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Memory Foam

PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2007 10:32 am
by Leigh
Hi. I only just found this site today. My husband has 3 degenerated discs - the bottom one so bad it has fused. He had a prolapse at L3/4 & recently a new one at L4/5. He developed acute sciatica late September & was bed bound until just before Christmas when, after seeing an orthopaedic surgeon & a neurosurgeon, he saw a sports physician who, because of the pain he had been in for so long, fast tracked him to an anesthetist who gave him 2 sets of epidurals over 2 weeks. We are well aware that, with the amount of damage, his only hope of leading a normal life is exercise & the strengthening of his core stability & other muscles. He is trying but still in some pain. He also suffers from anxiety, which does not help. We used to sleep on a 3 inch memory foam mattress topper & I decided to go the whole hog & invest in a full one (thinking this best for Ian's back). We have had it 5 days & Ian now says his lower mid back & head pains are really bad. He cannot lie on his back & has to stay on his side. Has anyone else tried these? The topper was fine, is the mattress I bought too soft? It's fine for me. Any suggestions. Sorry to ramble on so much but not had anyone to ramble to very much & it has been quite hard for me too.

PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2007 1:23 pm
by Steven
Hi Leigh,

There have been a couple of discussions on matresses here in the past. Try searcing for the word "mattress" or "memory-foam" and you'll probably find them.


PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 6:17 am
by randolph
Hello Leigh

I have no experience to relate to you about the memory foam mattress system. But I did have some thoughts to share that I thought might help you and your husband. You are both going thru the worst part of the sciatica adventure, and having been there and come out the other side healed and recovered, I wanted to offer some encouragement. I'm personally convinced that the anxiety, fear, anger, confusion and other emotional reactions we have to the horrible physical symptoms of sciatica also must be dealt with, too, or the effectiveness of your husband's physical treatment is lessened.

First off, it looks like Ian is pursuing treatment that have been effective for some of this board's members. Be sure to read NJ Ken's story about the effectiveness of his epidural treatment. The effectiveness of the epidurals is not instantaneous or "sweat-free"; it requires a lot on the part of the patient, including disciplined exercising to get the most benefit from the treatment. Hopefully Ian's sport physician has him doing some good physical therapy, and has recommended lifestyle changes that will get the most for Ian from the epidurals.

Second, there's a lot more going on with sciatica than can be helped significantly by simple acquisition of a different mattress. We all wish all we had to do was buy something and POOF, problem solved. We hear stories about how others we're "cured" by buying a different mattress, but I'm convinced that that success has more to do with the placebo effect and other mental/emotional reactions of the buyer than the actual mattress itself. During this acute stage of Ian's sciatica, he might be better served to just go back to the previous mattress that was not a problem, and place his recovery hopes on doing things like the exercising that have a much bigger role to play in his recovery, than what he sleeps on.

Third, it's really true that the vast majority of folks recover from sciatica without aggressive treatment like surgery. There's alot of reliable data out there that verifies the effectiveness of physical therapy. See, for instance, Cygnet's references to research reported in the NYTimes, and the volumes of stuff in Dean's homepage Resources. Realizing that there is real hope of recovery without surgery alleviated a lot of my anxiety about sciatica. I'd never experienced pain and disability previous in my life, like the pain and disability of sciatica. But as bad as all that is, it really does pass, with adequate (but not too much) rest and the proper exercise.

Please be sure to read Dean's books and some our success stories here. I think your anxiety will be replaced with hope.