Best cars for a person with a bad back

I just purchased a 2017 Camry LE with under 2400 miles from CarMax. As soon as I started driving it, I noticed how the seats weren’t supporting my back and started to have back pain. This is after owning a Camry LE for 15 years that never gave me any problems. My question is, does anyone have advice for what cars offer the best seating and lumbar support for people with bad backs (in particular someone who has had a hip replacement and a spinal fusion)?

Thanks for your help.

I find an aftermarket memory foam lumbar support works for me. You might want to consider a thin gel seat pad with a tail bone cutout, works for some people. Costco has/had a good gel seat pad.

Edit: visit a truck stop, truckers know what works so truck stops have a good selection of pads.


Connie , same replies as your other threads. What might be fine for one person could be miserable for someone else. You should have at least sat in the thing for a while if you could not take it for a long test drive.

Maybe a upholstery shop can modify the seat but you will take a big loss if you trade now.

You might check with Carmax about a return with some penalty fee and then rent things until you find one that works.

This is a very personal thing! My wife does not like the seats in my Toyota, which are just fine for me.

However, truck drivers spend a lot of time behind the wheel ands most large truck stops have a variety of seat cushions.

The 2 worst cars I have ever owned were a 1957 Plymouth and a1971 Mercury Comet with the sleaziest seat ever encountered in a car, and that includes travel in 33 countries worldwide.

Some people say that the small crossovers like the RAV4 and CR-V are comfortable and easy to get in and out of, so you could try one of those. Renting one for a few days wouldn’t be a bad idea if you can’t test-drive one for that long.


Drove a RAV 4 and the seats are great! Also easy to get into. My friend bought one for his wife since her car, a Malibu was too low for her to get into due to her back problem.

There’s no right or wrong answer . . .

My scoliosis is such, that the lumbar supports actually HURT my back

If a car has them, I just put it to the fully flat position

And seats that have aggressively coutoured side bolsters also are not good for me

As I said in an earlier discussion . . . nobody has the same bad back

What’s comfortable for me might be excruciating for you . . .

Exactly the same for me, the flatter the seat back the better.
The seat in the truck I drive for work is nice and flat and firm and no side bolsters. No one else likes driving it, the say it’s to uncomfortable.

We have a couple trucks with the lumbar support and side bolsters, even with the lumbar support flat, I can hardly walk and my shoulders hurt after driving them.

Work keeps trying to give me a newer truck and don’t understand why I like the 20 year old one with the flat hard seat.


There is no way I can recommend a car or car-seat for YOU. That is so personal. I’ve seen people who find one car extremely comfortable, yet other people find the seats extremely uncomfortable. It’ so personal. Each person is different and fits and sits differently.

You have some after market options. Over the counter seat pads that sit on top of the seat. Of you can get new seats. Or have a seat custom fitted (very expensive route, but cheaper then a new car).

So, I believe your back is not in the best shape - just possibly a bit like mine…

Last year - I ended up having EXCRUCIATING back pain - could not work; I almost passed out from just trying to get into bed…

Anyway - when women give Birth - BREATHING is a big deal. Controlling the pain via breathing.

The Back doctor told me that my ‘core’ had gone ‘offline’; and that is why I was in EXCRUCIATING Back pain. They talked with me about just taking a light breath; and then gently letting it out - and AS I gently let it out - to move in the direction that I wanted to move. Small steps. So that got me in & out of bed PAIN FREE; and moving SLOWLY - pain free.

When I went back a week later - they told me to tighten my stomach muscles (abdomen) - WHENEVER I was lifting, or moving, or whatever. And I should try to always have my stomach muscles ‘tightened’.

This resulted in me being 100% PAIN FREE; and total movement. Been that way for a bit over a year; just recently had emergency surgery (gall bladder); and have been forced to be inactive. And am now noticing my back is starting to bother me. Mentioned it to my wife - “Hey, I got to start tightening those stomach muscles again… my back is starting to bother me with laying around to much…”

Anyway - I hope this might help you. I couldn’t do ANYTHING - the back pain was so severe. And of course in our daily life - bending over (rather than trying to kneel; or twisting the upper body; rather than pivoting the whole body - screws up one’s back. But possibly with some regulated breathing; and tightening your stomach muscles - you might find the vehicle seats - become a total non problem.

Thanks for the good advice! I appreciate it.

In case it applies to you, include consideration of how firm the cushion(s) are as you look at size/shape/angle/etc.

Some backs seem to do better with very cushion-y, pillow-y seats while my bad discs prefer firm ones.

Many people suffer back pain because of not having a good core (aka stomach muscles). Your Torso should be supported by your core. People who have bad or weakened cores - then the back takes over the role of supporting the Torso. The key to a healthy back is having a strong core.

Asking other people about seat comfort is tantamount to asking them what I should eat for dinner.
Just as different people have varying food preferences and/or food allergies, different people also have varying orthopedic problems.

While I know that this is not the answer that the OP is seeking, he/she needs to sit in the seats of possible candidates for purchase–for an extended period of time–in order to determine what is right for his/her spine.

I’d recommend peeking at other late models and try for a few days. Lightly used sedans are incredible buys right now, they depreciate like rocks.

I’d be curious what you ultimately do. If you like everything else about the car, I’d definitely try to aftermarket pads before getting rid of it.
I had a very similar situation, but it was with a Saturn and it was my butt that needed help! The normal daily driving didn’t do it but after 1-2 hrs on a long trip it was torture. I tried the pads and found one that made it comfortable again. I think there’s one that will work for you.