We present eight cases of extracranial vertebral artery dissection. One of these had traumatic antecedents at the neck level while undergoing massage treatment. Of the rest, in four cases there was only a history of commonplace traumatism at neck level, consisting of twisting or stretching. Most presented pain at this level both before and during symptoms. Five had symptoms compatible with lateral bulbar infarct, two with cerebral infarct and one at the protuberance level. Angiography showed irregular stenosis of the spine on the affected side in five cases, occlusion in three cases. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) was performed on five, with findings compatible with dissection. Six received anticoagulant treatment and two received platelet antiagregants with good recovery except in one patient who died twelve months later without any indication of the existence of dissection. We also carried out a review of the literature with special emphasis on the etiology of spontaneous cases, on clinical and neuroimaging findings and on treatment.