Can Bad Posture Cause Neck and Shoulder Pain?


This article includes information about forward head posture and how it affects your neck, symptoms, and treatments. Forward head posture is fixable with some proper exercises and good posture.

What is Forward Head Posture?

Forward head posture is when holding the head out in front of the natural position over the cervical spine. This position puts a strain on the muscles and bones of the neck. Forward head posture can weaken muscles and cause potential posture and neck problems. 

A muscle that weakens and lengthens is the scapular stabilizers and retractors, such as the rhomboids, middle and lower trapezius, teres minor, and infraspinatus.

How Is Forward Head Posture Contributing To My Neck Pain?

Forward head posture can be a common problem for people who work from home or have a desk job. When you consistently strain those muscles, perhaps looking at a computer screen or sitting in an unsupported chair, this can cause neck pain to occur anywhere from severe neck pain to soreness.

Over time forward head posture can lead to muscle imbalances as your body tries to find other ways to hold your head up.

People are always on their phones or a computer you are more likely to hunch as you look down or at a screen. This can bring on hunch shoulders and a strained neck, eventually creating poor posture. Pain can even continue down into your back when staring down at a phone.

That poor posture can be caused by weak core or back muscles that contribute to your poor posture and shoulder and neck pain.

Read this blog to learn 3 tips for getting rid of general neck pain.


Consistently working on a computer, looking at your phone, and reading a book for a prolonged period of time can lead to chronic forward head posture.

Some other potential causes are sewing, weakness in the upper back muscles, whiplash or a spine injury, slouching or carrying a heavy purse.

Some symptoms associated with forwarding head posture may include pain and stiffness. This forward position puts extra pressure on the neck and increases the strain.

The stiffness can bring on headaches and myofascial trigger points. Myofascial trigger points are small bumps or nodules in your muscle that can come from overuse, stress, and other reasons.

with the help of exercises and some lifestyle changes forward head posture can be easily deterred.

Forward Head Posture Fixes

Some treatments for forwarding head posture can be done before you may need to take further action.

You may be able to position the screen at eye level, take breaks regularly, keep the mouse nearby, place the feet flat on the floor, and adjust the chair to support the lower back.

Use a firm pillow at night that supports the natural curve of the neck. If your pillow is too high or low your neck will be overextended causing your neck to be in a distressed position overnight.

Besides at-home lifestyle changes, physical therapy is a beneficial way to help deter this condition. Physical therapy can provide you with the resources and exercises you need to improve your neck and shoulder muscles.

Neck Pain Relief, Glendale

At Preferred Physical Therapy in Glendale, Arizona we are unlike any other clinic, we do not leave our patients in a room to complete their exercises alone not knowing if they are doing them correctly or not.

You get more than 15 minutes with your physical therapists and you get an hour one on one. Hands-on time and exercises tailored to your specific needs.

 Along with the exercises you get a personalized plan of care to help you reach your goals. Your plan is set to help you reach your goals and identify your problem’s root cause.

Listen to our podcast here to learn more about our clinic and how we’re different.

If you’ve been let down by other physical therapy clinics then give us a call at 623-486-3333 to learn more about what we do and how we can help you live a pain-free life, even if you’ve suffered from pain for years.


Nick Hunter, PT, DPT

You Might Also Like...