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Back Pain From Your Bed? Think Again

Back Pain not From Bed Header

Your back supports your entire body. Once one or more of the bones, ligaments, disks, muscles or tendons becomes strained due to mishaps like improper or heavy lifting or sudden movements; or by more complex problems such as bulging or ruptured disks, sciatica, arthritis and osteoporosis, then back pain occurs. It can be nuisance pain or it can be excruciating and debilitating. Back pain sufferers often swear that their back pain comes from their mattresses or the way they sleep in the night. However, most back pain is due to sprains or structural problems that have the potential to be very serious.

Muscular Strains

Old Man with Shoulder PainThat acute back pain in your lower back may be due to a pulled muscle, overused muscles or stretched or torn ligaments. Ligaments connect your muscles to your bones across a joint and are very fibrous, tough, connective tissue. Symptoms of muscular strain include muscle spasms, soreness and pain, sometimes quite severe pain. Back exercises are the number one treatment for lumbar or lower back pain from muscle strain. The reasoning is to keep the muscles active so that the extensors, flexors and obliques stay strong and conditioned to support your spine. Without exercise, the pain continues as the muscles weaken since it is human nature to avoid the occasion of pain.

  • Lower Back Pain
  • Upper Back Pain (PDF)
  • Muscle Strain and Muscle Fatigue
  • Musculoskeletal Back Pain
  • Spine Conditions and Treatments

Ligamentous Sprains

There are three types or grades of ligament sprains. Grades 1 is less severe, grade 3, the most severe. Grade 1 and 2 sufferers have internal ligament structure damage. Grade 3 sufferers have torn or ruptured ligaments. Ligament sprains are caused when some outside force pushes two joint bones apart, causing the ligament to become stretched. In Grades 1 and 2, the ligament is not stretched to the point of being torn. Falls, sports mishaps and “stepping wrong” can cause your ligaments to become sprained. Symptoms include a “popping” noise, swelling, immediate pain that worsens over 24 hours, lack of range-of-motion, and bruising. Ligamentous sprains may need an MRI or an X-ray to determine the severity of the strain or tear. Treatment depends on the joint involved. Most often, the joints are ankles, knees, thumbs, fingers or shoulder. Treatment includes rest and protecting the joint from further harm as well as applying ice and heat to reduce swelling. Elevation may help swelling. Severe sprains may need rehabilitation.

  • Ligament Sprains
  • Ankle, Foot and Lower Leg Injuries
  • Medial Collateral Ligament Sprains
  • Joints and Ligaments: Lower Limb
  • Vertebrae Column and Spinal Cord

Herniated Discs

Herniated Disc Illustration

Your spine is cushioned by small discs that act like shock-absorbers for your spine. These round, tough are full of a jelly-like nucleus, keeping discs your spine flexible and able to move easily without injury. But when those discs are damaged by age’s normal wear and tear, injury or disease, they can come out of place, painfully bulging out from and against bone and nerves. Sometimes the discs rupture. These are called herniated discs. Sometimes there are no symptoms if the discs are not pressing on a nerve. Sometimes there’s pain and numbness, like sciatica which can occur down your leg to your knee along the sciatic nerve. You may feel “pins and needles,” weakness or numbness, muscle spasms or severe pain. Herniated discs occur most commonly in people within the 35 to 45 year old range. You will likely need an MRI or CT scan to assess the damage, as X-rays are usually not enough for diagnosis. Treatment includes anti-inflammatory medication, rest and exercise. Less than 10 percent of patients need surgery for a herniated disc.

  • Herniated or Ruptured Disc
  • Lumbar Herniated Disc
  • Ruptured or Slipped Disc
  • Spinal Nerve Roots
  • Surgery or No Surgery for Herniated Discs?

Spinal Stenosis

Man Gets Out of Bed with Back Pain

Stenosis means narrowing. Within your spine there is a spinal canal that can suffer degenerative changes. These changes due to narrowing are called spinal stenosis. Symptoms include a gradual backache and/or pain radiating to the buttocks, posterior thighs and calves causing you to limp due to leg pain. Activity can enhance symptoms, so doctors may use activity to help diagnosis the problem. X-rays, MRI and CT scans, electromyography and nerve conduction studies aid in diagnosis, but the latter is not routinely used. Treatment includes rest, medication which may include steroids and progressive walking. Stretching and strengthening exercises also help. Severe cases may require surgical decompression.

  • What is Spinal Stenosis?
  • Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
  • Surgery or Nonsurgical Therapy for Spinal Stenosis (PDF)
  • Degenerative Spine: Spinal Stenosis


Perhaps one of the most debilitating, degenerative spinal diseases affecting both aging men and women is osteoporosis. Some call the disease the “brittle bone” disease. It occurs as the spine grows fragile with age. If you have a strong family history of the disease, have had your ovaries removed early in life, smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol, rarely exercise, and have had inadequate calcium intake and a small frame weighing less than 127 pounds, then you are at higher risk for developing osteoporosis. Fifty percent of women over 50 and 25 percent of men will suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture. Symptoms include a “dowager’s hump,” fractures and loss of height. Bone density testing is a safe, economical way to diagnose osteoporosis. Treatment includes hormonal replacement therapy, nutrient supplements, medications and exercise.

  • Osteoporosis Tutorial
  • Osteoporosis in Men
  • Risk Factors for Osteoporosis
  • Osteoporosis Fact Sheet
  • Bone Density Testing


Woman Getting a Neck and Back Massage

Chronic, widespread muscular and soft tissue pain and fatigue are hallmark of fibromyalgia. It affects up to four percent or 5.8 million Americans. Once thought to “be all in the head,” fibromyalgia has burst upon the scene as a bona-fide musculoskeletal pain syndrome. Still, many physicians have a hard time diagnosing the syndrome as it is considered a “disease of exclusion” or of ruling out most everything else. Symptoms include pain in at least 11 or 18 tender spots or pressure points over the body, burning, soreness, achiness, stiffness, moderate to severe fatigue, depression, sleep problems, anxiety and IBS and urinary symptoms. Treatment includes anti-inflammatory medication, massage and relaxation therapies, exercise and physical therapy and antidepressants.

  • Fibromyalgia Fact Sheet
  • Massage for Fibromyalgia
  • Tender Points
  • Managing Fibromyalgia Symptoms
  • Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

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