Factors that cause poor unhealthy posture can be caused by the day-to-day effects of gravity on the body, personal, work, or sports injuries, illness, genetics, or a combination of these factors is also common. This leads to neck and back pain that leads to various musculoskeletal health issues. Achieving consistent healthy posture requires technique and practice. Practicing healthy posture is a physical fitness endeavor in which all the muscles support the skeleton in correct alignment that is stable and efficient and is present in stillness and in movement. Chiropractic treatment with massage and/or physical therapy can restore muscles back to optimal mobility and function.

Factors That Cause Unhealthy Posture

Factors That Cause Unhealthy Posture

Factors that cause posture problems like back pain is often caused by issues with the strength and flexibility ratio between the body’s muscle groups that hold the body upright.

Injury Muscle Guarding

  • After sustaining an injury, muscles can spasm to protect the injured and the surrounding area.
  • Muscle spasms can help keep injuries stable and protect them from worsening, but they can also limit movements and cause pain symptoms.
  • Prolonged muscle spasms can lead to weakened/vulnerable muscles creating an imbalance between the muscles that are guarding against the injury and those still working normally.
  • This can cause the body posture to shift to compensate.

Muscle Tension and Weakness

  • Muscle weakness or tension can develop when holding a prolonged position day after day or when doing daily tasks/chores in a way that places added tension on the body.
  • When certain muscle groups are weak or tense, posture will be affected.
  • Aches and pains begin to develop from the awkward positioning and the other muscles that have to work overtime.

Unhealthy Daily Habits

  • Compensation is when the body can still achieve its movement goal but with compromised and unhealthy alignment.
  • As the body compensates and accommodates muscle spasms, weakness, tension, and/or imbalance begin to present.
  • When this happens, the body may be forced to use alternate and less efficient patterns of muscle contraction and flexion.


  • Use of technology whether a computer, tablet, phone, or work with several devices in combination can slowly shift the body out of correct alignment.
  • Incessant texting can cause text neck to develop, which is a condition in which the neck is held in too much flexion, or forward bending, for a prolonged time.
  • Discomfort, trigger points, and pain symptoms will start to develop which leads to further posture problems.

Stress and Mental Health

  • Individuals that experience stress regularly and easily are factors that cause posture problems.
  • Stress can contribute to shallow breathing or overly-contracted muscles, causing the body to shift out of alignment.
  • Adjusting posture can help counter the stress effects.

Foot Wear

  • Footwear definitely affects posture.
  • Heels extend the body’s weight forward, which can cause hip and spinal misalignment.
  • Individuals can wear down the outside or inside of their shoes faster because of things like:
  • Weight-bearing habits.
  • Imbalanced kinetic forces will be translated up the ankle, knee, hip, and low back.
  • This can lead to pain and discomfort in any of these joints.


  • Sometimes factors that cause unhealthy posture are hereditary.
  • For example, Scheuermann’s disease – a condition in which adolescent boys develop pronounced kyphosis in their thoracic spines.
  • In cases such as these, it is recommended to work with the individual’s primary/specialist healthcare provider in conjunction with a chiropractic specialist team for treatment and management.

Chiropractic treatment can help individuals achieve and maintain proper posture through various massage therapies to release tightness and relax the muscles, decompression to realign the spine, adjustments to realign the body, and postural training through exercises and stretches to develop healthy postural habits.

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In, Tae-Sung et al. “Spinal and Pelvic Alignment of Sitting Posture Associated with Smartphone Use in Adolescents with Low Back Pain.” International Journal of environmental research and public health vol. 18,16 8369. 7 Aug. 2021, doi:10.3390/ijerph18168369

Korakakis, Vasileios, et al. “Physiotherapist perceptions of optimal sitting and standing posture.” Musculoskeletal Science & Practice vol. 39 (2019): 24-31. doi:10.1016/j.msksp.2018.11.004

Mansfield JT, Bennett M. Scheuermann Disease. [Updated 2022 Aug 21]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499966/

Mingels, Sarah, et al. “Is There Support for the Paradigm ‘Spinal Posture as a Trigger for Episodic Headache’? A Comprehensive Review.” Current pain and headache reports vol. 23,3 17. 4 Mar. 2019, doi:10.1007/s11916-019-0756-2

Mork, Paul Jarle, and Rolf H Westgaard. “Back posture and low back muscle activity in female computer workers: a field study.” Clinical biomechanics (Bristol, Avon) vol. 24,2 (2009): 169-75. doi:10.1016/j.clinbiomech.2008.11.001

Pope, Malcolm H et al. “Spine ergonomics.” Annual review of biomedical engineering vol. 4 (2002): 49-68. doi:10.1146/annurev.bioeng.4.092101.122107

Shaghayegh Fard, B et al. “Evaluation of forward head posture in sitting and standing positions.” The European spine journal: official publication of the European Spine Society, the European Spinal Deformity Society, and the European Section of the Cervical Spine Research Society vol. 25,11 (2016): 3577-3582. doi:10.1007/s00586-015-4254-x

Tinitali, Sarah, et al. “Sitting Posture During Occupational Driving Causes Low Back Pain; Evidence-Based Position or Dogma? A Systematic Review.” Human Factors vol. 63,1 (2021): 111-123. doi:10.1177/0018720819871730

Wernli, Kevin, et al. “Movement, posture and low back pain. How do they relate? A replicated single-case design in 12 people with persistent, disabling low back pain.” European Journal of Pain (London, England) vol. 24,9 (2020): 1831-1849. doi:10.1002/ejp.1631


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The information herein on "Factors That Cause Unhealthy Posture" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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