Measuring the difference in natural head position between the standing and sitting positions using an inertial measurement unit

J Oral Rehabil. 2021 Oct;48(10):1144-1149. doi: 10.1111/joor.13233. Epub 2021 Aug 11.


Aims: The purpose of this study was to compare the natural head position (NHP) in the sitting position to the NHP in a standing position using inertial measurement unit (IMU) and lateral photographs.

Matierials & methods: Twenty healthy young adult volunteers were asked to look at a mirror located at 1 metre in front of their eyes while being recorded with the IMU system. Lateral photographs were also taken. This procedure was undertaken for the standing and sitting positions, on two separate occasions within a one-week interval.

Results: A strong correlation was found between the IMU system and the lateral photographs (r > .99) with regard to the pitch axis, the absolute mean difference was 0.4 ± 0.5 (p = .99) for both standing and sitting positions. We found that in the sitting position the head was elevated by 2.5 ± 2.4 (p < .05) more than in the standing position, but no significant differences were observed for the other two axes (roll and yaw).

Conclusion: The IMU system is comparable to lateral photographs for pitch assessment. Except for a slight elevation of the head in the sitting position, no clinical differences were observed for the NHP when comparing the standing and sitting positions.

Keywords: clinicians; head; position; sitting position; standing position; wearable electronic devices.

MeSH terms

  • Head
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Sitting Position*
  • Standing Position*
  • Young Adult