Establishment of a novel rehabilitation program for patients with dropped head syndrome: Short and intensive rehabilitation (SHAiR) program

J Clin Neurosci. 2020 Mar:73:57-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2020.01.046. Epub 2020 Jan 24.


The pathophysiology of dropped head syndrome (DHS) remains unknown, and its treatment algorithm and indication are not standardized. Here, we established a novel rehabilitation program, short and intensive rehabilitation program for DHS (SHAiR program), consisting of cervical paraspinal muscles exercise, range of motion exercise, cervical and thoracic mobilization, deep cervical flexor muscle exercise, hip lift exercise, anterior pelvic tilt exercise, and walking exercise. The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical effectiveness of this program. We reviewed clinical outcomes for five consecutive patients with DHS who underwent the SHAiR program (SHAiR group). The outcomes were compared with those of other five patients with DHS who received exercise instruction (control group). Demographic data, the duration from onset of DHS, the apex of sagittal kyphosis on the lateral radiographs, and clinical outcomes including the ability to maintain normal horizontal gaze, chin brow vertical angle, and numerical rating scale (NRS) were evaluated at the initial visit and final follow-up at 7.5 months. There was no significant difference between the two groups in terms of demographic and radiographic data. The ability of horizontal gaze and NRS of cervical pain improved rapidly for all five patients in the SHAiR group as compared to no improvement for all patients in the control group. Rehabilitation for DHS was considered effective not only for localized rehabilitation such as exercise for training cervical extensor muscle function but also exercises for thoracolumbar posture improvement and the psoas muscle.

Keywords: Cervical spine; Dropped head syndrome (DHS); Global spinal alignment; Rehabilitation; Short and intensive rehabilitation program for DHS (SHAiR program).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kyphosis / diagnosis
  • Kyphosis / physiopathology
  • Kyphosis / rehabilitation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Weakness / diagnosis
  • Muscle Weakness / physiopathology
  • Muscle Weakness / rehabilitation
  • Muscular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Muscular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Muscular Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Neck Muscles* / physiopathology
  • Neck Pain / diagnosis
  • Neck Pain / physiopathology
  • Neck Pain / rehabilitation
  • Paraspinal Muscles / physiopathology
  • Posture / physiology
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Syndrome
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult