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Balance problems and dizziness after neck surgery–associations with pain and health-related quality of life

Journal article
Authors A. Hermansen
A. Peolsson
Rune Hedlund
A. S. Kammerlind
Published in Physiotherapy Theory and Practice
ISSN 0959-3985
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Orthopaedics
Language en
Keywords anterior cervical decompression and fusion, Cervical spine, degenerative disease, dizziness
Subject categories Physiotherapy


Introduction: Symptoms of dizziness or imbalance are often present in individuals with a variety of neck-disorders. The aims of this study were to determine the prevalence of patient-reported balance problems and dizziness 10–13 years after surgery for cervical degenerative disc disease; evaluate associations with neck pain and health-related quality of life; and investigate how these individuals described dizziness. Material and methods: Sixty-eight individuals, 10 years or more after anterior cervical decompression and fusion surgery, who previously participated in a randomized controlled trial were included. Participants completed questionnaires including ratings of dizziness and balance problems, the Dizziness Handicap Inventory, and an open-ended question regarding their experience of dizziness. Secondary outcomes were neck pain and quality of life. Results: Seventy-two percent experienced occasional or daily symptoms of unsteadiness and/or dizziness. Intensity ratings for dizziness during movement and for balance problems were similar and rather low, but had an impact on quality of life. Ratings of dizziness at rest were even lower. Dizziness ratings were associated with neck pain. Strenuous activities were related to dizziness and dizziness was primarily described as intermittent and non-rotatory. Conclusions: Dizziness or balance problems in the long-term after surgery for cervical degenerative disc disease are common and have an impact on daily life. Ratings of problem frequency and intensity were usually low. Dizziness and balance problems may affect quality of life. Patients’ descriptions of these problems are in line with common symptoms of cervicogenic dizziness. © 2019, © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis.

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