Effect of Neck Exercise on Sitting Posture in Patients With Chronic Neck Pain

Deborah Falla, Gwendolen Jull, Trevor Russell, Bill Vicenzino and Paul Hodges

Poor sitting posture has been implicated in the development and perpetuation of neck pain symptoms. This study had 2 purposes: (1) to compare change in cervical and thoracic posture during a distracting task between subjects with chronic neck pain and control subjects and (2) to compare the effects of 2 different neck exercise regimens on the ability of people with neck pain to maintain an upright cervical and thoracic posture during this task.  Fifty-eight subjects with chronic, nonsevere neck pain and 10 control subjects participated in the study.  Change in cervical and thoracic posture from an upright posture was measured every 2 minutes during a 10-minute computer task. Following baseline measurements, the subjects with neck pain were randomized into one of two 6-week exercise intervention groups: a group that received training of the craniocervical flexor muscles or a group that received endurance-strength training of the cervical flexor muscles. The primary outcomes following intervention were changes in the angle of cervical and thoracic posture during the computer task.The authors conclude that this study showed that people with chronic neck pain demonstrate a reduced ability to maintain an upright posture when distracted. Following intervention with an exercise program targeted at training the craniocervical flexor muscles, subjects with neck pain demonstrated an improved ability to maintain a neutral cervical posture during prolonged sitting.

Physical Therapy, Vol. 87, No. 4, April 2007, pp. 408-417

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