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Disabil Rehabil. 2019 Feb 10:1-4. doi: 10.1080/09638288.2019.1571640. [Epub ahead of print]

Symptom severity and quality of life in patients with concurrent neck pain and dizziness.

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a Norwegian National Advisory Unit on Vestibular Disorders, Department of Otorhinolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery , Haukeland University Hospital , Bergen , Norway.
b Department of Clinical Medicine , University of Bergen , Bergen , Norway.
c Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, The Outpatient Spine Clinic , Haukeland University Hospital , Bergen , Norway.
d Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care , University of Bergen , Bergen , Norway.
e Department of Physical Therapy , Haukeland University Hospital , Bergen , Norway.



There is little knowledge on how neck pain impacts dizzy patients, and if different diagnoses of dizziness associate with neck pain. The aim was to examine differences in dizziness severity, quality of life and demographics in dizzy patients with and without neck pain. Additionally, we examined if neck pain was associated with a non-vestibular or vestibular diagnosis.


We included 236 consecutive patients referred to an otorhinolaryngological university clinic for vertigo and balance problems. The patients were divided in two groups: Patients with and without neck pain. Patient-reported outcomes measures were the Dizziness Handicap Inventory, RAND-12, neck pain and symptom duration.


A total of 59% of the patients reported neck pain. Patients with neck pain reported poorer quality of life (p < .001) and worse handicap due to dizziness (p < .001). There were no associations between reported neck pain and dizziness of non-vestibular or vestibular origin (p = .29).


Neck pain is a common complaint among dizzy patients. Patients with concurrent dizziness and neck pain should warrant attention due to poorer general and dizziness-related quality of life. This finding appears unrelated to whether or not they receive a peripheral vestibular diagnosis. IMPLICATION FOR REHABILITATION Neck pain is common in patients with dizziness and associated with higher dizziness handicap and lower quality of life. Neck pain should be addressed specifically in patients assessed for dizziness, irrespective of diagnosis. Further research is needed to better understand the interactions between neck pain and dizziness.


Dizziness Handicap Inventory; RAND12 health survey; disability; vestibular disorders

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