Causes of poor posture

Poor posture can be a large contributor to neck and back pain. Holding your body upright and with good alignment helps to take pressure off the spine. Excess pressure — caused by poor posture, extra weight and engaging in high-impact sports — accelerates the degeneration of the discs and joints in the spine that can lead to painful conditions like arthritis and herniated discs.

If you are dealing with any kind of neck or back pain, learning about the underlying causes of poor posture can be extremely useful as you search for relief. The following information can help you identify the issues that may be affecting you and help you take needed steps to improve your posture.

Poor posture — specific causes

The causes of poor posture can differ from person to person. A person working in a shipping warehouse lifting heavy boxes every day may develop posture problems due to lower back strain, while office workers may have posture issues in their shoulders from hunching over a computer desk each day.

However, there are some general causes of poor posture that can affect anyone, including:

  • Heredity. Some people are predisposed to conditions such as scoliosis, or the abnormal curvature of the spine. Uneven limbs, deformities or diseases inherited at birth can also contribute to improper posture.
  • Muscle imbalances. The strength of muscle groups, like the back and abdominal muscles, should balance each other. If the abdominals are stronger and tenser than the back muscles, rounding of the back is more likely to occur. If the back muscles are stronger than the abdominals, the lower back may pull too far forward, causing the stomach to protrude.
  • Weight. Much like muscle imbalances, excess weight carried on the body can cause lower back problems, as a larger, heavier midsection can pull the lumbar region of the spine forward.
  • Repetitive motions. Driving hunched over the steering wheel or leaning toward a computer screen day after day may contribute to a curved spine.
  • Injury. A previous injury may lead to poor posture if the body has adapted to carrying itself in a different way to avoid pain.

Correcting poor posture

Poor posture can be corrected, although it may be hard to break old habits. Posture support braces are available in varying styles and functions and can be worn to remind your body how to stand, sit and sleep correctly. A number of ergonomic cushions and pillows can also help you maintain posture and provide support throughout the day.

Posture correction can be an effective way to relieve neck and back pain caused by a spine condition when combined with a course of conservative treatments like physical therapy, hot and cold compression, medication and low-impact exercise. However, surgery can become an option if weeks or months of conservative treatment do not bring the relief you need for a good quality of life.

If you are considering surgery, reach out to Laser Spine Institute to learn more about our minimally invasive spine surgery that is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck or back procedures.^ To see if you are a potential candidate for one of our outpatient procedures, reach out to Laser Spine Institute today for a no-cost MRI review.*