February 2020

Influence of Forward Head Posture on Myotonometric Measurements of Superficial Neck Muscle Tone, Elasticity, and Stiffness in Asymptomatic Individuals With Sedentary Jobs

Authors: Piotr Kocur 1, Maciej Wilski 2, Magdalena Goliwas 1, Jacek Lewandowski 1, Dawid Lochynski 1


  1. Department of Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, Poznan University of Physical Education, Poznan, Poland
  2. Department of Physical Culture of People with Disabilities, Poznan University of Physical Education, Poznan, Poland
  3. Department of Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, Poznan University of Physical Education, Poznan, Poland

Journal: Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics - March 2019, Volume 42, Issue 3, P195-202 (DOI: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2019.02.005)

Objective: The objective of the study was to assess the influence of forward head posture on the mechanical parameters and pressure pain threshold of superficial neck muscles in clinically nonsymptomatic individuals with sedentary jobs.

Methods: Twenty-five office workers with forward head posture and 25 office workers with normal head posture were matched for sex, age, body mass index, and the nature and duration of their work and were compared at a single point. The study participants were divided into study groups on the basis of photometric craniovertebral angle measurements. The upper trapezius, sternocleidomastoid, and splenius capitis mechanical properties were assessed in the sitting position. Primary outcome measures were muscle stiffness (N/m), muscle tone (Hz), and muscle elasticity. The secondary variable was perceived pain threshold.

Results: No significant differences between the groups were found for biomechanical properties and perceived pain threshold in the studied muscles.

Conclusion: Forward head posture has no impact on muscle stiffness, tone, and elasticity, nor does it increase the pressure sensitivity of superficial neck muscles in healthy, mildly symptomatic office workers. It is most likely that not incorrect posture of the cervical spine, but probably other factors combined with forward head posture, like comorbid acute and chronic cervical pain and musculoskeletal disorders or prolonged sitting, contribute to changes in active myofascial tone and tensegrity as well as increased pressure sensitivity of neck muscles.


Keywords: Elasticity; Muscle Tonus; Neck Muscles; Pain Threshold; Posture

In mildly symptomatic office workers with FHP, the biomechanical and viscoelastic parameters of neck muscles and myofascial pressure sensitivity are not changed. This suggests that factors other than FHP are more likely to influence the tone and tensegrity of neck muscles. Presumably, FHP does not contribute to greater risk of pain and neck dysfunction. Therefore, factors other than FHP, like acute and chronic neck pain syndromes caused by orthopedic conditions, positioning of upper limbs, or prolonged sitting at work presumably affect viscoelastic parameters and subjective pressure sensation of neck muscles. That is why it would be worth analyzing the link among FHP, comorbid neck pain, and the biomechanical and viscoelastic muscle parameters.