Vertigo pp 441-451 | Cite as

Somatosensory vertigo

  • Thomas Brandt


Somatosensory signals from musculotendinous receptors in the neck and joints provide an accurate kinesthetic feedback of the extent of head and limb movements. These signals contribute to the perception of self-motion during active locomotion by converging with vestibular and visual input on multimodal neurons in the vestibular nuclei and thalamus, which project to cortical multisensory areas in the parietal lobe, e.g. area 7 (see Chap. 13; p. 219). Experimental studies in animals and humans have confirmed the functional significance of arthrokinetic input for arthrokinetic nystagmus and self-motion sensation (p. 446). Questions relevant for the discussion of “somatosensory vertigo” are whether and how the lack or inadequate release of somatosensory input leads to vertigo or disequilibrium. Ataxia and unsteadiness cooccurring with sensory polyneuropathy (p. 447) are readily recognised and generally explained by a deficient sense of lower limb joint position. In contrast, dizziness and unsteadiness suspected to be of cervical origin (socalled cervical vertigo, a controversial disorder of questionable clinical significance which is diagnosed too often) may be due to inadequate or unadapted excess stimulation of neck receptors in cervical pain syndromes.


Head Rotation Whiplash Injury Vestibular Neuritis Head Extension Sensory Polyneuropathy 
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© Springer-Verlag London 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Brandt
    • 1
  1. 1.Neurologische Klinik, Klinikum GroßhadernLudwig-Maximillians-UniversitätMunichGermany

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