Acute Effects of Posture Shirts on Rounded-Shoulder and Forward-Head Posture in College Students

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John Manor
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Elizabeth Hibberd
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Meredith Petschauer
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Joseph Myers
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Context:

Rounded-shoulder and forward-head posture can be contributing factors to shoulder pain. Corrective techniques such as manual therapy and exercise have been shown to improve these altered postures, but there is little evidence that corrective garments such as posture shirts can alter posture.

Objectives:

To determine the acute effects of corrective postureshirt use on rounded-shoulder and forward-head posture in asymptomatic college students.

Design:

Repeated-measures intervention study with counterbalanced conditions.

Setting:

Research laboratory.

Participants:

24 members of the general student body of a university, 18–25 y old, with a forward shoulder angle (FSA) >52° and no history of upper-extremity surgery, scoliosis, active shoulder pain, or shoulder pain in the previous 3 mo that restricted participation for 3 consecutive days.

Interventions:

Photographic posture assessment under a control condition, under a sham or treatment condition (counterbalanced), under another control condition, and treatment or sham.

Main Outcome Measures:

FSA and forward head angle (FHA) calculated from a lateral photograph.

Results:

FSA decreased relative to the control condition while participants wore the sham shirt (P = .029) but not the corrective posture shirt (P = 1.00). FHA was unchanged between groups (P = .371).

Conclusions:

Application of a corrective posture shirt did not acutely alter FSA or FHA, while application of a sham shirt may decrease FSA at rest.

Manor, Petschauer, and Myers are with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC. Hibberd is with the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL.

Address author correspondence to Elizabeth Hibberd at eehibberd@ches.ua.edu.
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