Head stabilization during standing in people with persisting symptoms after mild traumatic brain injury

Peter C. Fino, Tiphanie E. Raffegeau, Lucy Parrington, Robert J. Peterka, Laurie A. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Increased postural sway is often observed in people with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), but our understanding of how individuals with mTBI control their head during stance is limited. The purpose of this study was to determine if people with mTBI exhibit increased sway at the head compared with healthy controls. People with persisting symptoms after mTBI (n = 59, 41 women) and control participants (n = 63, 38 women) stood quietly for one minute in four conditions: eyes open on a firm surface (EO-firm), eyes closed on a firm surface (EC-firm), eyes open on a foam pad (EO-foam), and eyes closed on foam (EC-foam). Inertial sensors at the head, sternum, and lumbar region collected tri-axial accelerations. Root-mean-square (RMS) accelerations in anteroposterior (AP) and mediolateral (ML) directions and sway ratios between the head and sternum, head and lumbar, and sternum and lumbar region were compared between groups. Temporal coupling of anti-phase motion between the upper and lower body angular accelerations was assessed with magnitude squared coherence and cross-spectral phase angles. People with mTBI demonstrated greater sway than controls across conditions and directions. During foam-surface conditions, the control group, but not the mTBI group, reduced ML sway at their head and trunk relative to their lumbar by increasing the expression of an anti-phase hip strategy within the frontal plane. These results are consistent with suggestions of inflexible or inappropriate postural control in people with mTBI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110045
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
StatePublished - Nov 9 2020


  • Balance
  • Concussion
  • Posture
  • Sensory Integration
  • Stability
  • Sway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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