Coordinated bodily balance is necessary to prevent falls, where postural sway and/or body inflexibility should be relevant. We aimed to assess postural sway and flexibility in patients with schizophrenia and identify clinical characteristics.
Postural sway (length and range of trunk motion, and Romberg ratio) and flexibility (anteflexion in sitting) were measured in schizophrenia. The Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) and the Drug Induced Extrapyramidal Symptoms Scale (DIEPSS) were used for the assessment of psychopathology and extrapyramidal symptoms, respectively. Characteristics associated with postural sway and flexibility were examined with regression analysis. A total of 100 patients (68 men, mean ± S.D. age: 49.3 ± 13.8 years, PANSS score: 83.4 ± 15.1, DIEPSS score: 2.2 ± 2.2) participated in this study. The anteflexion in sitting was not significantly correlated with length of trunk motion, range of trunk motion, or Romberg ratio. Postural instability was associated with higher DIEPSS overall severity score and PANSS positive symptoms. A significant correlation was also found between less flexibility and increased PANSS negative symptoms. In conclusion, flexibility and postural stability might be regarded as separate elements of physical fitness in schizophrenia. Prospective exercise intervention would be worthy of investigation to enhance postural stability and flexibility in an effort to prevent falls.