With a proper fit for your body type, a recliner can be an excellent solution for relieving back pain and improving overall comfort. Lying back in a recliner with the feet elevated higher than the heart creates a zero-gravity position. This position relaxes and releases tension from the back, neck, and other muscles, which can offer significant pain relief. Reclining in a zero-gravity position also improves the body’s circulation and allows blood to make its way back to the heart more quickly. Improving circulation can encourage faster healing for those suffering from a back injury. Some recliners also offer heat or massage rollers that may provide even more pain relief.
While a recliner to help alleviate back pain can be a wise purchase, a plethora of options on the market can make it challenging to decide on the optimal choice for your body and specific needs. We created this guide to offer descriptions of some of the best recliners for back pain available and also explore several of the considerations to keep in mind while shopping for one.
- BEST OVERALL: Esright 360-Degree Swivel Heated Massage Recliner
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Homall PU Leather Massage Recliner Chair
- UPGRADE PICK: Titan TP-Cosmo 2D Massage Chair
- BEST FOR LOWER BACK PAIN: Three Posts Faux Leather Power Lift Recliner Chair
- BEST HOME THEATER: ANJ Home Manual Massage Recliner Chair With Heat
- BEST MASSAGING: Smagreho Massage Chair Recliner With Zero Gravity
- BEST POWER-LIFT: Mcombo Power Lift Recliner Chair With Massage
- BEST SWIVEL: Flash Furniture Allie Multi-Position Recliner
- BEST MODERN DESIGN: Christopher Knight Home Mervynn Mid-Century Recliner
How We Chose the Best Recliners for Back Pain
Back pain comes in different forms, so it was important for us to offer a variety of solutions. Sometimes sore back muscles simply respond to rest, but massage and heat can often aid in healing. Our research explored the various ways that recliner manufacturers address these problems.
Something that looks comfortable might not actually be an ergonomic chair. The last thing that someone with back pain needs is to have to struggle or stretch to use controls, so ease of operation was taken into account. Reclining sofas are often considered very comfortable but were not included because they seldom specifically target back problems.
Many of the best recliners for back pain require a considerable investment, so durability is another key issue. Style is also important, so we looked for a range of fabrics and color options.
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. This very comfortable chair provides a thickly padded cushion as well as a thick foam material for increased support 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 cup holders 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.
- Reclining: Manual
- Weight rating: 300 pounds
- Features: 8 massage points, lumbar heat, 360-degree swivel, rocking, cup holders
- Multiple massage and heat functions easily selected from convenient hand controller
- In addition to reclining, the chair also has 360-degree swivel and rocking motion
- Has useful side pockets, a pair of cup holders, and is surprisingly affordable
- While complaints are few, product quality appears inconsistent
Get the Esright recliner for back pain at Amazon.
It’s possible to find a comfortable recliner to relieve back pain without breaking the bank. This Homall recliner is designed with a thickly padded back made from a high-density foam cushion and curved, wide armrests to provide optimal comfort and support. It also offers an integrated metal frame to provide support for the feet. Choose from any recline angle between 90 and 180 degrees for comfort while conversing, watching TV, reading, 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.
- Reclining: Manual
- Weight rating: 265 pounds
- Features: 2 vibration massage motors in the waist, 8 massage modes
- Comfortable, contemporary recliner with lower back massage at a very competitive price
- Smooth push-back mechanism provides multiple positions for optimal relaxation
- Steel frame with breathable, waterproof polyurethane (PU) leather upholstery available in a range of colors
- The relatively compact size means large or tall people may not find it fully supportive
Get the Homall recliner for back pain at Amazon.
Those willing to splurge a bit may find his full-body massage recliner from Titan well worth it. The faux-leather recliner offers a wide range of control options with numerous preset programs to help you customize comfort for the best possible experience. There are 16 airbags in the back, arm, shoulder, hip, calf, thigh, and foot areas. These airbags work together with the heating system to increase circulation, alleviate pain, and help injuries heal more quickly.
