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  • Writer's pictureNina Dmitreff

The Relevance of Scapular Dysfunction in Neck Pain

Neck pain is a common musculoskeletal complaint, with a 12-month prevalence of 30% to 50% in the adult population.24 One factor that has been implicated in the pathogenesis of neck pain is scapular dysfunction. Scapular dysfunction is a collective term that refers to an abnormal position and/or movement of the scapula.28 Scapular dysfunction is often described separately in terms of “altered scapular position at rest” and “altered scapular motion during upper-limb tasks,” which are often referred to collectively as “scapular dyskinesis.”28 Currently, the relevance assigned to scapular dysfunction in neck pain is based more on clinical observation and extrapolation from shoulder studies than on direct scientific evidence. Compared to conditions of the shoulder such as subacromial impingement,28,29,31 few studies have explored the relationship between scapular dysfunction and neck pain. Although it is convenient to generalize knowledge derived from shoulder disorders to neck disorders, it is potentially misleading, as there may be important differences between these patient populations with regard to scapular function and subsequent rehabilitation.

The purpose of this brief clinical commentary was to identify current scientific evidence concerning scapular dysfunction in relation to neck pain disorders, and to discuss its relevance to contemporary clinical practice. The paper is composed of 3 sections. The first section reviews the evidence for scapular dysfunction in neck pain, the second section discusses the implications of scapular dysfunction for the clinical assessment of a patient with neck pain, and the third section presents an overview of current themes in rehabilitation of scapular dysfunction associated with neck pain."

Read more below, including mention of Pectoralis Minor.

Source: Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy (2014)

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