A Comparison of Two Forward Head Posture Corrective Approaches in Elderly with Chronic Non-Specific Neck Pain: A Randomized Controlled Study

J Clin Med. 2023 Jan 9;12(2):542. doi: 10.3390/jcm12020542.


Forward head posture (FHP) is a common postural displacement that is significantly associated with neck pain, with higher risks of having neck pain in female and older populations. This study investigated the effect of two different forward head posture (FHP) interventions in elderly participants with poor posture and non-specific neck pain. Sixty-six elderly participants with a craniovertebral angle (CVA) < 50° were randomized into either a Chiropractic Biophyics® (CBP®) or a standardized exercise based FHP correction group (Standard Group). Both groups were treated for 18 sessions over a 6-week period. A 3-month post-treatment follow-up was also assessed with no further interventions. The CBP group received a mirror image® exercise and a Denneroll™ cervical traction orthotic (DCTO); the standard group performed a protocol of commonly used stretching and strengthening exercises for the neck. Both groups received 30 min of their respective interventions per session. The primary outcome was the CVA, with secondary outcomes including pain intensity, Berg balance score (BBS), head repositioning accuracy (HRA), and cervical range of motion (CROM). After 18 sessions (6 weeks later), the CBP group had statistically significant improvement in the CVA (p < 0.001), whereas the standard group did not. In contrast, both groups showed improved functional measurements on the BBS and HRA as well as improved pain intensity. However, at the 3-month follow-up (with no further treatment), there were statistically significant differences favoring the CBP group for all outcomes (p < 0.001). The differences in the between group outcomes at the 3-month follow-up indicated that the improved outcomes were maintained in the CBP group, while the standard group experienced regression of the initially improved outcomes at 6 weeks. It is suggested that the improvement in the postural CVA (in the CBP group but not in the standard group) is the driver of superior and maintained pain and functional outcomes.

Keywords: craniovertebral angle; exercise; forward head posture; neck pain; orthotic.