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Does an Adjustable Bed Make Good Sense for your Needs?

How an adjustable bed works
As the name suggests, an adjustable bed can be adjusted to a number of different positions. For individuals with certain types of back problems, sleeping on an adjustable bed that is at a slight incline (e.g. 30 to 45 degrees) may be comfortable, with the upper body positioned higher up than the lower body (as when sitting in a recliner) and with some support under the knees to bend the knees at a slight angle. The combination of upper body incline and knee support can help take some of the stress off the lower back. Provided that the patient is comfortable sleeping in this manner through the night, this position can support the curves of the spine and relieve pressure on the entire body.

Potential benefits of an adjustable bed
Basically, an adjustable bed has the potential to help anyone who feels more comfortable in an inclined position (such as sitting on a recliner with the feet up) rather than when lying on a regular flat mattress. The following provides a few examples of certain back conditions and how an inclined position on an adjustable bed can sometimes help the patient feel more comfortable.
  • Degenerative spondylolisthesis - For some people with degenerative spondylolisthesis, sleeping in a reclining position with support under the knees can reduce some of the possible discomfort in the lower back, making it easier to sleep through the night.

  • Osteoarthritis - Individuals with osteoarthritis in the spine, or facet joint arthritis, often wake up feeling quite stiff and sore in the morning. Sleeping on an adjustable bed may possibly provide better support and therefore decrease irritation by minimizing joint compression.

  • Spinal stenosis - People with spinal stenosis most often feel more comfortable when bending forward instead of standing up straight. Likewise, sleeping on a flat mattress can sometimes be less comfortable for people with this condition than sleeping in a reclining position, such as that afforded by an adjustable bed.

  • Other Conditions Helped Include:
    • Neck and Shoulder Tension
    • Circulatory Problems
    • Asthma
    • Acid Reflux and Heartburn
    • Edema
In addition, after having low back surgery, some patients feel that an adjustable bed is more comfortable than a flat mattress. In general, it is reasonable for a person to consider the option of an adjustable bed if he or she feels better sitting in a reclining chair with the knees supported or slightly elevated, and or if he or she is having trouble getting a good night’s rest on a conventional flat mattress.