- 2015;18;E583-E595Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Cervical Vertigo
Yongchao Li, MD, and Baogan Peng, MD, PhD.
Cervical vertigo is characterized by vertigo from the cervical spine. However, whether cervical vertigo is an independent entity still remains controversial. In this narrative review, we outline the basic science and clinical evidence for cervical vertigo according to the current literature. So far, there are 4 different hypotheses explaining the vertigo of a cervical origin, including proprioceptive cervical vertigo, Barré-Lieou syndrome, rotational vertebral artery vertigo, and migraine-associated cervicogenic vertigo. Proprioceptive cervical vertigo and rotational vertebral artery vertigo have survived with time. Barré-Lieou syndrome once was discredited, but it has been resurrected recently by increased scientific evidence. Diagnosis depends mostly on patients’ subjective feelings, lacking positive signs, specific laboratory examinations and clinical trials, and often relies on limited clinical experiences of clinicians. 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. Treatment for cervical vertigo is challenging. Manual therapy is recommended for treatment of proprioceptive cervical vertigo. Anterior cervical surgery and percutaneous laser disc decompression are effective for the cervical spondylosis patients accompanied with Barré-Liéou syndrome. As to rotational vertebral artery vertigo, a rare entity, when the exact area of the arterial compression is identified through appropriate tests such as magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), computed tomography angiography (CTA) or digital subtraction angiography (DSA) decompressive surgery should be the chosen treatment.