This week, we continue with our Ask MattressNextDay series, which is all about providing answers to questions that are often asked to us by bed shopping costumers. Today, we discuss mattress recommendations for a bad back, whether you should also replace your box spring, and the difference between a standard king and a California king. Is a firm mattress really more suitable for a bad back? It used to be believed that a firm mattress offered the best support for people with back problems. To a certain extent, this is correct. A firm mattress will be less likely to sag underneath the midsection (the heaviest area of the body in a lying position) so the back can be maintained in a straight line. However, if you examine the spinal area, you will observe that it isn’t straight at all, but curved in three different places: the chest, the abdomen and the pelvic area. If a mattress is too firm, it forces the back in a very rigid position and places pressure on the bony areas of the torso. The best option for a bad back is actually a mattress that hits the right balance between firm support and yield. Generally, these qualities can be found in a memory foam mattress. However, there is not one perfect mattress; the right one really depends on a number of personal factors like weight, preference and body mechanics. Researchers did find out that for most people suffering from musculoskeletal health issues, a medium-firm bed seemed to provide the most comfort. Do I really need to buy a new box spring whenever I replace my mattress? You don’t really need to buy a new box spring but if you are getting a new mattress, we really suggest that you should. First of all, an old box spring that has gotten a lot of use will be harboring millions and millions of dust mites and dust mite droppings. Do your family a favor and get rid of old beddings which harbor these parasites. Second, just like a mattress, box springs also suffer from wear and tear, which means that they do need to be replaced. Third, using an old box spring with a new mattress will just cause your new mattress to wear out faster. This is why most mattress warranties become void when a consumer chooses to use a new mattress with an old box spring foundation. Since the cost of a new box spring is merely a fraction of the cost of a new mattress, it makes sense to protect your investment and just buy a new one rather than risk premature wear. What is the difference between a standard king size and a California king size bed? When buying mattresses and beddings, most shoppers get confused with the standard king size and the California king size specifications. Actually, in terms of surface area, the two are not that different. A standard king size mattress has about 6,080 square inches, while the California king has approximately 6,048. What makes them different from each other are their height and width. A standard king size mattress is 76” wide and 80” long, while a California king is 72” wide and 84” long. This makes the California king narrower but longer than the standard king.