What Does a Positive Romberg Sign Mean?

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A positive Romberg sign may indicate a condition called tabes dorsalis, myelopethies of multiple causes, sensory neuropathies or other nervous system disorders. A positive Romberg sign can be elicited by performing the Romberg test.

The Romberg test is performed by having the patient stand with his feet together and his eyes closed. If the patient sways or falls, the test is considered positive. There has been much debate regarding how much sway is actually significant, and various instruments have been developed to measure the amount of sway. A positive Romberg sign alone is not diagnostic of any condition. Multiple forms of testing and evaluation must be done to determine a diagnosis.