Are Recliner Chairs Bad for Your Back?

According to medical reports, around 20% of people that suffer from sharp back pain end up with chronic back pain. That’s alarming considering that over 80% of Americans complain about some sort of back pain in their life.

Most of the time people experience back pain for sitting for too long and at the wrong angles, which causes them pain or aches in their back. When you come home from a tiring day of work, sometimes all you want to do is sit back and kick your feet up on your comfy recliner chair but this poses the question: is your recliner chair the main cause of your back pain?

In this article, we’ll crack down whether recliner chairs are bad for your back, how you can check if it is, and how to find a recliner chair that can relieve you of your back pain.

Do Recliner Chairs Cause Back Pain?

Back pain while sitting on sofa and working

Recliner chairs can cause back pain if they aren’t the right size, are adjusted in an awkward angle, or are sat on for long hours. Reclining isn’t bad and research suggests that reclining on a chair can actually help your back pain. However, the problem arises when you start to slouch or slump in your chair.

Slouching and slumping on a recliner chair can put strain on your back causing the back muscles to tighten or lengthen which results in pain. This may happen if there’s a gap between your back and the edge of your recliner chair.

A solution to this is to find a chair that prevents you from slouching and helps you adjust your sitting position. The best thing you can do is to find a recliner chair with proper lumbar support.

How to Find Out If Your Recliner Chair Has Lumbar Support

Before you go ahead and buy a new recliner chair, you should check what’s causing the problem with your current chair. To find out if your recliner chair has lumbar support:

  1. Recline the chair as far back as it can go, without sitting on it
  2. Find a gap where the seat and back meet.
  3. Check the size of the gap, if it’s large the chair may cause lower back pain overtime

Alternatively, you can also sit on the chair and fully recline it back. Sit like this for around 5-10 minutes and check for any pain you may feel in your lower back.

If you often catch yourself slouching in your recliner chair then it can cause bad posture which eventually leads to bad back pain. This means your chair doesn’t have good lumbar support and you may want to find a recliner chair with better lumbar support that supports your natural body type.

How to Find a Recliner Chair with Good Lumbar Support

Before finding a recliner chair you should first consider your needs and sitting habits. Recliner chairs can be made according to your measurements which allows you to buy a chair that is specific to your needs.

If you tend to lean on your side then getting a chair with internal cushions may provide better support for your whole body. You can also look for adjustable chairs which help keep you in the center of the chair and prevent slouching etc.

Once you have a good idea of what you want you can start exploring your options. Riser recliners are great for safely getting in and out of your recliner chair. They can help adjust your position often and offer much better lumbar support than most recliners in the market.

You can further research your options by visiting a furniture store that makes recliners according to measure. They’ll take into account your body type, back style, and other measurements to help you find the best recliner chair that supports your back.

Although the right recliner chair varies from person to person there are some options that naturally offer great lumbar support for specific body types. A reputable recliner brand La-Z-Boy sorts their recliner chair options in the following ways:

  • Petite Body Type (5’4″ & Under)
  • Small Body Type (5’5″ – 5’9″)
  • Tall Body Type (5’10” – 6’2″)
  • Extra Tall Body Type (6’3″ & Up)

Other than the above measures you can also find a good recliner chair with lumbar support by sitting on it and see how you measure up. If there’s a gap between your back and seat then the seat isn’t suited to your body type and may cause back pain in the long-run.

Elevate Your Feet for Further Relief

Apart from having proper lumbar support, it can be beneficial to look for a recliner with a footstool or one that reclines the feet at heart level. This can improve leg circulation as blood flows from your legs to the rest of your body and stretches your back muscles relieving you of any tightness.

What’s the Ideal Reclining Angle When Sitting on a Recliner Chair?

Since we’ve established before that reclining can be good for your back, another thing to consider is the reclining angle of the chair. If your chair has good lumbar support then combining it with the proper reclining angle can be the key to a restful afternoon.

If you’re planning on sitting down for a prolonged period then research suggests that a comfortable reclining angle when sitting down is 100-130 degrees. This is because at this angle there is the least amount of pressure on the spine and surrounding muscles.

What Recliner Chair Has the Best Lumbar Support?

A recliner chair that has lumbar support, comfortable seating, is easily adjustable, and fits your body type will serve you well. In our opinion, the best recliner chair that offers great lumbar support for back pain is the Homall Recliner Chair.

Homall Recliner Chair

The Homall Recliner Chair is an overall great chair that helps with back pain and is surprisingly affordable. It has a leather padded seat made with high-quality material and thick sponge plus a lumbar massage vibration feature that relaxes your body.

If you want to explore further, you can check out our detailed reviews on the best recliners for back pain.


Are recliner chairs bad for your back? Not exactly. Reclining chairs are great for providing comfort and relief of back, neck, and hip pain when adjusted in the right angle with proper lumbar support.

However, if your recliner chair doesn’t have good lumbar support it can cause you to slouch and eventually lead to lower back pain. You should also avoid sleeping for long hours on the recliner as it could also cause awful pain and soreness in the back.

As long as you take a few cautions before purchasing a recliner chair, it won’t cause you back pain, allowing you to rest peacefully after a tiring day.

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