What’s better than coming home after a long day of work or running errands and sinking into the plush comfort of your recliner? Recliners are a common feature in many households due to their popularity as comfortable, cozy seats that offer a range of positions for relaxation. But with every comfort comes some level of compromise, especially when it comes to our health.
The big question is – are recliners good or bad for your back? This is not a new debate.
Ever since the first recliner was introduced, people have been arguing over their potential impact on our spinal health. So, let’s dive deeper into this age-old dispute while keeping both comfort and health in mind.
Read also about proper posture recliner
Brief Overview of Recliners and Their Popularity.
Recliners have come a long way since their invention in 1928 by La-Z-Boy Inc. The concept was simple: make a chair that can be adjusted to different angles for increased comfort while watching TV or reading a book. Over time, recliners have evolved from basic designs to advanced models that offer massage functions, built-in heating systems, adjustable headrests and more.
Their versatility has made them popular among people of all ages, but especially among seniors who suffer from chronic back pain or mobility issues. In fact, according to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), more than 80% of older adults use chairs with special features such as reclining options.
Question: Are Recliners Good or Bad for Your Back?
The answer isn’t black and white – it depends on how you use them. On one hand, if used correctly, recliners can provide many benefits like improved circulation and reduced swelling by elevating your feet above your heart level. They also take pressure off joints and muscles by distributing your weight evenly.
On the other hand, if not used properly, recliners can lead to poor posture, lack of movement and potential strain on your neck and shoulders. In this article, we’ll highlight both the advantages and disadvantages of using recliners for your back health and provide tips on how to choose a recliner that’s good for your back.
Benefits of Recliners for Back Health.
Supportive design for spinal alignment.
One of the primary benefits of recliners is their ability to provide support for your spine. When you sit in a recliner, the seat and backrest mold to the contours of your body, distributing your weight more evenly and reducing pressure on your lower back. This means that your spine can maintain a natural curvature, which helps promote better posture and prevent strain on your muscles.
Furthermore, some recliners come with adjustable lumbar support to provide extra cushioning in the lower back area. This feature can be especially beneficial for people with chronic back pain or those who spend long hours sitting at a desk.
Pressure relief on joints and muscles.
Another advantage of using a recliner is that it can help alleviate pressure on your joints and muscles. Traditional chairs are designed with a flat surface that doesn’t conform to the shape of your body, which means that certain areas (such as your hips, thighs, and elbows) may bear more weight than others.
With a recliner, however, you have the option to elevate different parts of your body by adjusting the angle of the seat or footrest. This can help distribute pressure more evenly across different muscle groups and reduce discomfort caused by prolonged sitting.
Improved circulation and reduced swelling.
Recliners can also provide health benefits by improving circulation in your legs and feet. When you sit upright in a chair for extended periods of time, gravity pulls blood down towards your lower extremities. This can cause swelling or discomfort in people who suffer from conditions like varicose veins or edema.
However, when you elevate your legs above heart level (as you can do with many types of recliners), it allows blood to flow more freely back towards your heart instead of pooling in your ankles and feet. This can help reduce swelling and improve overall circulation in your lower body.
Drawbacks of Recliners for Back Health.
While recliners can provide many benefits to back health, it’s important to acknowledge that there are also some potential drawbacks. In order to avoid any negative effects on your back, it’s important to use the recliner correctly and be aware of these potential issues.
Poor Posture If Not Used Correctly.
One of the most common issues with using a recliner is poor posture. If you’re not using the chair correctly, it can actually exacerbate existing back problems or create new ones.
For example, if you’re not sitting all the way back in the chair, or if you’re slumping forward while reclining, this can cause strain on your lower back and neck. To ensure that you’re using the chair correctly and avoiding poor posture, make sure that you’re sitting all the way back in the chair with your feet flat on the ground.
This will help to distribute your weight evenly across your body and reduce pressure on your lower back. Additionally, try to keep your head and neck in a neutral position while reclining, rather than craning your neck forward or tilting your head too far back.
Lack of Movement Leading to Stiffness.
Another potential issue with using a recliner is that it can lead to stiffness if you’re not moving around enough. While reclining in a comfortable position may feel great at first, over time this lack of movement can cause muscles and joints to stiffen up. To avoid this issue, make sure that you take breaks from sitting in the recliner every hour or so.
