The conundrum of cervicogenic dizziness.Handb Clin Neurol 2016; 137:365-9HC
Cervicogenic or cervical dizziness is debated as an entity. However, there exists both a physiologic basis and a multitude of clinical data to make such a disease concept at least possible and worth considering. In addition, the interaction of proprioceptive and vestibular mechanisms may amplify dizziness of other origin. Cervical pain and dizziness are both common symptoms and may coincide, and neck pain or obvious dysfunction does not necessarily cause dizziness or balance disturbances. So far, there is also the lack of a proper diagnostic test for cervicogenic dizziness. On the other hand, there is growing evidence that cervical proprioceptive input is important for balance and postural control not only in animals but also in humans, and that intervention in disorders affecting the human cervical segment may relieve dizziness in some patients. It is advocated that the diagnosis should be used with care and that there is a need for better diagnostic tests. In the absence of such a test, one has to rely on preliminary criteria and a diagnosis ex juvantibus. A possible approach would require patients to present with neck pain before or in close temporal relation with dizziness; that other causes should be made at least unlikely; and that treatment of a cervical dysfunction reduces also dizziness or balance disturbance.