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How to Use An Adjustable Bed for Back Pain

Mattress Resources
Read Time: 8 minutes

  • Benefits of Adjustable Beds: Adjustable beds offer customizable positioning, reducing pressure on the spine, enhancing blood circulation, and providing targeted support for specific back pain issues.
  • Recommended Positions for Back Pain Relief: Adjusting the bed to elevate the head, feet, or both can alleviate conditions such as snoring, sleep apnea, acid reflux, lower back pain, leg swelling, and more.
  • Zero Gravity Position: The zero gravity position, inspired by NASA, provides weightless comfort and benefits such as arthritis relief, support during pregnancy, and improved digestion.
  • Considerations When Purchasing: Factors to consider when buying an adjustable bed include mattress compatibility, individual health needs, additional features, and budget constraints. Consulting with a healthcare professional is advised for those with pre-existing medical conditions.

Back pain is a common ailment that affects millions of people worldwide. Whether it’s due to an injury, poor posture, or a medical condition, dealing with back pain can be a daily struggle. However, one effective way to alleviate back pain is by using an adjustable bed. In this article, I will discuss the different types of back pain and the benefits of adjustable beds for back pain relief. I will also provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to use an adjustable bed for maximum comfort and pain relief.

Types of Back Pain: Acute vs. Chronic

Before diving into the benefits of adjustable beds, it’s important to understand the different types of back pain. There are two primary kinds of back pain: acute and chronic. Acute back pain is usually pain caused only by a sudden injury or strain, such as lifting heavy objects incorrectly or slipping and falling. On the other hand, chronic back pain is long-lasting and often associated with underlying medical conditions like arthritis or herniated discs.

Advantages of Adjustable Beds for Back Pain Relief

Now that we have a good understanding of the types of back pain let’s explore the various benefits of using an adjustable bed for back pain relief.

Customizable Positioning for Optimal Support

One of the main advantages of an adjustable bed is the ability to customize your sleeping position to find optimal support for your back. Traditional flat mattresses often fail to provide adequate spinal support throughout, leading to poor spinal alignment and increased back pain. With an adjustable bed, you can elevate the head and foot sections to find the perfect angle that reduces pressure on your back and promotes proper alignment. Discovering the correct position can ease muscle and joint tension, promoting a more comfortable sleep and minimizing back pain.

Reduction of Pressure on the Spine

Another significant advantage of using an adjustable bed for back pain is the reduction of pressure on the spine. When you lie on a traditional mattress, the entire weight of your body is distributed unevenly, placing extra strain on your spine. By adjusting the bed’s angle, you can distribute your weight more evenly, relieving pressure on your spine and reducing back pain. This is especially beneficial for individuals with conditions such as herniated discs or spinal stenosis.

Enhanced Blood Circulation and Muscle Relaxation

Adjustable beds can also promote enhanced blood circulation and muscle relaxation, which are vital for back pain relief. Raising both the legs and upper body can enhance blood circulation, enabling vital nutrients and oxygen to reach the tissues and muscles in your back. This improved blood flow aids in decreasing inflammation and supports quicker healing. Additionally, adjustable beds often come with massage features that further aid in muscle relaxation, reduce pain, and alleviate tension in the back.

Supportive Features for Specific Back Pain Issues

Not all back pain is the same, and different individuals may require specific support for their unique condition. Adjustable beds offer various supportive features that cater to specific back pain issues. For example, some models come with lumbar support, which targets the lower back area, providing extra cushioning and alleviating pressure. Others may offer adjustable firmness levels to accommodate different preferences and conditions. By selecting an adjustable bed with the right supportive features, you can effectively manage your back pain and find the relief you need.

How to Use an Adjustable Bed for Back Pain

Now that we’ve explored the benefits of adjustable beds for back pain relief let’s discuss how to use an adjustable bed to maximize its effectiveness.

