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Shoulder posture and median nerve sliding

Julius, A; Lees, R; Dilley, A; Lynn, B; (2004) Shoulder posture and median nerve sliding. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders , 5 (1) 23-. 10.1186/1471-2474-5-23. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Patients with upper limb pain often have a slumped sitting position and poorshoulder posture. Pain could be due to poor posture causing mechanical changes (stretch; localpressure) that in turn affect the function of major limb nerves (e.g. median nerve). This studyexamines (1) whether the individual components of slumped sitting (forward head position, trunkflexion and shoulder protraction) cause median nerve stretch and (2) whether shoulderprotraction restricts normal nerve movements.Methods: Longitudinal nerve movement was measured using frame-by-frame cross-correlationanalysis from high frequency ultrasound images during individual components of slumped sitting.The effects of protraction on nerve movement through the shoulder region were investigated byexamining nerve movement in the arm in response to contralateral neck side flexion.Results: Neither moving the head forward or trunk flexion caused significant movement of themedian nerve. In contrast, 4.3 mm of movement, adding 0.7% strain, occurred in the forearm duringshoulder protraction. A delay in movement at the start of protraction and straightening of thenerve trunk provided evidence of unloading with the shoulder flexed and elbow extended and thescapulothoracic joint in neutral. There was a 60% reduction in nerve movement in the arm duringcontralateral neck side flexion when the shoulder was protracted compared to scapulothoracicneutral.Conclusion: Slumped sitting is unlikely to increase nerve strain sufficient to cause changes tonerve function. However, shoulder protraction may place the median nerve at risk of injury, sincenerve movement is reduced through the shoulder region when the shoulder is protracted andother joints are moved. Both altered nerve dynamics in response to moving other joints and localchanges to blood supply may adversely affect nerve function and increase the risk of developingupper quadrant pain.

Type: Article
Title: Shoulder posture and median nerve sliding
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/1471-2474-5-23
Additional information: Imported via OAI, 16:54:26 4th May 2005
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/507
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