To Slouch or Not to SlouchPhysical therapists (PTs) believe that the forward position of the head and neck affects shoulder movement. Shoulder pain often comes from a problem called subacromial impingement syndrome (SIS). PTs use a program of postural exercises for SIS, but there's no proof that this method works. This study examines the effect of changing posture on shoulder motion.
SIS occurs when the arm is raised up overhead. Soft tissue structures get pinched between the shoulder and the acromion. The acromion is a curved piece of bone located over the top of the shoulder. By restoring normal posture PTs hope to reduce the symptoms of SIS.
Two groups of subjects were studied. One group of 60 adults had no problems with their shoulders. The second group of 60 adults had a known case of SIS. A photograph was taken from the side of each person to show the angle of a forward head posture. Shoulder range of motion was measured for everyone. Pain levels were recorded for the subjects with SIS.
Taping of the spine and scapula(shoulder blade) was done on everyone. In the treatment group taping was done to correct the forward posture. In the placebo group, tape was applied to the same places but without correcting the person's posture. Everyone was photographed again for before and after comparison.
The authors report no change in motion or posture with the placebo taping. Taping with a changed posture for the SIS group did make a difference in shoulder range of motion but not pain levels. There's still no evidence that taping makes a difference on posture during movement.
Jeremy S. Lewis, PT, PhD, et al. Subacromial Impingement Syndrome: The Effect of Changing Posture on Shoulder Range of Motion. In Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. February 2005. Vol. 35. No. 2. Pp. 72-87.
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