Does bad posture lead to pain?

As a physiotherapist, one often mentions the term 'posture'. Bad posture is mostly associated with people in pain and good posture is for people without pain. It does make me think, is it really that simple?


It's been a controversial topic for many years. The relationship between pain and posture is extremely difficult to determine. I hope to shed some light on the topic by using information from studies and fellow physiotherapists.


Assuming bad posture does cause pain, that brings us to the question of what do we mean by bad posture? Posture relates to the anatomical norms and how they relate to each other, in other words, the alignment of body parts. Bad posture would indicate a deviation of these norms. We have categories for bad postures. Examples include forward head posture, upper cross syndrome and lower cross syndrome to name a few.



What does the literature say about pain and posture. Extensive studies have been done to prove the relationship, but most have inconclusive results. A study published in 2017 found that a forward head posture was related to pain in office workers, however that was not the only influence on the pain. Other influences included high stress levels and poor ergonomic setups.

Forward head posture has also been established as a contributing factor to pain intensity and disability in adults aged 50 and older, in contrast to not having a lasting effect in adolescents. This was confirmed in a