Revolutionizing Spine Care…Changing Lives

What Chicago Cubs First Baseman Anthony Rizzo Can Teach Business Travelers about the Dangers of a Bad Mattress

Dr. Rey Bosita has a full-time job. He is a world-class spine surgeon at Texas Back Institute. He also has a part-time calling. He’s a Major League Baseball nut.

His knowledge of the game’s trivia is legendary. He can quote obscure statistics, cite hitting tendencies that only veteran scouts would know and has an unending appreciation for baseball’s colorful history. With this guy, “MLB” stands for “Major League Bosita!”

“I’m like a lot of people,” he said. “I like watching TV and especially baseball. This subject speaks to my heart. I have been following baseball since I was 4 years old, and what I have noticed over those years is that baseball players tend to have weirder injuries than other athletes!

“We’ve heard of the ‘bagel injury,’ where a Yankee player cut his hand while slicing a bagel. Then there was the ‘drone injury’ where Trevor Bauer, pitcher for my beloved Indians, had his hand cut while playing with a drone during the American League Championship Series in 2016. Good timing Trevor!”

Given his vast compendium of unusual baseball injuries and his specialty of medicine, Dr. Bosita is the perfect analyst on one of the strangest injuries in recent history. In April 2018, Anthony Rizzo, the starting first baseman for the Chicago Cubs, was forced on to the ten-day disabled list due to a back injury.

Obviously, back injuries are very common in this grueling sport where the season runs 162 games. What made Rizzo’s stint on the DL weird is that he believes his back injury was caused by a faulty mattress in a Cincinnati hotel room!

“It makes perfect ‘baseball sense’ to me,” said Dr. Bosita.

“We’ve all had the experience of sleeping awkwardly, either on our own mattress or at a hotel,” Dr. Bosita said. “It just so happens that Anthony Rizzo can trace his back pain back to one night in a Cincinnati hotel. As a lifelong fan of the Cleveland Indians, I wish this had happened during the 2016 World Series!”

 Baseball Players and Business Travelers are in the Same Boat, or Bed

Business travelers and vacationers can also experience a “bad night’s sleep” and suffer back pain in the morning. Dr. Bosita had some suggestions for avoiding being placed on the mattress disabled list.

“Mattresses are very personal,” he said. “Some mattresses are better for some people and not-so-good for others. When you lie down on a mattress in a hotel room, if it’s not comfortable to you, tell someone. I guarantee that the hotel has dozens, if not hundreds, of mattresses available to switch out.

“The hotel can also place a mattress board underneath the mattress and above the box springs to make the mattress stiffer. In the end, a mattress is there for comfort and you should never hesitate to ask for a different one.”

 Problems Caused by a Bad Mattress

“If a person sleeps wrong, their muscles are not well-rested,” Dr. Bosita said. “That will affect their stamina and their lumbar range of motion on the following day. In most cases, a business traveler will go from their hotel to a meeting, where they are sitting for a few hours. They then have to go to an airport where they lift heavy luggage and then sit with cramped knees for several more hours to get home.

“As this cycle gets repeated and adding the fact that many business travelers have little time to exercise, the spine will become deconditioned. As the person gets weaker abdominal and core strength, they become less limber. Typically, the cumulative effect of this cycle comes to a conclusion when they sleep on a poor mattress and they get a painful backache.”

 The Best Mattress for Back Health

“Generally speaking, spine surgeons or other back specialists will recommend a mattress that is on the firm side,” Dr. Bosita said. “For me, I prefer a firm mattress with small pillow top. This helps give me support but with the comfort of a softer pillow.

“In the end, each person must choose the mattress that is good for them. In the case of frequent traveling usually, the best hotel mattress is the same firmness as the one they have at home.”

Sleep and Back Pain

Even the “road warrior” business travelers sometimes have problems sleeping in a strange environment. What effect does a poor night’s sleep have on back pain?

“Sleep is all about two things,” Dr. Bosita said. “Quantity and quality.

“Even if a person is in the perfect sleeping environment, they will sometimes have difficulty falling and staying asleep. In this case, they can wake up fatigued and have a great deal of discomfort the next day. On the other hand, if a person falls asleep quickly and then sleeps awkwardly, they will still wake up tired and often with back pain.

“Sleep can also be affected by other stress a person might be having in their life, and this can show up when we are alone and traveling. Sleep is something that we all take for granted. We must have it to live, but when it is erratic, we tend to ignore the problem and then we have to deal with the consequences.

“Replacing a worn or lumpy mattress is the easiest way to improve healthy sleep. Don’t wait for the back pain to remind you.”

Has a bad mattress or poor sleeping caused you to suffer from back pain? Contact us for an appointment with Dr. Rey “MLB” Bosita or our other spine specialists at Texas Back Institute.

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