As its name suggests, an orthopaedic mattress (alternately spelled "orthopedic") has been influenced by the medical study of Orthopaedics which focuses on disorders or deformities of the spine and joints. Orthopaedic mattresses have, therefore, been created to combat the problems one might experience with a bad back or joints by providing a firm mattress which offers targeted, tailored support. An orthopaedic mattress is a mattress designed to support the joints, back and overall body.
History and standards
With medical innovations in the 1950s, many manufacturers of mattresses made an effort to improve their products and give them an edge over their competitors. However, since there is no government standard or official designation that will qualify one mattress orthopaedic and the other not, and all modern mattresses support the back and joints to a lesser or greater extent, the modern use of the term "orthopaedic" has largely become a marketing term.