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Is Spinal Manipulation Worth The Risk?

The British Medical Journal had an interesting article recently that I take issue with. They said…

Spinal manipulation is a common technique used to reduce back pain, neck pain and

 other musculoskeletal conditions by applying thrusts to the lumbar spine (lower back) or cervical spine (neck). Now in a report published online in British Medical Journal (BMJ) researchers debate whether it is effective.
According to Neil O’Connell and colleagues, cervical spine manipulation “may carry the potential for serious neurovascular complications” and that the technique is “unnecessary and inadvisable.”
O’Connell and his team argue that studies “provide consistent evidence of an association between neurovascular injury and recent exposure to cervical manipulation.”

Is Spinal Manipulation Worth The Risk? Probably Not

The latest Cochrane Review on spinal manipulation in 2010 included 27 studies. There was no report of any serious adverse events in any of these studies. I suspect that the writers of this report may have a bias against manipulation. Cervical spine manipulation is one of the interventions I may recommend to a patient presenting with neck pain. I also utilize myofascial release, trigger point therapy, manual traction, stretching, exercise, breath training, or modalities such as moist heat and ultrasound. The specific intervention or combinations of interventions I utilize in my practice are based on the patient’s history, examination and my experience. Check out Cochrane on their website:

I have over 31 years of experience in manual therapy and am the area’s only chiropractor who is Board-certified in Rehabilitation. Call today for an evaluation if you suffer from acute or chronic neck pain.

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