Posts Tagged ‘radiating leg pain’

Forward Head Posture and Low Back Pain

Posted on: September 1st, 2016

Article review: Forward Head Posture and Low Back Pain

By Ryan Winslow DC

This is one of my favorite papers. It compares typical physical therapy for low back pain to therapy focusing on reducing Forward Head Posture (FHP). The best parts of this study are that it takes place over 2 years, has an excellent spread of outcomes and demonstrates which treatment is superior in the long term. This is an important examination of which treatment has true long term benefits, since many treatments provide immediate relief which does not continue over time.

Moustafa, I. M., & Diab, A. A. (2015). The Effect of Adding Forward Head Posture Corrective Exercises in the Management of Lumbosacral Radiculopathy: A Randomized Controlled Study.

Link to full-text PDF article, click here

Quick Takeaways:

1: Reducing FHP produces lasting reductions in low back pain.

2: Typical physical therapy treatments like core strengthening and general conditioning do not appear to produce long term improvements.


4: One of the best indicators for long term improvements is the amount of FHP seen on a lateral radiograph (x-ray).


This article is an in-depth investigation into the long term benefit of correcting forward head posture (head being too far forward) for patients who have low back pain which radiates down one leg (unilateral lumbosacral radiculopathy). Forward Head Posture AKA “Text Neck” or “Anterior Head Carriage” is a common dysfunctional posture. Other research studies  have demonstrated that forward head posture puts biomechanical tension on the low back through a lever arm effect, and also puts tension on the spinal cord itself (review research by Alf Breig and Renee Caillet). The general treatment strategies employed by most therapists today focus on the area of pain, which is the low back in this case. Treating a non-symptomatic area of the body to improve biomechanics and reduce stress on the painful area is not a common treatment strategy. This is why this article is so great. It compares the two strategies head-to-head, and then compares the long term effects of each. (more…)

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