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How To Use An Adjustable Bed For Back Pain?

By: Christina Davies
Updated on: April 05, 2024

  • Adjustable beds can be a valuable tool for alleviating back pain by providing customizable support and comfort.
  • These beds can support your back, reduce joint compression, and help you sleep on an incline, which can benefit various back conditions.
  • Common back conditions that may benefit from an adjustable bed include osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, degenerative spondylolisthesis, sciatica, and herniated discs.
  • Before purchasing an adjustable bed for back pain relief, consider factors such as mattress type, bed size, weight, and frame compatibility.
  • When using an adjustable bed for back pain relief, find the optimal inclination, support your legs if needed, and use ergonomic pillows for proper neck and upper back support.
  • The best adjustable bed position for back pain may vary depending on your specific condition, so consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

Back pain can greatly impact our daily lives, affecting everything from our ability to perform daily tasks to our sleep quality. If you’re someone who experiences chronic back pain, you understand the importance of finding a solution that provides relief and comfort. One option to consider is an adjustable bed. This comprehensive article will explore how to use an adjustable bed for back pain, offering you a path to a more comfortable and pain-free sleep. We will also talk about factors to consider before purchasing an adjustable bed, the best sleeping positions for back pain, and address common questions about adjustable beds.

The Magic of Adjustability

Adjustable beds have gained popularity for their versatility and ability to relieve various health issues, including back pain, poor posture, blood circulation, inclined position, pain relief, and acid reflux. These beds allow you to customize your sleeping position, providing optimal support and comfort. Here’s how to use an adjustable bed to address back pain effectively.

How an Adjustable Bed Alleviates Back Pain

An adjustable bed is designed to provide customizable support and comfort by allowing you to adjust the positioning gravity position of the bed to suit your needs. Here are some ways in which an adjustable bed can alleviate back pain:

Supports Your Back

Sleeping at an angle on an adjustable bed gives your back steady support for a peaceful night’s sleep. While some try to achieve a similar effect by using pillows or blankets to prop up their heads and shoulders or elevate their knees, this method often results in uneven support, exacerbating back pain over time. An adjustable bed with a fixed incline offers a more reliable and consistent source of support and alignment for your back.

Reduces Joint Compression

Flat mattresses can sometimes contribute to back problems by not properly aligning the spine or causing joint pressure. Adjustable beds allow you to find a position that provides the best pressure relief for your specific needs. Adjustable beds are often recommended for individuals who have undergone back surgery, as the various incline options for the head and feet can help alleviate pressure in a way that traditional beds cannot.

Sleeping on an Incline

Adjusting your sleep position with an adjustable bed can have several health benefits. For individuals with lower back pain, sleeping on a slight incline can provide relief. Elevating your knees in addition to your upper back can further alleviate pressure on the spine by redistributing weight more evenly. Additionally, sleeping on an incline has been found to benefit those with sleep apnea and snoring. Studies have shown that tilting sleepers by just 7.5 degrees can significantly reduce obstructive sleep apnea severity while elevating the head of the bed may improve symptoms of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).

Back Conditions That May Benefit From an Adjustable Bed

Adjustable beds can be particularly beneficial for individuals with specific back conditions. Here are some common back conditions that may benefit from using an adjustable bed:


Osteoarthritis is a kind of arthritis that commonly occurs with age and the natural wear and tear of joint cartilage. While an adjustable bed cannot reverse the effects of osteoarthritis, it can help manage the associated pain. Opting for an adjustable bed with a firm memory foam or latex mattress that provides excellent pressure relief can help alleviate pain and improve sleep quality for individuals with osteoarthritis. Adjustable beds may also benefit those with other forms of arthritis.

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a condition characterized by the narrowing of spaces within the spine, which can cause back pain. Many individuals with spinal stenosis find relief by leaning forward rather than lying or standing straight. An adjustable bed can provide support in an upright position, reducing pressure on the vertebrae and alleviating discomfort for individuals with this condition. Pairing an adjustable bed with a supportive memory foam or latex mattress can further enhance the benefits for individuals with spinal stenosis.

Degenerative Spondylolisthesis

Degenerative spondylolisthesis happens when one backbone shifts and presses against the one beneath it. This condition is more common in individuals over the age of 50, particularly women. Adjustable beds can help individuals with degenerative spondylolisthesis find a sleeping posture that reduces discomfort by using spinal support and limiting the pressure on the affected area. Pairing an adjustable bed with a mattress that offers good pressure relief and support can provide optimal comfort for degenerative spondylolisthesis patients.


Sciatica is used to describe pain that travels along the route of the sciatic nerve, extending from the lower back down to the feet. People with sciatica often experience discomfort in the buttocks and legs. Elevating the feet and raised knees with an adjustable bed can help reduce the pain associated with the sciatic nerve. A mattress that offers outstanding pressure relief and proper weight support can offer added comfort for people dealing with sciatica.

Herniated Disc

A herniated disc can lead to pain that disrupts both daily routines and sleep. Most herniations occur in the lower back, but they can occur in other areas of the spine as well. An adjustable bed paired with a mattress that offers good pressure relief and keeps the spine in a neutral position can provide relief for individuals with a herniated disc.

