Is Leaning Back In Chair Bad? Chiropractor Explains Lean Back In Chair Benefits (2022)

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Is Leaning Back in Chair Bad? Chiropractor Explains All

There is much confusion regarding the subject of ‘is reclining back in a chair good or bad?’ There are many opinions, some research, and a lot of disinformation on the web.

As a general rule, leaning back at a 135° degree angle between your trunk and thighs is more effective than sitting up straight. This sitting angle is effective because this places unnecessary strain on our backs when we sit entirely straight.

This article will review the research on leaning back in a chair and allow you to see why there are both valid concerns and how it can be good for you. However, there is one massive disadvantage to leaning back in a chair that everyone ignores, and I will give you the details later in this article.

The Benefits of Reclining in a Chair

When you recline, you stop the forward hunch movement. The long-term effects of holding a hunched position at work include neck, shoulder, back pain, joint stiffness, pinched nerves, and poor circulation to muscle tissues. The simple act of tilting your chair back a bit will do a lot for you, in addition to opening your hips up.

(Video) The benefits of good posture - Murat Dalkilinç

By reclining the chair back, gravity does the work, keeping the chest and shoulders open and the neck and chin upright.

Reclining is Good for Back Pain. When sitting for prolonged periods, without breaks, or under excessive compression, the body may lose synovial fluid, causing them to develop arthritis.

When you sit in a chair at a 90-degree angle for extended periods, gravity compresses the spine and leads to disc herniations and spinal pinches. This damage can result in severe and even permanent back problems.

Reclined seating allows the entire spine to lean back while the hips continue to lean forward. Reclining in your seat prevents gravity from pushing a straight spine forward on top of itself. Although an individual might not notice the immediate effects, a reclined position may save them from disc, nerve, bone, and muscle breakdown in the back.

A Reclined Position Improves Your Breathing

The ribs and abdominal cavity expand when leaned backwards, which keeps the shoulder blades open wide. This allows for more comfortable breathing. Increased lung volume (vital capacity) caused by this posture should enable better breathing and improve your alertness and mental balance.

Male Body Language:Meaning Leaning Back

Leaning back in a chair is often seen as a sign of relaxation. When we are tense, we tend to sit up straight in our chairs, but when we are feeling at ease, we often lean back and let our muscles relax. This body language cue can be interpreted in a number of ways. For example, if you are in a meeting with your boss and he leans back in his chair, it might be a sign that he is feeling confident and in control of the situation. On the other hand, if you are on a first date and the person you are with leans back in their chair, it might be a sign that they are not particularly interested in you and are simply trying to create some physical distance between the two of you. In general, leaning back often indicates that the person is feeling comfortable and safe.

(Video) Ergonomic Kneeling Chair Review - Is Hollowing Your Back A Safe Way To Stop Slouching?

Problems with Reclining in Your Chair

After examining the health benefits associated with sitting in a reclined position, let’s explore some of the less desirable aspects:

Back Pain Can Be Caused By Reclining In Your Chair

If your back is not properly supported in a recliner, it can cause you back pain. It is common in chairs with no or very softback in people who recline backwards in them. Lack of a patent lumbar support in a recliner may produce a reversal in the low back curve. If the low back curve is not patent, the weight goes into the discs and joints of your lumbar spine, instead of your muscles, which causes breakdown and no support. The force exerted by gravity causes spinal pressure over the lower back, causing pain.

Reclining in Your Chair Can Be Bad for Your Knees

Reclining backwards is not always practical in an office setting, since some tasks are better accomplished when you sit upright. Weak or sore legs have to bear most of the burden when sitting upright when forced to recline backwards. Weak or sore knees will be affected.

Research on Reclining Our Chair

  • Researchers at Candian & Scottish Chiropractic College conducted a study in 2006 in which volunteers were examined while slouching, sitting, slouching, and at 90° and 135° angles.
  • In general, results suggest the 135° position prevents disc slide and compression better.
  • However, the research mentioned in this article has one caveat. If the hip angle is open at 135°, the back pain will be relieved, but the seat occupant may slide out.
  • Thus, the study results suggest that the seated position should be 120 degrees (or slightly less).