The recliner utilizes a smart body-scan technology that detects each user’s needs for a tailored massage experience. Additionally, the intensity of the massage will adjust according to an individual’s weight. This recliner offers five different massage styles and 12 massage programs, such as a relax, stretch, shoulder and back, among others, or the controls can be used to personalize a manual massage. It reclines in three different zero-gravity positions to deliver additional benefits for back pain relief while supporting up to 270 pounds. Voice recognition provides effortless control, and Bluetooth surround sound speakers allow you to play favorite tunes while relaxing.
- Reclining: Power
- Weight rating: 270 pounds
- Features: 12 massage programs, lumbar heat, voice activation, Bluetooth
- Multiple massage zones for the whole body with heat for lumbar region
- Choose from presets or adjust manually to exact personal preference
- Numerous control options including voice activation plus Bluetooth speakers for music
- While the feature set is impressive, this recliner is quite costly
Get the Titan recliner for back pain at Ashley Furniture or Target.
This Three Posts massage recliner provides an eight-point massage with five different massage rhythms and two intensity levels. Additionally, this recliner can provide heat along with massage to specifically target lower back pain. A clear and straightforward remote control gives easy access to all functions. The chair can recline to a zero-gravity position to further alleviate pressure on the back. Powered lift assistance reduces strain when standing.
The recliner features quality construction with a solid wood frame; thick padding along the back, seat, and arms; and a handsome faux-leather finish. There are side arm pockets and cup holders, and the recliner boasts a 300-pound capacity. It also has a very competitive price tag for a powered recliner.
- Reclining: Power
- Weight rating: 300 pounds
- Features: 8-point massage, lumbar heat, assisted lift, cup holders
- Zero gravity maximizes support with multiple massage zones; heat for lower back pain
- Lift assist helps reduce strain on the lower back when rising
- Remote control provides easy access to various massage rhythms and intensities
- Although the chair is generally reliable, a number of complaints suggest quality control is inconsistent
Get the Three Posts recliner for back pain at Wayfair.
Sometimes watching an absorbing movie can help take one’s mind off back pain—and this ANJ Home recliner is ideal for a home theater setting. 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.
This recliner boasts durable construction with wood and steel materials for a long-lasting design. It also includes two built-in cup holders to ensure beverages are within reach during those Friday night movie showings. It can support up to 300 pounds.
- Reclining: Manual
- Weight rating: 300 pounds
- Features: 8 massage zones, lumbar heat, cup holders
- Deeply padded recliner provides high comfort for TV and movie viewing
- Multiple massage plus heat options from handheld controller, including a timer function
- Convenient side pocket for TV remote plus 2 cup/beverage holders
- There have been some quality-control issues
Get the ANJ Home recliner for back pain at Amazon.
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 you to stream your favorite music for enhanced relaxation. Choose from three faux-leather finishes: black, brown, and blue. This recliner offers a 380-pound weight capacity.
- Reclining: Power
- Weight rating: 380 pounds
- Features: Full-body air massage, lumbar heat, foot roller, Bluetooth
- Offers variable air bags and roller massage for full-body treatment, plus lumbar heat therapy
- Single-button zero-gravity reclining is designed to reduce heart load
- The inclusion of Bluetooth speakers allows you to stream music to aid relaxation
- It weighs 175 pounds and is not recommended for people over 6 foot 1 inch tall
Get the Smagreho recliner for back pain at Amazon.
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 to a comfortable position once the user is seated. 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 cup holders on the armrests, dual USB outlets, and side pockets for storage. It is generously sized to provide comfort and supports up to 320 pounds.
- Reclining: Power
- Weight rating: 320 pounds
- Features: 8 vibration points, lumbar heat, dual USB ports, 2 cup holders
- Power lift provides assisted standing for those with persistent back problems
- There are 8 vibration points for massaging plus lumbar heat with timer
- Includes dual USB ports for charging phones and tablets, side pockets, and cup holders
- Motor faults are not unknown; not recommended for those over 5 feet 9 inches tall
Get the Mcombo recliner for back pain at Amazon.