  1. Find the Right Position: Experiment with different angles and positions to find the one that provides the most relief for your back pain. Start with a slightly elevated head and foot, and gradually adjust until you find the right position.
  2. Use Supportive Pillows: To enhance your comfort and support further, consider using supportive pillows. Place a pillow under your knees to reduce pressure on your lower back, or use a lumbar pillow to provide extra support to your lower back region.
  3. Utilize Massage Features: If your adjustable bed comes with massage features, take advantage of them. Massages can help in easing muscle tension and relieve back pain, offering added comfort.
  4. Maintain Good Sleep Hygiene: While an adjustable bed can provide significant relief, practicing good sleep hygiene is essential. This involves sticking to a regular sleep routine, setting up a cozy sleep space, and steering clear of caffeine and electronic devices before bedtime.
  5. Consult with a Professional: If your back pain persists or gets worse, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional. They can assess your condition and offer personalized advice on effectively using an adjustable bed to manage your back pain.

Best Adjustable bed Position for back pain

Adjustable beds can offer relief and comfort for back pain by allowing you to customize your sleeping position. Here are some recommended adjustable bed positions that may help alleviate back pain:

Head Raised Position: A Solution for Snoring, Sleep Apnea, and Acid Reflux

If you snore or have sleep apnea or acid reflux, raising your head can provide relief and improve the quality of your sleep. By elevating the neutral position of your head, you can reduce pressure on the airways, allowing for better airflow and minimizing snoring.

Snoring Relief

Snoring can disturb both your and your partner’s sleep. Elevating your head by 20 to 30 degrees can ease airway pressure, lessen snoring, and foster a more restful sleep.

Sleep Apnea Management

Sleep apnea is a condition identified by breathing interruptions during sleep. Elevating your head can help keep your airways open, reducing the frequency and severity of sleep apnea episodes. This position can contribute to a more restful and rejuvenating sleep.

Acid Reflux Support

Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid moves back into the esophagus, causing heartburn and discomfort. Sleeping in the head-raised position can help alleviate acid reflux symptoms by preventing the backflow of stomach acid. This position can provide relief and allow you to sleep more comfortably.

Feet Raised Position: Relieving Lower Back Pain and Leg Swelling

If you suffer from lower or upper back pain or experience leg swelling, the feet’ raised position can help alleviate these symptoms and promote better sleep.

Relief for Lower Back Pain

Lying down can increase pressure on the joints in the back, leading to discomfort and pain, especially for those with conditions such as sciatica. Elevating your feet can reduce pressure on the spine, alleviating lower back pain and promoting a more comfortable sleep.

Reduction of Leg Swelling

Leg swelling, whether due to chronic conditions or recent injuries, can be exacerbated when lying flat. By elevating your feet above your heart, you can improve circulation and facilitate the movement of fluid from your legs to your heart, reducing swelling and promoting better sleep.

Head and Feet Raised Position: Pain Relief and Improved Breathing

The head and feet raised position offers a combination of benefits, including pain relief for muscles and joints, improved breathing, and enhanced circulation. This position is particularly beneficial for individuals with mobility issues, asthma, or COPD.

Pain Relief for Muscles and Joints

Mobility issues, arthritis, and other health conditions can cause muscle weakness, joint pain, and discomfort. The head and feet raised position can provide support and alleviate aches and pains associated with these conditions, including joint pain, restless leg syndrome, and other mobility issues.

Improved Breathing for Asthma and COPD

Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can make breathing difficult, especially at night. Lying down often exacerbates these conditions. Sleeping in a reclined position with your head and feet elevated can create a more open airway, making breathing easier and improving sleep quality.

Zero Gravity Position: Weightless Comfort and Multiple Health Benefits

The zero gravity position, originally developed by NASA, offers a unique and weightless experience. Lifting both the head and knees above the heart in this position can offer several health advantages.

Relief for Arthritis

Arthritis involves joint inflammation and pain. According to the Arthritis Foundation, more than 80% of individuals with arthritis experience difficulty sleeping. The zero gravity position can assist in alleviating pressure on the joints, providing relief of pain, and improving sleep quality for individuals with arthritis.

Pregnancy Support

Pregnancy induces different physical and hormonal changes that may lead to back pain, circulation issues, and swelling. The zero gravity fetal position alone can help reduce swelling, alleviate back pain, improve blood circulation, and provide a safer sleeping position for both the parent and the baby.

Digestive Benefits

The zero gravity position also offers benefits for digestion. By keeping your head upright, food can pass through the esophagus and stomach more easily. This position also reduces the pull of gravity on the stomach, helping to prevent digestive issues like heartburn and acid reflux.

