Does Bad Posture Lead to Scoliosis?

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Scoliosis or better known as abnormal curvature of the spine typically curves into a ‘C’-shape or ‘S’-shape when look at from the back.


Since your back is curved and you tend to tilt to one side or one of your shoulders could be lower than the other, a common question pops up, “If I have poor sitting posture where I tend to lean on something, will I develop scoliosis?”.

The short answer is no. Scoliosis does not come from any types of sports involvement, backpacks, sleeping positions, posture, or minor leg length differences. (See What is Scoliosis)

The most common form is Scoliosis is Idiopathic Scoliosis, which basically means cause unknown. Recent research has found some genetic evidence linked to scoliosis. That means the reason why the spine curve is because it is genetically predisposed to do so. Not because of some external forces working on the spine to curve, like posture or heavy backpacks.

Because of the genetic nature of the condition, external non-evasive treatment like manipulation and exercise will not be successful. Unless the degree of curvature is severe, surgery is not necessary. In fact, often people with mild scoliosis do not experience back pain as a result of the curvature.

Only in cases of spinal curvature due to weakness or tightness of the muscles/joints surrounding the spine can external non-evasive treatments such as joint mobilisation and exercise be effective. However, this is not true scoliosis.

At the end of the day, move, stand up and take frequent breaks. There is no perfect posture that allows you to remain in a fixed position for long periods of time. And don’t let scoliosis stop you from exercising.