The Best Chairs for Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis affects 3 million people in the UK alone and develops over a long period of time. Finding the right specialist seating for someone with osteoporosis is important to maintaining their comfort and quality of life with what can be a very complex condition, but you also have to bear in mind other external factors like sitting on and getting off the chair with brittle bones.

Our seating assessors have thought of a few things to look out for in specialist seating for people with osteoporosis. For details on seating for more conditions, take a look at our seating eBook.

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition that leads to bone weakness and more frequent fractures. Whilst a decrease in bone density is a normal part of ageing, osteoporosis causes some people to lose bone at a much faster rate, making their bones more brittle and susceptible to breaking from things like falls, or even just over-exertion.

Women tend to have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis than men, but other external factors like your family medical history, having a low BMI, and heavy drinking and smoking can make you more vulnerable to developing the condition.

A cross-diagram of a bone with Osteoporosis showing how weak the bone is

As you can see Osteoporosis has a detrimental effect on the integrity and strength of the bone itself, making it more prone to fractures.

Riser Function

When you stand up from a chair, you tend to push down on the armrests to propel yourself upwards. This increases the pressure (and body weight) that goes through the arm and up to the shoulders.

If the person carrying out this action also has osteoporosis, they actually run the risk of fracturing bones in their shoulder.

A riser action on a chair can help to avoid this and provide more stability and support to your client as they come to a standing position. The elevation of the chair will help to reduce the amount of pressure that goes through your shoulder joint, as you won’t have to bear down as hard to become upright.

Particularly with rise and recline chairs, we highly recommend that the rise function suits your client’s needs and gives them the right level of assistance.

Backrest Options

With more advanced osteoporosis, you might find that your client has a noticeable curvature of the spine. This is because it’s fairly common for the vertebrae to break and it becomes more difficult for the spine to support the person’s body weight, therefore creating a stooped or hunched appearance.

Choosing the right backrest in a chair is vital to help with this. Adjustable waterfall backrests are usually our first choice when it comes to osteoporosis.

Consisting of 3 cushions, the backrest can be adjusted in shape and size to suit the individual’s spine. They offer a good level of lumbar support, and wadding can be added and removed from the top cushion to provide extra comfort and support for the curvature of the spine.

A rise and recline chair with a waterfall backrest is an ideal solution for this.

A lady sat in a rise and recline chair

Riser recliners chairs are a good option for people with Osteoporosis because they help to alleviate unnecessary stress on bones and joints.

Dual Tilt-In-Space

In conjunction with the waterfall backrest, we also suggest looking for a chair that offers a dual tilt-in-space action. We could go on for days about the benefits of tilt-in-space, but the dual option gives the user an extra backrest angle to accommodate their posture.

This is also a great way to allow the client to tilt farther back and attain eye contact and conversation with the people around them.

Pressure Relief and Additional Supports

Of course, we would always recommend looking at additional pressure relief and positioning supports with a chair. Particularly for those with osteoporosis, you want to make sure that they are safely positioned in a chair, so they are not at any risk of damage whilst sat down.

Positioning supports can help the client to maintain a healthier overall position without increasing the chance of them fracturing something.

Our assessors often suggest extra lateral supports or curved cushions to use down the sides of the seat and the backrest, which will help to promote a better midline position of the spine. Foam cushions can also help to relieve pressure in the posterior or back, reducing the possibility of fractures in these areas.

Removing Trip Hazards

Falls are a massive problem for people with osteoporosis, and the NHS reports that they treat over half a million people a year who have suffered a bone fracture from standing height or less – this includes those with the condition.

Make sure that the area around the person (and their chair) is clear of trailing wires or objects that may cause them to trip and fall. Having an AccuPak battery system installed on the chair can help with this, as it means that there is no need to have wires going in and out of the chair to power it.

Assess how the individual will come to a standing position from the chair and ensure that the area is tidy and risk-free.

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  1. virginia campbell says:

    Hi. I live in West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and have just discovered your web site! I am 85 years old and have osteoporosis and possibly Kyphosis.. which of course is not getting : any better with age: I presently have a chair much like you describe like a lounger/ tilter type. I actually sleep in it as it is more comfortable than laying flat in a regular bed and especially for getting up in the night every so often it is easier to arise from it. I am having such a wonderful time as I begin to read your website. I could go on and on however.. I shall instead continue to read and gain knowledge of how to best cope with things the way they are. Many thanks.

    1. Leanne Godfrey says:

      Hello Virginia,

      Thank you for your kind comment. I’m really pleased you’re finding the website useful!

      Please feel free to send us an email if you have any more questions. The team will be more than happy to help.

      Kind Regards,

  2. Dana says: mom recently got diagnosed with osteoporosis..may i knoe what is the best recommended mattress pillow and chair for her to feel more comfortable and less in pain

    1. Tristan Hulbert says:

      Many thanks for your comment Dana, I’m sure we can help. I’ve asked one of the team to get in touch.

      Kind regards,

  3. Robin says:

    I live in PA,USA. I can’t find anything like this here. Can you help? I’m going under 5’ tall and every chair I try is too big. Me feet don’t touch the ground!

    1. Tristan Hulbert says:

      Thanks for your enquiry Robin, we have sent chairs to the USA before so may be able to help. I will ask one of our seating specialists to get in touch.

  4. Robn says:

    Are your chairs sold in the USA? Thank you. I’m very petite and have osteoporosis. All my chairs are killing me!

    1. Tristan Hulbert says:

      We’ll be in touch Robin, sure we can help!
      Kind regards

  5. Jo Ann Smith says:

    I am 66 with osteoporosis. In 2019 fractured 3 vertebrae. Last June I fractured two more I am on forteo now What is the best chair for me. I am getting around and walking 2 miles a day. Going to pt but would love a recliner that will help me improve and feel better.

    1. Tristan Hulbert says:

      Thanks so much for your enquiry Jo Ann! I’m sure we can help with this – I’ve asked one of our seating specialists to get in touch with you to go through the options.
      Many thanks,

  6. Raj Senjaliya says:

    My mom 66 years old in india diagnosed with osteoporosis and fractured her three vertrebe. Which chair is best for her to get it locally from India. Thanks for your help.

    1. Tristan Hulbert says:

      Hello Raj, thanks so much for your enquiry! I will ask one of our seating specialists to get in touch.
      Kind regards

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