Sitting on the Sofa

Man and child sitting on the sofa, reading. Both are slouched with heads going down

Sitting on the sofa can be a recipe for slouching. The seat looks inviting but slouching can put a lot of pressure on the lower back and neck.

Top Tip for Better Posture – Cushions

What will help the posture? Let’s look at the seat depth. Most sofas have quite a deep seat. This is great for lying down but not ideal for sitting, especially if you don’t have long legs.

Top tip: put a cushion – or two or three – against your UPPER back. Most people would put a cushion at the lower back. But whilst this might feel nice, it can still lead to slumping. Support for the upper back helps keep the pelvis and the spine more upright. In turn, the head will also be better balanced over the spine, reducing pressure on the lower back.

How many cushions? This depends how deep the sofa is and how plump the cushions are. Grab what’s around and experiment. Aim to feel supported so that you’re upright, not leaning back or curving forward. You want to feel comfortable.

Top Tip for Reading Posture – More Cushions

In the photo above, the man is nodding his head down to look at the laptop screen. He could angle his eyes down to look at the screen rather than the whole head.

Alternatively, he could put a cushion or padded tray under the laptop to raise the screen. This is also a good idea for propping a book up.

Ideally, it’s better not to sit too long at the sofa if you need to do a lot of typing. This tends to be a recipe for poor slumped posture and could lead to neck strain and back pain.

Sofa Height

Sofas are often quite low. For a taller person, their knees can end up being higher than their hips when sitting. This tips the pelvis backwards and puts pressure on the lower back.

Options are to sit on a cushion to raise the height, to lie down or to have a something the same height as the sofa seat in front of the legs. Here you can have your legs lengthened out, perhaps with a cushion under your knees to keep the knees slightly bent.

Getting up from a low chair

This can be quite tricky, especially for some older people, taller people or anyone with dodgy knees.

Top tip: bring yourself to the front of the sofa before getting up. Here, you’ll get a bit of purchase against the frame of the sofa to give you something to push up from, rather than a saggy cushion.

Posted in Back Pain, Posture, Top Tips and tagged , , , .

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  1. Pingback: Zooming and Back Pain - Art of Posture. Alexander Technique South London.

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