Are Recliners Bad For Your Neck?

Are Recliners Bad For Your Neck?

In today’s fast-paced world, people value comfort and relaxation more than ever. Recliners have become a popular choice for those seeking a comfortable place to unwind, watch TV, or simply kick back and relax.

With their plush cushioning, adjustable positions, and built-in footrests, recliners are a staple in many living rooms and bedrooms. They offer the perfect escape from the stresses of the day, allowing you to unwind, read, watch television, or simply take a much-needed nap. However, concerns have arisen about whether recliners can be bad for your neck.

In this article, we will explore the potential risks associated with using recliners and provide tips on how to minimize any adverse effects on your neck.

Common Causes of Neck Pain

To understand neck pain, it’s essential to be aware of the common causes of discomfort in this area.

1. Poor Posture: Maintaining an improper sitting or sleeping posture, like tilting your head forward or downward, can strain the neck muscles, leading to pain and discomfort.

2. Repetitive Movements: Jobs or activities that involve repetitive neck movements or positions, such as constant bending or twisting, can lead to muscle fatigue and discomfort.

3. Degenerative Conditions: Conditions like arthritis, herniated discs, or spinal stenosis can result in chronic neck pain, as they affect the structural integrity of the cervical spine.

4. Overuse or Strain: Overexertion, heavy lifting, or using incorrect techniques during exercise can strain neck muscles, causing discomfort.

5. Stress and Tension: Emotional and psychological stress can manifest physically, leading to muscle tension and neck pain. Stress-induced muscle tension can be a significant contributor to discomfort in the neck and shoulder area.

Reasons for Neck Pain While Using a Recliner

  1. Improper Head and Neck Position: One of the primary reasons for experiencing neck pain in a recliner is the improper alignment of your head and neck. When your head and neck are not adequately supported, it can lead to strain and discomfort.
  2. Overextension: Reclining too far back can overextend your neck, causing the cervical spine to curve unnaturally. This can lead to pain, especially if maintained for an extended period.
  3. Inadequate Lumbar Support: The lumbar region’s support is essential in maintaining a healthy neck position. If the recliner lacks proper lumbar support, it can result in poor posture and neck discomfort.
  4. Prolonged Use: Spending too much time in a recliner without breaks or adjustments can place constant pressure on your neck muscles and ligaments, contributing to discomfort and pain. It’s important to take breaks and change positions periodically while using a recliner to relieve any neck strain.
  5. Choice of Recliner: The design and quality of your recliner play a significant role in your comfort. Low-quality or poorly designed recliners may not provide adequate support for your neck. Look for recliners with adjustable headrests to better accommodate your specific comfort needs.
  6. Poor Ergonomics: Not all recliners are designed with ergonomic principles in mind. This can lead to discomfort over time. Ensure that the recliner you choose supports your body in a way that promotes a natural and healthy alignment of the spine and neck.

How To Relieve Neck Pain

How To Relieve Neck Pain

If you already experience neck pain while using a recliner, there are several strategies to relieve the discomfort:

1. Neck Stretches

Gentle neck stretches can help alleviate pain and tension. Slowly tilt your head from side to side, forward and backward, and perform gentle circular motions to relax your neck muscles.

2. Heat or Cold Therapy

Apply a warm or cold compress to your neck, depending on your preference. These therapies can help reduce inflammation and ease muscle tension.

3. Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

Non-prescription pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, can temporarily reduce neck pain and inflammation. However, consult a healthcare professional before using any medication.

4. Massage and Physical Therapy

A soothing neck massage can relieve tension and promote blood flow to the area. You can use your hands or seek the assistance of a professional massage therapist.

5. Rest

Sometimes, the best remedy is simply allowing your neck to rest. Avoid using the recliner for a while and opt for a chair that provides better neck support.

What is the Best Reclining Position?

Choosing the right reclining position can significantly reduce the risk of developing neck pain while using a recliner. Here are some tips for finding the best position:

1. Semi-Reclined Position

A semi-reclined position, with your back at an angle of about 100-110 degrees, is generally recommended to reduce neck strain. This position maintains a natural curvature in your spine and minimizes pressure on your neck.

2. Neck Support

Ensure that the recliner you choose provides adequate neck support. Look for a chair with a headrest or cushion that aligns with the curve of your neck and the back of your head.

3. Footrest

A recliner with a footrest that allows you to elevate your legs can help distribute your weight evenly and reduce pressure on your neck and spine.

