Effects of Verbal Cue for Scapular Depression During Scapular Posterior Tilt Exercise on Scapular Muscle Activities and Clavicular Tilt Angle in Subjects With Rounded Shoulder Posture and Upper Trapezius Myofascial Pain

  • Choi, Sil-ah (Applied Kinesiology and Ergonomic Technology Laboratory, Dept. of Physical Therapy, The Graduate School, Yonsei University) ;
  • Cynn, Heon-seock (Applied Kinesiology and Ergonomic Technology Laboratory, Dept. of Physical Therapy, The Graduate School, Yonsei University) ;
  • Shin, A-reum (Applied Kinesiology and Ergonomic Technology Laboratory, Dept. of Physical Therapy, The Graduate School, Yonsei University) ;
  • Kim, Da-eun (Applied Kinesiology and Ergonomic Technology Laboratory, Dept. of Physical Therapy, The Graduate School, Yonsei University)
  • Received : 2017.08.10
  • Accepted : 2017.09.11
  • Published : 2017.09.17


Background: Scapular posterior tilt (SPT) is important in the prevention of abnormal scapular movement and pain during elevation of the arm. However, previous studies have overlooked increased upper trapezius (UT) muscle activity interrupting the normal force couple of scapular motion and compensation of levator scapulae (LS) muscle activated simultaneously with UT during SPT exercise. Objects: The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of modified SPT with depression exercise versus SPT exercise on serratus anterior (SA), lower trapezius (LT), UT, and LS muscle activities and the clavicular tilt angle, in subjects with rounded shoulder posture (RSP) and myofascial pain in the UT muscle region. Methods: Eighteen subjects with RSP were recruited and randomly allocated to 2 groups; 9 in the SPT group and 9 in the SPT with depression group. All subjects met the specific RSP criteria and had myofascial pain of UT region. Depending on the allocated group, subjects performed the assigned SPT exercise and EMG data were recorded during the each exercise. Clavicular tilt angle was defined as the angle between the line joining the medial and lateral end of the clavicle and a horizontal line. Results: The SA muscle activity was significantly greater in SPT with depression than with SPT exercise (p<.05). The UT, LS muscle activity and the clavicular tilt angle was significantly lower in SPT with depression than with SPT exercise (p<.05). Conclusion: These findings were insightful because the potential risk of pain from overactivation of the UT and LS was considered, in contrast with SPT exercise. SPT with depression exercise can be implemented as an effective method to facilitate scapular muscle activity for stability and to prevent myofascial pain in the neck and shoulder.


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