Get up and walk around for a few minutes to stretch out your muscles and move your body. You might also consider doing some gentle stretches while seated in the chair – for example, rolling your shoulders or flexing and extending your ankles – as this can help to improve circulation and reduce stiffness.
How to Choose a Recliner that’s Good for Your Back.
Choosing the right recliner can make all the difference for your back health. Here are a few key factors to consider when you’re shopping for a recliner:
Look for Lumbar Support.
Lumbar support is essential for maintaining good posture and preventing back pain. Look for a recliner that has built-in support in the lower back area, or one that allows you to adjust the lumbar support to your liking. You want to choose a chair that provides ample support without pressing too hard on your spine.
Choose a Size That Fits Your Body.
A poorly fitting recliner can cause more harm than good, so be sure to choose one that’s the right size for your body. Consider both the width of the chair and its height, as well as how deep it is from front to back. You want a chair that will allow you to sit comfortably with your feet flat on the ground and your head supported by the headrest.
If you’re shopping in person, take some time to sit in different chairs and see which ones feel most comfortable and supportive. If you’re shopping online, pay attention to measurements and user reviews so you can get an idea of whether a particular model is likely to fit well.
Consider The Angle of Recline.
The angle at which you recline can also impact your back health. A recliner that leans too far back can put extra pressure on your lower back, while one that doesn’t lean back enough may not provide enough relief from sitting upright all day long.
Ultimately, the ideal angle of recline will depend on your individual preferences and needs. Some people prefer a very slight incline, while others like to lean back almost all the way.
Look for a chair that allows you to adjust the angle of recline to your liking, so you can find your perfect position. By considering these factors when choosing a recliner, you can ensure that you’re getting a chair that will provide the support and comfort your back needs.
Tips for Using a Recliner in a Healthy Way.
Sit with feet flat on the ground.
It may be tempting to kick up your feet and fully recline when you sit in your favorite recliner. However, this can lead to poor posture and put extra pressure on your back. To use a recliner in a healthy way, make sure your feet are flat on the ground when you’re sitting upright or slightly reclined.
This helps to distribute weight evenly and prevent strain on your lower back. If you find that your feet don’t touch the ground comfortably, you can use a footrest or cushion to help adjust the height.
Aim for a 90-degree angle between your thighs and shins when you’re sitting in the reclined position. This helps to relieve pressure on your lower back and improve circulation.
Keep back straight while reclining.
When you’re fully reclined, it’s important to maintain good posture throughout your entire spine. Your shoulders should be relaxed and supported by the chair while keeping a slight arch in your lower back. Avoid slouching or curling forward as this puts extra strain on your neck and upper spine.
Use pillows or cushions to support areas of discomfort, such as behind your neck or under your knees if necessary. You can also adjust the angle of recline slowly until you find a comfortable position where you can maintain proper posture without feeling strained.
Take breaks to stretch and move.
While it may feel luxurious to lounge in a recliner all day long, it’s important not to stay sedentary for too long. Prolonged sitting or lying down can cause stiffness, decreased circulation, and muscle tension. To combat this, take breaks from sitting every 30 minutes or so to stand up, stretch, walk around, or even do some light exercises.
You can also incorporate gentle movement into your recliner time, such as leg extensions or shoulder rolls. By taking care to use your recliner in a healthy way, you can enjoy the benefits of this comfortable seating option while supporting your back health.
Conclusion: Is a Recliner Good or Bad for Your Back?
It Depends on How You Use It
The answer to whether a recliner is good or bad for your back is complex. Much depends on how you use it.
If used properly, a recliner can provide many benefits to back health. On the other hand, if used incorrectly, a recliner can cause more harm than good.
With Proper Use, a Recliner Can Provide Many Benefits to Back Health.
When used correctly, a recliner can be an excellent tool for improving back health. It can help to relieve pressure on joints and muscles while promoting spinal alignment and reducing swelling.
A quality recliner will have lumbar support as well as offer comfortable seating that fits your body size and type. One thing to keep in mind is that it’s important not to use your recliner for extended periods without taking breaks.
Even with proper support, sitting in one position for too long can lead to stiffness and discomfort. Remember to stretch regularly and take breaks from sitting in order to keep your muscles loose and healthy.
So, if you are someone who loves relaxing in a good recliner after a long day at work or just enjoys the comfort of lounging while watching TV or reading books – don’t worry! With proper use, you can get all the benefits of this comfortable furniture piece without compromising your back health!
Author: Saleh Ibrahim