses typically are an awful idea for fibromyalgia sufferers, as every bump and hard edge makes you feel like the Princess and the Pea.
But don’t let the pendulum swing too far toward softness. Support is equally critical.
“Looking back, my old mattress was way too soft,” wrote Christine Miserandino, a fibromyalgia sufferer who blogs at ButYouDontLookSick.com. “I think I was going with the theory that I should ‘cushion’ my achy joints. … I need to support them.”
Best memory foam mattress
Among the highest-ranked memory foam mattresses on Viewpoints are the Restava Astoria Memory Foam Mattress and the BedInABox.com PacBed Original Memory Foam Mattress.
Reviewers are delighted with the comfort, and the high ratings are mostly a factor that these mattresses offer the benefits of memory foam at a lower price point. Tommy09716 posted a review on Viewpoints that is similar to the others regarding the Restava Astoria Memory Foam mattress:
“Their price is about 50% less, and I could return it if it didn’t feel like I wanted. That was almost two years ago and I’ve never looked back. I never have trouble falling asleep anymore and cannot thank Restava enough.” –Tommy0916, Reviewer since 2011
The BedInABox.com PacBed Original Memory Foam Mattress is considered best mattress on the Viewpoints site for back pain. There are hundreds of reviews; most echo this strong endorsement:
“I have owned four separate mattresses over my lifetime (including a Serta), and the BedInABox.com PacBed Original Foam Mattress is the best one I have ever owned, hands down. Sleeping on this mattress, I wonder how I ever got to sleep on anything else. This mattress is so comfortable, I feel like I am sleeping on a cake made out of cumulus clouds and whipped cream.” –SpencerCG, Reviewer since 2011
As another option to consider, the Fibro-Pedic Memory Foam and Latex Foam Mattress is one of the few mattresses specifically marketed to fibromyalgia patients. It was created by Dr. Rick Swartzburg, D.C., to help his wife and his patients who suffer from fibromyalgia. It’s advertised online as containing a “unique combination of hypo-allergenic foam layers designed specifically to take pressure off of the many individual muscle pressure points that Fibromyalgia sufferers experience….We accomplished this by adding a mix of memory foam and latex foam layers which gradually increase in density. The memory foam and latex foam layers are arranged over a firm HR polyurethane foam layer. This allows the mattress to be soft enough to contour to the unique shape of your body, but firm enough to provide proper support and never bottom out.”
Can mattress pads or toppers Help?
Heated mattress pads can provide relief for some fibromyalgia sufferers, especially after a new mattress has already been purchased. There are even memory foam mattress toppers on the market that minimize pressure points and provide additional support. They aren’t cheap, but they will definitely save you money on buying an entirely new mattress.
For memory foam mattress owners whose mattresses are overheating, there is also the option of gel cooling pads or toppers to absorb the heat. Experts say that while these are all good aids in making your mattress more comfortable, they can’t fix more fundamental problems with a mattress if you do need a new one.
Best electric mattress pad
Heated mattress pads can provide relief for some fibromyalgia sufferers, and the Sunbeam Slumber Rest Premium Heated Mattress Pad is a good option. With a 10-hour auto-off control, this pad fits mattresses up to 19 inches deep. Ten heating zones let you control the temperature according to season or pain level, and the pad is also machine washable for easy cleaning.
Best memory foam mattress pad
If you can’t buy a full memory foam mattress but would like its fibromyalgia benefits — minimizing pressure points and providing additional support — the Serta Deluxe 2-inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper might be the best bang for your buck. Both hypoallergenic and anti-microbial, the memory foam allows a comfortable night’s sleep, especially when there are two people in the same bed.
“It was very easy to put on, just open the box, unfold and poof, it enlarges. My very first night I slept like a baby. I thought maybe that was because it was a change, but the next nights I slept just as well. In fact I have been oversleeping, because I am not waking up in pain. I reccommend this for anyone, it feels like your sleeping on a cloud.” –my410s, Reviewer since 2009
There is no known prevention or cure for fibromyalgia. Support groups may be helpful in alleviating the symptoms. Besides finding a comfortable mattress, other recommendations include practicing a sleep routine, eating a well-balanced diet, avoiding caffeine, and acupressure and acupuncture. Severe cases of fibromyalgia may require a referral to a pain clinic.