There is no one answer to this, though there are some factors that will have more of an influence on the function of your spine than others. One of the major causes of increased stresses on the joints of the spine is your posture. This is something that will have an effect every day of your life. Some other factors include motor vehicle accidents or falls; improper lifting; long periods of sitting; improper sleeping conditions or habits; occupational hazards; lack of rest; lack of exercise; obesity; and even an inherent spinal weakness.
Basically, anything that places undue or unbalanced stress on the spine can lead to a tightening of the supporting ligaments and muscles of the spine. When the joints of the spine are not moving correctly, it is referred to as a spinal subluxation by chiropractors.