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Mattress Coil Spring Fatigue and Support: A Potential Association with Spine Stiffness and Pain

Prolong mattress use compresses the metal coil springs which may ultimately result in a compromised sleeping surface. This coil spring metal fatigue can result in spinal pain and stiffness. The purpose of this study was to compare the amount of metal fatigue of used mattress coil springs from the areas bearing greatest body weight versus areas subjected to little compression to ascertain the. Six weight bearing coil springs (WBS) were extracted from the center the used (range 8-10 yr.) mattresses (N=32) and six non-weight bearing coil springs (NWBS) were extracted from the head/foot are of the same mattresses. To determine spring weakness a special frame and platform was constructed to compare unloaded spring height with compression distance height following placement of a 1,296 g ingot on the platform. Also, a pressure gauge was used to measure the amount of pressure required to compress the coil springs a distance of 2 cm. Comparison between WBS and NWBS data were statistically treated using independent t-tests and a one-way ANOVA. There were no significant group differences in weight or height in unloaded coils. However, there were significant (p<0.05) differences in coil spring compression distance under load (WBS = 2.78 ± 0.34 cm; NWBS = 1.52 ± 0.39 cm) and force gauge compression (WBS = 1090.51 ± 88.42 g; NWBS = 1213.12 ± 71.38 g) between groups. While manufacturers’ recommendations to replace a mattress is ranges between 8 and 10 yrs., these results indicate that coil spring weakness may occur before 8 yrs. of use. Weak springs leads to loss of weight bearing capacity of the mattress thereby resulting in sagging upon use. Such sagging which may compromise sleep posture with accompanying back pain and poor sleep quality and quantity.
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