Hard day’s work, return home, crash on the sofa. You’ve earned the right to just flop, put your feet up and watch a bit of TV.
It’s good to have a bit of rest and relaxation, but studies suggest adults in Western countries spend up to 70% of their day sat on their backside. Thrown in the worrying stat that 80% of the UK will experience at least one lower back pain issue during their lives and Houston, we have a problem…
There has been progress, however, with employers recognising the good health of their workers is beneficial to all parties so ensuring there are good quality chairs, regular workstation assessments and advice on best posture practice has become essential for any company worth its salt.
The problems begin when we leave work and often lie with the springs, foam and fabric that make up your sofa. Back-related problems are increasing due to the lack of back support in modern sofas, resulting in poor posture habits and pain.
So, why is the very thing that is meant to provide you much-needed downtime and comfort now creating so many problems? Well, it wasn’t always that way. In Victorian times, chairs and sofas were designed to ensure people sat upright first and foremost with comfort very much secondary.
A stiff, unwelcoming sofa in today’s world would get short shrift from consumers, so the designs became soft, welcoming and comfy. The trouble is, soft and comfy inevitably encourages slouching and modern technology exacerbates the problem with TVs, smartphones, laptops all encouraging unnatural postures that – experts warn – will result in back problems and spine curvature in later life.
So, what’s the solution?
Buy a new sofa?
It’s one solution, but we don’t all have the money to buy what is often an expensive outlay. And besides, the issue with design persists –ergonomic sofas are few and far between because the demand just isn’t there.
Consumers want sofas that look great and are warm and welcoming, so that’s what manufacturers provide – it is a business, after all.
Our influences will be encouraged by home décor, colour, size and shape – it could be only certain types of sofa will fit in a doorway or go up to a first-floor room. It might be that there is only a specific amount of space and that only certain colours will work – all the time, the choice is narrowing. The question of ‘Is this good for my back?’ is way down the list – if on it at all.
What if I change the way I sit?
Good idea – but you’d be surprised how hard it actually is to do.
We are creatures of habit and entrenched in routine – this most certainly extends to how and where we sit. We have our favourite spot on the sofa or armchair and then we settle in – it’s human nature and as an experiment, if you have a family, note down who sits where and how often. You’ll find a similar pattern recurring over and over.
Regularly sitting in the same place means cushions mould themselves into your particular shape over time and therefore become less and less supportive. This encourages poor posture habits, maybe down to the angle you sit at when you watch TV or several other possibilities that all become the norm and cause weakness and strain on your joints and damage soft tissue which lead to aches and pain.
NHS advice suggests we should sit with our knees level with our hips to avoid back pain, with your lower back correctly supported and your feet flat on the floor. But how many of us really sit like that? Next time you sit on the sofa, just spend a moment to really think about the way you sit. Are your legs crossed? Do you bend your legs and put them up on the couch? Do you lie down? Is your back curved? You’re probably not doing all of these things, but likely at least one and perhaps more and while you may not have any issues at the moment, you will do over time.
So, what should I do?
Don’t worry – help is at hand.
If your sofa is too deep and the cushions you’re using to prop yourself forward ineffective, the Sittingwell® cushion can provide the ideal solution.
The added lumbar back support integrated within it offers the support your back needs and where it needs it the most. Using the Sittingwell® cushion will help to prevent you slumping too. Launched in August 2016, the Sittingwell® cushion was more than five years in the making and was created to reach and provide support to the parts of your back that need it the most.
Click here for more information about the Sittingwell® cushion