Cervical vertigo--reality or fiction?

Audiol Neurootol. Jul-Aug 1996;1(4):187-96. doi: 10.1159/000259201.


Neck afferents not only assist the coordination of eye, head, and body, but they also affect spatial orientation and control of posture. This implies that stimulation of, or lesions in, these structures can produce cervical vertigo. In fact, unilateral local anesthesia of the upper dorsal cervical roots induces ataxia and nystagmus in animals, and ataxia without nystagmus in humans. If cervical vertigo exists outside these experimental conditions, it is obviously characterized by ataxia and unsteadiness of gait, and not by a clear rotational or linear vertigo. Neurological, vestibular, and psychosomatic disorders must first be excluded before the dizziness and unsteadiness in cervical pain syndromes can be attributed to a cervical origin. To date, however, the syndrome remains only a theoretical possibility awaiting a reliable clinical test to demonstrate its independent existence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / physiopathology
  • Animals
  • Cervical Vertebrae / innervation*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Meniere Disease / etiology*
  • Meniere Disease / physiopathology
  • Orientation / physiology
  • Postural Balance / physiology
  • Spinal Nerve Roots / physiopathology
  • Syndrome
  • Vertigo / etiology*
  • Vertigo / physiopathology