4. Lumbar Support

Proper lumbar support is also essential to maintain a healthy posture while reclining. A chair with good lumbar support can help prevent you from slouching, which can contribute to neck pain.

5. Regular Adjustments

It’s a good practice to make regular adjustments in your recliner’s position. Avoid staying in the same position for extended periods. Take short breaks, stretch, and change your recliner’s angle to relieve any pressure on your neck.

Also read: How To Relieve Neck Pain From Sitting At Your Desk

6. Pillows and Cushions

Utilize small pillows or cushions to enhance your comfort. Place them under your neck and lower back to maintain a natural spinal alignment. This can help reduce strain on your neck muscles.

How to Choose the Best Recliner for Neck Pain

Choose the Best Recliner for Neck Pain
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Choosing the best recliner for neck pain requires careful consideration of several factors to ensure that it provides the necessary support and comfort. Here are some steps to help you select the right recliner for your needs:

  1. Consult a Healthcare Professional: Before making any decisions, it’s a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or physical therapist. They can help you understand the specific causes of your neck pain and recommend any features or specifications to look for in a recliner.
  2. Look for Proper Neck and Head Support: The primary concern for someone with neck pain is proper neck and head support. Look for a recliner that has a headrest or a high backrest to support your neck and head. Adjustable headrests can be particularly helpful as they allow you to customize the angle to your comfort.
  3. Check the Recliner’s Padding: The padding in the recliner should be firm enough to support your neck and spine but not so hard that it causes discomfort. Memory foam or high-density foam padding can provide both support and comfort.
  4. Assess the Recliner’s Size and Fit: Make sure the recliner fits your body well. It should be deep enough for your legs to comfortably rest when reclined, and the backrest should provide full support to your upper body. If possible, try out the recliner in person to check if it fits you properly.
  5. Consider Adjustable Features: Some recliners offer adjustable features, such as the ability to recline at different angles or raise the footrest independently. These features can help you find the most comfortable position for your neck.
  6. Look for Lumbar Support: Proper lumbar support can also indirectly benefit your neck by helping maintain good posture. Some recliners come with built-in lumbar support, while others offer adjustable lumbar support. Make sure the lumbar support aligns with your lower back.
  7. Material and Upholstery: Consider the material and upholstery of the recliner. Leather and fabric are common choices. Choose one that is easy to clean and comfortable for you. Leather can be more durable and easier to maintain, but it may not be as soft and cushioned as fabric.
  8. Test It Out: Whenever possible, try out the recliner before purchasing it. Spend some time sitting in it and testing the recline and headrest adjustments to see if it provides the necessary support and comfort for your neck pain.
  9. Read Reviews: Online reviews from customers who have purchased the same recliner can provide valuable insights into its comfort and support features. Look for reviews from people who share your specific needs and concerns.
  10. Budget: Recliners come in a wide range of price points. Set a budget based on your financial situation and consider the long-term investment in your health and comfort.
  11. Warranty and Return Policy: Check the warranty and return policy of the recliner. This is important in case you are not satisfied with your purchase or if the recliner develops issues over time.


1. Can recliners cause permanent neck damage?

Recliners themselves do not typically cause permanent neck damage. However, using a recliner improperly or for extended periods without adequate support can lead to neck discomfort and, in some cases, exacerbate underlying neck issues.

2. Are massage recliners good for neck pain?

Massage recliners can provide temporary relief for neck pain by relaxing tense muscles. However, they should not be considered a primary solution for addressing chronic neck issues. Consult a healthcare professional for a comprehensive evaluation and treatment plan.

3. Can using a neck pillow in a recliner help prevent neck pain?

Yes, using a neck pillow or cushion in a recliner can help maintain proper neck alignment and reduce the risk of neck pain. It provides additional support and comfort.

4. Is it better to sleep in a recliner if you have neck pain?

Sleeping in a recliner may be a temporary solution for individuals with severe neck pain, but it is not a long-term solution. It’s essential to address the underlying causes of neck pain and seek guidance from a healthcare professional.


In conclusion, recliners can be both comfortable and relaxing, but if chosen and used incorrectly, they can potentially lead to neck pain.

By selecting a recliner with proper neck and lumbar support, maintaining a healthy reclining position, and taking necessary breaks, you can ensure that your relaxation time in a recliner is both comfortable and gentle on your neck.

Remember that neck health is paramount, and with the right precautions, you can fully enjoy the benefits of this popular piece of furniture without any adverse effects on your well-being.

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