Dizziness of suspected cervical origin distinguished by posturographic assessment of human postural dynamics

J Vestib Res. Jan-Feb 1996;6(1):37-47.


Useful clinical tests are lacking for the controversial entity "cervical vertigo". In earlier studies patients assumed to suffer from cervical vertigo or dizziness manifested disturbed postural control as compared to healthy subjects, but were hard to distinguish from patients with other balance disorders. Using posturography in which stance was perturbed by a vibratory stimulus applied towards the calf muscles, we studied 16 consecutive patients with recent onset of neck pain and concomitant complaints of vertigo or dizziness, but normal findings at otoneurological examination and electronystagmography; 18 patients with recent vestibular neuritis; and 17 healthy subjects. We performed system identification of a model of the control of upright human stance, using the vibratory stimulus as input and the recorded body sway as output. According to values for the three normalized parameters of the transfer function of the model (i.e., swiftness, stiffness, and damping), cervical vertigo patients were distinguished both from healthy subjects (P < 0.001), and from vestibular neuritis patients (P < 0.001). It was also possible to distinguish the vestibular neuritis group from the group of healthy subjects (P < 0.01). The results show disturbed postural control in patients with cervical vertigo to differ from that in patients with recent vestibular neuritis, and indicate posturographic assessment of human posture dynamics to be a possible future tool for use in diagnosing cervical vertigo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Dizziness / diagnosis*
  • Dizziness / etiology
  • Dizziness / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck* / physiopathology
  • Neuritis / diagnosis*
  • Neuritis / etiology
  • Pain / complications
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Posture*
  • Vertigo / diagnosis*
  • Vertigo / etiology
  • Vestibular Function Tests
  • Vestibular Nerve / pathology*