Biobehavioural analysis of the vestibular system and posture control in patients with cervicogenic dizziness. A cross-sectional study

Neurologia. 2018 Mar;33(2):98-106. doi: 10.1016/j.nrl.2016.06.002. Epub 2016 Jul 21.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Background: Cervicogenic dizziness is a musculoskeletal disorder mainly characterised by dizziness and disequilibrium associated with neck pain. The pathophysiology is unclear and the neurophysiological basis remains to be ascertained. The aim of this study is to compare the vestibulo-ocular reflex and postural control between patients with cervicogenic dizziness and asymptomatic subjects, and to assess the association between debilitating dizziness and other psychosocial variables.

Materials and methods: A total of 20 patients and 22 asymptomatic subjects were selected. Vestibulo-ocular reflex was assessed by performing the head impulse test. Computerised dynamic posturography was used to evaluate the postural control by means of the sensory organisation test. In addition, subjects self-reported their degree of disability due to dizziness, cervical disability, kinesiophobia, and state of anxiety and depression.

Results: There were no differences in the vestibulo-ocular reflex (P>.05). However, we found differences with a medium-to-large effect size (d>0.60) in variables related to proprioception and visual information integration; the former variable set was related to disability due to dizziness. Disability due to dizziness presents strong-to-moderate associations with cervical disability, kinesiophobia, and anxiety.

Conclusion: Our data rule out changes in the vestibular system in cervicogenic dizziness, but they do point to proprioceptive impairment. According to our results, the association between dizziness-related disability and other psychosocial factors in cervicogenic dizziness is very relevant for clinical medicine and for future research projects.

Keywords: Control postural; Disability; Discapacidad; Dizziness; Dolor de cuello; Mareo; Neck pain; Posture control; Reflejo vestíbulo-ocular; Sistema vestibular; Vestibular system; Vestibulo-ocular reflex.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dizziness* / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Proprioception*
  • Reflex, Vestibulo-Ocular / physiology*