In my business, making a custom mattress isn’t always about different sizes or comfort levels, some times it’s about making a mattress that requires features not found in regular mattresses.
Last month I received a call from John. John told me over the phone that he and his wife both have M.S. and are confined to wheelchairs. He continued to say that the mattresses available in retail stores didn’t work for them because they didn’t have the lumbar support they required. John’s back hurt and he wondered if a custom mattress would help. We made an appointment and saw him and his wife, Gloria, within the week.
John and Gloria tried a few of the mattresses in my showroom. I watched them shift from their wheelchairs to the mattress. They used their hands to prop themselves onto the bed. I realized right there that if they bought a mattress from me that I would have to customize the edges of the mattress to support and withstand the weight they apply to the edge of the mattress as they push themselves onto the bed using only their arms. I explained this to them and were surprised that I could do this.
The next issue was the overall height of the bed. A regular box and mattress would be too high for John and Gloria. A high mattress meant that they had to force and exert themselves more; a lower mattress and box put gravity in their favour.
John’s back pain was another issue we focused on. Being in a wheelchair is not something I can relate to; but after doing some research, it was clear that sitting in a 90-degree position all day was affecting John and Gloria’s back. They needed a mattress with a reinforced lumbar area; meaning that the center of the mattress needed to ‘push back’ up against John and Gloria’s lower back. This ‘push back’ or ‘negative pressure’ is an important element lacking in the vast majority of mattress available in retail stores. In order for a mattress to ‘push back’ up against a person’s back, the foam needs to be of a high density, and have a high sag-factor. Determining what density a client needs isn’t easy-It depends on weight and body structure. In John and Gloria’s case, being in a seated position all day meant that their mattress needed to push back against a bent back, and push back against muscle memory. (Muscle memory occurs when a part of you body is in a fixed position for long periods of time. The muscles and body parts ‘feel’ like they’re in a habitual fixed position even when it’s not.)
I did make John and Gloria’s mattress and customized it with their needs in mind. John called me a week ago to ask if it would be possible to lower the over-all height by 1”. We made a thinner box and made the exchange. He told me that his back pain was gone and that getting in and out of bed has never been easier. That was good enough for me.