Why Research on Reclining is Not Accurate

The study seems to be accurate in practice, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. A significant factor is potentially overlooked. Here’s what we found:

Everyone can agree that this research indicates that the reduced risk of back pain, neck pain, and shoulder pain occurs when a person sits as close as possible to standing. However, if you are sitting at your desk in a reclined position, you may be creating potential problems in your neck and shoulders. Let me explain….

I found statistically higher complaints of neck pain and shoulder pain in individuals who routinely work from a reclined seated position by conducting multiple ergonomic assessments. Neck and shoulder pain was far too prevalent in these individuals to categorically dismiss these pains as subjective.

So, my team decided to dig a little deeper to determine if a rescind seated position at a workstation was the actual causative factor for neck pain and shoulder pain. Without going too deeply into our research, we experimented with multiple offices and one primary school and tested our subjects in various seated positions using a surface electromyography scan (sEMG). EMGs objectively measure muscle stress, making it possible to determine whether working in a reclining position is harmful to one’s neck or shoulders.

(Video) How seat pan tilt influences your sitting posture and lower back pain: don't let it recline too much

Is Leaning Back In Chair Bad? Chiropractor Explains Lean Back In Chair Benefits (1)

**source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6187080.stm

In summary, we found conclusively that those who worked at computers in a reclined position had increased muscle stress in their neck and shoulders. One crucial point that I offer here is not intending to denigrate any research on this issue. I am simply suggesting that you consider this issue if you want. Working at your computer in a reclined position, you may be causing stress to your neck and shoulders.

The cause of increased muscle tension and pain in the neck and shoulders is simple: your head translates forward from this position. Think about this. If you are seated in this way, you will likely lean your head forward to look at your monitor. Research tells us that you will increase the load on your spine exponentially for every inch that your head is in front of your spine.

The best way to recline in your chair is to treat it like wine, only in moderation. Reclining is perfectly fine if you are not working on your computer.

The other major factor to consider is your trunk-to-thigh angle. Most people feel comfortable when seated at an angle that is greater than 90°. My recommendation is to tilt your seat forward or sit on a wedge. Watch yourself and notice that your spine becomes less stressed when your hips are above your knees in a seated position. Whenever you sit with your hips above your knees, you will consciously and actively engage your core muscles and be more comfortable.

How Safe Is It to Sleep on a Recliner?

Even with all of the advances in ‘ergonomic’ or ‘orthopaedic’ recliners over the past century, I still don’t believe that it is possible to sleep comfortably and adequately in a recliner. I think that the eight or so hours you sleep are the most critical hours of your day, and if you sleep wrong, your entire rest of the day will be off.

If you want the best sleep possible, then choose a medium-firm mattress that’s exceptionally comfortable, encourages proper alignment, is non-toxic, and eco-friendly. A well-designed natural latex mattress and pillow will surpass all of these requirements.

(Video) Why is SpinaliS Chair the best chair for lower back pain? Learn Top 3 benefits of Active Sitting.

In the ideal position, sleepers need to sleep as if they are standing up straight with their knees bent. I have that it is not possible to achieve this sleeping position properly in a recliner chair. Try to get your sleep right for recovery, repair, and staying fresh and young.

Additionally, in cases where you have chronic back problems or breakdown, respiratory problems, heart problems, or circulatory problems, consult with a doctor or a spine specialist before using a recliner.

The Benefits of Recliners if You Have Back Pain

A recliner specifically designed to relieve back pain may reduce pressure on the low back. Additionally, raising your feet alleviates tension in your pelvis and lower back.

You must do your homework to find the BEST recliners that help relieve lower back pain. Make sure that the seat angle is easily adjustable to fit you comfortably. If buying a recliner, try one out and take your time to see if your body type works with it. If it does not, you may not be comfortable using it.

