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Abstract

Objectives: Aberrant activity of the trapezius muscle and associated postural abnormalities have been identified as potential factors for neck pain in computer users, thus postural correction is often advocated. The purpose of this trial was to examine the effect of specific scapular postural correction exercises on middle and lower trapezius activity. Methods: Sixty participants matched for the duration of daily computer use were included in the study. Twenty had no neck pain and exhibited “good” scapular posture (constituting Control group C), while forty reported pain (Neck Disability Index ≥ 15/100) for ≥ 3 months over 12 month period. The latter were randomly allocated to one of the two groups (A and B). Electromyographic recordings were taken from the middle and lower trapezius at rest and during typing. After 20-minutes of typing participants in group A (n=20) practiced scapular postural correction exercises while participants in group B (n=20) relaxed. Electromyographic recordings were repeated in a second typing task. Results: Following correction of the scapular posture in group A, middle trapezius activity became similar to the control group (P = 0.229) with no effect on lower trapezius activity (P < 0.001). Significant normalization did not occur after relaxation exercises (P = 0.004). Conclusion: Intermittent scapular postural correction exercises were effective in altering the middle and lower trapezius activity during computer use and may be advised for prevention of neck pain.

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