With a proper fit for your body type, a recliner can be an excellent solution for relieving back pain and improving your overall comfort. When you lie back in a recliner and elevate your feet higher than your heart, it places you in a position of zero gravity. When a body is in this position, it relaxes and releases tension from the back, neck, and other muscles, which can offer significant pain relief. Another benefit of this zero-gravity position is that it improves the body’s circulation and allows blood to make its way back to your heart more quickly. This can encourage faster healing if you’re suffering from a back injury. Some recliners also offer heat or massage rollers that may provide even further pain relief.
While there are many reasons to consider purchasing a recliner to help alleviate your back pain, a plethora of options on the market can make it challenging to decide on the optimal choice for your body and your specific back pain needs. This guide will explore several of the considerations to keep in mind while shopping for a recliner. Read reviews of some of the best recliners for back pain to help find the comfort and relief you’ve been seeking.
- BEST OVERALL: Esright Massage Recliner Chair Heated PU Leather
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Homall Recliner Chair Padded Seat PU Leather
- BEST HOME THEATER: ANJ HOME Breathable PU Leather Recliner Chair
- BEST MASSAGING: SMAGREHO Massage Chair Recliner with Zero Gravity
- BEST POWER LIFT: Mcombo Electric Power Lift Recliner Chair
- BEST SWIVEL: Flash Furniture BT-7821-BK-GG Contemporary Recliner
- BEST MODERN DESIGN: GDFStudio Macedonia Mid Century Modern Tufted Back
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Recliners For Back Pain
As you ponder the various options for the best recliners for back pain, keep the considerations outlined below in mind. Since each person’s individual needs vary, the right recliner for you will likely be different from what someone else may choose. Identifying the features most essential to you can focus your search on finding your ideal recliner. In addition to individual needs, you’ll want to think about features like the type and size of the recliner, the material used to craft it, the amount and kind of cushioning, and the level of automation included.
As mentioned above, each person has individual needs that should guide the selection of a recliner. The type of back pain one is suffering can heavily impact which recliner is the best option. If one suffers from chronic lower back pain, prioritize finding a recliner that offers solid lumbar support and will not leave a gap between the chair and the lower body when the legs are elevated. If there is a gap in this area, it can cause the body to sink back into the space, which can strain the back and cause further discomfort.
If muscle tension is the main source of concern, consider a recliner with massage functions and heat. A heated massage each evening could help release the muscle tension causing the back pain.
Additionally, think about how the recliner is intended to be used. Will it be used as a reading chair, for relaxing and watching TV, or only as an intermittent place to sit when you have visitors?
Technology and innovation have come a long way over recent years, and recliners are now available in a variety of types. Consider the various options on the market to help you decide on the best recliner for your needs and preferences.
- Traditional recliner: A traditional recliner is the most basic option on the market. It has a lever on one side that reclines the chair and pushes the footrest back down. A traditional recliner is padded and supportive to provide relief for back pain, but it does not offer any additional features, such as heat or massage functions.
- Rocker recliner: A rocker recliner is very similar to a traditional recliner. The main difference between the two types is that a rocker recliner can rock, much like a rocking chair, when it is not reclined.
- Swivel recliner: A swivel recliner also puts a little twist on the design of a traditional recliner. This recliner can swivel from side to side and often turns a full 360 degrees.
- Power recliner: A power recliner also offers a similar design to a traditional recliner. However, instead of manually reclining or closing the chair using the lever, a power recliner includes a remote control for effortless operation.
- Lifting recliner: A lifting recliner is primarily designed for elderly individuals or those who have a challenging time standing up from a seated position or sitting down in a chair. This recliner includes a remote control that will not only recline the chair but will also raise it up, allowing an individual to stand from the chair more easily.
