Despite how comfortable you might feel sat on a couch, studies show that couches aren’t all that great for your back.
This means that whilst you might feel oh so comfortable with your feet tucked up beside your legs, leaning into the side of the couch as you cuddle a cushion - this won’t be comfortable for your back.
Soft couches are one of the biggest factors in back pain. Whilst hard chairs and seats like wooden dining chairs might seem like the less comfortable option compared to a couch, their built-in back support is much better for your back than any soft seat.
You know when your mom or grandma told you off for not sitting upright when you ate your dinner as a kid? Turns out they were right all along.
Humans were never designed to sit for long periods, but it has become something that we have evolved to do more often. This means that a lot of us aren’t actually sitting properly.
Soft couches encourage every part of your body to relax. This means your back will naturally sink into the position of the cushions, and your coccyx isn’t going to be elevated enough to support your spine as it also sinks into the couch.
When your muscles don’t support your spine properly, then it will cause back pain. This pain could be towards the bottom of your back, or by your shoulders in the form of knots.
This is because extended time sitting in seemingly comfortable positions is actually creating tension in the muscles in your back, which creates discomfort and pain.
Of course, there are more things you can do than try to improve your posture on a couch. Exercise is essential for loosening and strengthening the muscles that support your spine.
In some cases, lying on a couch is the only comfortable option for someone with extreme back pain. Just make sure not to get too comfortable!
Are deep couches bad for your back?
Unfortunately, deep couches are bad for your back. It might not make much sense, because couches are so comfortable to lounge on - but deep and soft couches might actually be causing your back problems in the first place.
The problem with deep couches is that they force you to sit further back than you should. This means you will naturally lean back into the couch, regardless of if your feet are still firmly on the floor.
We all know how to sit properly. Feet planted on the floor, knee-width apart. Back straight, neck elongated. Hips aligned. We also know how uncomfortable that position can be when we sit in it for a long time. Truth is, this position is only possible on furniture that allows us to sit like this.
Deep couches are not designed for good posture. Even if you think you’re sitting upright, your hips will have sunk into the sofa, which means your muscles won’t be supporting your spine.
Another problem with deep couches is that they begin to sink after some time. If they have been used for several years, the couch will naturally begin to sink towards the back of its frame, so it won’t be possible to sit upright on them.
Also, it makes them harder to get up from, which is also a contributing factor to back pain.
The only time when deep couches are deemed suitable for backs is when the person is struggling with back pain and they need to rest on a comfortable and cushioned surface. Apart from that, deep couches aren’t all that great for your back.
Seems a bit ironic, right? You buy this couch to provide some comfort to your life, and it repays you with back pain.
Of course, sitting on these couches won’t immediately give your back problems, but think about the different positions and the number of times you find yourself lounging on a couch.
If you find that your back is beginning to hurt, but you don’t want to get rid of your lovely couch, there are other ways to combat back pain.
You can sit on the edge of the sofa temporarily to straighten your back (with your feet on the floor and hips aligned), you can exercise to alleviate your tense muscles, and you can sit on appropriate chairs for the time being.
Why sitting on the couch is bad for you
Humans aren’t designed to sit for extended periods. The way we sit now is much different from how we should be sitting, and most of that is because of the way couches are designed.
Couches are incredibly comfortable to sit on. However, think about the shape of your spine as you sit down. It won’t be straight, no matter how hard you try, because the other muscles and bones that support the spine won’t be aligned with it because of the cushions.
Not only can sitting on a couch amount to back problems, but too much sitting can cause weight gain, high blood pressure, knee pain, shoulder pain, and neck pain. Because of the nature of gravity, too much sitting can also lead to swollen and thick feet and ankles.
This is because the calf muscles aren’t being used enough, so the blood and fat begin to pool around your feet.
Getting up from a couch can be harmful as well! Deep couches can be difficult to get up from - especially if you’re an elderly person or someone with an existing health condition.
Less active humans don’t have as high a mortality rate as active humans, which is why it is so important to get your body moving when you’re sat for long periods.
This includes walking around the house after sitting for 30 minutes, exercising, standing whilst working or on the phone, and stretching.
Of course, sitting on a couch can be the cure for some things in life, such as fatigue, injury, discomfort, and socializing. However, too much of it can damage your body more than you realize.