Are Waterbeds Bad For Your Back?

Nowadays, you seldom hear about waterbeds. When you do hear about it, you associate it with hippies or back pains. The main question about waterbeds is still this: “Are waterbeds bad for you back?” Some say it is, while others say it’s not. As with traditional beds, it’s all a matter of choosing the right one. But, before we accept the challenge of finding the right waterbed, why don’t we look back on how waterbeds started?

The Rise Of Waterbeds

Waterbeds were made popular in the late 1960s by a student in San Francisco, named Charles Hall. Years before his version was a design by Neil Arnott. Arnott’s version was used as a medical intervention for bedsores. However, it never became popular because it failed to regulate the temperature of the water.

The 1960s and 1970s were the peaks of waterbeds. It wasn’t long before there was an increase of waterbed manufacturers and distributors. However, they still encountered problems along the way, ending the peak of waterbeds around the eighties.

What Makes A Good Bed?

What Makes A Good Bed?

Sleeping is important for your health and well-being. The benefits go way beyond just giving you energy and getting rid of those dark circles around your eyes. It significantly affects your mind, heart, mood, and more.

Insufficient sleep is the result of different things. An underlying health issue, your diet, and emotional status, and many other factors can affect your sleep pattern. It could also be as complicated as the type of bed you’re sleeping on.

There is no perfect bed, only one that is right for you. However, ideally, a good bed should have enough support on your back. It should also prevent back pains, stiffness, and reduces pressure points, especially on affected joints. In the end, personal preference matters the most. As long as you can sleep soundly without pain and stiffness, then, the mattress is a good choice.

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What Makes A Waterbed Better Than Traditional Beds?

The waterbed has evolved a lot through the years, making it the better choice over traditional beds.

  • It follows the shape of the body, reducing the pressure on pressure points. The right waterbed also provides enough back support.
  • You can regulate the water temperature, making it very comfortable in the colder seasons. The warmth also helps with blood circulation and muscle relaxation. If you have stiff joints or muscles, the temperature can also alleviate the discomfort.
  • The vinyl material doesn’t hold dirt, dead skin particles, and other allergens. Traditional mattresses do, and they’re harder to clean. You can easily wipe off anything off the vinyl, and you can change the covers regularly. This makes waterbeds ideal for those who have asthma and skin allergies.
  • A waterbed can last for over ten years, depending on how you care for it. With traditional mattresses, manufacturers recommend a change every three-four years.

What Are Some Disadvantages Of A Waterbed?

What Are Some Disadvantages Of A Waterbed?

  • Constant heating is costly, especially during the cold season. However, the heat is put to good use because it will also warm up the room.
  • You might encounter a leakage. You can easily repair this, but it will be another cost for you. Be careful not to have sharp objects that could puncture the waterbed.
  • Transporting a waterbed is time-consuming and requires more steps than that of a traditional mattress. You have to drain the water and disassemble the frame before you can move it. Then, you have to reassemble before filling it up again.

What Are Some Misconceptions About Waterbeds?

What Are Some Misconceptions About Waterbeds?

There’s no universal approval from doctors and orthopedic physicians concerning waterbeds. The primary concern is still with its effect on the spine. However, some misconceptions have been addressed, adding more to the advantages of waterbeds.

It Doesn’t Support The Back

This may have been true for the older versions. However, technology has made great advancements, solving this issue. The thick vinyl material allows adequate back support as any other mattresses would have. It also has semi-wave action, full-wave or no wave. A full-wave action is what is bad for the back because it causes your back to sink. This increases the risk of misalignment. So look for a semi-wave or no-wave action.

It’s Too Heavy And Can Fall Through The Ceiling

Whether you are looking into a waterbed or a traditional bed, you must consider floor loading. For waterbeds, there are now pedestals or bases that help even out the load. The modern waterbed designs are now far less heavy than the older versions. Some are even lighter than some traditional beds.


How Do You Maintain A Waterbed?

It’s important to maintain your waterbed to prolong the lifespan and also to get the most health benefits. Don’t worry; there are only two important parts to waterbed maintenance.

Waterbed Conditioners

You might think that it’s too much of a hassle to maintain. But it’s not because you only need to do this once every 18 months. Adding waterbed conditioner will prevent the water from becoming stagnant and will prevent unusual odors.

Failure to do so will increase the risk for algae growth which will affect the quality of the vinyl.

Proper Water Levels

It’s vital to have just the right amount of water level in your waterbed. Overfilling can stretch out the vinyl and affects the integrity of the seam work. Underfilling the waterbed can stress the heating system and possibly affecting the vinyl integrity. Make sure you follow your manufacturer’s guide to filling up the waterbed.

Cleaning the surface of the waterbed is simple. You only need to wipe the surface as needed. As for certain waterbeds, follow care instructions provided by the manufacturer.


Not all doctors agree about waterbeds. However, choosing the right one can yield you a lot of great results for the back. The important thing is to choose one that has an appropriate firmness. It should give adequate support for the back and follows the shape of the body in sleeping position. You will want a heating system to have more therapeutic effects and comfort.

Read more: How To Select The Best Mattress Topper For Side Sleepers​

Jake Tyler
Hi all, I’m Jake Tyler, over the past decade I’ve been working strong on my personal fitness levels. From the age of 16, I have been a kickboxer, and I’ve built up an incredible passion for fitness & self-improvement. This experience has led me to a career in personal training and health & fitness.

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