This recliner with an 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, the recliner has a padded seat with an integrated headrest and plush armrests. Use the lever on the chair to recline the backrest 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 300-pound weight capacity.
- Reclining: Manual
- Weight rating: 300 pounds
- Features: 360-degree swivel
- Infinitely variable reclining from upright to full flat plus smooth 360-degree ball-bearing swivel
- Luxurious fire-retardant foam padding with soft yet hard-wearing leather/polyester hybrid fabric
- Floor protector glides on both chair and ottoman help with movement when necessary
- There have been a few problems reported in regard to stitching and under-seat support
Get the Flash Furniture recliner for back pain at Amazon.
This Christopher Knight Home 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, shoppers can 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.
- Reclining: Manual
- Weight rating: 300 pounds
- Features: None
- Clean, modern lines with concealed mechanism at a budget-friendly price
- Attractive tufted fabric is hard-wearing, easy-to-clean polyester with high-density foam padding
- The ample color range provides a solution to fit with virtually all decors
- Some have found the chairs uncomfortable while others have complained of an unpleasant smell
Get the Christopher Knight Home recliner for back pain at Amazon, Overstock, or Target.
What to Consider When Choosing a Recliner For Back Pain
While pondering the various options for the best recliners to relieve back pain, keep the considerations outlined below in mind. Identifying the most essential features can focus the search. In addition to individual needs, think about 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.
Types of Recliner
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: The most basic option on the market, a traditional recliner 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: Though very similar to a traditional model, a rocker recliner can move back and forth, much like a rocking chair, when it is not in a reclined position.
- Swivel recliner: For a twist on the design of a traditional recliner, a swivel model can glide from side to side and often turn a full 360 degrees.
- Power recliner: Similar in design to a traditional recliner, a power recliner is operated via a remote control for effortless operation rather than manually reclining or closing the chair using the lever.
- Lifting recliner: Primarily designed for those challenged by sitting or rising from a chair, a lifting recliner includes a remote control that not only reclines the chair but also raises it to make getting in and out of the chair easier.
- Massaging recliner: Massage rollers built into the chair can pulse, knead, and offer other massage functions to help alleviate 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.
Each person has individual needs that should guide the selection of a recliner. The type of back pain you’re suffering from can heavily impact which recliner is the best option for you. If you suffer 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?
Consider the size of the recliner, since these models are often much larger than other chairs and can take up more space in a room. Due to 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 shopping, measure the available space in the room where the recliner will be set. Smaller recliners are about 41 inches tall by 30 inches wide by 36 inches deep. Medium recliners are about 42 inches tall by 35 inches wide by 38 inches deep. Large recliners are about 42 inches tall by 40 inches wide by 40 inches deep.
Additionally, make sure the recliner is appropriately sized for the person who’ll be using it. Consider the user’s 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. Read the manufacturer’s product specifications to ensure that a recliner will meet specific size and weight needs.
- 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, 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, but 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. Leather is available in a variety of shades and is also easy to clean, but it is expensive, so those with pets may wish to go a different route, as a pet’s claws may scratch or tear leather.
- Vinyl: For the look of leather at a more reasonable cost, consider vinyl. It is easy to clean and fairly durable, but it may start to peel over time.
- Microfiber: Microfiber is a stain- and water-resistant polyester fabric. 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 stainproof, pet-friendly, and significantly less expensive than genuine 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 you 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. 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, you pull on a lever (or sometimes a tab) on the side of the chair. Other recliners offer automatic operation, in which a remote control allows you to recline and close the chair.
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.
A few bells and whistles may come with a recliner. Some models offer heat to help relieve tension and soothe muscles. Convenient features like cup holders, side pockets, built-in chargers for smartphones and other devices, comfortable headrests, and a separate ottoman may be available on some models.
Those who still want more information about selecting the best recliner for back pain should read on for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about these chairs.
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 muscles or 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 that you’re considering.
In addition to finding a recliner that will fit the space, you will also want to ensure that you’ll 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.
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