Recruitment of the deep cervical flexor muscles during a postural-correction exercise performed in sitting

Deborah Falla, Shaun O’Leary, Amy Fagan and Gwendolen Jull

Specific strategies to optimally facilitate postural muscles to retrain postural form are advocated in the clinical management of neck pain. The purpose of this study was to compare the activation of selected cervical, thoracic and lumbar muscles during independent and facilitated postural correction in sitting in 10 subjects with chronic neck pain. Deep cervical flexor (DCF), thoracic erector spinae and lumbar multifidus muscle activity was recorded.  Subjects were instructed to spontaneously “sit up straight” from a slumped posture without any other guidance from the therapist followed by the therapist providing specific manual and verbal facilitation to assist the patient to correct to an upright pelvic position with a neutral spinal lumbo-pelvic position. Activation of the DCF and lumbar multifidus muscles were significantly greater when the therapist facilitated postural correction compared to independent sitting correction. The results show that specific postural-correction strategies result in better facilitation of key postural muscles compared to non-specific postural advice and highlight the need for clinical skill and precision in postural training of patients with neck pain.

Manual Therapy, Volume 12, Issue 2, May 2007, Pages 139-143

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