The best mattresses for rheumatoid arthritis

Updated February 21, 2017

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that damages the lining of your joints, particularly in your hands and feet. This results in joint pain, swelling and deformities. According to WebMD, firm mattresses have been the traditional recommendation for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, as they help distribute body weight and keep pressure off joints. However, the importance of flexibility in a mattress has also been stressed. Some of the best mattresses for rheumatoid arthritis include coil-spring, memory-foam, air and pillow-top mattresses.

Coil spring mattresses

Coil-spring mattresses feature hundreds of coiled, metal springs, which are sandwiched between soft, cushioned fabric. For rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, WebMD recommends sleeping on a coil-spring mattress that has at least 680 coils, which provide optimum flexibility. However, for heavier individuals -- over 113 kg (18 stone) --WebMD recommends a lower coil count, such as 400, as the springs are larger and sturdier, giving the mattress more support.

Memory-foam mattresses

Memory foam is a polyurethane-based material that was originally developed by NASA. Mattresses made from the material are unique in that they adjust to the heat and contours of a human body. The "memory" portion of the name refers to the foam's ability to "remember" your shape, and form to it when you lay down. By forming to your body, memory foam helps comfort those painful joints associated with rheumatoid arthritis. One drawback, however, is that the mattresses can become excessively warm, causing discomfort for individuals who suffer from hot flushes, night sweats or other conditions.

Air beds

For rheumatoid arthritis, your standard inflatable mattress used for camping or in the spare bedroom will likely not be sufficient. According to WebMD, you will want to choose an air bed comprised of several, small air chambers, as these will provide the most adaptable surface and the most flexible support for your joints. There are also models available that are designed specifically for couples, which allow you to control the amount of air pressure in either side of the mattress.

Pillow-top mattresses

Pillow-top mattresses are essentially mattress covers that are designed to provide an extra layer of cushion for your mattress. WebMD mentions that pillow-tops can help rheumatoid arthritis sufferers tolerate a mattress that may feel too firm, such as a coil-spring mattress.

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About the Author

Lauren Treadwell studied finance at Western Governors University and is an associate of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. Treadwell provides content to a number of prominent organizations, including Wise Bread, FindLaw and Discover Financial. As a high school student, she offered financial literacy lessons to fellow students.