- Massaging recliner: As the name suggests, a massaging recliner is designed with massage rollers that can pulse, knead, or offer other massage functions for back, shoulder, and neck pain. Some massaging chairs are called zero-gravity chairs. This type of recliner can recline farther than a typical recliner to further elevate an individual’s feet. Many zero-gravity recliners and other massage recliners also feature a heated setting for additional pain and tension relief.
- Recliner with ottoman: A recliner with an ottoman often has a slightly slimmer profile than some other recliner types. Instead of having a footrest that lifts up, this recliner features a separate ottoman. Since the ottoman can be placed wherever it is comfortable, this type of recliner may be a better option for taller individuals whose feet may extend past the end of a traditional recliner.
Paying attention to the size of a recliner is also important. Recliners are often much larger than other chairs and can take up more space in a room. Because of their reclining design, they often need to be placed a foot or more away from the wall to allow the chair to fully extend. Before you shop, measure the available space in the room where you plan to use the recliner so you can assess whether the recliner will fit comfortably. Smaller recliners are about 30 inches wide, 36 inches deep, and 41 inches tall. Medium recliners are about 35 inches wide, 38 inches deep, and 42 inches tall. Large recliners are about 40 inches wide, 40 inches deep, and 42 inches tall.
Additionally, make sure the recliner is appropriately sized to match your body. Consider your height and weight, and look for a recliner that will offer a proper and supportive fit.
There are a number of items to consider related to the materials used to construct a recliner.
Materials used for the frame and hardware include:
- Hardwood frame: A recliner with a hardwood frame will be more durable and able to support more weight than a recliner with a plywood frame. However, a recliner with a hardwood frame will likely be the more expensive option.
- Thick plywood frame: While plywood is not as strong and durable as hardwood, a recliner with a thick plywood frame can still be a quality option. A recliner with a plywood frame may be a more budget-friendly option and should still be able to support a good amount of weight. If you are unsure whether a recliner will meet your needs, confirm with the manufacturer’s product specifications.
- Metal hardware: If possible, select a recliner that uses metal hardware, as it will likely be sturdier and longer-lasting compared to recliners that may use cheaper materials.
For the upholstery, consider the comfort level, breathability, and ease of cleaning of each upholstery option.
- Fabric: Fabric can be very soft, and, if a tighter weave is used, it can also be quite durable. Fabric absorbs heat more slowly than other material types, so it can keep you cooler as you relax. Cotton and polyester are two fabrics commonly used to upholster recliners. Cotton is breathable and durable; it is also soft and comfortable. Polyester is also highly durable, stain resistant, and easy to clean. However, polyester is not as breathable as cotton. High-performance fabrics are also used on some recliners. Like standard fabrics, they are soft and breathable but are easier to clean and resist stains, making them a better choice for homes with children or pets.
- Leather: Leather suits both formal and casual spaces. It has a very soft and smooth feel and is also long lasting. If you have pets that may scratch your furniture, leather may not be the best choice, as it could tear more easily. Leather is available in a variety of shades and is also easy to clean.
- Vinyl: If you want the look of leather but don’t want the higher cost, vinyl can be a less expensive choice. Vinyl is durable and easy to clean but may start to peel after some time.
- Microfiber: Microfiber is a stain- and water-resistant fabric made from polyester. It has a velvety smooth texture and doesn’t fade as quickly as some other fabrics.
- Microsuede: Microsuede offers a suede-leather feel but is stain-proof, pet-friendly, and significantly less expensive than real natural suede. Millions of ultrafine polyester fibers are used to create this very soft material.
In addition to the materials used for the frame and upholstery of the recliner, also consider the type of padding used in the seat cushion.
- Innerspring: An innerspring seat cushion is generally designed with pocketed coils in the middle of a foam layer. The type of foam and the design of the coils creates a firm or a medium-firm seat. The quality and gauge of the coils will determine the durability of the cushion. The coil design also allows for more airflow to keep individuals from overheating.
