VERTICAL POSTURE AND HEAD STABILITY IN PATIENTS WITH CHRONIC NECK PAIN
P. Michaelson, M. Michaelson, S. Jaric, M .L. Latash, P. Sjölander, M. Djupsjöbacka
A1 Southern Lapland Research Department Vilhelmina Sweden
A2 Centre for Musculoskeletal Research University of Gävle Sweden
A3 Department of Surgery and Perioperative Sciences, Division of Sports Medicine University of Umeå Sweden
A4 Department of Kinesiology Pennsylvania State University USA
A5 Saxnäsgårdens Rehabilitation Center Marsfjäll Sweden
A6 Human Performance Lab University of Delaware USA
Objective: To evaluate postural performance and head stabilization of patients with chronic neck pain. Design: A single-blind comparative group study. Subjects: Patients with work-related chronic neck pain (n = 9), with chronic whiplash associated disorders (n = 9) and healthy subjects (n = 16). Methods: During quiet standing in different conditions (e. g. 1 and 2 feet standing, tandem standing, and open and closed eyes) the sway areas and the ability to maintain the postures were measured. The maximal peak-to-peak displacement of the centre of pressure and the head translation were analysed during predictable and unpredictable postural perturbations. Results: Patients with chronic neck pain, in particular those with whiplash-associated disorders, showed larger sway areas and reduced ability to successfully execute more challenging balance tasks. They also displayed larger sway areas and reduced head stability during perturbations. Conclusion: The results show that disturbances of postural control in chronic neck pain are dependent on the aetiology, and that it is possible to quantify characteristic postural disturbances in different neck pain conditions. It is suggested that the dissimilarities in postural performance are a reflection of different degrees of disturbances of the proprioceptive input to the central nervous system and/or of the central processing of such input.
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