Welcome to Chronic Neck Pain @ Chiro.Org   This section contains
a vast collection of articles detailing how chiropractic can help.


Chronic Neck Pain and Chiropractic

This section was compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
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If there are terms in these articles you don't understand, you can get a definition from the Merriam Webster Medical Dictionary. If you want information about a specific disease, you can access the Merck Manual. You can also search Pub Med for more abstracts on this, or any other health topic.

Jump to: Reference Materials Chronic Neck Research Research Commentary

Who Are Candidates for Neck Pain?  

Patient Satisfaction Cost-Effectiveness Safety of Chiropractic

Senior Care Chiropractic Rehab Integrated Care

Headache Page Whiplash Section Disc Herniation

Chronic Neck Pain Low Back Pain Stroke & Chiropractic

Exercise + Chiropractic Care For Veterans Subluxation Complex

ChiroZine Case Reports Pediatric Section

Conditions That Respond Alternative Medicine Approaches to Disease


Reference Materials

Whiplash and Chiropractic
A Chiro.Org article collection

Enjoy this extensive collection about neck injuries.

The Neck Disorder Guidelines Section
A Chiro.Org article collection

Enjoy this extensive collection of guidelines.

The McKenzie Method Page
A Chiro.Org article collection

The McKenzie Method is grounded in finding a cause and effect relationship between the positions the patient usually assumes while sitting, standing, or moving, and the generation of pain as a result of those positions or activities. The therapeutic approach requires a patient to move through a series of activities and test movements to gauge the patient's pain response. The approach then uses that information to develop an exercise protocol designed to centralize or alleviate the pain.

Chiropractors Are the Spinal Health Care Experts
A Chiro.Org article collection

Enjoy these learned articles about chiropractors as first-contact Spinal Health Care Experts.

Chiropractic and Pain Management
A Chiro.Org article collection

Review this expanding collection of articles detailing the effectiveness of chiropractic care for reducing pain.

Neck and Back Pain in Children
A Chiro.Org article collection

There is a significant and growing body of research about the prevalence of neck and back pain in children, as well as the safety and effectiveness of pediatric chiropractic care.

The Forward Head Posture Page
A Chiro.Org article collection

Persistent forward head posture (a.k.a “hyperkyphotic posture”) forces the suboccipital muscles to remain in constant contraction as they elevate the chin, and this puts pressure on the 3 suboccipital nerves. This nerve compression may cause headaches at the base of the skull, and can also mimic sinus (frontal) headaches.

Soft-Tissue Neck Trauma
Chapter 15 from:   “The Rehabilitation Monograph Series”

By Richard C. Schafer, D.C., FICC and the ACAPress

The mechanical relationship between the head and neck has been crudely compared to a brick attached to a flexible rod. As the structural mass of the head is so much greater than that of the neck, it is no wonder that injuries of the neck are so prevalent. Even the person with a short neck and well-developed neck muscles and ligaments is not free of potential injury. The viscera of the neck serve as a channel for vital vessels and nerves, the trachea, esophagus, and spinal cord, and as a site for lymph and endocrine glands. When the head is in balance, a line drawn through the nasal spine and the superior border of the external auditory meatus will be perpendicular to the ground.

Cervical Spine Trauma
Chapter 22 from:   “The Rehabilitation Monograph Series”

By Richard C. Schafer, D.C., FICC and the ACAPress

The cervical spine provides structural stability and support for the cranium, and a flexible and protective column for movement and balance adaptation, along with housing of the spinal cord and vertebral arteries. It also allows for directional orientation of the eyes and ears. Nowhere in the spine is the relationship between the osseous structures and the surrounding neurologic and vascular beds as intimate or subject to disturbance as it is in the cervical region. Whether induced by trauma or not, cervical subluxation syndromes may be reflected in total body habitus. IVF insults, and the effects of articular fixations can manifest throughout the motor, sensory, and autonomic nervous systems. Many peripheral nerve symptoms in the shoulder, arm, and hand will find their origin in the cervical spine, as may numerous brainstem disorders.

