Jacob deGrom Misses Start, Blames Mattress – Michael Y. Mizhiritsky, MD


How often have you woken up in the morning with a stiff back? This happens to all of us, and in many cases it is due to an old or soft mattress. New York Mets Star Pitcher Jacob deGrom is experiencing this morning what we all can relate to.

As the mattress ages, it becomes softer, especially in the middle where we usually sleep. The softer the mattress, the more our body sinks in and leads to overstretching of the soft tissues in our spine. This causes muscle imbalance, as well as additional strain on the vertebrae. Rigid or hard mattresses can have the opposite effect. Sleeping on these surfaces causes the muscles around the spine to arch the back, putting them in higher tension which can lead to spasms.

There is no simple solution when it’s time choose your next mattress. One suggestion is when lying flat, place your hand under the small of your back. It should comfortably go to the wrist crease. If you can not get the hand in, or only the fingers go in, the mattress is too soft. If the forearm goes in past the wrist crease, the mattress may be too hard.

Another piece of advice would be, when you are in a mattress store, take your time, lie down for 15- 20 minutes, and see how it feels. If your back still continues to hurt in the mornings, there may be underlying pathology that needs to be addressed by a specialist.

Many forms of arthritis cause morning stiffness. There may be disc disease, nerve root pathology, or many other internal conditions that cause back pain.

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