Effect of prescribed sleep surfaces on back pain and sleep quality in patients diagnosed with low back and shoulder pain

Appl Ergon. 2010 Dec;42(1):91-7. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2010.05.004. Epub 2010 Jun 26.


The purpose of this study was to assess sleep quality and comfort of participants diagnosed with low back pain and stiffness following sleep on individually prescribed mattresses based on dominant sleeping positions. Subjects consisted of 27 patients (females, n=14; males, n=13; age 44.8 yrs ± SD 14.6, weight 174 lb. ± SD 39.6, height 68.3 in. ± SD 3.7) referred by chiropractic physicians for the study. For the baseline (pretest) data subjects recorded back and shoulder discomfort, sleep quality and comfort by visual analog scales (VAS) for 21 days while sleeping in their own beds. Subsequently, participants' beds were replaced by medium-firm mattresses specifically layered with foam and latex based on the participants' reported prominent sleeping position and they again rated their sleep comfort and quality daily for the following 12 weeks. Analysis yielded significant differences between pre- and post means for all variables and for back pain, we found significant (p<0.01) differences between the first posttest mean and weeks 4 and weeks 8-12, thus indicating progressive improvement in both back pain and stiffness while sleeping on the new mattresses. Additionally, the number of days per week of experiencing poor sleep and physical discomfort decreased significantly. It was concluded that sleep surfaces are related to sleep discomfort and that is indeed possible to reduce pain and discomfort and to increase sleep quality in those with chronic back pain by replacing mattresses based on sleeping position.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Beds*
  • Chiropractic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patients*
  • Shoulder Pain* / therapy
  • Sleep*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States