Mobilize or Manipulate the Cervical Spine?

Although this was strictly a chiropractic study, the results may also be very relevant to physical therapists who treat the cervical spine.

This very recent RCT consisted of 280 patients in California who were randomly assigned to either a chiropractic manipulation or chiropractic mobilization group. Interestingly but not surprisingly, the patients randomized to manipulation were more likely than those randomized to mobilization to have an adverse symptom occurring within 24 hours of treatment.

Increased neck pain or stiffness was the most common symptom following the manipulation, reported by 25% of the participants. Other less common side effects were headache and radiating pain.

Moderate-to-severe neck disability at baseline was strongly associated with adverse neurologic symptoms. Meaning if someone has a high level of neck pain, they are more likely to have some kind of adverse neurologic symptoms post manipulation.

Posted on: August 12, 2005

Categories: Cervical Spine

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