The postural disorientation induced by neck muscle vibration subsides on lightly touching a stationary surface or aiming at it

M. Bove, L. Bonzano, C. Trompetto, G. Abbruzzese, M. Schieppati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to investigate whether the standing body spatial disorientation, induced by neck muscle vibration, and the related post-effects can be suppressed by light finger touch (LFT) of a stationary surface. Continuous (60 s) vibration of dorsal neck or sternocleidomastoid muscle was administered with eyes closed. The center of foot pressure (CFP) displacement, measured by a stabilometric platform, indicated the degree of vibration-induced body tilt. We also investigated whether sensory information from LFT itself was necessary or anticipation of a more secure posture was enough for reducing vibration effects. To this aim, we administered a vibration pulse (5 s) to dorsal neck or sternocleidomastoid muscle and during reaching to the stationary surface. CFP was recorded during both vibration and post-vibration condition and during the aiming task. Neck vibration induced significant CFP displacement in the direction opposite to vibration site. Post-vibration, CFP slowly returned to control values with ample oscillations. LFT during vibration reduced body tilt. LFT was more effective when fingertip contact was in the plane of the greatest tilt. LFT applied during either vibration or post-vibration period reduced post-vibration effects. Reaching toward the stationary surface was enough for reducing vibration-induced body tilt to values close to those observed during actual LFT. The novel conclusions of this study are: 1) LFT is able to relieve the effects of vibration-induced abnormal proprioceptive input from the neck, a segment central to postural control and orientation; 2) LFT during vibration also attenuates vibration post-effects, further suggesting that its action is not merely mechanical; 3) the intention to stabilize the body generates a new postural 'set' sufficient for diminishing body tilt.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1095-1103
Number of pages9
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 28 2006


  • light finger touch
  • neck proprioception
  • spatial orientation
  • stance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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