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Is Binge Watching Breaking Your Back?

If you’re anything like most people, you prefer the couch to a stiff back chair when you’re watching Sunday football or your favorite shows or flicks at home. It goes without saying that you’re probably not concerned with sitting up straight while you’re lounging either. So, what’s the best way to relax so that it doesn’t turn into a pain in your back? 

Chances are when you sit on your couch, you're sitting in some type of a cockeyed, tucked pelvis position. On top of that, couches can be challenging because they can start to lose their support over the years. Also, couches are usually too low and too deep, meaning they are actually designed for people with very long legs!

If you’re shorter, one tip that can help you with this is to put a firm cushion behind your back, enough so that you can scoot all the way enough so that you can scoot all the way back and have the crease behind your knees at the front edge. Most people who do this end up with collapsed spines, since their backs do not have enough support.

Most people on a couch collapsed and looking relaxed with your back up against the side of the couch, legs stretched out. You might think Oh, that looks good-- just what I want to do now,” but if you were to sit (actually more like reclining) on the couch like that, your back would hurt pretty quickly. Some people may feel fine while on the couch, but as soon as they get up, they feel a nagging ache or a sharp pain. You can be pretty sure that how you were sitting caused that pain.

So you might consider that what you think is relaxed is actually stressed and tense. Next time you sink into one of those relaxed positions, really check in with your body. Are you truly relaxed, or is it just a familiar posture that you associate with relaxation? Then notice: how do you feel when you get up? That should give you some good clues to stop the pain in the future.

Sitting on your couch sets you up to:

  • tuck your pelvis, which means you're weight bearing on your sacrum and coccyx, bad news for your sacroiliac joints and pelvic floor
  • flex your lumbar spine, a position that increases the pressure on the discs in between your vertebrae)
  • outsource the work of your muscles to your couch, which decreases blood and lymph flow

A tip on how to avoid this is to pay attention to your posture while sitting on the couch or in your chair. Another good way to avoid damage to your body is to take frequent breaks. Get up and walk around during commercials or hit pause for a bathroom and snack break. These few tips can allow you to continue to do the relaxing you love in a healthier way! If you are having pain or would like to find out how chiropractic care can help you, contact our St. Louis office today: 314-678-9355. 

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