Do you know how to sit on your sofa to avoid back pain ?

Suffer from back pain? Discover how sitting impacts your body and learn how to practise good posture while relaxing.

According to our new research, the average Brit spends a whopping 44 days (that’s 1,060 hours) sat on the sofa each year. But keeping up with the latest drama series while relaxing on the couch could have more serious implications than a missed deadline or gym session, as one in four (24%) Brits admit to experiencing back pain at least once a day.

Exploring the nation’s relationship with their sofas, our recent study reveals that the average Brit spends 20 hours and 24 minutes relaxing on the couch per week, which means that throughout the course of a year, people spend just over 44 days sitting, lying or slouching on the sofa – which is over one month of the year!

With such a long time spent relaxing on this piece of furniture, it’s not only important to select one with optimum comfort and style for the home but to understand the best way to enjoy your relaxation time, without damaging your back, neck or shoulders.

Below we have analysed the nation’s favourite sofa sitting positions and highlight just how each impacts the body while providing tips on how to sit on your sofa without causing too much damage to your back.

The nation’s favourite sitting positions
Legs up on the sofa to the side of the body. Upper body twisted to face the TV/front of the room (27%)
Side and front illustrations of a woman with her legs up on the sofa to the side of her body.

The spine is twisted here, so being sat in this position for a prolonged period of time may cause some discomfort in either the back or the hips. This position would cause additional problems if the person had some restrictions in their spine or pelvis, putting more strain on the facet joints of the spine.

Slouching low in the seat with no lower back support with legs resting on another surface (25%)
Side and front illustrations of a man with bad posture slouching on the sofa with legs resting on a stool
This slumped posture creates a curve to the spine that causes the fluid to be moved to the posterior part of the intervertebral discs, potentially putting pressure on them. The neck and shoulder muscles have to work harder than normal to keep the head upright, which could eventually lead to muscular discomfort. Sustaining this posture will also eventually lead to weakening of the back and abdominal muscles, which in turn may cause back pain.
Slouching low in the seat with no lower back support and feet on the ground (17%)
Side and front illustrations of a woman with bad posture slouching low on the seat with feet on the ground.

Just like the boomerang position, the back curve here puts pressure on the spine, while making it harder for the neck and shoulders to support the head. Additionally, the thighs are not supported which would again put additional strain on the back.

The ideal sitting position for your posture

Despite these potentially troubling positions being some of the nation’s favourite, our research also revealed one in four (24%) are sitting exactly how we would suggest you should in order to prevent pain:

Feet flat on the floor, back fully supported by sofa/cushions
Side and front illustrations of a man with good posture sitting up straight on the sofa with feet flat on the floor to avoid back pain.

Here the body is in perfect alignment: head in line with shoulders and spine, and hips in a neutral position. While this is an ideal seating posture, sustaining it for a long time will eventually cause discomfort, purely because the body is designed to move. To avoid this, try getting up and walking around every now and then to break up the time and prevent you from slumping into some of the favoured positions which could cause pain over time.”

Fortunately most cases of back pain can be treated from home with pain relief, ice and heat therapy, and gentle exercises. You should make sure to keep your back mobile without aggravating the affected muscles or ligaments too much.

Although back pain usually isn’t serious, it’s important to be aware of symptoms which might indicate that you’ve got more than a minor sprain or strain. Here at Elite Performance Therapy we treat many clients suffering from too many hours sitting on the sofa – don’t wait until you’re in agony just give us a call!

As much as we love relaxing on the sofa after a long day, it’s quite shocking to see that it adds up to a month and a half each year ?!

If you require further information or would like to book an appointment, please get in touch

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