Influence of forward head posture on scapular upward rotators during isometric shoulder flexion

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2010 Oct;14(4):367-74. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2009.06.006. Epub 2009 Jul 22.


We assessed the effects of forward head posture in the sitting position on the activity of the scapular upward rotators during loaded isometric shoulder flexion in the sagittal plane. Healthy volunteers (n = 21; 11 men, 10 women) with no history of pathology participated in the study. Subjects were instructed to perform isometric shoulder flexion with the right upper extremity in both the forward head posture (FHP) and neutral head posture (NHP) while sitting. Surface electromyography (EMG) was recorded from the upper trapezius, lower trapezius, and serratus anterior muscles. Dependent variables were examined by 2 (posture)×3 (muscle) repeated measures analysis of variance. Significantly increased EMG activity in the upper trapezius and lower trapezius and significantly decreased EMG activity in the serratus anterior were found during loaded isometric shoulder flexion with FHP. Thus, FHP may contribute to work-related neck and shoulder pain during loaded shoulder flexion while sitting. These results suggest that maintaining NHP is advantageous in reducing sustained upper and lower trapezius activity and enhancing serratus anterior activity as compared with FHP during loaded shoulder flexion.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Head*
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction*
  • Male
  • Movement
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Posture*
  • Rotation
  • Shoulder Joint / physiology*