What to Consider When Purchasing an Adjustable Bed

When buying an adjustable bed, it’s crucial to think about different factors to make sure it aligns with your specific needs and preferences. Here are some important considerations:

Split Adjustable Beds vs. Regular Adjustable Beds

Regular adjustable beds allow for adjustment of the entire bed frame, while split adjustable beds offer the option for two different sleep positions. Split adjustable beds are ideal for couples, as they can cater to individual preferences and health concerns.

Mattress Types

Though numerous mattresses are suitable for adjustable bed frames, memory foam or latex mattresses often provide optimal compatibility. These mattress types are more flexible and can endure the movements of adjustable bases effectively.

Sleeping Positions

Adjustable beds are suitable for side and back sleepers but may not offer the same comfort for those sleeping on their stomachs. Side sleepers can benefit from sleep positions in the head and feet raised position to maintain proper spinal alignment, while back sleepers can sleep in any base position.

Health Considerations

Consider your specific health concerns when selecting an adjustable bed position. Whether you need improved circulation, pain, and pressure relief, or support for respiratory conditions, ensure that the base position aligns with your individual health needs.

Extra Features

Some adjustable beds offer additional features to enhance your sleeping experience. These features may include USB ports for charging electronics, bed lighting for reading, or massage functions. Consider which extra features are vital to you and choose a bed that offers them.


Adjustable beds are generally more costly than traditional bed frames. However, there are options available to suit different budgets. Consider the quality, durability, and ease of setup of a flat mattress when making your purchasing decision.

Pros and Cons of Buying an Adjustable Bed

Although adjustable beds come with various advantages, it’s crucial to consider both the pros and cons before deciding on a purchase.


  1. Improved mobility and blood flow
  2. Support for various health issues, such as arthritis, acid reflux, and sleep apnea
  3. Additional features for enhanced comfort and convenience


  1. Higher cost compared to traditional bed frames
  2. Potential for faster wear and tear on mattresses
  3. Aesthetic preference for traditional bed frames


What is the best position for an adjustable bed?

The best base position depends on your specific health concerns and sleep preferences. While some argue that the head and feet raised or zero gravity positions are the very best sleeping position, it ultimately comes down to what works best for you. These positions can help reduce pressure on the spine, improve circulation, and enhance sleep quality.

What is the zero gravity position on an adjustable bed?

In the zero gravity position, both the head and knees are elevated above the heart, creating a 120-degree angle where the lower back is closest to the flat surface of the ground. This position provides a feeling of weightlessness and offers multiple health benefits.

Is it good to sleep on an adjustable bed?

Adjustable beds can significantly improve sleep quality for individuals with various health concerns. They promote better blood circulation, alleviate pain, and offer customizable positions for optimal comfort. If you have specific health issues or prefer a more personalized sleep experience, an adjustable bed may be a good choice for you.

Do adjustable beds work for side sleepers?

Contrary to a common misconception, adjustable beds are not limited to back sleepers. Side sleepers can also benefit from adjustable bed bases, particularly by using the head and feet raised position to maintain proper spinal alignment and alleviate pressure on the hips, upper back, and shoulders.

Can adjustable beds completely cure back pain?

While adjustable beds can provide significant relief, they may not completely cure back pain. However, they can assist in handling the symptoms and enhancing your overall sleep quality.

Can I use an adjustable bed if I have a pre-existing medical condition?

Adjustable beds can often be used by individuals with pre-existing medical conditions. However, it’s vital to consult with your healthcare provider to ensure it’s safe and suitable for your specific condition.


In conclusion, adjustable beds provide a range of positions that can cater to individual sleep preferences and address specific health concerns. Whether you’re looking to reduce snoring, alleviate back pain, or improve circulation, finding the right bed position is key to achieving a good night’s sleep. Consider factors such as split adjustable beds vs. regular adjustable beds, mattress compatibility, sleeping positions, health considerations, extra features, and your budget when selecting an adjustable bed. With the right bed and position, you can optimize your sleep experience and wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Harrison Wall is Sleep Junkie’s business strategist and sleep analyst. He also authors posts on bedding and mattress accessories. Harrison regularly coordinates with new mattress companies and tests their products to determine what really helps you get better rest and have brighter mornings.

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