Are Recliners Bad for Your Health: Back? Heart? Knees?

by | Feb 25, 2019 | Blog

Studies show that the world’s most significant form of disability today is lower back pain and its estimated that over 80% of us will encounter back pain at one point in our lives. Research shows that when sitting up straight and your spine poised at a 90-degree angle, is one of the most damaging postures to your back’s health. A reclined sitting angle of between 110 and 130 degrees is best for your back’s health, and this is good enough license to tell your middle school teachers that in this matter, they were grossly wrong.

Pros of Recliners

Stress relief

There’s nothing quite like taking a nap in your recliner at the end of a terrible day, and this relaxed feeling has scientific backing as far as sound health is concerned. It turns out that that sitting back with your legs slightly raised makes it easier for relaxation and therefore stress relief.

Since stress is viewed as a primary cause of back pain, this is a no-brainer. Reclining helps mitigate back pain arising from a stressful and busy life. The power of the recliner not only stops at the easing of back pain but all other issues that are exacerbated by stress including asthma and heart disease amongst a host of other debilitating conditions. Relaxation also improves your mood and gives you a sunny perspective on life.

Improves Circulation

If numbness plagues you in your extremities, sometimes accompanied by muscle cramps, tingling, and throbbing pain in your limbs, then you are a possible candidate for poor circulation. While this is not a condition that occurs in isolation, its a symptom of a more significant body issue, including diabetes, heart conditions, arterial problems or obesity.

This pain and discomfort of swollen joints and feet can be remedied by putting your feet up as is the case with recliner seats. The elevated position assists the body, to recirculate all pooled fluids in your extremities since they are less subject to the law of gravity. The reclined position also supports in opening up your lungs and airways which allows you to breathe deeply, and infuse your body with more oxygen-rich blood.

Relieves Achy Joints and Pain

Recliners are particularly useful for those who suffer from the discomfort of arthritis and achy joints as well moms to be. The all-engulfing pain from the spinal area has a direct impact on your overall wellness, and mobility. Physicians recommend the reclined position for its ability to eliminate tension from a pain-ridden area, by relaxing the surrounding muscles. They state that the reclined position can alleviate muscle strain by up to 77%, pregnancy-related back pain by 60% and other degenerative changes by up to 61%. Studies have also proven that reclining on a seat helps patients recuperating in the postoperative stage reach the ‘home-ready’ stage sooner than when on a traditional hospital bed.

If your back aches from a day spent hunching forwards at work, here’s good news for you. Reclining on that seat will allow your body to correctly align your spine as the seat naturally helps you achieve a properly seated position. So take a compressive load off today!

Cons of Recliners

Bad for Bad Knees

Some recliner styles may aggravate weak and achy knees, especially when kicking down as you try to rise from the seat. Since the center of gravity is near the middle of the chair, your knees require some effort and force to get the seat in a normal sitting position.

Bad for Extended Sleeping

If you find it easier to prolong your sleeping time on your recliner rather than waking up and going to bed, then you are a candidate for knee and hip contractures. This is a condition whereby your muscles tighten over your joints, limiting your mobility and posture. This could, in turn, cause bad falls and subsequent injuries.

Some Designs are Bad for the Lower Back

If your recliner has little in the way of lower back support, you could be in for a world of back pain. If your seat forms a hollow between your lower back and the seat’s curvature, ensure that you place a puffy pillow or a rolled towel to offset this vacuum as it could cause you untold misery.


It is possible to have too much of a good thing as is the case with your recliner. With that said, do it in moderation and with proper lifestyle choices, and your furniture will be a gem.

Barry White

Chief Editor and Furniture Expert for

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