How to Sit In a Recliner With Lower Back Pain

The trick here is to find a reclining chair that accommodates the shape of your back, shoulders, hips, and neck. Nobody is the same shape and size. So make sure your reclining chair can adjust to fit you.

Rather than leaning from side to side while sitting in a recliner, I prefer sitting in the center of the cushion. Turning slightly otherwise can aggravate current pain while also turning your hips out.

How Helpful Are Recliners to Surgery Patients?

When recovering from surgery, reclining chairs may prove beneficial, but it depends on the surgery. Soft recliners can cause excessive pain resulting from hip or joint replacements. However, if you had any joint replacement surgery, you should consult with your surgeon.

(Video) Ergo LeanRite follow up video

How Useful Are Massage Recliners?

Pros and Cons of Massage Recliners:

  • A good point of a massage chair: People suffering from back stiffness, pain, spasms, or spasms are likely to benefit significantly from massage recliners.
  • The bad point of a massage chair: Massage features have little to do with proper sitting posture.

In other words, you can sit in a massage chair all day and feel fantastic. If you’re in the wrong position, you’ll never have enough time for the massage to reverse spinal degeneration.

Common Question: Alexander Technique

The alexander technique is a method of improving posture and movement. One of the key elements of the technique is learning to avoid undue strain on the back and neck muscles. One way to do this is by leaning back in your chair. This helps to take pressure off of the spine and allows the muscles to relax. In addition, it can also help to improve your breathing by opening up the chest and diaphragm.

Takeaway

If you want to know the truth about reclining back in a chair, this article will help. It discusses all of the pros and cons so that you can decide for yourself whether or not it’s worth taking on any of these risks. The one disadvantage we’ve mentioned is pretty significant but there are many benefits as well. So if you’re interested in leaning back in your office chair, keep reading!

Sources

  1. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6187080.stm
  2. Haynes, S. and Williams, K., 2008. Impact of seating posture on user comfort and typing performance for people with chronic low back pain. International journal of industrial ergonomics, 38(1), pp.35-46.
  3. Ota, K., Saitoh, E., Kagaya, H., Sonoda, S. and Shibata, S., 2011. Effect of postural combinations—the reclined seated position combined with head rotation—on the transport of boluses and aspiration. Japanese Journal of Comprehensive Rehabilitation Science, 2, pp.36-41.
  4. Pynt, J., Higgs, J. and Mackey, M., 2001. Seeking the optimal posture of the seated lumbar spine. Physiotherapy theory and practice, 17(1), pp.5-21.

FAQs

Is leaning back in a chair good for your back? ›

Leaning back into the backrest of your chair increases the pressure on the three areas of your spine but is particularly bad for your lumbar spine and neck. If you sit with your weight too far forward, you will either lean forward (using your muscles to hold you there) or, more commonly, lean on your desk.

What does Leaning back in a chair mean? ›

Leaning back in your chair: When you lean forward, you convey interest. Conversely, leaning back expresses indifference or disinterest. Of course, you can also use this information when you're sizing up an interviewer or date.

Is leaning back better than slouching? ›

In 2006, Canadian and Scottish researchers found that sitting straight is bad for backs. Their findings came from MRI scans which demonstrated how an upright posture when seated can place unnecessary strain on the spine. They concluded that the optimum position when seated at a desk is leaning back at a 135° angle.

Are leaning chairs good? ›

Less sitting time - As more people become aware of the risks of excessive sitting, a leaning stool or chair can significantly reduce the time spent in a chair. You are actively sitting to remain upright. While it burns fewer calories than standing, it burns more than sitting.

Is it better to sit up straight or lean back? ›

It seems that sitting up straight, something many of us are taught from a very early age, is not good for your back, say researchers from Scotland and Canada. They found that sitting up straight strains your back unnecessarily. Ideally, you should lean slightly back, at an angle of about 135 degrees, they say.

