Lhermitte sign (spinal cord)

Lhermitte sign or the barber chair phenomenon is an electrical shock sensation running down the spine and into the limb on neck flexion. It suggests compression of the upper cervical spinal cord and/or brainstem.


It is typically seen with multiple sclerosis but is also associated with other pathologies of the dorsal columns of the spinal cord:

  • cervical cord tumors
  • cervical spondylosis, e.g. after a fracture
  • vitamin B12 deficiency

History and etymology

It is named after Jacques Jean Lhermitte (1877-1959), French neurologist and neuropsychiatrist.

Lhermitte also co-described Lhermitte-Duclos disease.

Siehe auch: