Can you recommend a couch/recliner for a bad back?
February 28, 2016 4:57 PM   Subscribe

The hubs and I are gonna refurnish. What should I keep in mind when looking for furniture keeping in mind my newfound bigness and chronic pain?

So, I asked this question a week or so ago, and now the hubs and I are looking to get rid of our cheap-o couch (like, $200 at a discount store cheap-o couch) that's been making my back hurt whenever I sit on it for any length of time. I've been using the livingroom for computer work and sitting here a lot lately, and the couch hasn't been ideal. We used to have recliners which were much better. But they didn't make the trip with us from New Mexico because they were too heavy to ship. Hence the cheapo couch. We both like having a couch now and don't want to go back to just recliners. Also, a lot of recliners out there aren't made for bigger people. I had trouble fitting into them then. I shudder to think how I'd fit into them now -- forty pounds heavier.

I'm looking for recommendations for both a couch/sofa and a recliner that will not hurt my back/hips &c, and that won't make me feel like I'm trying to squeeze myself into something that's too small (like the last recliner we bought did). Something for people with long legs would be great too, because I hate more than anything to kick back and have my feet hanging off the edge of the foot rest. It's very annoying.

Keep in mind that we don't have a lot to spend -- not more than $1200 if that, so nothing fancy. Though we might could finance if we find the perfect fit... But we need to do something because my downtime with back pains is getting to be ridiculous. BTW, my major pain issue when it comes to sitting is Degenerative Disc Disease, plus I have arthritis in my hips (and knees). Also, I have texture issues so nothing microfiber... >>>shudder<<<
posted by patheral to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You can get a La-z-Boy reclining couch in the $900-1200 price range. Perhaps going in that direction would be less of a squeeze, since you've got the arm on only one side? And you wouldn't have to sacrifice having a couch. They appear to be running a sale through tomorrow.
posted by drlith at 5:15 PM on February 28, 2016

Response by poster: I forgot to mention that one of the main problems I'm having with my sofa is getting out of it because of not having armrests on both sides. That puts reclining couches out of the picture for back purposes.
posted by patheral at 5:18 PM on February 28, 2016

Best answer: La-Z-Boy is the gold standard for recliners, in any case, and they have models specifically sized for larger people. (They do have ones with a button that automatically brings the leg support shelf down and the back up, etc, but I wouldn't get it; I'm too impatient to wait the several seconds that takes.) They're SO comfortable. They just take every bit of pressure and weight off every joint once they're reclined.

Note that the angle the chair is at when it's upright varies with the model, you'll want one that is pretty vertical when it's upright so you're not fighting it to get out.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:17 PM on February 28, 2016

There are recliners that help you get up out of them. I found this one on You may not like this particular color or design, but there are other colors available - this is just an example of a "power recline and lift" chair, which might be something you want.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 2:44 AM on February 29, 2016

La-Z-Boy is the only recliner recommended by the Chiropractic Association of America.

I purchases one in January and am so glad I did.
posted by pamspanda at 4:03 AM on February 29, 2016

Response by poster: I must be really bad at asking questions. Honestly I was hoping for recommendations for sofas too. Has anyone with a bad back bought a sofa/couch and said, "Ah, this one really helps my back! I don't need to worry about sitting here for a while."?
posted by patheral at 10:39 AM on February 29, 2016

Yes, I have two couches that take all the pressure off my back and legs and are wonderful to sit on, and both are La Z Boy. For me personally the feet-up feature (available on both sides of the couch on both the three seater and the two seater) is critical if I'm going to be sitting for a while, even if I'm not reclining.

The difference in comfort between my La Z Boy furniture and everything else is night and day.
posted by fingersandtoes at 2:03 PM on February 29, 2016

Response by poster: Okey dokey. There's a La-Z-Boy gallery about thirty minutes from here. I dunno if they'll deliver this far out, but we'll go see what they have tomorrow. Thanks y'all.
posted by patheral at 7:15 PM on February 29, 2016

For my back, I have a high, extra-long twin bed with a foam mattress with a ton of pillows instead of a couch (a day bed, basically). I just-just moved and I'm still considering where best to put a grab bar on the wall nearby, but just being high off the ground makes it easier to sit and stand.

I lay down instead of sitting, and I adjust the pillows to support whichever position. I get stiff quickly, so I shift to another position frequently, and a flat bed with pillows helps there (instead of always being positioned on my back with a footrest).

Grab bars are great. They can go on walls, on anything with a structure that'll hold them--side of a couch/recliner, perhaps. An occupational therapist can also come evaluate your house and make recommendations for furniture, furniture placement, grab bar placement, all kinds of stuff you might not think of.
posted by galadriel at 7:32 PM on February 29, 2016

Coming back in here to say that the prices for get-up-assistant recliners can be lower than you'd think but I have no idea what thing is like to sit in.
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:08 PM on March 2, 2016

Response by poster: We went to La-Z-Boy a couple of days ago and got a sectional with a recliner on each end. We decided that was the best way to go since our space is small right now, and we can totally reconfigure it if we need to. We're trying to stay away from anything that's electronic because our wiring is old and if we plug too much in, it trips the breaker. Plus, what good would an electric chair do me if the power goes out? Meh. I know I said I have an adjustable bed, but I put that in one position and it stays there all night. Apples and oranges.

Anyway, it's amazing how many pieces I had to sit in to find the right fit... and boy did I hurt by the end! But I think I found the right fit for us. We were there for a long time. My poor hubs. He's so patient.

I like gladriel's idea of grab bars. We'll maybe go with something like this on the other side of the recliner that doesn't have an arm, since putting on one the wall wouldn't work in this situation.

Thank y'all for your suggestions.
posted by patheral at 10:30 AM on March 4, 2016

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