Literature Review: Spinal Manipulation Beneficial for Neck Pain

A recent literature review finds evidence that patients with chronic neck pain enrolled in clinical trials reported significant improvement following chiropractic spinal manipulation, according to a March/April 2007 report in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT).

According to Howard Vernon, DC, PhD, the review’s chief author, “The results of the literature review confirm the common clinical experience of doctors of chiropractic: Neck manipulation is beneficial for patients with certain forms of chronic neck pain.”As part of the literature review, Dr. Vernon and his colleagues reviewed nine previously published trials and found “high-quality evidence” that patients with chronic neck pain showed significant pain-level improvements following spinal manipulation. No trial group was reported to remain unchanged, and all groups showed positive changes up to 12 weeks post treatment. No trial reported any serious adverse effects.

This literature review did not include studies involving patients with acute neck pain, neck and arm pain, neck pain due to whiplash, or headaches. In this review, chronic neck pain was defined as being a minimum of eight week’s duration.

Researchers also found that mobilization therapy was beneficial in improving patients’ pain levels, with many achieving full recovery after six to seven weeks of treatment; however, the current evidence did not support a similar level of benefit from massage therapy.

JMPT, the premier biomedical publication in the chiropractic profession and the official scientific journal of ACA, provides the latest information on current research developments, as well as clinically oriented research and practical information for use in clinical settings.