Are riser recliner chairs bad for your back?

Sitting down for long periods can be tough on your body, especially your back. Moving about frequently and using the correct sitting posture is important for managing lower back pain and other problems aggravated by sitting still for long periods. So, are recliner chairs bad for your back or can a riser recliner chair help?

Do you get back pain after sitting for long periods of time?

Back pain is very common: 2 in 3 people will have lower back pain at some point. Sitting in the same position for long periods is one cause of back pain and stiffness. While there is no perfect posture that applies to everyone, there are some things to avoid, as well as some positions that can help.

Spending long periods sitting hunched forward, with your shoulders rolled in and your knees higher than your hips can put strain on muscles and joints throughout your body, particularly those in your lower spine, and lead to back pain. Avoiding sitting in a poor posture can help.

What is the correct sitting posture?

Sitting correctly means allowing your spine to rest in its natural ‘S’ shape curve. Also known as a neutral spine posture, this is an important tool for tackling back pain. In a neutral posture, your weight is distributed evenly and your muscles do not have to strain to hold you in an unbalanced position.

However, the correct sitting posture isn’t any one position. It’s healthier to switch positions and move about often. A good slouching position uses the reclining function of an office chair or riser recliner to support your back while you lean slightly backwards. Your chair should have lumbar support to hold your spine in its neutral position while you lean back. A good upright posture means sitting with your back touching the chair, and in a slight curve at your waist. Chairs with lumbar support are best for this. 

How to get better posture while sitting

Understanding how to get better posture while sitting isn’t the same as putting it into practice. Correct sitting posture centres on finding a neutral spine position. Here’s how to get better posture by sitting in a neutral spine position:

  1. Get into a sitting position with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Tilt your hips forward, keeping your feet still.
  3. Then tilt them back as far as is comfortable.
  4. Tilt them forward again slightly to find the midpoint between these two positions.
  5. Once you’re in the right position, you should feel all your weight resting on your sitting bones.

Sitting in the right chair is also important. It can be nearly impossible to sit well in an unsupportive chair. Using a riser recliner chair at home and a tiltable office chair if you work at a desk makes it easy to sit comfortably and in the right posture. A riser recliner chair helps ease a sore back and enables you to sit in a good posture by providing:

Back-friendly reclined positions

Riser recliner chairs can recline back, tilt forward, and some offer special preset positions too, such as neutral spine positions. In a neutral position, the chair’s footrest is raised, and the backrest is reclined. By elevating your legs and reclining your seat, this position reduces the strain on your back, promotes better blood circulation and can reduce back pain. 

Many also offer full recline positions that allow you to sleep more comfortably in your chair. You can find more tips for sleeping with a bad back here.

Ability to change positions easily

Breaking up prolonged periods of sitting still by shifting position is crucial for sitting comfortably, but it’s not always easy to achieve, especially if you have pain or restricted mobility. A riser recliner makes it effortless to move about regularly. Shift from an upright to reclined position to give your back a break and reduce strain on any one group of muscles and joints.

Lumbar support

The lumbar support of a riser recliner chair supports the curves of your back, helping you to sit in the healthy neutral spine position. Lumbar support is crucial when reclined and in an upright position. Chairs without lumbar support make it easy to sit in an unhealthy slouch position with your back curved.

Custom dimensions

Made to measure riser recliners have the advantage of suiting your body exactly. But when shopping for off-the-shelf chairs for bad backs, it’s important to check that it is a good fit for your body. You can find out how to measure for a chair correctly in our riser recliner buying guide.

You should sit with your bottom at the back of the chair to stop your hips from tipping backwards, straining your lower back. In this position, check that the seat is deep enough to support the length of your thighs while leaving a small space between the back of your knees and the seat. This helps to improve circulation to your legs when sitting by preventing the important blood vessels that run behind your knee from being compressed.

Your chair’s seat height should also suit you. Your feet should sit flat on the floor, and your hips should be level with, or slightly higher than, your knees. This distributes more of your weight into your legs, taking pressure off your back. If the seat is too low, your knees will be higher than your hips, putting more pressure on your lower back.

Help getting to your feet

Back pain and stiffness can make it hard to get in and out of a chair, and this can stop you from doing the things that matter, from nipping out to the garden to making yourself a cup of tea. Here’s how to safely get up from your chair if it doesn’t have a tilt function:

  1. Ease yourself forward to the edge of the chair.
  2. Tense your core muscles.
  3. Use the arms of the chair to help you stand up. The best chairs for bad backs have armrests with solid wooden knuckles at the end, which gives you something to grab on to when standing up.
  4. If the chair has no arms, push on your thighs for a bit of extra support.

If you struggle to get in and out of your chair, a riser recliner with a lift and tilt function can make getting up easy by helping you to your feet. Our Auto Lift riser recliners lift you gently to a standing position and lower you smoothly when you sit back down.

By making it effortless to get to your feet, riser recliners help you to break up long periods of sitting with healthy small bursts of activity. This helps to tackle back pain and stiffness as well as improving your quality of life.

So, are riser recliners good for back pain?

Riser recliner chairs can help tackle back pain by making it easy to sit with good posture and allowing you to take the strain off your back by reclining to a neutral spine position. And because riser recliner chairs make it easier to get to your feet, they reduce the risk of pain or injury too. So, the answer to are recliner chairs bad for your back, is no – quite the opposite. They can help you find the best position for back spasms, sciatica and general aches and pains.  

Correct your sitting posture with a riser recliner chair

Sitting down for long periods is hard work – it can strain your back, lead to muscle pain and circulation problems. Whether you are spending long periods sitting down for work, due to pain or mobility problems, or when relaxing at home, it’s important to sit in a healthy posture. A riser recliner chair makes it easy to sit comfortably and get to your feet effortlessly to help keep you moving.

If you are ready to buy a riser recliner chair but need more information, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 0800 689 9823 (9am-5pm Mon-Fri), or drop us a message. We can organise a home visit for you to trial any chair, as well as give you professional and reliable advice. Let’s help you find the perfect riser recliner chair for you!