How much should you lean back in your chair? ›

As a general rule, leaning back at a 135° degree angle between your trunk and thighs is more effective than sitting up straight. This sitting angle is effective because this places unnecessary strain on our backs when we sit entirely straight.

Why do people lean back? ›

Literally leaning back may actually help people to cope with frustrating events. The results also show how bodily cues can have an impact on how people react to aversive situations. But of course, taking a reclined seating position is just one way to trigger a relaxation response.

What does Leaning back mean? ›

fall backwards and down. type of: angle, lean, slant, tilt, tip. to incline or bend from a vertical position.

Is reclining better than sitting? ›

Slumping and hunching is bad for back pain, upright can be too. But reclining is not bad for back pain. In fact, research has identified that sitting in a reclined position is better for your back than sitting upright.

Why do people like to lean back in chairs? ›

Students often lean back in their seats because the chairs are hard and uncomfortable and they're expected to sit in them for long periods of time; leaning back is their way of stretching and releasing excess energy. Chair tippers often are unaware of what they're doing, which can make it a hard habit to break.

Which position puts the most pressure on the spine? ›

If you look at the chart, you can see that laying flat on your back is the position of least pressure. Even laying on your side is appreciably more stress than laying flat. At the other end of the spectrum, sitting while leaning forward and lifting weight puts the most strain across your back.

Does sitting up straight strengthen your back? ›

Summary. Sitting up straight in your chair requires the conscious alignment of your hips, pelvis, lower back, upper back, shoulder, neck, and head. Doing so can reduce lower back pain, improve respiration and digestion, and reduce tension in your neck and shoulders, particularly if you sit at your desk for hours on end ...

Is it better to sit on a stool or chair? ›

Many arguments and research regarding an ergonomic chair and a stool as the best choice for posture. Both, however, provide postural benefits. Ergonomic chairs offer comfort and support features like headrests and armrests. However, stools work the best for posture correction.

Does sitting in a recliner hurt your back? ›

Overstuffed furniture and recliners allow the low back to sag into a slouch, causing stress on the surrounding soft tissues. These furniture styles also often have pillows at the head that push the head and neck forward, creating the same problem as found at the low back.

How straight Should your back be? ›

Both your upper and lower back should be straight. Slight curves in the small of your back and at your shoulder blades are normal. Your hips need to be in good alignment with your shoulders and with your knees. Look down at your knees and check that they line up with the middle of your ankle.

What is the best sitting position for lower back pain? ›

Sit with a back support (such as a rolled-up towel) at the curve of your back. Keep your hips and knees at a right angle. (Use a foot rest or stool if necessary.) Your legs should not be crossed and your feet should be flat on the floor.

Should knees be above or below hips when sitting? ›

When you're sitting at a desk, aim to keep your knees roughly level with your hips. This will let you keep what Truumees calls “a more neutral back alignment” so that your back muscles won't have to work as hard.

What is the best angle for the back of a chair? ›

The back of the chair should be reclined at around a 100- to 110-degree angle, with your bottom pressed against the back of your chair. A cushion should be present that causes your lower back to arch slightly, helping you to minimize the load on your back, and not slump forward or slouch over time.

Should your feet be flat when sitting? ›

The ideal sitting position is to keep your hips slightly higher than your knees and with your feet firmly on the floor. However if you cannot rest your feet flat on the floor when a suitable chair height has been selected, it is important that a footrest is used in order that a comfortable posture can be obtained.

Is it better to sit on a chair without back? ›

As a general rule, it is not a good idea to sit on a chair without a backrest, as the lack of back support will disrupt your posture. If you do not have strong core muscles, your back muscles must work more than normal to support the spine.

Why do office chairs lean back so far? ›

An office chair may start to lean back because of broken or damaged casters, a change in the chair's tilt tension, or a bent or loose seat plate. To fix these issues: replace damaged casters, adjust the tilt tension, or.

What social media lean? ›

The term 'lean', sometimes known as 'purple drank,' 'purp,' or 'oil,' refers to users who have trouble standing up straight. It's prepared by combining cough syrup with a soft drink or soda.

