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Can Bad Posture Cause Back Pain? Find Out with This Checklist

Can bad posture cause back pain? You know, the kind that begins as just a little twinge, then gradually disrupts your days and nights. The kind that makes you frustrated but determined not to join the 54% of American adults who’ve struggled with chronic back pain for five years or more. Before deciding what to do about it, discover what caused it.  

How Can Bad Posture Cause Back Pain? 

The National Library of Science confirmed years ago that your mother was right: poor posture can cause neuro-musculoskeletal pain. It can also affect your breathing, digestion, and susceptibility to injury.

The good news? Positive posture habits can reverse the damage — to a certain extent, and if implemented in time. Discover the root cause of your pain with this checklist. It’s meant to make you more conscious of how you’re walking, standing, sitting and sleeping in positions that aggravate your back pain so you can do something about it. 

Can Your Habits at Home Be Causing Back Pain?

Hunching forward while doing chores can cause back pain

Hunching forward while doing chores can cause back pain

If you’ve adopted these habits at home, they may be affecting your posture and causing back pain (and by the way – you’re certainly not alone.) Start by observing whether your back pain intensifies when you engage in these habits — and whether it subsides when you stop: 

  • Typing or reading in bed 
  • Lying on your stomach while typing, reading or watching TV  
  • Sitting for hours on a bed or soft surface with no back support 
  • Hunching forward during chores like gardening or dishwashing 
  • Pushing a vacuum cleaner with one extended arm 
  • Stooping, lifting, bending and scrubbing while cleaning floors and surfaces 
  • Sleeping on unsupportive mattresses and pillows that strain sensitive body parts 
  • Sleeping in positions that strain your back and joints 

Tempting as it may be, avoid working in bed at all costs (or your Flex Fridays will lead to stiff Saturdays). Doing so — especially on soft surfaces with no back support — can misalign your natural spine curvature.  

Regular exercise can improve your mobility and the blood circulation to your back muscles. But before you start running, jumping, bending, digging, weeding, or pulling — on the sports field or garden — make sure you stretch! 

How Can Bad Posture Cause Back Pain At Work?

Slouching over electronic devices can cause back pain

Slouching or hunching over electronic devices can cause back pain

We spend about a third of our lives working. So, it’s not surprising that much of our pain stems from poor posture in the workplace — whether that’s a desk, a retail counter, a warehouse or a vehicle. Check in on yourself hourly to see if your workday includes: 

  • Slouching or hunching while sitting over electronic devices 
  • Sitting for more than 4 hours without a walking or stretching break  
  • Twisting your waist to talk with co-workers stationed behind you 
  • Placing one foot on top of the other during conferences or meetings 
  • Holding your phone between your neck and your ear 
  • Bending over to lift heavy objects  
  • Wearing footwear with suboptimal cushioning or unsupportive high heels 

If you checked any of the habits above, try the tips below: 

  • Stand up and walk around once an hour to alleviate pressure on your spine 
  • Sit at a 90- to 100-degree angle perpendicular to your legs with shoulders back 
  • Support your back by properly adjusting your chair to the correct height and tilt 
  • Keep your knees slightly lower than your hips, and your butt at the back of your chair 
  • Place your screen at eye level and your wrists and forearms straight and level with the floor 
  • Try using a standing desk for a few hours every day 
  • Never pick up heavy items from a standing position or lift only with your back — use your legs and knees to support the item’s weight 
  • Take regular driving breaks to stretch and hydrate 

Neglecting your posture for years can lead to curvature abnormalities like Dowager’s Hump (painful excessive forward curvature) that’s common among desk workers, or Swayback (destabilizing excessive inward curvature) that’s common amongst professionals who look up for long periods. 

Could Your Favorite Leisure Activities Be Affecting Your Posture?

Playing sports barefoot can cause back pain

Playing sports barefoot can cause back pain

When Happy Hour hits, the last thing you’re thinking: is can bad posture cause back pain? But before you join the BFFs for that night on the town, quickly ask yourself whether you are: 

  • Pushing yourself to keep up with the speed or intensity that uncomfortable  
  • Playing sports barefoot, in flip-flops or unsupportive sneakers 
  • Shopping, site-seeing or dancing in shoes with insufficient arch support  
  • Carrying multiple shopping bags on your arms and shoulders   
  • Bending over repeatedly to view items on low shelves  
  • Waiting in lines with all your body weight on one leg 
  • Bending or twisting to get a better view of a concert or performance 

Lifting a few shopping bags or squeezing into a concert hall this weekend isn’t going to injure you, but years of repetitive twisted postures put pressure on your spine that can eventually lead to chronic back pain.  
After completing this checklist, you’ll likely no longer need to ask: Can bad posture cause back pain?  You may have concluded that it’s much easier to implement a few simple posture corrections today than it is to spend thousands of dollars and months repairing spine damage later. 

How Chiropractic Care Can Help Improve Your Posture

One of the most coveted chiropractic care benefits are correcting posture and reducing back pain. By delivering targeted adjustments to your back, shoulders, neck, and head, your Doctor of Chiropractic can help increase movement in your joints, reduce tension in surrounding muscles, and align your spine.  

These adjustments are paired with personalized in-clinic active therapies that build muscle memory, allowing you to maintain your improved alignment for long-lasting posture enhancement and pain management. 

Of course, no personalized care plan is possible without a thorough exam and a deep understanding of your: 

Expert clinical care teams work around your uniqueness and create a supportive patient community for your personal health and wellness journey

Ready to clear your poor posture checklist to resolve or prevent back pain?

Check in with your nearest Chiro One doc at one of our welcoming open-plan clinics across the country. They’ll perform a thorough exam to investigate the root cause of your pain, then personalize your care plan — a combination of gentle chiropractic adjustments and active therapies to get you feeling better longer.  
Find a Chiro One doctor near you 

Want to help someone you love to relieve lower back pain so you can enjoy each other more? Refer them to Chiro One here and get a thank you gift! 


Dr. Ziad Zayed

Chiro One Orland Hills, IL

Dr. Zayed is known as the DC that loves turning “non-believers” into a “believers.” He decided to become a chiropractor at the young age of seventeen, after losing his father to a massive heart attack caused by medication side effects. After completing his BS in biomedical science, he earned Doctor of Chiropractic from National University of Health Sciences, where he served as a clinical research assistant and participated in a randomized controlled pilot study.

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