- Down: A down seat cushion is made with down feathers and is very soft. Some cushions feature a down blend, which is a mix of fiber with down feathers and a foam core. This type of cushion is still soft but is a little firmer than a cushion made exclusively with down. Down can often be refilled or fluffed to extend the life of a cushion. The length of time a down blend cushion will last can vary based on the quality of the foam used for the core of the cushion.
- Foam: A foam seat cushion may either be firm or plush depending on the density of the foam. Medium- and low-density foam (about 1.5-pound density or lower) creates a soft cushion, while high-density foam (1.8-pound density or higher) creates a firm cushion. Some foam seat cushions may also be wrapped with down, fiber, or a down blend to add more cushioning and improve the quality of the cushion. In general, higher density foam with a fiber wrap will be the most durable and long-lasting option.
- Memory foam: Most commonly, a memory-foam cushion will be designed with a memory-foam center wrapped with another foam or down material. A memory-foam cushion will contour to the shape of your body better than other cushion types.
Consider the ease with which the recliner operates. Some traditional recliners offer manual operation. To recline or close these models, the user needs to pull on a lever (or sometimes tab) on the side of the chair. Other recliners offer automatic operation, in which a remote control allows the user to recline the chair and close it.
Some recliners may offer other features that can be operated using a remote control. For example, the remote control for a massaging recliner will also turn on the massage functions to target specific areas of your body. A power lift recliner’s remote control will elevate the cushion to make it easier to sit in or stand from.
Finally, there are a few other features to consider while selecting the ideal recliner. Some recliners offer heat. Heat can relieve tension and soothe muscles, which could improve back pain. Cupholders, built-in chargers for smartphones and other devices, comfortable headrests, and a separate ottoman are additional features available on some models.
Our Top Picks
The selections for the best recliners for back pain are stylish, functional, comfortable, and can offer much-needed pain relief. As noted above, the right chair for each individual will vary, so these top picks feature a wide selection of chair types, materials, and styles.
This massage recliner chair from Esright offers eight points of vibrating massage at two different intensity levels to relieve back, neck, and shoulder pain. It also boasts heated settings for additional tension relief and relaxation. The recliner provides a thickly padded cushion as well as a thick sponge material for increased support and comfort on the back of the chair and the armrests.
This rocking recliner also offers a 360-degree swivel. To recline the chair up to 140 degrees, simply pull on the internal handle, and then push down on the footrest to close it. Two cupholders and storage bags are integrated into the design to hold drinks, magazines, books, and more. Black and brown faux leather finishes are available for an elegant complement to many living spaces. The recliner can support up to 300 pounds.
It’s possible to find a recliner to relieve back pain and achieve comfort without breaking the bank. The Homall recliner is designed with a thickly padded back made from a high-density sponge cushion and curved, wide armrests to provide optimal comfort and support. It also offers an integrated metal frame to offer support for an individual’s feet while resting in the chair. Choose from any recline angle between 90 and 180 degrees to find comfort sitting and chatting with a friend, watching TV, reading a book, crocheting, napping, and more.
This recliner is crafted with quality and durable faux leather that is easy to clean. Choose from six classic color options: auburn brown, beige, black, gray, khaki, and red. It can support up to 265 pounds.
This recliner from ANJ HOME is an ideal choice for individuals looking to provide comfortable seating in a home theater. The recliner features black, chocolate, or light gray faux leather upholstery covering thickly padded cushions. Choose from 110- and 145-degree recline options; simply use the side latch to recline the chair and elevate the footrest at the same time.
The recliner boasts durable construction with wood and steel materials for a long-lasting design. It also includes two built-in cupholders to ensure beverages are within reach during those Friday night movie showings. It can support up to 300 pounds.
The zero-gravity position of this massaging recliner from SMAGREHO raises the feet above the heart for improved blood flow and pain relief. The recliner also offers eight massage rollers for the back, neck, and waist in addition to airbags throughout the chair that provide an airbag squeeze massage for the entire body. Choose from six preset massage modes and three intensity levels for a customized and targeted massage experience.
