Does Sleeping in a Recliner Cause Back Pain?

Originally marketed as a one-stop shop convenience haven, a recliner at its core serves its purpose by providing comfort and soothing whenever its owner demands. 

However, as per research by health experts and doctors, this might not be the case, especially if you want to use a recliner for extended periods of time to sleep for a wide array of reasons.

And even though your recliner may feel highly comfortable in some instances, there might be some instances that link chronic back pain to recliner usage. To elaborate further, today, in this article, we are going to shed light on the subject “Can Sleeping In A Recliner Cause Back Pain?” We will also talk about remedies in such scenarios.

Can Sleeping In A Recliner Cause Back Pain?

Well, technically, it depends on a couple of attributes, which are briefly mentioned below,

Why Dozing Off In A Recliner Can Lead To Back Pain

Sleeping in a recliner might feel like a fantastic idea, especially if you have worn out your body after a tedious workout session or simply spent time in the office, and it goes without saying that many of us are guilty of doing it without considering the potential consequences.

I know I’ve indeed found myself drifting off in my chair more nights than I can count after a long day’s work when my bed seemed too far away(an excuse I make to myself for being too lazy). But our bodies pay the price for those moments of comfort in unnatural positions, don’t you believe me? Scroll down to learn more,

Improper Spine Alignment

First thing first, before we consider another aspect of how prolonged usage could affect the spine, you should keep in mind that just like the human body, a recliner is also made in different sizes, which means if you are using your grandpa’s recliner to sleep on it, it might not align well with your body causing the feeling of stiffness whenever you wake up after dozing off on it from a restful slumber.

While you could adjust the armrests, headrest, and footrest to your comfort level, it might still not provide adequate support because everyone has a unique body shape and size.

In other words, a recliner keeps your spine in a C-shape rather than the ideal state it is supposed to be, which is the horizontal state; this puts unnecessary pressure on the back, which causes the lower discs, especially the coccyx region, to suffer from angular tension, and even exacerbate joint and muscle disorders.

It may also increase the effects of bone Degeneration, and if you are an elderly individual, then the chances of back pain increase by tenfold.

Lack Of Lumbar Support

Lumbar support is extremely important, but fortunately, not every recliner, especially the ones that are cheaply made, boasts proper lumbar support.

In theory, the whole point of a recliner is to fix your posture; if you are leaning on the backrest of the recliner at an angle that causes unnecessary tension, then instead of benefiting, it might have the polar opposite effect on your body, which could cause radiating pain if you are sleeping on it for at least a couple of hours.

Poor Headrest Placement

Sleeping on the bed has its own fair share of advantages, which include not only sleeping in an area on a horizontal plane but also having a proper headrest such as a pillow. The size of the pillow could be changed to your liking and even aligned to your preferred area.

When sleeping on a recliner, you’re not left with much of an option, in fact, it’s the exact opposite since recliners have its own “vanilla” headrest which is either too far to reach to align with your anatomy or simply lack enough padding to make sleeping on it worth it.

Obviously, to compensate for such shortcomings, you will be laying on it in an uncomfortable position, which may cause tenderness and stiffness and even downright stretch your muscles, although you might not notice the effects right away, especially when taking a nap for a smaller period of time, an overnight doze off session may create complications in your spine.

Lack Of Space 

This one is pretty much self-explanatory and even accounts for itself as “common sense” because no matter how big or spacious a recliner feels, it may not be enough to compete with a traditional bed; after all, a bed boasts plenty of surface area, whereas a recliner is simply a comfort inducing substitute for your traditional furniture.

Moreover, you would also be changing sides during your sleep, and in a recliner, you are stuck with limited options due to lack of space, which congests blood circulation, so over time, you may develop edema in your body.

The problem is increased by twofold if you own a recliner that only serves its purpose in terms of aesthetic value with insufficient padding or cushioning to distribute your weight evenly.

How To Overcome BackPain When Using A Recliner

While it is evident that using a recliner for a longer duration could cause irreversible muscle and bone damage if you are experiencing stress and throbbing pain even with limited usage, here are a couple of tips you could follow.

Add More Pillows

It goes without saying that a recliner without pillows or an abundance of cushioning is a recipe for disaster, and you might as well be lying on the ground altogether. 

Adding a couple of pillows to your desired region on a recliner can provide ample support for your body as it could prevent unnecessary stretching. The best placement for a pillow is between your legs to promote hip and spine alignment, especially for side sleepers.

However, you could place it under your knees to elevate them slightly and alleviate stress on your lower back, and if you have a recliner that is lacking proper contouring in the neck region, you should place one under your head and neck to maintain proper spinal alignment.

Furthermore, it could also prevent the “caving in” effect that otherwise causes congestion of your back, aiding your lower back in the process.

Zero Gravity Mode

As the name suggests, a zero gravity mode in a recliner is a special mode that elevates the body at an angle of 155-165 degrees, which ensures the spines remain straight.

If you are sitting on a recliner while watching TV or simply reading a novel, it’s highly advised that you switch to zero gravity mode to keep the pressure on your joints.

It also helps with blood circulation by ensuring it remains in a healthy state without blocking the circulatory system in the lower torso, as your legs will always remain above your heart.

Considering the fact it mimics the weightlessness experienced by astronauts, it will ensure your body remains in an ideal state.

Consult With A Chiropractor

That’s right. Those TikTok videos aren’t just for “satisfying purposes” when you hear a licensed practitioner crack someone’s back or shoulder; in fact, they serve quite a significant purpose in therapy for your spine and posture correction.

If you feel like reclining is causing you discomfort, it might be time that you visit a licensed practitioner and consult with them about your issue, or it might be another underlying issue that needs treatment or surgery.

Moreover, they could suggest exercises regarding stretching and core training for your back and back strengthening treatment.

And That’s A Wrap

Excess of everything is terrible, and the key is to be moderate, so if you ask me, “Can Sleeping In A Recliner Cause Back Pain?” well, yes, in fact, my answer would be definitely if you are spending most of your time lying on recliner laying in an improper position that could ruin your posture altogether. 

On the other hand, if you have bought a recliner that isn’t designed for your anatomy or doesn’t match your size, then it could serve as a massive culprit behind your back pain, so make sure you rectify those issues and use enough padding to support your body.

That being said, hope you find this article useful, feel free to bookmark it and spread the word with your buddies.