Choudhary Bakhtiar S; Sapur Suneetha; Deb P S
Consultant in Sports Medicine,
Background: Objective of the study was to assess the relationship of posture and Occupation developing into Straight Spine Syndrome (SSS) of neck.
Subjects: Total 369 subjects (210 males & 159 females aged between 28-49 years) belonging to different occupations (computer operators, car drivers, bank- executives, dentists, microbiologists, scooter drivers, and housewives of stature >170 cm) reported with symptoms (inclusion criteria) were followed every quarter for one year.
Methods: The subjects and their workplaces were surveyed to assess their posture during work. They were investigated for routine biochemistry, radiological study of cervical spine both AP and lateral views, MRI when needed and reviewed after six months. Subjects were explained about ergonomic implications and posture correction. Subjects were treated for pain-relief, followed by exercise therapy and conditioning of affected musculature.
Results: All the subjects had radiological loss of normal lordosis of cervical spine (straight spine) but reported as normal radiographs. On clinical examination, all of them had tender trigger points over trapezius, and other muscles of the neck. The common postural defect in all the subjects observed was the forward-head posture. Seventy eight percent of them got relieved of symptoms , but 67 percent of them attained their normal lordotic curvature of the cervical spine within 6 months. Eleven percent continues to have straight spine without symptoms. Eight percent of them did not improve and needed surgical intervention. Fourteen percent were dropouts.
Conclusion: Our results show that forward head posture is the commonest defect found in variety of professionals. This leads to SSS, an early functional stage, and can lead to serious compression of cervical nerve roots. Education programmes on right posture, ergonomics, regular corrective exercises may prevent SSS.