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The Spine – A Guide to the Positions of the Spine when Seated

Posted by / June 29, 2017 / Categories: Inside Recliners, Occupational Therapy

The spine is integral to all of our movement and as such it is hugely important that we look after it. Made up of 33 smaller bones, the spine – or vertebral column – runs down the middle of the back. It has a small amount of natural curve that is necessary to absorb pressure created by movement and gravity.

If these curves become too exaggerated or the position of the spine becomes misaligned with the centre of our back, it can be extremely painful and cause serious health problems both short and long term.

There are three separate forms of spine curvature disorder, each which can be brought on or significantly worsened by bad posture and an unnatural sitting position.


Otherwise known as swayback, Spinal Lordosis is an exaggerated inward curve in the lumbar – lower part of the spine. Sitting while suffering with lordosis can put excess pressure on your spine, making movement difficult and causing health issues such as a weak bladder, numbness and difficulty maintaining muscle control.

Common causes

  • Obesity
  • Lower back trauma
  • Heavy lifting
  • Osteoporosis (loss of bone density)


Spinal Kyphosis is a severe outward curve in the upper back, known as the thoracic part of the spine. This creates a hunch just below the neck with noticeable slouching and rounding of the shoulders. As well as leading to pain throughout the vertebrae, kyphosis can make breathing difficult by applying excessive pressure to the lungs.

Common causes

  • Muscle weakness
  • Slipped discs
  • Osteoporosis
  • Arthritis


Instead of curving inward or out, scoliosis involves curvature of the spine away from its natural line up the centre of the back. This is usually in a C or S shape, starting from the base of the spine at the pelvis. Scoliosis can cause intense back pain and put pressure on the lungs and other internal organs.

Common causes

  • Spinal injury

The reason for scoliosis is often difficult to determine with approximately 80% of cases having no identifiable cause. Instead the condition is usually genetic and often diagnosed in the first few years of a child’s life.

How to prevent spinal curvature disorders

The best way to ensure a healthy spine is through a sitting position that is comfortable and maintains a straight back. Chairs that are supportive and have effective pressure management encourage good posture, by limiting the forces exerted on the upper body, that with time can cause the vertebrae to disfigure. 

All of our recliners are built to provide maximum comfort and support, offering the best possible solution to the risk of spine curvature problems brought on by bad posture. For more information on the chairs we have available and how we can help to find a recliner that suits you, please do get in touch today.

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