Eur Spine J 1998; 7 (1): 55–58
Galm R, Rittmeister M, Schmitt E.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery,
Tokyo Medical University Kasumigaura Hospital,
To our knowledge, quantitative studies on the significance of disorders of the upper cervical spine as a cause of vertigo or impaired hearing do not exist. We examined the cervical spines of 67 patients who presented with symptoms of dizziness. Prior to the orthopaedic examination, causes of vertigo relating to the field of ENT and neurology had been ruled out. Fifty patients of the above-mentioned group were studied. They followed the outlined treatment protocol with physical therapy and were available for 3 months of follow-up. Thirty-one patients, hereinafter referred to as group A, were diagnosed with dysfunctions of the upper cervical spine. Nineteen patients, hereinafter referred to as group B, did not show signs of dysfunction. Cervical spine dysfunctions were documented as published by Bischoff. In group A dysfunctions were found at level C1 in 14 cases, at level C2 in 6 cases and at level C3 in 4 cases. In seven cases more than one upper cervical spine motion segment was affected. Dysfunctions were treated and resolved with mobilising and manipulative techniques of manual medicine. Regardless of cervical spine findings seen at the initial visit, group A and B patients received intensive outpatient physical therapy. At the final 3-month follow-up, 24 patients of group A (77.4%) reported an improvement of their chief symptom and 5 patients were completely free of vertigo. Improvement of vertigo was recorded in 5 group B patients (26.3%); however, nobody in group B was free of symptoms.We concluded that a functional examination of motion segments of the upper cervical spine is important in diagnosing and treating vertigo, because a non-resolved dysfunction of the upper cervical spine was a common cause of long-lasting dizziness in our population.