Why Does My Neck Hurt Sitting In A Recliner? Red Flags For Neck Pain

Having discomfort or pain in your neck while sitting is quite common and can be caused by several things. However, when it comes to recliners, which are known to be the most comfortable chairs, experiencing neck pain while reclining is never a pleasant experience.

The causes of certain neck pains are unknown, while others can be attributed to injuries or aging. Sometimes people may lean back and recline in a chair without any obvious medical issues. After sitting in a recliner for some time, they begin feeling neck pain and stiffness around the neck and wonder, “why does my neck hurt sitting in a recliner, and are recliners bad for my neck“?

In most cases, the cause of the shoulders, back, and neck pain is either an incorrect sitting posture or the wrong kind of recliner. 

What Can Cause Neck Pain When You Sit In A Recliner?

Why does my neck hurt sitting in a recliner?

The spine is like a tightrope walker constantly taking risks. If one thing goes wrong, you lose all your balance and support.

Therefore improper sitting posture or the wrong type of recliner can lead to severe health problems and permanent damage to the cervical spine and neck muscles, resulting in neck pain and shoulder problems.

Certain things that can also increase your risk of neck pain are:

Wrong Type Of Recliner

Recliners that aren’t properly fitted for you, or your seat sinks when you sit, can cause misalignment of your spine, which results in pressure on the cervical spine and stress on your neck.   

This can be attributed to a wrong-sized recliner or a reclining chair that over time becomes uncomfortable due to the padding compressing over time, allowing you to sink deeper with the wrong position.  

Important Note:

Assuming you have a comfortable recliner that supports your body well, then the following points can be the hidden cause of the pain in your neck. 

Sitting In The Wrong Position

Sitting in an awkward position can also aggravate neck pain and stiffness.

When sitting in a recliner, you should find a position that makes you feel comfortable from head to toe to avoid other health problems due to bad reclining or sitting.  

Space Between Your Neck And Recliner

The well-designed recliner provides ideal neck support. However, if you lay flat on a recliner chair with an uneven headrest and a gap around your neck, it can be discomforting for your head, which may cause improper posture leading to neck muscle strain.    

Therefore, it is important to be aware that there are no unsupportive gaps that can put pressure on your nape area. For right neck support, using neck pillows or rolled-up towels is the best solution to fill in those uncomfortable spaces between your neck and your recliner’s backrest.  

Poor Posture

Poor posture is one of the significant issues that can lead to aching neck and shoulder pain. If you are sitting or reclining in a recliner that provides inadequate support in the headrest or lacks lumbar support then your natural curves of the spine will be in constant strain leading to an ill-advised posture.

Overuse Injury

Moving the neck suddenly in an unusual way while sitting in a recliner chair or experiencing a sudden or awkward movement of the head or neck may cause a strain injury. 

Therefore, it is essential that you keep a proper posture while you sit. When you get out or get into the recliner, move smoothly and take advantage of the chair’s padded armrests to support your body while sitting or getting up.

Too Much Time Spent Sitting Or Sleeping

If you spend a lot of time sitting or sleeping on a recliner, you need to make sure that the recliner has enough support for your back. A good recliner needs to have good back support so that it does not allow your spine to arch backward.

However, if the backrest does not offer enough support, your back will arch backward as a result of your weight and your head falling forward. This can lead to a sore neck and even headache, so it is important to find a good recliner with back support.

How To Prevent Neck Pain While You Sit in A Recliner Chair?

The following tips can help you improve the quality of your sitting in a reclining chair and help to prevent neck pain:

  1. Choosing The Right Recliner: Not every recliner is suitable for proper neck support. Generally, the top recliners for neck pain provide a comfortable backrest along with a plush padded headrest (if the headrest is adjustable, that’s even better). Further, recliners with heat and massage therapy are a great option for adding comfort to ease muscle tension.
  2. Proper Posture: If you sit or recline in a posture that is comfortable to yourself from head to toe, the adverse effects of sitting will be minimized.  
  3. Avoiding Prolonged Sitting: Sitting in a recliner for an extended period of time in the same position will not only adversely affect your neck but your entire body as well. Therefore, take frequent breaks from sitting and switch positions often, since the human body is designed to stay active.
  4. Building up your neck muscles: Exercises such as rotating and stretching your neck two or three times per week will improve your flexibility and strengthen your neck muscles.
  5. Yoga and Pilates: The studies show that yoga improves neck muscle function and pilates increases muscle thickness. Therefore, by incorporating yoga or pilates into your daily routine, you will also have the benefit of reducing neck strain and increasing overall muscle function.  

How Can I Manage My Neck Pain?

If you’ve tried the above suggestions but still feel pain in your neck, here are some other things you can do to help ease the pain:

Heat Therapy–Heat therapy for chronic neck pain and stiffness, such as the use of a heating pad or warm water bottle on your neck can also help relieve pain and promote proper blood flow. It can also improve flexibility and reduce muscle tension by warming up the muscles.  

Exercise— Exercise such as aerobic exercise improves blood circulation to your neck and upper back, thereby enabling your muscles to loosen and become more flexible. As a result, the neck and shoulder muscles gain more range of motion and heal quicker. [source].

Doing stretching exercises when your neck hurts while sitting in a recliner is a good way to reduce neck pain. There are many different ways to stretch your neck, and you can find a variety of exercises on the internet.

Some additional measures you can take to relieve neck pain are sitting in a comfortable recliner, such as recliners from Lazy Boy with proper neck support, and also making sure you maintain healthy habits, avoid irregular sitting habits, take a healthy diet and get enough sleep.

When To See A Doctor For Neck Problems?

If your pain lasts for more than a few days, or if it occurs in conjunction with any other symptoms such as headaches, difficulty swallowing, fever, pinched nerve, weakness or numbness in your arms or legs, or problems with vision, you should always consult your doctor.

Remember, pain and discomfort are not a reason to seek medical treatment. However, if you experience pain that lasts for more than a few days or if it occurs in conjunction with any of the symptoms mentioned above, Always seek medical help.

In Conclusion

Most cases of neck pain from sitting in a recliner are not serious, and following the above techniques will help you figure out “Why Does My Neck Hurt Sitting In A Recliner?” and what you should do to alleviate your pain.

However, if you have been experiencing neck pain for a long time, then it is important to consult your doctor for a complete diagnosis and treatment.

Why Does My Neck Hurt Sitting In A Recliner? – FAQs

Is Recliner Good For Neck?

Recliners are more comfortable than conventional office chairs or regular seats. However, for an ideal seating experience, you should have a comfortable recliner and know how to properly position your head on its headrest so that you don’t develop neck muscle strain from bad posture.

Can Sleeping In A Recliner Cause Neck Problems?

A bad sleeping position can lead to neck strain while sitting in a recliner. It is essential that you are lying comfortably and without feeling any strain. When sleeping on the chair, ensure the backrest supports your spine naturally and use extra pillows for neck and back support before sleeping on the recliner chair.

Does Sleeping In A Recliner Help Neck Pain?

According to a WebMD study, reclining at 135 degrees places the least pressure on the spine, which is ideal if you are sitting or sleeping in a position that supports your neck and back. Recliners can also feature an elevated footrest that can be raised above the level of the heart for proper blood flow.

How Do You Sleep In A Recliner With Neck Pain?

The best way to sleep in a recliner with neck pain is to find a comfortable chair and position yourself accordingly. If the headrest of the recliner chair is hard, you can also add a pillow between the headrest and your head for better neck support. If you still feel discomfort, then you can try sleeping in a bed instead.

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