Need of postural training for patients with neck pain
Specific strategies to optimally facilitate postural muscles to retrain postural form have been advocated in the clinical management of neck pain. Falla D. O'Leary S, Fagan A, Jull G (2006) had looked into the recruitment of the deep cervical flexor (upper neck forward bending) muscles during a postural-correction exercise performed in sitting. The purpose of the study was to compare the activation of selected cervical (neck), thoracic (upper back) and lumbar (low back) muscles during independent and facilitated postural correction in sitting in 10 subjects with chronic (long-standing) neck pain. Deep cervical flexor (DCF)muscle activity was recorded with custom electrodes inserted via the nose and fixed by suction to the posterior mucosa of the oropharynx. Surface electrodes were placed over the thoracic erector spinae and lumbar multifidus muscles. Root-mean-square EMG amplitude was measured for each muscle across two conditions. In the first condition, subjects were instructed to spontaneously "sit up straight" from a slumped posture without any other guidance from the therapist. In the second condition the therapist provided specific manual and verbal facilitation to assist the patient to correct to an upright pelvic position with a neutral spinal lumbo-pelvic position. Activation of the DCF and lumbar multifidus muscles (P<0.05) were significantly greater when the therapist facilitated postural correction compared to independent sitting correction. Specific postural-correction strategies result in better facilitation of key postural muscles compared to non-specific postural advice. The results of this study highlight the need for clinical skill and precision in postural training of patients with neck pain.