Research Review: Incidence of Common Postural Abnormalities in the Cervical, Shoulder, and Thoracic Regions and Their Association with Pain in Two Age Groups of Healthy Subjects

By Susan Ackerman DPT, PT, PMA-CPT

Edited by Brent Brookbush DPT, PT, COMT, MS, PES, CES, CSCS, ACSM H/FS

Original Citation:

Griegel-Morris, P., Larson, K., Mueller-Klaus, K., & Oatis, C. A. (1992). Incidence of common postural abnormalities in the cervical, shoulder, and thoracic regions and their association with pain in two age groups of healthy subjects. Physical therapy72(6), 425-431. FULL ARTICLE


Additional research has demonstrated a relationship between upper body postural dysfunction and upper body pain (1-5). Common postural abnormalities of the upper body include forward head posture, rounded shoulders, excessive thoracic kyphosis, and shoulder height asymmetry (6). This 1992 study, out of the Philadelphia Institute of Physical Therapy, demonstrated that participants from two age groups with excessive thoracic kyphosis, forward head, and rounded shoulders had increased incidence of headaches, interscapular pain and cervical pain. This implies the postural assessment may be beneficial for developing injury prevention programs, as well as intervention plans for the treatment of upper body dysfunction and pain.

Study Summary

Study DesignObservational Study
Level of Evidence III Evidence from non-experimental descriptive studies, such as comparative studies, correlation studies,