Joint Trauma
Chapter 8 from:   “The Rehabilitation Monograph Series”

By Richard C. Schafer, D.C., FICC and the ACAPress

The general stability of synovial joints is established by action of surrounding muscles. Excessive joint stress results in strained muscles and tendons and sprained or ruptured ligaments and capsules. When stress is chronic, degenerative changes occur. The lining of synovial joints is slightly phagocytic, is regenerative if damaged, and secretes synovial fluid that is a nutritive lubricant having bacteriostatic and anticoagulant characteristics. This anticoagulant effect may result in poor callus formation in intra-articular fractures where the fracture line is exposed to synovial fluid. Synovial versus mechanical causes of joint pain are shown in Table 1.

Chiropractic Clinical Practice Guideline: Evidence-based Treatment
of Adult Neck Pain Not Due to Whiplash

J Canadian Chiro Assoc 2005 (Sep);   49 (3):   158–209 ~ FULL TEXT

Researchers worked with the Canadian Chiropractic Association, the Canadian Federation of Chiropractic Regulatory Boards, the Clinical Practice Guidelines Development Initiative, and the Guidelines Development Committee (GDC) to provide an evidence-based clinical practice guideline for the chiropractic cervical treatment of adults with acute or chronic neck pain not due to whiplash.

Psychosocial Factors and their Role in Chronic Pain:
A Brief Review of Development and Current Status

Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2005 (Apr 27);   13 (1):   6 ~ FULL TEXT

The belief that pain is a direct result of tissue damage has dominated medical thinking since the mid 20th Century. Several schools of psychological thought proffered linear causal models to explain non-physical pain observations such as phantom limb pain and the effects of placebo interventions. Psychological research has focused on identifying those people with acute pain who are at risk of transitioning into chronic and disabling pain, in the hope of producing better outcomes.

What Causes Chronic Neck Pain?
North American Spine Society

It is usually not possible to know the exact cause of neck pain in the days or weeks after a car accident. We know the muscles and ligaments get strained and are probably inflamed, but they usually heal within six to ten weeks. Pain that lasts longer (than 6-10 weeks) is usually due to deeper problems such as injury to the disc or facet joint, or both.   Read more here.


Chronic Neck Pain Research

Predictors of Visit Frequency for Patients Using Ongoing Chiropractic Care
for Chronic Back and Chronic Neck Pain; Analysis of Observational Data

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2020 (May 13);   21 (1):   298 ~ FULL TEXT

According to NIH Medline Plus, a publication of the National Institutes of Health, “chronic pain usually cannot be cured, but it can be managed.” [99] Several provider-based nonpharmacologic therapies have been recommended for chronic spinal pain, and these therapies may be used on an long-term ongoing basis by patients for pain management. Despite this need, ongoing provider-based care is not well-addressed in the evidence or supported in health and payer policies, [25–27] and this adds another barrier to the use of these recommended nonpharmacologic therapies [37]. This study examined data from a large sample of patients with CLBP and/or CNP to see how these real-world patients used chiropractic care over time to manage their pain. Our sample patients’ high pain management self-efficacy and long-term experience living with their conditions make them good source for information on how ongoing provider-based care for pain management might work. Chiropractic patients with CLBP and CNP manage their pain using a range of visit frequencies and the predictors of these frequencies could be useful for developing policies for ongoing provider-based care.

Exposure to a Motor Vehicle Collision and the Risk of Future Neck Pain:
A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Accident; Analysis and Prevention 2020 (May 18);   142:  105546 ~ FULL TEXT

Eight articles were identified of which seven were of lower risk of bias. Six studies reported a positive association between a neck injury in an MVC and future NP compared to those without a neck injury in a MVC. Pooled analysis of the six studies indicated an unadjusted relative risk of future NP in the MVC exposed population with neck injury of 2.3 (95% CI [1.8, 3.1]), which equates to a 57% attributable risk under the exposed. In two studies where exposed subjects were either not injured or injury status was unknown, there was no increased risk of future NP.   There was a consistent positive association among studies that have examined the association between MVC-related neck injury and future NP. These findings are of potential interest to clinicians, insurers, patients, governmental agencies, and the courts.

