Can a Recliner Help Ease Back Pain? Here’s What We’ve found

recliner ease back pain
Written by Jane

There are a few ways to relieve back pain. Exercise and medication of course, but what about a recliner? We find out if a recliner can ease back pain.

Many people know how horrible back pain can be. People all over go to the doctor to figure out causes and get treatment, so it’s no surprise that you may be looking for a way to treat your back pain at home.

Physicians often recommend that their patients sit in a reclined position to help alleviate pain, but can a recliner really help ease your back pain?

With the full body support provided by a recliner, you may find that you’re feeling much better just by sitting.

Back Pain

People experience back pain for a variety of reasons. For instance, simply walking puts stress on the spine. There are sports injuries too, along with strain from carrying heavy objects, sitting for a prolonged amount of time and stress as well.

On top of that, pregnant women also experience back pain. Regardless of your reason for pain though, factors in your everyday life put stress on the back muscles around the spine. These muscles tighten, which is why your back usually hurts.

You may experience this pain if you have a job that forces you to work all day standing or sitting in one position. It’s often impossible to relax your back muscles until you lay down at the end of the day.

Even if you’re sitting, not all chairs are made equal either. Many of them don’t have the support you need to really relax your muscles. That being the case, recliners may be just what you’re looking for.

Can Recliners Help?

Yes, recliners can be a big help for back pain, simply because they take the weight off of your back.

They’re specially designed to let you relax by supporting the spinal region. By laying down, you take the usual weight off your spine that you would normally experience even when sitting straight.

Even just being partially reclined with your legs elevated provides lumbar support as well as the appropriate pressure needed to alleviate the pain in your muscles. 

Especially if you deal with lumbar pain, a recliner can give you more stability while strengthening your core.

Even if you only spend a few minutes resting in a properly reclined position, it can make a huge difference in your body’s overall feeling and function.

If you want maximum relief though, you’ll want a chair that gives you full body and lumbar support, along with varying degrees of recline.

Benefits of a Recliner for lower back pain

As mentioned earlier, sitting in a recliner can help ease your back pain by taking the weight off of your spine. Elevating your legs helps reduce the weight on your spine too but getting a recliner may help with other medical conditions as well. This includes:

  1. Reducing the appearance of varicose veins
  2. Improving the blood flow back to your heart
  3. Reducing inflammation in your back

If you have a recliner that reclines at multiple angles, you’ll notice that you can handle these conditions, along with muscle strain as well. Pregnant women especially find that they can get some relief with adjustable angles.

Types of Recliners that work for back pain

Picking between your favorite recliners largely depends on what type of pain you’re dealing with. If you want to get a recliner to reduce your specific back pain, there are multiple types you can test out.

If you have arthritis in your spine or hip and have problems getting into a seated position, you’ll do better with a lift recliner. The lift-type has motorized controls that will allow the chair to move up to meet you as you sit in it.

This means that you’re able to get onto the chair with ease without struggling.

Included Ottoman

You may be dealing with back pain as a result of a pinched nerve too. In this case, you’ll want a recliner that comes with a separate ottoman. Elevating your legs and feet at a lower level will provide you with the support of a recliner while giving you extra relief for that nerve.

There are regular recliners that let you relax, but there are also recliners that have a massage function. Massage recliners look great and they will help with your back pain, but it really depends on the nature of your back pain.

Use a massage recliner if you’re experiencing muscle tightness or spasms. The heating function can especially help loosen the muscles in your back that come from sitting or standing for long periods of time.

If you’re dealing with back injuries though, you’re better off using just a regular recliner to help with your pain. You can always consult your doctor as well if you’re not sure which type would work best for you.

Anyone with back pain of any type can also turn to a zero-gravity recliner to help alleviate the pain. These recliners are made specially to help with the back, giving you maximum comfort and blood flow.

Sitting on one of these is meant to take the stress off of your back after a long day at the office. If you’re unsure about buying one of the other types, or what the cause of your back pain is, a zero-gravity recliner might be the best option for you.

What to Look For

When you’re picking out your recliner, you’ll want to keep an eye out for a few specific features that will help your back. Whether your pain is chronic or temporary, the right recliner can help you relieve your pain, but there are many options you can choose from.

However, before you pick, these tips and features can help you choose.

