Is a waterbed going to give you back pain?

Be creative in your home they said. Get a waterbed, they said…The age old question: are waterbeds bad for your back? As always, with questions about beds, the answer isn’t simple. Yes, no, it depends… maybe? There are many conflicting views and opinions and types of beds. Waterbeds are difficult to buy at a normal retail store too, so the majority buy their beds online, where they get a pig in a poke (bad deal). There are different factors to consider when looking at waterbeds, such as the weight of the bed itself, the type of pets you have, and what kind of firmness you prefer.

Here’s a quick reply to the watertight quesion: should you consider a waterbed?

watebed backsupport

Waterbeds are not quite as simple as merely a bag filled with water. In their crudest beginnings, that is what they may have been, but during their boom in the 1980’s many different variations were conceived. Waterbeds were originally invented as an alternative to normal beds because they could relieve pressure points and relax muscles at the same time, through an internal heater that would warm the water, making for more comfortable, therapeutic sleeping. In the hippy era however, they sold as erotic love making beds more than effective sleep systems, meaning that their popularity waned with the times. However, waterbeds as an alternative sleep system to a traditional bed is still an option to be weighed.


More modern waterbeds have various layers of foam and different water chambers to make the beds more manageable, less likely to spring a leak, and more comfortable. Probably the greatest concern raised by those considering a waterbed is whether or not the bed will injure their back. There are instances of waterbeds causing extreme backache (such as an amusing scene in the movie, About Schmidt where Jack Nicholson sleeps on one of his soon-to-be son-in-law’s waterbeds and has his back injured), and other stories of backache cured.  


The answer to this question seems to boil down to two things:

  1. Personal preference and sleeping style;
  2. The type of bed used, especially regarding firmness levels and the foam inners.

Someone who likes a soft, enveloping bed, who appreciates the qualities of memory foam, and who sleeps on their stomach or side will probably find a waterbed very pleasant. Even the firmest waterbeds are softer than a typical coil mattress, making them unsuitable for someone who likes a firm bed. Some side sleepers have found that they are uncomfortable on a waterbed, but this is likely due to bad sleeping posture, where the sleeper’s back is twisted due to one leg lying over the other, and they would be uncomfortable on any mattress, but the injury would be less noticeable on a normal mattress which enables this kind of sleeping.


The softest kinds of waterbeds, composed entirely of bladders of water, are the most damaging on the spine, due to the softness allowing the spine to sag downward, rather than being supported by the mattress and kept in a straight line. This is partly a personal responsibility: it is possible to increase and decrease the firmness of some waterbeds at a moment’s notice, so if the bed is too soft, it’s not really the bed’s fault. Waterbeds that are firmest from the beginning are the most beneficial for the spine, and usually contain foam and even coils, for added support and performance.

Genessi Motion bed

Something that performs similarly to a waterbed, in a totally different manner, is an adjustable bed. Genessi Motion beds give specialised support to the spine and pressure points, exactly like a waterbed, though the technology is totally different. To buy a motion bed online, click here. For expert sleep advice, or finding a “normal” mattress that will give you an abnormally good sleep experience, every night, call 0861 007 000 or browse our website:, and enjoy delivery to your door. While we may not sell any waterbeds, we do know how to give you a night’s rest that will improve your life beyond a temporary fix and leave you with sweet dreams – day and night.