The recliner offers lumbar heat therapy to relieve back pain and promote comfort and relaxation. It also features an expandable footrest that offers a foot massage. A Bluetooth audio player is integrated into the design of this recliner to allow users to stream their favorite music for enhanced relaxation. Choose from three faux leather finishes: black, brown, and blue. This recliner offers a 380-pound weight capacity.
Individuals with mobility issues may want to consider this power lift recliner from Mcombo. The included remote control operates the TUV-certified actuator, which both lifts the base of the chair to a better angle, making it easier to stand up, and lowers it, once the user is seated, to a comfortable position. The remote control also includes buttons to raise and lower the footrest to recline the chair to a comfortable position to alleviate back pain. A full-body vibration massager with lumbar heating is also integrated into the design for additional comfort and back pain relief. Set a timer to enjoy a tension-releasing 10-, 20-, or 30-minute massage.
The recliner features comfortable, attractive, and easy-to-clean faux leather upholstery with a black, medium brown, light brown, red, cream, or white finish. Additional design features of this recliner include two cupholders on the armrests, dual USB outlets, and side pockets for storage. It is generously sized to provide comfort and supports up to 320 pounds.
This recliner with ottoman from Flash Furniture features a ball-bearing swiveling base made from mahogany wood. Floor protector glides are included on the base of the recliner and the ottoman to prevent damage to floors. For comfort and back pain relief, it also boasts a padded seat with an integrated headrest and plush armrests. Use the lever on the chair to recline the backrest of the chair to the desired angle.
The recliner offers a contemporary design to complement a variety of living spaces. It features leather upholstery available in black, beige, and palomino finishes. This recliner has a 250-pound weight capacity.
The Macedonia midcentury modern recliner looks like a standard chair with its clean lines and tufted back. However, push on the chair’s back and it will recline and the footrest will extend. To offer additional comfort and support for the back, this recliner features a seat cushion with extra padding.
For the recliner’s upholstery, choose from 16 color options in 100 percent polyester fabric, ranging from rich hues like purple, blue, and red to more neutral tones like gray, cream, and muted yellow. The legs are made from birchwood with an espresso finish. This modern recliner provides a 300-pound weight capacity.
FAQs About Recliners for Back Pain
Do you still have questions about selecting the best recliner for back pain? Read through several of the most frequently asked queries below to learn more about selecting, using, and caring for a recliner to soothe an aching back.
Q. Are recliners good for lower back pain?
A recliner can provide relief from back pain. Look for a recliner that offers lumbar support to comfortably position your body and support your lower back without letting it sink too deeply into the cushion.
Q. Can recliners be used for sleeping?
Yes, recliners can be used for sleeping. They are comfortable and can help elevate an individual’s feet above the heart to provide relief from some breathing issues or digestive problems. However, it is not advisable to regularly sleep in a recliner instead of a bed. Many individuals do not achieve very restful and rejuvenating sleep and may wake up with sore joints if they sleep in a recliner for too long.
Q. How do you know what size recliner to buy?
To determine which recliner size is right for you, measure the available space in the room where you’d like to place it. Keep in mind that you will need 12 inches of space (or more) between the recliner and the wall. Once you know the measurements of your space, check the dimensions provided by the manufacturer of each recliner you consider purchasing.
In addition to finding a recliner that will fit the space, you also want to ensure that you will fit comfortably in the chair. Look for information about the recommended height and weight for each recliner for the right fit.
Q. How do you sit in a recliner for lower back pain?
Sitting in a recliner at a 135-degree angle is ideal to provide relief for lower back pain.
Q. How do I clean the recliner if something spills on it?
The material used to cover the recliner will dictate how to clean it. In general, if something spills on the recliner, start by using a paper towel to remove any liquid or food debris. Then use a mixture of water and mild dish soap to clean the spot. Be sure to check with the specific cleaning instructions from the manufacturer of the recliner to prevent damage to the fabric.