Neck pain associated with clinical symptoms in dizzy patients- A cross-sectional study
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Objective: Many patients suffer from concurrent neck pain and dizziness. The aim of this study was to describe the clinical symptoms and physical findings in patients with concurrent neck pain and dizziness and to examine whether they differ from patients with dizziness alone.
Methods: Consecutive patients with dizziness and neck pain were recruited from an ear–nose–throat department and a spine clinic. They were divided into three groups: patients with dizziness only (n = 100), patients with dizziness as their primary complaint and additional neck pain (n = 138) and finally, patients with neck pain as their primary complaint accompanied by additional dizziness (n = 55). The patients filled in questionnaires regarding their symptom quality, time‐course, triggers of dizziness and the Vertigo Symptom Scale Short Form. The physical examination included Cervical Range of Motion, American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Tender Points, Cervical Pressure Pain Thresholds and Global Physiotherapy Examination 52‐Flexibility.
Results: Both neck pain groups were more likely to have a gradual onset of dizziness symptoms, more light‐headedness, visual disturbances, autonomic/anxiety symptoms, decreased cervical range of motion, decreased neck and shoulder flexibility and increased number of ACR tender points compared with patients with dizziness alone. The group having dizziness as their primary complaint and also reporting neck pain had the highest symptom severity and tended to report rocking vertigo and increased neck tenderness. The group with neck pain as their primary complaint was more likely to report headache.
Conclusion: Neck pain is associated with certain dizziness characteristics, increased severity of dizziness and increased physical impairment when compared with dizzy patients without neck pain.