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Chiropractic Research Review

Management of Neck Pain:

Although recent studies have suggested that spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) has some value in the treatment of neck pain, objective evidence of clinical improvement has been lacking.

Thirty subjects were examined in a study designed to assess the effect of cervical manipulation only (as compared to combined cervical and thoracic spine manipulation) in the treatment of mechanical neck pain.

All subjects were diagnosed with mechanical neck pain without the presence of radiculopathy, then divided into two treatment groups. The first treatment group received cervical manipulation only, while the second treatment group received both cervical and upper thoracic manipulation. Patients were treated and assessed over a three-week period.

Results: The data suggested that there was an increase in cervical range of motion immediately after manipulation in both groups, although this was not statistically supported. Manipulating both the cervical and thoracic spine in patients with mechanical neck pain did not seem to have any benefit over manipulating the cervical spine alone.

While these results indicate that both cervical and cervical/thoracic manipulation may be effective in the treatment of mechanical neck pain, definitive conclusions should not be drawn because no control/placebo group was included. Nonetheless, the authors are to be commended for addressing these areas of weakness in the study and for providing suggestions for future research.

Parkin-Smith GF, Penter CS. A clinical trial investigating the effect of two manipulative approaches in the treatment of mechanical neck pain: a pilot study. Journal of the Neuromusculoskeletal System, Spring 1998;6(1), pp6-16. Reprints: Tel: (800) 342-0454; Fax: (410) 494-0515

Chiropractic Research Review

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