Best-Practice Recommendations for Chiropractic Management of Patients With Neck Pain
J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2019 (Nov);   42 (9):   635–650 ~ FULL TEXT

A set of best-practice recommendations for chiropractic management of patients with neck pain based on the best available evidence reached a high level of consensus by a large group of experienced chiropractors. The recommendations indicate that manipulation and mobilization as part of a multimodal approach are front-line approaches to patients with uncomplicated neck pain.

Broad External Validation and Update of a Prediction Model for
Persistent Neck Pain After 12 Weeks

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2019 (Nov 15);   44 (22):   E1298–E1310 ~ FULL TEXT

This study is one of few to independently externally validate a prediction model for neck pain. [11] We did not find that the original model was predictive in this sample of patients managed by chiropractors. The betweenpopulation-heterogeneity might be a limitation when transferring prediction models to different settings. An attempt to update the model resulted in a new prediction model that was able to predict patients with a favorable outcome. It is, however still pre-mature to be used in clinical decisionguidance and would need further evaluation and perhaps updating before implementation is considered.

Electronic Measures of Movement Impairment, Repositioning, and Posture in People
with and without Neck Pain-A Systematic Review

Systematic Reviews 2019 (Aug 27);   8 (1):   220 ~ FULL TEXT

People with varying types of neck pain have reduced active range of motion, reduced movement speed, and impaired head repositioning accuracy when compared with people without neck pain. Due to poor and inconsistent reporting regarding test methods, test subjects, blinding of examiners, and examiner background and training, these results should be interpreted with caution. Longitudinal studies are necessary to investigate the underlying factors for movement impairments and their potential to guide clinical interventions.

Prevalence and Characteristics of Chronic Spinal Pain Patients with Different Hopes
(Treatment Goals) for Ongoing Chiropractic Care

J Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2019 (Aug 27) [Epub] ~ FULL TEXT

Although much of health policy is based on a curative model, less than a third of a large sample of patients with CLBP and CNP under ongoing chiropractic care have a stated hope or goal of cure—their pain going away permanently. Instead, most patients have goals related to the ongoing successful management of their chronic spinal pain. How can this goal of provider-based pain management be viably supported and sustained? Policy makers need more information about how patients are using ongoing providerbased care to develop policies regarding this care. This study provides some of this information.

Group and Individual-level Change on Health-related Quality of Life
in Chiropractic Patients with Chronic Low Back or Neck Pain

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2019 (May 1);   44 (9):   647–651 ~ FULL TEXT

The results of this study contribute to the literature by providing evidence that chiropractic care is associated with improvements in functioning and well-being among individuals with chronic low back or neck pain. The study findings provide empirical verification of why some chronic pain patients utilize chiropractic care on a regular basis. It supports the use of chiropractic care as one option for improving functioning and well-being of patients with chronic low back pain or neck pain. While we are unable to infer the underlying mechanism for the observed improvements in patients, spinal manipulation is designed to relieve pain and improve physical functioning. Studies of the biomechanics indicate that spinal manipulation produces reflex responses and movements of vertebral bodies in the paraphysiologic zone. [27]

Manipulation and Mobilization for Treating Chronic Nonspecific Neck Pain:
A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis for an Appropriateness Panel

Pain Physician. 2019 (Mar);   22 (2):   E55–E70 ~ FULL TEXT

Studies published since January 2000 provide low-moderate quality evidence that various types of manipulation and/or mobilization will reduce pain and improve function for chronic nonspecific neck pain compared to other interventions. It appears that multimodal approaches, in which multiple treatment approaches are integrated, might have the greatest potential impact. The studies comparing to no treatment or sham were mostly testing the effect of a single dose, which may or may not be helpful to inform practice. According to the published trials reviewed, manipulation and mobilization appear safe. However, given the low rate of serious adverse events, other types of studies with much larger sample sizes would be required to fully describe the safety of manipulation and/or mobilization for nonspecific chronic neck pain.

