Are Rocking Chairs Bad For Your Back?

This really depends on the design of the rocking chair.

Traditional rocking chairs usually have a high back that supports the entire spine as well as the head and neck. These high backs would come in a variety of different styles including banister, lath, bow, stick, and fiddle.

Are Rocking Chairs Bad For Your Back

While the support offered by these chairs is phenomenal, the issue is with the back design. All the above-mentioned designs feature posts and cut outs. These can be incredibly uncomfortable on the back over extended periods of time.

To compensate, many people fit pillows or cushions to the backs of their rocking chairs. This provides additional comfort but less support.

Traditional rocking chairs also typically feature a hard and flat seat. This can create pressure and discomfort over prolonged periods. Again, this can be mitigated with pillows or cushions.

Modern rocking chairs come in a huge range of shapes and styles. Some of them provide built in cushions, suspension and padding which is much comfier but not always better for your back and coccyx.

Other designs feature half backs which can be uncomfortable and cause back strain. Or they feature armchair-like designs. These typically support you better and spread the pressure over your whole back.

Ultimately, it is difficult to say whether rocking chairs are bad for your back as a whole. This is because there are so many shapes and styles.

What we do know is that static chairs can cause backache because they don’t allow you to stretch or change position. Rocking chairs my rock back and forth, but they don’t typically allow you to adjust the position of the backrest.

Therefore, many find that rocking chairs cause some back problems when used for prolonged periods of time.  

Are rocking chairs bad for knees?

Unless you have an electric rocking chair, you’ll need to use your legs and your knees to keep the chair in motion. This is actually fantastic for your knees for a few reasons.

Firstly, the action of rocking yourself is fairly gentle and easy on your knees. This kind of light exercise is great for people with mobility issues or damaged joints. It has far less impact than walking, running, or pretty much any other kind of exercise.

Rocking yourself in a rocking chair is a good way to increase the strength of your knees without subjecting them to harsh impacts. Once you’re comfortable rocking yourself, you could add weight to yourself or the chair and further work your knees.

The action of rocking also allows you to increase the range of movement in your knees. The further you rock, the more you have to extend and contract your knees. This stretches the ligaments in the knees, making them more flexible.

Finally, rocking chairs have also been proven to increase the blood flow around your body and particularly to your joints. This is great news for people with arthritic knees as the increased blood flow promotes healing and relieves pain.

Is a rocking chair good for posture?

Rocking chairs can help with posture problems in a number of ways.

First and foremost, rigid, non-padded traditional rocking chairs tend to encourage better posture than the thick cushioned armchairs. This is because harder chairs offer more support to your spine.

If you have a softer chair, you’ll sink into it and end up in all sorts of shapes. This is not good for your posture.

Harder backed chairs don’t allow you to slip into the padding which means you are more supported in the position. However, if you don’t get a chair that follows the curvature of your spine then you’re not really going to get the right kind of support.

Some modern rocking chairs are ergonomically designed to support you in the correct posture. Others are designed with aesthetics at the forefront of the mind. This means that you need to do your research to find a chair that supports your posture.

The rocking action also helps improve your posture as it can help you develop the muscles in the back and your legs.

You need muscles that are capable of holding your body and your head in the correct position. While rocking chairs mainly encourage muscle growth in the legs, they can also help develop back muscles. This is because you tend to hold yourself in place as the chair rocks.

Is a rocking chair good for back pain?

President John F. Kennedy famously used a rocking chair to relieve lower back pain during his time in office. In fact, he helped to popularize the rocking chair thanks to the pensive but powerful images of him rocking in the Oval Office.

The great thing about rocking chairs is that they stimulate blood flow around the body. This promotes healing, reduces swelling, and can have an impact on pain management.

Another great thing about rocking chairs is the fact that they are incredibly relaxing. The back-and-forth motion is as soothing to adults as it is to babies.

When you are relaxed, your brain gets an endorphin boost which improves your mood, reduces stress, and helps limit pain. It is similar to how children forget about a grazed knee when you entertain them or offer them ice cream.

On a musculoskeletal level, rocking chairs don’t seem to physically change or alleviate the symptoms or problems of back pain. The easing of pain you experience is generally down to your brain and perception.

This means that you might find your symptoms relieved while in a rocking chair, but they may return when you get up.

As with any chair, sitting down for too long in a rocking chair can make your back problems worse. When you sit, the disks in your spine compress, which puts more pressure on them. This is why you ache more when sitting than standing.

To avoid exacerbating any back issues you already have, use your rocking chair sparingly. Don’t spend the whole day sitting in the rocking chair, instead, use it for some relief before getting on with your day.