Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin. But if you're sitting on a nice squishy sofa, this might make for uncomfortable reading.

While your soft, low, deep, modern sofa might look beautiful and feel amazing to sink into, it's actually bad for you.

Specialists are seeing an epidemic of problems - ranging from back, hip and hamstring pain to digestive complaints - all caused by our desire to be swallowed by a squashy sofa.

And not only have our sofas become squishier, we're also spending longer slumped on them, thanks to addictive box sets such as Game Of Thrones and on-demand TV services such as Netflix.


According to experts, we're so gripped to the screen that we're having less sex than previous generations - and, of course, all that time we're not spending in bed is generally spent sprawled on the sofa.

"We now frequently see patients suffering from back pain who admit that long periods of sitting at home on sofas in poor postural positions has both caused their pain or injury and slows down their recovery," says physiotherapist Richard Evans, from Northamptonshire's Back and Body Clinic. "And this number has definitely been on the rise since the fashion for squishier sofas started."

Mr Evans points out that the average adult in the UK spends between 55 and 70 per cent of their day in a sedentary position - around 13 hours, not including sleeping.

But while we already know that spending too long sitting down is no good for us in the long-term, how we sit can be just as bad.

"Many modern-day sofas might look incredibly comfortable and provide a "wow" factor. But the reality is that these styles offer nothing but lose-lose options of how to sit.

"You can either curl up with your knees to one side and your spine curved in an S shape; or you can adopt the C-shape spine option, where you sit so far back that your spine is slumped and your feet barely touch the floor.

"Sitting in either position, over time, builds up the pressure on your discs, muscles and ligaments, increasing both the chances of back, neck, hip, knee, shoulder and sciatic pain."

And that's not to mention digestive problems caused by slumping during or straight after a meal - such as gastro-oesophageal disease, where stomach acid flows upwards, causing discomfort and the risk of inflammation.

To avoid back pain, sit with both feet on the floor, your knees at or just below hip level and your back well-supported.