Most popular sofa seating positions revealed – is your favourite bad for your back?

Are you sitting comfortably? Experts reveal how sitting on your sofa could be bad for your health
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  • New research reveals the average Brit spends a staggering 44 days siting on the sofa every year. Pair this with the fact a quarter of Brits experience back ache every single day, there’s a possibility it could be how you sit on your sofa causing back pain.

    More specifically how you choose to sit on it.

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    ‘It is sustained postures that tend to lead to back pain,’ explains Chartered Physiotherapist and owner of Your Pilates Physio, Lyndsay Hirst.

    ‘As long as you get up regularly and change position, your risk of developing back problems from sitting on the sofa drastically reduces.’

    Is your sofa causing you back pain?

    Photo credit: David Brittain

    While lazing on the sofa is an enjoyable pastime, it could be having more serious health implications. As it’s revealed 24 per cent of the nation admits experiencing back pain at least once a day.

    The research, provide by Furniture Choice, also reveals the four key seating positions in which most people prefer when perching on the sofa. Expert Lyndsay assesses each position and explores how it affects the body.

    Which sofa position do you favour?

    Twisted – 27 per cent

    sofa causing back pain

    Photo credit: Furniture Choice

    This position sees the upper body twisted to face the TV, sitting with legs up on the sofa to the side of the body.

    ‘The spine is twisted here, so being sat in this position for prolonged time may cause some
    discomfort in either the back or the hips, ‘ explains Lyndsay. ‘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.’

    Boomerang – 25 per cent

    sofa causing back pain boomerang seating position

    Photo credit: Furniture Choice

    Slouching low in the seat with no lower back support, legs resting on another surface.
    ‘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’ she warns. ‘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.’

    Straight – 24 per cent

    sofa causing back pain straight seating position

    Photo credit: Furniture Choices

    Feet flat on the floor, back fully supported by sofa cushions.
    ‘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.”

    Slouched – 17 per cent

    sofa causing back pain slouched position

    Photo credit: Furniture Choices

    The slouched status sees you slouching low in the seat, with no lower back support and feet on the ground.
    ‘Just like the boomerang position, the back curve here puts pressure on the spine. 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,’ Lyndsey concludes.

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    Commenting on the findings, Interior Style Advisor at Furniture Choice, Rebecca Snowden says, ‘We’ll definitely be taking these tips on board. To make sure we’re getting the most out of our time on the sofa.’

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