How Can Poor Posture Result In Back Pain?

How Can Poor Posture Result In Back Pain?

Poor posture causes imbalances in the load on various parts of the spine. So, although poor posture doesn’t necessarily cause acute pain, over time, a poor posture can lead to stiffness, weakness, and stress on muscles, tissues, joints, and the discs in the spine. It can also cause nerve problems. Ultimately, poor posture can lead to problems with balance, headaches, and even difficulty breathing.  Read on to learn how and why poor posture often leads to back pain, and back problems.

What is Poor Posture?

A bad or poor posture is any non-neutral body position (asymmetrical). Examples of poor posture include:

Forward Head (Tech Neck)

This posture involves the head being in front of your body’s vertical midline. Today this posture is known as tech neck and text neck, referencing the hunched-over posture so many 

assume when on their cell phones, computers, and tablets. Pain typically starts in the neck before spreading to the shoulders and back. Failing to correct this bad posture puts patients at risk of chronic pain and muscle spasms. 

Kyphosis (Hunch Back)

Those who round their shoulders forward create an exaggerated curvature of the thoracic spine (upper spine). Kyphosis often affects patients with osteoporosis, arthritis, scoliosis, slipped discs in the spine, and those who have experienced an injury to the spine. Aging is also a common cause of kyphosis. The excess pressure this hunched posture puts on the spine causes back pain. If not treated, kyphosis can lead to breathing difficulties due to pressure on the lungs.

Poking Chin

This posture results from sitting on a chair that is too low for your desk or computer screen. Unsurprisingly, this posture is frequent among office workers.  A poking chin posture typically presents symptoms, including shoulder and upper back pain, neck pain, and headaches.


Unfortunately, some people are born with flatback, a condition caused by a loss of curvature in the lower spine. It may also result from arthritis, compression of the vertebrae in the spine, or degenerative disc disease.  A flatback posture results in people stooping forward.  Without treatment, a flatback posture will lead to back pain and make it painful to stand for long periods.


A swayback posture results from the pelvis being tipped forward.  This posture is commonly linked with low back pain. It also often occurs concurrently with kyphosis. In addition to causing back pain, untreated swayback can cause hip injuries, and neck and shoulder pain. It also has the potential to damage internal organs.  

Treatment for Back Pain Caused by Poor Posture

Back pain caused by poor posture can range from mild to severe. Fortunately, most back pain is resolved non-surgically. To get relief from back pain caused by bad posture, your pain management specialist will likely send you to physical therapy to begin the exercises necessary to improve your posture. In the interim, a variety of nonsurgical treatments may provide you with relief. Treatments may include a combination of injections, anti-inflammatory medications, or nerve blocks, coupled with specialized exercises that address the root cause of the problem (nerve, muscle, joint, etc.).

Get Help With Chronic Back Pain in Portsmouth, NH

Chronic back pain can destroy your quality of life. If you’ve been referred for help with chronic back pain, the American Pain Institute in Portsmouth, NH is here to help. Our specialists will determine the specific cause of your pain before designing a custom treatment plan to help you get relief.  Call 603-766-8500 or send us an email to schedule an appointment.