There are generally two common types of orthopedic beds. Conventional orthopedic bed sets are manufactured and designed so they avoid putting pressure on any special part of the body. They are intended to offer smooth, even support. The other type of orthopedic bed is called a contoured orthopedic bed, and they are usually made of latex foam that will mold to the shape of the body. Both types are generally considered superior to conventional type mattresses, and that perceived superiority is usually reflected in the price.
The primary benefit gained from using an orthopedic bed seems to be a reduction in pain associated with muscular skeleton disorders. Most conventional beds force the spine to conform to the mattress; however, orthopedic beds do the opposite — they conform to the spine of the sleeper. This takes away much of the strain that sometimes occurs during sleep. People have no control over body contortions while they are sleeping and often end up spending hours in positions that are unnatural to the spine. In addition, orthopedic beds are particularly favored by people who share their bed with another, because they typically reduce nighttime tossing and turning.
In addition to spinal support, orthopedic beds seem to offer a better night’s sleep. Many users report fewer incidences of waking up at night, and claim to feel more rested when they get up in the morning. Some doctors recommend orthopedic beds for patients who have problems sleeping or who suffer from back pain. Arthritis sufferers may also benefit from an orthopedic bed because they tend to put less pressure on joints.
Contour type orthopedic beds are usually made of a material called memory foam. Memory foam was invented in the late 1960s by an American engineer named Charles Yost. He originally developed the material while under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Memory foam was originally intended to be used for seat cushions inside spacecraft. Now the latex foam is used in a wide variety of ways, but most notably in the manufacture of orthopedic beds.
Orthopedic beds were once a rarity, and typically had to be special ordered from medical supply centers. The price of these beds were considered prohibitive, so many people who actually needed them were unable to afford the cost. Now orthopedic beds are commonly sold at most furniture retailers worldwide, and they are generally more affordable. They are available in the same standard sizes as conventional bedding, including king, queen, double, and twin.