A cross-sectional study of walking, balance and upper limb assessment scales in people with cervical dystonia.

Springer Science and Business Media LLC
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Journal Article
Journal of neural transmission (Vienna, Austria : 1996), 2021, pp. 1-13
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Cervical dystonia (CD) is a neurological movement disorder causing the neck to move involuntarily away from the neutral position. CD is a network disorder, involving multiple brain areas and, therefore, may impair movement in parts of the body other than the neck. This study used clinical assessments to investigate walking, balance and upper limb function (UL) in people with CD; the reliability of scoring these assessments and examined for relationship between CD severity, usual exercise and clinical assessments. We conducted a prospective observational cohort study of participants with isolated, focal, idiopathic CD. Participants were assessed by experienced physiotherapists and completed three questionnaires and eight clinical assessments of fear of falling, balance confidence, walking, balance, UL function and usual exercise. Results were compared to published data from healthy adults and other neurological populations. Twenty-two people with mild to moderate CD participated. Fear of falling, gross UL function and usual exercise were worse in people with CD compared with healthy adults, while walking, balance and distal UL function were similar to healthy populations. All assessments were reliably performed by physiotherapists, and we found no correlations between the severity of dystonia or usual exercise and performance on the physical assessments. Routine performance of clinical assessment of walking and balance are likely not required in people with mild to moderate CD; however, fear of falling and gross upper limb function should be assessed to determine any problems which may be amenable to therapy.
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