Head Stabilization Measurements As a Potential Evaluation Tool for Comparison of Persons with TBI and Vestibular Dysfunction with Healthy Controls
NAVAL HEALTH RESEARCH CENTER SAN DIEGO CA
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A large percentage of persons with traumatic brain injury TBI incur some type of vestibular dysfunction requiring vestibular physical therapy. These injuries may affect the natural ability to stabilize the head while walking. A simple method of utilizing motion capture equipment to measure head movement while walking was used to assess improvements in head stabilization of persons undergoing vestibular physical therapy and compared to a healthy control group. Data from the head and sacrum during gait were obtained over several visits and then analyzed to determine improved oscillatory head movement relative to the sacrum representative of the body center of mass BCOM. For the control group, sinusoidal motion of overall head position OHP was observed as it moved antiphase to the vertical motion of the BCOM, displaying good head stabilization characteristics. The OHP offset of the group having a TBI did not show the same patterned motion as the control group but over time and with training, more closely resembled that of the control group. Mean walking speeds of the vestibular group approached those of the control group over time. The data suggest that, over time with therapy, head stabilization improves and moves toward a pattern similar to that of a healthy control population. This simple analysis of measuring head stability could be transferred to smaller, portable systems that are easily utilized in physical therapy training and assessments.
- Medicine and Medical Research