Correct posture and head position are essential for patients to maintain during the physical therapy rehabilitation process. This is especially true of neurological patients being retrained for functional activities. The purpose of this study was to show that the head does influence the positioning of the body's center of gravity in normals and post-CVA patients. Three groups participated in the study, with 15 subjects in each group. The first group were normals (8 men, 7 women) with an age range between 20 and 33 years (mean age=26.19 years). The second group were also normals (7 men, 8 women) with an age range between 45 and 72 years (mean age 58.27 years). The third group consisted of subjects (5 men, 10 women) who had suffered a CVA with an age range between 49 and 92 years (mean age = 70.67).The hypotheses were: (a) that age does influence the amount of center of gravity shift in the anterior/posterior directions, lateral directions, and overall sway area with alteration of head position in persons with no neurological deficits and (b) there would be a greater amount of center of gravity shift in the anterior/posterior directions, lateral directions, and overall sway area with alteration of head position in the post-CVA subjects group when compared to older normals group. The dependent variables of maximum excursion anterior/posterior, maximum excursion laterally, and overall sway area were measured on the computerized forceplate manufactured by Neuro-com International, Inc. Each subject was put through the same head motions of head flexion, extension, right rotation, and left rotation while standing on the Neuro-com forceplate. The results support both hypotheses. It was found that age does have an influence on the amount of center of gravity shift in all directions except laterally. The results also showed that persons who have suffered a CVA have an even greater amount of center of gravity shifting with alterations of head positioning when compared to older healthy normals. It is concluded that head position does influence the body's center of gravity, especially in the CVA subjects, and therefore needs to be incorporated into treatments where proper head alignment could affect the desired movement.
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