When my SI joints were at their worst– aka their most hypermobile— they were extremely sensitive to the kind of surface I was resting on.
Of course, in the midst of my problem, the mattress I’d loved for about 10 years finally wore out. And it wore out bad.
Now that I’m doing better, it’s almost hard to remember how sensitive I was.
At the time, all I knew was that a mattress that was too soft, or worn out, would cause my SI joints to lock up as my body sank down, finding a new equilibrium.
And a mattress that was too hard, paradoxically, would do the same thing– it would kind of force my body to adapt to a position that it didn’t really “want” to, and somehow my SI joints would lock up then, as well.
It was awful– before I found my new mattress I didn’t even want to go to bed at night.
What I really needed to find was a mattress that had just the right amount of cushioning on top to protect my joints, but was still firm enough overall that my body wouldn’t sink in.
And boy, did I have a hard time.
First, I found a great-looking mattress from a major-label brand at a small, independent store near me. It was only about $200, so I bought it. It was perfect for two months, and then started to fall apart. I couldn’t lie on it without rolling into the center.
Of course, somehow, the salesperson who came out to my house to inspect the mattress claimed that he “couldn’t feel anything wrong” and told me it was just “normal wear and tear.
Then, I had a few other false starts which I won’t go into here. Let’s just say that, when you are going through a major department store/mattress chain, the process is going to be expensive– expect delivery fees– and the most you will ever be able to hope for, if you have second thoughts, is an exchange.
At one point I was so desperate, I wondered if maybe I could just live my life on an air mattress, since that seemed to be the most easily customizable in terms of firmness.
I ultimately did some research, and it turns out that now that we’re in the 2010’s, there are actually some much better ways to do your mattress shopping.
There are a few new mattress start-ups which operate almost entirely online:
Personally, I tried both the Casper and the Leesa, until I realized that a super-soft foam mattress wasn’t for me. However, online reviewers do seem to really like them, so if firmness isn’t a significant concern for you, I would recommend giving them a try. I did find their customer service to be attentive and easy to deal with, and had no trouble arranging my returns and refunds.
Ultimately, I found what seemed to be the best of both worlds and bought my mattress through a company called Room and Board. I was able to go in to the Boston store and pick out the mattress I wanted (I went with the Innerspring Firm).
Then, they offer a 120-night in home trial, similar to the mattress start-ups I mentioned earlier. The only difference is that I paid a $90 flat-rate shipping fee, which would have covered the cost of a return if I needed to make one.
However, I didn’t need to make a return, because I totally love my mattress!
I have had it for two years now, and it’s been exactly what I was looking for. Just soft enough that I don’t feel any specific tender points, but firm enough that my body basically stays in the position I lay down in, without any sinking.
I’d say that, since I bought it, there has maybe been a teeny bit of the top cushioning becoming a little more condensed, but I’ve made sure to rotate the mattress regularly and it hasn’t affected my comfort level when I lie down.
So, if you are thinking of replacing your mattress, I definitely recommend you look into one of these newer models of purchasing, instead of wasting money and time like I did.
And I definitely recommend Room and Board!