Background: Postural disorders change muscle activity and lead to musculoskeletal dysfunction.
Objectives: to evaluate the effect of an 8-week corrective exercise program on posture, muscle activity, and neck range of motion (ROM) in subjects with forward head posture (FHP).
Design: Randomized controlled trial.
Methods: 36 healthy male with FHP participated in this study, who were divided randomly in two equal control (age; 21.34±2.06 years, height; 177.02±4.7 cm, weight; 64.2±8.4 kg) and exercise (age; 21.69±1.71 years, height; 173.94±3.81.0 cm, weight: 62.93±12.99 kg) groups. the exercise group received an 8- week exercise protocol. The control group did not attend in a regular training protocol. Forward head angle measured with the photography method. Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) activity was recorded with surface EMG and neck ROM acquired by universal goniometer before and after an 8-week exercise program.
Results: T-test results showed SCM activity (59.41% ↓, P= 0.02) and FHP (15.74% ↓, P= 0.00) decreased significantly while neck flexion ROM (16.47% ↑, P= 0.00), rotation to right(15.34% ↑, P= 0.00) and rotation to left (14.00% ↑, P= 0.01) increased significantly after the 8-week exercise program. The calculated effect sizes for these findings were large.
Conclusion: The 8-week corrective exercise decreased muscle activity of superficial neck flexors, improved head posture, and prompted neck flexion ROM. Based on these findings we propose that an 8-week corrective exercise may be implemented as a practical method in managing forward head posture.