The effect of a scapular postural correction strategy on trapezius activity in patients with neck pain

Man Ther. 2010 Dec;15(6):562-6. doi: 10.1016/j.math.2010.06.006. Epub 2010 Jul 21.


Extensive computer use amongst office workers has lead to an increase in work-related neck pain. Aberrant activity within the three portions of the trapezius muscle and associated changes in scapular posture have been identified as potential contributing factors. This study compared the activity (surface electromyography) of the three portions of the trapezius in healthy controls (n = 20) to a neck pain group with poor scapular posture (n = 18) during the performance of a functional typing task. A scapular postural correction strategy was used to correct scapular orientation in the neck pain group and electromyographic recordings were repeated. During the typing task, the neck pain group generated greater activity in the middle trapezius (MT) (p = 0.02) and less activity in the lower trapezius (LT) (p = 0.03) than the control group. Following correction of the scapula, activity recorded by the neck pain group was similar to the control group for the middle and lower portions (p = 0.09; p = 0.91). These findings indicate that a scapular postural correction exercise may be effective in altering the distribution of activity in the trapezius to better reflect that displayed by healthy individuals.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electromyography / methods
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Neck Pain / therapy*
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Posture
  • Prone Position*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Rotation
  • Scapula*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult