Research Review: Effect of Pectoralis Minor Manual Therapy and Stretching on Rounded Shoulder Posture and Lower Trapezius Strength

By Nicholas Rolnick SPT, MS, CSCS

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

Original Citation: Wong CK, Coleman D, diPersia V, Song J, Wright D. (2010). The effects of manual treatment on rounded-shoulder posture, and associated muscle strength. Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies. 14: 326-333. Link to Abstract

Why is this relevant?:

Previous studies show rounded-shoulder posture to be associated with scapular dysfunction (1-3). Individuals exhibiting this dysfunction commonly have adaptive shortening of the pectoralis minor, contributing to changes in resting and dynamic scapular position (4). Left unaddressed, postural dysfunction predisposes individuals to numerous shoulder pathologies from subacromial impingement, to degenerative rotator cuff pathology, to loss of force production of the musculature surrounding the glenohumeral joint (3). The current study sought to determine whether or not manual therapy and stretching of pectoralis minor reduces rounded-shoulder posture and increases lower trapezius strength in healthy 20- to 40-year old individuals.

Dr. Brookbush demonstrates static manual release of the pectoralis minor

Study Summary

Study DesignDescriptive - Experimental
Level of EvidenceLevel IB: Evidence from a Single Blinded RCT
Subject Demographics

  • Age: 20-40 year olds (p = 0.377)

    • Control: 24.8 +/- 5.1 years old
    • Experimental: 26.2 +/- 5.6 years old
  • Gender:

    • Control

      • 15 men
      • 10 women
    • Experimental

      • 17 men
      • 14 women
  • Characteristics:

    • Height (p = 0.607)

      • Control - 171.7 +/- 7.9 cm
      • Experimental - 172.5 +/- 7.4 cm
    • Weight (p = 0.608)

      • Control - 72.6 +/- 15.7 kg
      • Experimental - 74.8 +/- 17.4 kg
    • Race

      • Control

        • 19 White American
        • 2 African American
        • 1 Asian American
        • 3