Objectives: To investigate head and shoulder alignment among patients with unilateral vestibular hypofunction (UVH), using computerized biophotogrammetry (CB) and to correlate these measurements with gender, age, duration of clinical evolution, self-perception of intensity of dizziness and occurrences of falls.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study. Thirty individuals with UVH and 30 with normal vestibular function and without complaints of dizziness underwent CB in the anterior, right and left and posterior views, in an upright standing position. Alcimage™ 2.0 was used to evaluate three angles in order to verify the anterior deviation and inclination of the head, and the alignment of the shoulders. The groups were paired according to age, gender and height. The statistical analysis consisted of the Mann-Whitney test, Kruskal-Wallis test followed by the Dunn test, and the Spearman Correlation Coefficient.
Results: The patients with UVH had greater forward (55.44 ± 16.33) and lateral (2.03 ± 1.37) head deviation angles than did the normal individuals (34.34 ± 4.60 and 1.34 ± 1.05 respectively), with a statistically significant difference (p<0.001). The increment of forward and lateral deviation in the UVH group was 38.05% and 33.78% respectively. Forward head was associated with the duration of clinical symptoms of the vestibular disease (p=0.003), age (p=0.006), intensity of dizziness (p<0.001) and occurrence of falls (p=0.002).
Conclusions: Patients with UVH had greater forward and lateral head deviations. Forward head deviation increased with age, duration of clinical symptoms and greater self-perception of the intensity of dizziness. Forward head deviation was also greater among patients who reported having had falls.