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Posted by Bethaney Wallace on February 06, 2014
Sitting on the couch – or the idea of it – is about as American as it can get. Whether relaxing after a long day at work, catching up with an old friend, or tuning into your favorite shows, it’s common to do so while sitting on the couch. And why not? It’s comfortable, it’s cozy, and often a focal point of the room. Couches also point at TVs, they draw folks in for conversation, and it’s a popular way to tie a room together. It’s simply a part of the way we live.
But what if that same beloved hobby, sitting on a favorite piece of furniture, is causing aches and pains? Believe it or not, your couch, the same one on which you spend so much time, can contribute to muscle pain. If not properly supporting your body, the couch can do far more harm than good. Like displacing your weight, or putting unnecessary pressure on the spine or hips. Though comfortable at the time, a worn-out couch can lead to pain, poor posture, and underlying medical causes. And the longer a sagging couch is used, the more severe its effects can become.
There’s also plenty to be said for the way you sit on the couch. Resting without neck support, slumping one’s shoulders, or sitting lopsided for hours on end can do equal amounts of damage on their own. Even if the couch is proper condition. Which is why it’s important to consider posture and length of sitting time should pains or aches begin to take place.
Whether sitting, napping, or lounging, all of the following side effects can take place with a worn or unsupportive couch. If you’re experiencing one or more symptoms on a regular basis, it may be time to replace your couch. You should also talk to your doctor to make sure the symptoms aren’t caused from an underlying or more serious cause.
When looking into your couch’s health, there are a few simple tells. First, step back and see if the couch sags in the middle. Slight sags or indentions will take place naturally over time, while severe ones should be cause for concern. (Though many can be fixed with a simple spring-boosting contraption or added stuffing.) Also take the couch’s lifespan into account; newer couches should hold up better, while older ones will be more likely to sag. If couches sag too quickly, this can be an added cause for concern.
Next, check for lumps or uneven stuffing, as it should be level and free from bumps or divots. Finally, take pillows into consideration. Though throw pillows aren’t for everyone, they can add serious neck or leg support when needed.
If you find that your couch is on its last leg, it may be time to shop for a new one. Or, if the upholstery is still in place, see if the piece can be repaired or made more body-friendly. Local repair workers can replace or fix cushions, while some parts can be ordered from the manufacturer.
Now that the culprit has been determined, it’s time to take steps to reduce those pains. If new furniture isn’t necessary (or in the budget), look to simple, at-home fixes. For instance, reducing the number of hours spent on the couch or sitting up straight while doing so. Implementing cushions or support features can also greatly reduce medical issues associated with posture. Look to rear cushions, leg rests, back wedges, and more to create a comfortable, pain-free sitting situation.
Whether long-term sitting or bad posture is causing your couch-related pains, there is plenty that can be done about it. Talk to your doctor or look for products that can reduce symptoms without reducing your way of life.