How do you lean back in your feminine energy? ›

Here are the main ways you can begin to embrace your feminine energy:
  1. Feminine energy shouldn't have to clash with masculine energy. ...
  2. Do not be afraid to speak your mind. ...
  3. Be open to receiving. ...
  4. Express yourself through creative means. ...
  5. Embrace your sexuality. ...
  6. Be proud of being a woman.
24 Feb 2021

What is the meaning of lean in? ›

| Phrase. Lean in means to grab opportunities without hesitation. An older meaning for lean in is to incline into something, such as a skier leaning in at a turn or pedestrian leaning in to the wind during a heavy gale. In 2013, Sheryl Sandburg published a book called Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.

What is the meaning of leaning forward? ›

forward-leaning (comparative more forward-leaning, superlative most forward-leaning) (chiefly US, idiomatic) Disposed to take action or to exercise initiative; aggressive; bold. quotations ▼ (idiomatic) Innovative, cutting-edge, progressive, visionary.

What recliners do chiropractors recommend? ›

The only recliner your doctor will recommended

Stressless is the only recliner in the world that is fully endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA).

Can recliners cause blood clots? ›

Sleeping sitting up in a recliner shouldn't be harmful. It could, in some cases, raise your risk of deep-vein thrombosis, a blood clot in a limb that can occur if your arms or legs are bent and you are motionless for hours.

Do recliners cause hip problems? ›

Joint stiffness

When you sleep in a recliner, your knees and hips remain bent throughout the night. Over time, this can lead to tight hips, calves, and hamstrings, and may negatively affect your posture. Tight muscles may also increase your risk of falling.

What does it mean when someone shifts in their chair? ›

Significant changes in body position, such as shifting in the chair, may show disinterest, boredom or negative feelings toward the person being spoken with.

How do you keep a chair from tipping? ›

6 Tips for Installing Furniture Restraints to Prevent Tip-overs
  1. Purchase furniture anchors. ...
  2. Use two for each piece of furniture. ...
  3. Install into solid wood. ...
  4. Attach anchor to a wall stud. ...
  5. Ensure restraints are tight and regularly check them. ...
  6. Consider hiring a professional childproofer to help.

Why do students swing on chairs? ›

Most often used as an option for children with additional learning needs, the stool and chair encourage mobility and core strength, supporting an active learning environment where physical movement is used to assist focus, memory and cognitive development.

Does sitting or standing put more pressure on spine? ›

Studies of lumbar intradiscal pressure (IDP) in standing and upright sitting have mostly reported higher pressures in sitting. It was assumed clinically that flexion of the lumbar spine in sitting relative to standing, caused higher IDP, disc degeneration or rupture, and low back pain.

What activity puts most pressure on lumbar spine? ›

Twisting, bending and lifting puts a large amount of pressure on your spine. This pressure occurs from these actions regardless of whether you lift an item. Some people may even experience back pain from bending to view items on a low shelf.

What puts continuous pressure on lower back? ›

In general, osteoarthritis (the most common type of arthritis) and degenerative disk disease (the natural wear and tear of spinal disks) are the underlying cause of many types of chronic lower back pain. However, lower back pain can also be caused by accident-related trauma and acute stress.

How can I straighten my spine at home? ›

Standing Posture
  1. Stand with weight mostly on the balls of the feet, not with weight on the heels.
  2. Keep feet slightly apart, about shoulder-width.
  3. Let arms hang naturally down the sides of the body.
  4. Avoid locking the knees.
  5. Tuck the chin in a little to keep the head level.

What organ is behind your left shoulder blade? ›

The organ directly behind your shoulder blade is the lungs. The kidneys are just below each shoulder blade under the ribs.

How do you get rid of a hump on your neck fast? ›

Easy Fix for the Neck Hump! (With FREE Exercise Sheet!) - YouTube

What exercises fix posture? ›

The PERFECT 10 Minute Daily Posture Routine (FIX YOUR SIT!)