Best Features a Recliner Should Have

Try to find a recliner that has a couple of locking positions that are meant to keep your back reclined and reduce your strain even further. Keep an eye out for multiple reclining angles too. Some chairs have up to 18 different positions that can be tilted to fit your precise preferences.

Find a chair that has leg rests that lock and let you relax with your back reclined. This will add to the full body support you normally get, letting you stretch out for improved relaxation.

With a chair that’s able to adjust and lock positions, you and any other people in your home can find the perfect angle to ease your pain just by sitting.

Comfort Of the Chair

No matter what features a recliner has or how great it looks, you need something that will be comfortable for you specifically. It needs to be the right size, weight, and shape. For instance, if you’re taller, you don’t want a chair that’s too short for you.

You need something big enough to fit your body and something that weighs more than you as well. Check out the dimensions of your room to determine the size of the chair you need.

Fabric Type

You’ll want a recliner that has the right type of fabric to assist with your comfort. Choose something with a soft leather or with microfiber upholstery, which will provide you with maximum comfort to your back. If you get a chair that’s even throughout, you’ll be completely comfortable.

Firm Support

Look for a recliner that is firm enough to give you good back support. A chair that’s too soft may end up causing more problems if you have limited mobility or other medical conditions. Try out chairs with firm armrests too, so you can get up without hurting your back, they're good for sleeping in too.

Recliner For Sleeping

If you have trouble getting up, you can even try out a lift recliner that will assist you in getting up and sitting down.

Reclining Options

When choosing a recliner, it should lean back at an angle of at least 135 degrees too. This is so that you put less strain on the lower discs of your spine.

Don’t pick an option that reclines at a fast speed though, since you may end up causing yourself more pain if you lean back too quickly.

Price and Warranty

As with anything you buy, check out the warranty period. You might not be fully satisfied with your chair or might find out that it has some problems. Check to see if your chair has at least a one-year warranty and what the policy is on returns or issues.

At the same time, you’ll want to make sure that your chair is priced right and that it’s something that you’re able to afford. A great chair should be wonderful for your back without breaking the bank.

Search up some similar chairs to be sure that the one you’re buying is priced right and that you’re getting all the features you expect for the price.

Using Your Recliner

You have picked out your recliner and are more than ready to relax in it. Recliners may be great for back pain, but can you use it for other tasks like sleeping? Well, if you sleep in a semi-reclined position, you’ll find that certain conditions like sleep apnea can be reduced.

Rocker Recliners

Circulatory problems can be reduced as well, along with snoring. If you find it more comfortable then a bed, you may want to use your recliner to sleep in.

If you have had a surgery for something though, you should consult your doctor before spending all your time in your chair. Depending on your type of surgery, your recovery may be more comfortable in a recliner than on a couch or bed.

You can use a reclining sofa too if you want. As long as it supports your back, a reclining sofa can be used just as effectively as a chair. Just be sure to use a recliner that supports you, with the right fabric and size too - it all depends on your specific situation.

A Word of Caution

Recliners are made to provide relief for your back pain, but they might not be good in every scenario. Regular users report that not all recliners have good lower back support or lumbar support.

This is because when you recline, there can be a gap between the person and the back of the recliner. This means that you have to slouch in the small space to fit in, causing stress on the ligaments and muscles of the lower back.

Ultimately, being in this slouching position, even in a reclining chair, may cause more damage in the future. To avoid this, even if you have the perfect chair, you’ll still need a small rolled towel to provide support to the back.

This is why it is important to test out your chair before you buy it and to be prepared to grab an extra firm pillow or that rolled up towel to help you further. Just because you have the right chair to help you relax doesn’t mean it will solve all of your problems, but it’s certainly a good start.

Best oversized recliners

You also must remember to talk to your doctor before committing yourself to massage or zero-gravity recliners. While these types of recliners often work wonders for back pain, the wrong recliner can end up doing more harm than good.

A quick chat with your doctor can help you determine which type of chair is best for your back and how you might go about treating your pain. Doctors see many patients coming in with back pain, after all, so you can trust their judgment.


People all over experience back pain. In fact, complaints of back pain are one of the top reasons why people go to the doctor looking for treatment. If you’re looking to solve your back pain at home though, you may be able to find relief with the right recliner.

Recliners are made to take the stress off of your spine, providing you support and removing the day’s stress.

All you have to do is find the one that will work best for your needs. With the right recliner, you may notice that you are more able to manage your daily life as it eases your back pain.


Leave a Comment