Can an All-Natural Latex Mattress Help With the Discomforts of Spinal Injury?
Spinal cord injury, also called SCI or spinal injury, results in complete or incomplete paralysis of the limbs. SCI can have serious impacts on your quality of sleep, as with the rest of your life. If you're living with spinal injury, finding the right bed can help you sleep better giving you more energy to tackle the difficulties and enjoy the daily small victories of a life lived with paralysis.
Medical Advantages of Latex
There are a variety of medically beneficial latex characteristics. If you're dealing with a spinal cord injury, you'll want a bed that mixes softness and support for a bed that offers comfort and cradles your limbs without affecting circulation. While you may always feel some discomfort if you're living with spinal injury, the unique characteristics of latex foam can help maximize your comfort and minimize your pain.
What is Spinal Cord Injury?
Spinal cord injury occurs when the spinal cord itself is damaged. A person can suffer major injury to the back and shoulders without suffering injury to the spinal cord that results in paralysis. Spinal injury is that major, life-altering injury that results in complete or partial paralysis. With partial paralysis, a person may have feeling and even some function left in affected limbs. With complete paralysis, no feeling or motion remains.
According to SpinalInjury.net, approximately 450,000 people in the U.S. live with spinal cord injury. About 10,000 new spinal cord injuries occur each year. Spinal cord injuries are almost never reversible, so management of the condition through technology and daily routine is the key to living with SCI.
Spinal Cord Injury and Sleep
When suffers of SCI experience chronic pain, their sleep quality suffers. According to a 2004 article in the journal Nature, patients who experience higher levels of pain report poorer sleep. The pain from spinal cord injuries regularly disrupts sleep, as well as other day-to-day activities. Finding a mattress that makes you as comfortable as possible can help you function better during the day and even decrease your daytime pain.
According to research by the University of Washington's Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Aging with Disabilities, problems with sleep grow worse as people with SCI grow older. Suffers of spinal injuries reported more sleep problems with age than the general population or suffers of other chronic conditions.
The relationship between SCI and sleep is further complicated by the fact that SCI itself, combined with SCI medications, may lead to other sleep disorders. A study published in the peer-reviewed journal Sleep found that people with spinal cord injuries tended to have problems with involuntary leg movements during sleep that could interrupt natural sleep cycles.
Also, United Spinal Publication reports that rates of sleep apnea are high in people with SCI. A combination of poor muscle tone and the relaxation brought on by many drugs used for SCI relief can increase the prevalence of sleep apnea.
Latex and Spinal Cord Injury
Latex can provide a comfortable sleep environment that maximizes your ability to sleep by regulating temperature and moisture. Even if you're spending 18 or 24 hours a day in bed during recovery, latex is a superior mattress material for keeping you comfortable.
An all-natural latex mattress has a characteristic ability to contour around your hips and shoulders, minimizing pressure where your body contacts the mattress and thus maximizing circulation during hours in bed. It also contours fully to the body, so that while it gives under your hips it's simultaneously supporting your waist and back, aligning your spine.
Victims of spinal cord injury often have pain in the areas of the body they can feel that's based on misalignment in areas of the body that they can't feel. Latex helps to align the spine and cradle the legs, thus minimizing discomfort in areas of the upper body (shoulders, neck, head) that still have feeling.
Living with SCI
A latex mattress minimizes pain, creates a comfortable sleep environment, and can even minimize allergy problems, since it's naturally antibacterial and allergen-resistant. Whether you're spending large amounts of time in bed, or dread going to bed because of the pain and discomfort, the right latex mattress can make a difference.
A latex bed can help, but it should only be considered one tool in your arsenal. Talk to your medical care provider and find a latex mattress specialist to help you find the perfect latex mattress for your particular needs.