Impairments of cervico-cephalic kinaesthesia, and habitual forward head posture have been considered important in the aetiology of postural neck pain, yet these factors have not been specifically examined in a homogeneous clinical population. The objective of this study was to compare the habitual sitting posture (HSP), perception of good posture and postural repositioning error (PRE) of the cervico-thoracic (CT) spine in individuals with postural neck pain, with a matched group of asymptomatic subjects. Twenty-one subjects with postural neck pain and 22 asymptomatic control subjects were recruited into the study. An optical motion analysis system was used to measure the HSP and perceived 'good' sitting posture. PRE was measured over six trials where the subject attempted to replicate their self-selected 'good' posture. There was no difference between the groups in the HSP but significant differences were identified in the perception of 'good' posture. Posture repositioning error was higher for the head posture variables than for CT and shoulder girdle variables in both groups. However, there was no significant difference in posture repositioning error between groups for any of the posture measures. The findings suggest that individuals with postural neck pain may have a different perception of 'good' posture, but no significant difference in HSP or kinaesthetic sensibility compared with matched asymptomatic subjects. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.