How should I sleep to fix my posture? ›

When turning in bed, don't twist or bend at the waist. Instead move your entire body as one unit. Keep your belly pulled in and tightened, and bend your knees toward the chest when you roll. Keep your ears, shoulders, and hips aligned when turning as well as when sleeping.

Are stools good for back pain? ›

For those who deal with back pain, this can help to reduce aches and soreness from bad posture. Sitting on a stool or saddle seat also encourages 'Active Sitting', which helps to strengthen your core and back muscles, all of which can lead to improved comfort and productivity in the workplace.

Are wobble stools good for your back? ›

A wobble stool is an ergonomic, backless stool that allows you to wobble around while sitting. Wobble stools are effective in helping you exercise, expend extra energy, and increase productivity. Since they allow you to strengthen your core muscles without straining yourself, wobble stools are great for your back.

How long should you sit on a stool? ›

Most professionals recommend spending no more time on the toilet than it takes to pass a stool. Studies have shown that the average bowel movement takes 12 seconds. Sometimes it does take longer, however, so at maximum, you should not spend more than 10 minutes on the toilet.

What angle should you sit at? ›

The angle that has been shown to be optimal is 20-30 degrees forward and down. This puts the thighs at an angle between 120-135 degrees.

What is the best way to sit in a recliner? ›

Tips for Successful Reclined Seating
  1. Adjust your lumbar support. ...
  2. Keep your feet flat on the floor. ...
  3. Do not cross your legs. ...
  4. Adjust your headrest to support your head and neck. ...
  5. Adjust armrests for comfortable access to your interface devices. ...
  6. Let your chair lift you up to a sitting position when you need to move.
29 Nov 2020

Are recliners good for sciatica? ›

Adjustable Backrest

You can use reclining chairs to relieve pressure from your lower back muscles and spinal discs if you plan to be seated for the majority of the day.

What is the best sitting position for lower back pain? ›

Sit with a back support (such as a rolled-up towel) at the curve of your back. Keep your hips and knees at a right angle. (Use a foot rest or stool if necessary.) Your legs should not be crossed and your feet should be flat on the floor.

Why do people lean back? ›

Literally leaning back may actually help people to cope with frustrating events. The results also show how bodily cues can have an impact on how people react to aversive situations. But of course, taking a reclined seating position is just one way to trigger a relaxation response.

How should a chair support your back? ›

Your chair should support the natural curve of your lumbar spine. If your chair does not have good lumbar support, consider adding a rolled towel or other cushion between your lower back and the chair. Just remember to sit all the way back in your chair so the roll supports your spine, not just cushions it.

Is lying down better than sitting? ›

However, a closer look reveals that the pressure on the spine is at its lowest when we are lying in the supine position (it is under eight times less pressure than when we're sitting). It promotes most complete muscle relaxation, stress-relief and slower heartbeat.

Is walking good for lower back pain? ›

The simple movement of walking is one of the best things we can do for chronic lower back pain. Ten to fifteen minutes of walking twice a day will help ease lower back pain. Substitute this activity for a more vigorous type of exercise if you prefer and/or are able.

What does Leaning back mean? ›

fall backwards and down. type of: angle, lean, slant, tilt, tip. to incline or bend from a vertical position.

Why do office chairs lean back so far? ›

An office chair may start to lean back because of broken or damaged casters, a change in the chair's tilt tension, or a bent or loose seat plate. To fix these issues: replace damaged casters, adjust the tilt tension, or.

What social media lean? ›

The term 'lean', sometimes known as 'purple drank,' 'purp,' or 'oil,' refers to users who have trouble standing up straight. It's prepared by combining cough syrup with a soft drink or soda.

Should hips be higher than knees when sitting? ›

When you're sitting at a desk, aim to keep your knees roughly level with your hips. This will let you keep what Truumees calls “a more neutral back alignment” so that your back muscles won't have to work as hard.

What exercises fix posture? ›

The PERFECT 10 Minute Daily Posture Routine (FIX YOUR SIT!)

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