Objective: The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to summarize the results related to the effects of corrective exercises on postural variables in individuals with forward head posture (FHP).
Methods: A systematic review of the electronic literature through February 2017 was independently performed by 2 investigators. The electronic databases searched included PubMed, MEDLINE, Web of Science, ScienceDirect, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Clinical Trials, Google Scholar, and Scopus. Methodological quality was evaluated using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database scale. Meta-analyses were carried out for craniovertebral angle (CVA), cranial angle (CA), and pain intensity.
Results: Seven randomized clinical trials comprising 627 participants met the study criteria. The between-groups pooled random odds ratios for CVA, CA, and pain were 6.7 (confidence interval [CI] = 2.53-17.9, P = .0005), 0.7 (CI = 0.43-1.2, P = .2), and 0.3 (95% CI = 0.13-0.42, P < .001), respectively. No publication bias was observed. Level 1a evidence (strong) indicates exercise training can effectively modify CVA, and level 1b evidence (moderate) indicates exercise may improve pain but not CA.
Conclusion: The findings suggest that therapeutic exercises may result in large changes in CVA and moderate improvement in neck pain in participants with FHP. The precise nature of the relationship between FHP and musculoskeletal pain, and improvements in both after therapeutic exercise, remains to be established.
Author keywords: Posture, Head, Neck, Exercise, Review
Author affiliations: RS, PS: Faculty of Sport Sciences, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran; SS: Department of Physical Education, Faculty of Humanities, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran; SS: Faculty of Sport Sciences, Bu Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran;
KO: Sports Spine Centre, Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Hospital, Doha, Qatar; KO: School of Allied Health, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland
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