Does ‘bad posture’ cause pain?

By Reiss C. Gridley, B.Sc.

Does bad posture cause pain

Against popular belief the answer is no. Whether its slouching over a computer (like i am now whilst writing this) or having rounded shoulders, or too much or too little lower back curve. It doesn’t matter when it comes to pain.

In a review of 50 research articles the evidence does not support an association between spinal curves (posture) and spinal health including spinal pain (Christensen and Hartvigsen, 2008).

Its also VERY hard to measure peoples posture. An article by Schmidt et al. said that ‘It can be concluded that standing is highly individual and poorly reproducible.’ This means that everyone stands differently and the same person doesn’t stand the same way when tested again. Another study found that over a 24 hour period the same person can stand up to 8 degrees in difference. So its very hard to know what the perfect way to sit or stand is.

There are times when posture is important. An example of this is when someone is bending forwards to avoid back pain or leaning towards one side because of leg pain. If these ‘pain postures’ are left untreated it can affect the normal function and movement of the spine and body. This in turn can make the pain become long standing and chronic.

Scoliosis (side ways curve) of the spine could be seen as a ‘bad posture’ but it’s more of a medical condition. This needs to be treated early on in life but can still be treated without surgery later on in life.

If you’re suffering with pain, or have scoliosis, or just want a better posture. Please get in contact with us below.


Christensen ST, Hartvigsen J. Spinal curves and health: a systematic critical review of the epidemiological literature dealing with associations between sagittal spinal curves and health. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2008;31(9):690–714.

Schmidt H, Bashkueva M, Weertsa J, Graichena F, Altenscheid J, Maier C, Reitmaier S. How do we stand? Variations during repeated standing phases of asymptomatic subjects and low back pain patients. Journal of Biomechanics 2018; 70: 67-76.

Dreischarf M, Pries E, Bashkueva M, Putzier M, Schmidt H. Differences between clinical “snap-shot” and “real-life” assessments of lumbar spine alignment and motion – What is the “real” lumbar lordosis of a human being? Journal of Biomechanics 2016; 49(5): 638-644