“Orthopedic mattress” is a marketing term.
It is generally used to describe “firm” mattresses that supposedly offer additional support, but there are many non-Orthopedic mattresses that are just as firm and do just as well or better in terms of support.
The first time I encountered the term “orthopedic mattress” was as a mattress buyer for a large furniture retailer in the 1970s.
One of the mattress factories I dealt with was a second-tier brand with very little brand name recognition.
This made it difficult for them to compete at the higher price points which are far more profitable for mattress manufacturers.
Their solution was to use innovative marketing to create the image of making exclusive products that were superior to those offered by the name brand competitors.
One of these marketing innovations was the introduction of “pillow-top “ mattresses.
Although there were quality problems with some of the earliest pillow tops, eventually the concept took off and was widely copied throughout the bedding industry.
Another of their marketing innovations was the introduction of a line of “orthopedic” mattresses.
The term “orthopedic” was backed by an official endorsement from an obscure orthopedic association.
The association certified that these mattresses were approved for healthy back support.
The marketing strategy worked and was soon copied by other mattress manufacturers, most of whom did not bother getting official endorsements by orthopedic associations.
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