Can A Sofa Cause Back Pain?

Good Posture with Sittingwell back support cushion

‘Ergonomic‘ – a term that is widely used in the workplace and in marketing in general. When something is ergonomically designed it has you, your body shape and health and safety in mind. Ergonomics are viewed as really important, particularly at work, but what about when you go home?

This is an area that we think is sadly lacking in general home furniture design.  Your sofa could indeed be contributing to your back pain.

The problem in so many cases of musculoskeletal (body aches and pains) pain are entirely preventable. Yes accidents, falls, sporting injuries and illness occur. What we are referring to is the slow and steady insidious build up of postures and movements that can lead to back pain. It’s not what you do, it is the way that you do it!

How Long Do We Sit For In a Day?

Have you reflected/noticed your posture when sitting, driving, standing, walking and generally going about your day? Movement and changing your posture are important.  We are not expecting you to hold yourself in the ‘perfect posture’ all of the time.  However the way you do these things all plays a part in the health of your spine and your chances of developing some form of back pain.  Westerners spend 55-70 % of each day just sitting.  That’s at least 12 hours every day!  The way that you do it is crucial. For the purposes of this article though we shall focus purely on your question of  ‘Can a sofa cause back pain?’

Man slouching on a sofa highlighting how bad it is for you. All for an article advising the qualities of a good sofaSitting, slouching on the sofa may feel comfortable at the time.  Please note note that it may for many years, but there could well be changes that are going onbehind the scenes in your spine as a result (Find out more about the changes happening in the spine when you slouch).

An article in the Daily Mail in July 2015 highlighted that 1 in 5 people experience back pain as a direct response to sitting on their sofa. That is a lot of unnecessary back pain. You are not entirely to blame either, not all sofas are built to the right dimensions for you to be able to sit in them properly either.

So how well does your sofa stack up to ergonomic design?

If you are getting twitchy right now thinking that this is going to eliminate all comfort when you are chillaxing don’t worry, you can still have a sofa that supports you and is comfortable to sit on… just bear with us for the moment.

So what should you look for in a sofa?

  1. Back Pain Good Sofa Posture copyWhen you are sitting on your sofa your hips should be positioned above your knees or at least level. Is your sofa seat high enough?
  2. You should be able to sit into the back of your sofa and place your feet on the ground. Your sofa should not be so deep that the seat is digging into the back of your knees, or that you can only have your legs outstretched in front of you. Can you sit against the back of your sofa with your feet on the ground?
  3. Your sofa/couch should be supportive whilst still having a softness to it. It doesn’t need to be as solid as an office chair. What you want to avoid is disappearing into it because the foam is too soft and marshmallow like.  This will not be supporting your body and may be contributing to discomfort. How soft is your couch?

What to do if you suspect your sofa is contributing to your back pain.

If your sofa doesn’t have any of these plus points I would put money on you sitting in a slouched c-shaped position, which could be putting pressure on the discs, muscles and ligaments at the base of your spine.

There may also be ways that you can make your situation a whole lot better. After all, if more than one of you live in the same house your heights may vary from 2ft-7ft. In those situations there won’t be a sofa that will suit everyone so trying to find a best fit for both or making adaptations for one person with the sofa you do have may be enough to reduce the strain on your back.

Hold off on getting rid of your sofa just yet if it could be the cause of your back pain we have written an article covering our top 3 sofa back supports we hope this help you to find a cheaper solution.