Mothers everywhere will tell you that your back pain is caused by bad posture. Stop slouching and you’ll feel better. It’s hard to argue with advice as straight forward and simple as that. To some extent it’s true. Posture can affect the alignment of our vertebrae and can lead to back pain. Fixing it, however, might not be as easy as making an effort to stand up straight.

Often our posture is affected by things in our environment. People who spend all day sitting at a desk in an office need to make sure that the monitor and desk heights are properly adjusted to allow good ergonomics. Looking up at the monitor or hunching over the keyboard can cause problems. Men often have spinal alignment issues caused by carrying a wallet in their back pocket. It seems like a trivial thing, but the wallet, generally carried in the same back pocket every day, lifts one hip higher than the other as they sit. Lower back pain or sciatica can be result. This can also be a problem for those whose job involves driving for extended periods of time or those with a long commute.

For those who stand all day at a retail counter or on an assembly line also need to pay attention to details to avoid back pain. Constantly turning to one side, reaching for parts from a bin for example, can lead to either misalignment or a repetitive motion injury. Leaning forward for protracted periods of time can both muscle pain in the back and spinal misalignment. The ergonomics expert in most workplaces will identify and correct many issues associated with the workplace environment, but some, like the placement of one’s wallet, are up to the individual.

One factor that is within individual control is the choice of shoes. Shoes should be comfortable and suited to the work environment, of course, but often uneven wear can cause lateral posture issues that go unnoticed until the pain starts. It doesn’t take much difference in the thickness of the sole or heel between the right and left shoes to cause a problem over time.

It’s important, especially if you have back pain issues to keep an eye on your shoes as they begin to wear to make sure they don’t wear unevenly. If they do, it’s time for a new pair, or time to get them resoled. A quality reconditioning with new soles and new liners will restore the height balance between the left and right shoes as if they were brand new eliminating one potential cause of back pain for those who spend most of the standing up.

While most of us realize that maintaining a good posture is important for back health, we often overlook the details and environmental factors until we begin experiencing back pain. By that time, professional medical treatment may be required, even after correcting the original cause.