“Are Recliners Bad for Your Neck?” The simple answer is: recliners are not bad for your neck, however, they will surely hurt your neck if you use them improperly or for a long time duration without a break.
Whether you own a recliner already or planning to buy one, you must know its benefits and potential drawbacks. If they help improve blood circulation in the body and ensure a stress-free sitting experience, they can also aggravate pains and aches in your neck and other body parts.
To address all the conditions that may trigger pain in your neck while using a recliner along with possible ways to prevent it, we have done our research. This article will be your go-to guide on using recliner chairs correctly.
When a Recliner Causes Pain in Your Neck?
After a long tired day, all we need is a comfortable recliner that immediately soothes our strained muscles. However, most people who use a reclining office chair or reclining sofa complain that it triggers pain in their neck, back, and other body parts.
While a recliner is not the necessary culprit of your pain, it might be triggered by several other factors such as your poor sitting posture, inactive lifestyle, and lack of proper adjustments. Below are some of the key reasons that may cause pain in your neck when using a recliner:
Sitting Too Long in a Recliner
Anything used for a prolonged time can be harmful. The same is the case when using a recliner. If we sit for too long in the same position, our body naturally adopts a relaxed posture which includes hunched shoulders, overextended head, and crossed legs. In this way, prolonged sitting in recliner strains the neck, shoulders, and back muscles, leading to aches and discomfort.
Sitting in an Improper Posture
When sitting in a recliner, many people ignore the importance of maintaining a good posture. They assume that the recliner would automatically transform their entire sitting style, but that is not true. You have to remain vigilant of your posture even if you are reclining.
Your neck is responsible for supporting the weight of your head which is approximately 10-12 pounds. However, when the head is tilted in a significant forward, backward, or sideways position, the pressure on the neck increases leading to pain and aches. Excessive reclining and slouching can also disturb the natural curvature of your spine which in turn puts stress on the neck muscles and discs.
Recliner is Too Hard or Soft
A too-hard or too-soft recliner also contributes to pain in your neck. If the recliner is too soft, it sinks your body and fails to support your neck and back sufficiently.
Similarly, if the recliner is too hard, it would restrict the natural movements of your neck and spine. Additionally, firm recliners fail to provide sufficient support that is needed for proper neck alignment resulting in pain and aches.
Insufficient Neck Support
Lack of sufficient neck support in the recliners also contributes to pain and aches in the neck. Some recliners lack properly designed headrests that cause the head to extend forward, disturbing the neck’s natural curvature. This can lead to strained neck muscles which significantly contributes to pain.
Recliner is Not Adjusted Properly
An improperly adjusted recliner is not only bad for your neck but it also disturbs the overall well-being of your body. For example, if the recliner’s headrest is not properly adjusted, it would increase the stress on your neck. Similarly, if the seat is sufficiently high from the floor, it would prevent your feet from staying firm and flat on the floor. In the same way, an improper reclining angle would disturb the proper alignment of your spine, neck, and shoulders.
Are Recliners Bad for Your Neck? How to Avoid Neck Pain!
As you have got the hang of conditions that may contribute pain to in your neck while using a recliner, let’s understand some simple ways to avoid it.
Avoid Sitting for a Long Time
The first way to reduce neck pain while using a recliner is to minimize the time duration of sitting. We completely understand that all of us want to relax our strained muscles after the hectic daily routine, but balance is important in this regard. Instead of lying in the recliners for hours without any movement, stand up and move around after every half or one hour.
Practice a Good Posture
Almost every blog post on our website stresses the need for a good sitting posture. The reason is that approximately half of the physical and mental problems among desk workers owe to their improper posture. For neck pain also, we suggest practicing a good sitting posture. In this regard, keep the following points in mind:
- While sitting in a recliner, make sure that there is no space between your back and the chair’s lumbar support.
- Avoid sitting in a recliner with your head leaning forward or sideways, instead maintain it in a neutral and relaxed position.
- Avoid dangling your feet in the air and always keep them flat on the floor. Lower the height of your recliner seat so they can comfortably reach the floor or use a footrest to get extra support.
- Keep your spine properly aligned in an upright position. A properly aligned spine helps in keeping your shoulders, neck, and head in a neutral position rather than hanging forward.
Ergonomic principles, just like mathematical laws, remain the same irrespective of the office chair you use, so don’t ignore them while using the reclining chair or sofa.
Adjust the Recliner
A well-adjusted recliner can prevent pain and aches in your neck. Keep the following points under consideration for properly adjusting your recliner:
Adjust the Armrests in a Comfortable Position
Properly adjusted armrests are crucial for maintaining proper ergonomics and their significance becomes multifold when you recline in the chair. The optimal angle between your forearms and upper arms should be 90 degrees.
Add a Lumbar Support Pillow
Most of the recliners come with built-in lumbar support which helps your body to support the natural curvature of your spine. Some models, however, lack this essential future which may lead to back pain and discomfort over time. If your recliner lacks a built-in lumbar support, you must buy a lumbar support pillow and incorporate it into your reclining office chair or sofa. The correct way of using a recliner is to make sure that there is no space between your back and the chair’s lumbar support.
Customize the Headrest
Most of the recliners that have adjustable lumbar support also feature customizable headrests. Position the headrest at the point where it provides maximum support to your neck and head and eliminate the need of hunching forward. A properly adjusted headrest helps in retaining the natural curvature of your neck which reduces the risks of developing pain and strains.
Adjust the Reclining Angle
Adjust your reclining office chair or sofa at a good reclining angle. By good reclining angle, we mean the angle where your neck and overall body are relaxed and comfortable for a longer time. In this regard, there is no one-size-fits-all solution as it depends on factors such as your body type and weight.
Most expert ergonomists recommend that it should be reclined at least at an angle of 135 degrees for optimal neck and spine support. However, you find out the most comfortable angle for you by trying out different reclining positions. Once you have found the appropriate angle, you can use it as a reference to follow in the future.
Tips for Preventing Neck Pain!
Here are some additional tips that may help alleviate pain in your neck:
- Use comfortable pillows while sleeping.
- Get a relaxing massage to relieve stress.
- Keep the computer screen at your eye level and adjust the chair accordingly.
- Take regular breaks from your work and perform simple stretches or walk around to keep your blood circulation steady.
- If you are still experiencing pain in your neck, it is advisable to consult the nearest physical therapist or healthcare expert to get professional assistance. They would perform a thorough inspection of your neck and recommend proper medications and therapy to relieve your pain.
In a nutshell, recliners can hurt your neck if they are misused. Using a recliner for an extended time duration without any physical activity would have a toll on your health. With poor sitting posture and inaccurate adjustments, pain and aches get worse.
However, it does not mean you should throw away your recliner or discard the idea of buying a new one. You just have to use it moderately and with proper adjustments. In this way, you can continue using it for unwinding your strained and tense muscles without harming your neck.
Why does my neck hurt after sitting in a recliner?
While sitting in a recliner, most of us extend our necks in a forward direction which increases the pressure on our necks and stiffens our shoulders.
Do recliners cause health problems?
The incorrect and prolonged use of recliners can be harmful to your health. It may result in shoulder problems, neck strains, headaches, and backaches.
Is sitting in a recliner bad for your posture?
Sitting in a recliner is not bad for your posture. However, if you have adjusted it improperly and used it for longer time durations, it would worsen your posture. However, you should not throw away your recliner or discard the idea of getting a new recliner.