METHODS: This was a control group study with repeated measures. Twenty-three patients were recruited from the chiropractic University Clinic to participate in this study. The presence and severity of osteoarthritic changes of the cervical spine were determined radiologically. Balance control was evaluated by testing subjects' postural stability on a force platform with and without vision. A general clinical assessment of the neuromusculoskeletal system was performed to screen for any physical condition that could affect postural stability. Participants' characteristics were compared between each group using a 1-way analysis of variance for independent samples, and postural stability variables were submitted to a 2-way repeated measures analysis of variance.
RESULTS: Subjects with signs of osteoarthritis of the cervical spine showed an increased range of sway, a faster sway speed, and a greater excursion than control subjects. They also showed a larger degree of lower limb neuropathy than control subjects.
CONCLUSION: The postural instability shown by the osteoarthritic group may be due to the effects of the lower limb peripheral neuropathy alone or due to a combination of both cervical degenerative changes and peripheral changes. Further research is needed to clearly isolate the effects of the degeneration of the cervical spine on postural control.
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