Things to Consider Before Buying an Adjustable Bed to Relieve Back Pain

How To Use An Adjustable Bed For Back Pain? zero gravity position restful night's sleep

Before investing in an adjustable bed to alleviate back pain, several factors must be considered. These include:

Mattress Type

When choosing a mattress for an adjustable bed, it is essential to choose one that is compatible with the the split adjustable bed itself’ flexible structure. Memory foam and latex mattresses are famous choices as they can withstand the bending and adjusting of an adjustable bed frame. Hybrid mattresses may also be suitable. Each type of mattress offers varying levels of pressure relief, cooling features, and spinal alignment. In general, it’s not advisable to pair innerspring mattresses with adjustable beds because they lack flexibility and could potentially have a shorter lifespan.

Bed Size

An adjustable bed frame can be used with any bed size, so your selection of width is a personal preference. However, it is important to consider the size and weight of the adjustable bed frame, as it may be heavier and bulkier than a traditional bed frame. Ensure that there is enough space in your room to accommodate the adjustable bed frame and allow for free movement without affecting other furniture.

Weight and Frames

Adjustable bed frames are heavier than traditional beds due to their additional machinery. It is essential to confirm that the frame can support your weight and is appropriate for the room you plan to use. Additionally, choose a mattress that can adequately support your weight, especially when sleeping on your back.

How To Use An Adjustable Bed For Back Pain?

Now that you know the benefits, let’s dive into how to use an adjustable bed for back pain and relief.

Finding the Optimal Inclination

Begin by adjusting the head of your bed to a comfortable angle, usually between 30 to 45 degrees. This slight elevation and flat mattress can reduce pressure on your lower back.

Supporting Your Legs

If you experience lower back pain, try elevating your legs slightly. This can help relieve tension and also reduce pain and discomfort.

Pillow Placement

To get proper support for your neck and upper back, use a soft, ergonomic pillow. It’s essential to maintain a comfortable and neutral spine alignment.

Experiment and Listen to Your Body

The key to using an adjustable bed for back pain is experimentation. Adjust the bed’s position until you find the optimal angle and elevation that works best for you. Listen to your body, and don’t be afraid to make subtle changes to a flat position to ensure maximum comfort.

What is the Best Adjustable Bed Position for Back Pain?

The best adjustable bed position for back pain may depend on individual needs and medical conditions. However, there are a few general recommendations. Back sleepers often find relief by adjusting the bed to contour to the natural “S” shape of the spine, providing extra support to the spine, hips, and knees.

Side sleepers can benefit from slightly raising both the head and foot sections of the bed to simulate a fetal position, which reduces tension and supports the spine. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional or your doctor to determine the best sleeping position for your specific condition.

FAQs about 

Can adjustable beds cause lower back pain?

While adjustable beds are designed to alleviate back pain, improper use or incorrect positioning can cause lower back pain. It is important to use the adjustable bed in a way that suits your specific condition. For example, individuals with degenerative spondylolisthesis may benefit from elevating the upper body, back, or neck pain, but excessive elevation can exacerbate the condition. It is crucial to find the right balance and consult with a healthcare professional if you experience any discomfort.

Is sleeping on an adjustable bed beneficial for your back?

Sleeping on an adjustable bed can be especially beneficial for your back, as it allows for slight inclines and elevation that promote the natural curve of the spine. This can help improve blood flow, reduce inflammation and blood circulation, and alleviate symptoms such as GERD and sleep apnea. Side sleeping on an adjustable bed can also support proper spine alignment, depending on the degree of elevation.

Do doctors recommend adjustable beds?

Doctors may recommend adjustable beds to individuals with specific health conditions, though this recommendation will vary based on individual circumstances. Adjustable beds can relieve neck, back, and spine issues and help with other sleep-related problems such as snoring and sleep apnea. However, it is important to note that an adjustable bed may be suggested as a potential solution rather than a mandatory treatment for alleviating discomfort.

What are the disadvantages of an adjustable bed?

While adjustable beds offer numerous benefits, there are some potential disadvantages to consider. Adjustable beds are typically larger and heavier than traditional beds due to their additional machinery, which may concern individuals with limited space or mobility. Additionally, adjustable beds can be more expensive than regular frames. Some sleepers, particularly stomach sleepers or those who change positions frequently, may find sleeping in an elevated position uncomfortable, even if the incline is minimal.

Are adjustable beds worth the investment?

Many individuals with back pain find that adjustable beds are a worthwhile investment due to the relief and comfort they provide. However, it’s vital to consider your specific needs and budget before deciding.

How do I clean and maintain my adjustable bed?

To ensure the longevity of your adjustable bed, follow the instructions of the manufacturer for cleaning and maintenance. Generally, wiping down the frame and checking for loose connections is recommended.


Using an adjustable bed for back pain can be a game-changer in achieving a good night’s sleep and reducing discomfort. By experimenting with adjustable bed positions at different angles, supporting the affected areas, and listening to your body, you can find a personalized solution that works for you. If you suffer from back pain, it’s a good idea to think about getting an adjustable bed and seek personalized advice from a healthcare expert.


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