Cost-effectiveness of Spinal Manipulation, Exercise, and Self-management for Spinal Pain
Using an Individual Participant Data Meta-analysis Approach: A Study Protocol

Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 2018 (Nov 13);   26:   46 ~ FULL TEXT

This project capitalizes on a unique opportunity to combine clinical and economic data collected in a several clinical trials that used similar methods. The findings will provide important information on the value of spinal manipulation, exercise therapy, and self-management for spinal pain management in the U.S.

Characteristics of Chiropractic Patients Being Treated for
Chronic Low Back and Neck Pain

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2018 (Sep);   27 (Suppl 6):   901–914 ~ FULL TEXT

This study provides insight into the characteristics of patients who are successfully managing their chronic low back pain (CLBP) and chronic neck pain (CNP). Findings of this descriptive study of a large sample of chiropractic patients with CLBP or CNP reveal this sample to be similar to those found in other studies of chiropractic patients: highly-educated, non-Hispanic, white women, with at least partial insurance coverage for chiropractic. These individuals have also been in pain and using chiropractic care for years. Most came to chiropractic after trying other types of care, and just under a third continued to receive other concurrent care for their pain. Prior to chiropractic, they saw the best results with massage therapy and acupuncture and reported high levels of belief in the success of chiropractic in reducing their pain.

Changes in Female Veterans' Neck Pain Following Chiropractic Care at a Hospital for Veterans
Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2018 (Feb);   30:   91–95 ~ FULL TEXT

Female veterans with neck pain included in this study experienced statistically and clinically significant reductions in numeric rating scale (NRS) and Neck Bournemouth Questionnaire (NBQ) scores over a short course of chiropractic management with a mean of 8.8 treatments. Chiropractic management may be an effective treatment strategy for female veterans with neck pain complaints. Further research is warranted given the lack of published evidence.

Influence of Initial Provider on Health Care Utilization in Patients Seeking Care for Neck Pain
Mayo Clin Proc Innov Qual Outcomes. 2017 (Oct 19);   1 (3):   226–233 ~ FULL TEXT

These findings support that initiating care with a nonpharmacological provider for a new episode of neck pain may present an opportunity to decrease opioid exposure (DC and PT) and advanced imaging and injections (DC only). Although these findings need confirmation in a better controlled study, our results suggest that adopting such a strategy aligns well with recent CDC and ACP recommendations and has the potential to decrease the management burden of neck pain by PCPs. Future research is needed to examine the association of patient-centered outcomes and health care utilization and to explore whether seeking care from a nonpharmacological provider is also associated with cost savings in addition to decreased health care utilization.

Exploring the Definition of Acute Neck Pain: A Prospective Cohort Observational Study
Comparing the Outcomes of Chiropractic Patients with 0-2 Weeks,
2-4 Weeks and 4-12 Weeks of Symptoms

Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 2017 (Aug 16);   25:   24 ~ FULL TEXT

The time period with 0–4 weeks of symptoms as the definition of “acute” neck pain should be maintained. Patients with a shorter period (0–2 weeks) of symptoms recover faster than patients with a longer period of symptoms (2–4 weeks) but this difference is only statistically significant at the 1 week and 1 month time periods. These results for neck pain patients are different from those obtained in the similar study investigating acute low back pain patients where the 0–2 weeks time period as the definition of ‘acute’ was recommended. Medium-term and long-term outcome is favourable for acute as well as subacute neck pain patients, independent of the exact duration of symptoms.

Chronic Neck Pain Patients With Traumatic or Non-traumatic Onset:
Differences in Characteristics. A Cross-sectional Study

Scand J Pain. 2017 (Jan);   14:   1-8 ~ FULL TEXT

This study showed significant differences between chronic neck pain patients when differentiated into groups based on their onset of pain. However, no specific clinical test or self-reported characteristic could differentiate between the groups at an individual patient level.   Pressure pain threshold tests, cervical muscle performance tests and patient-reported characteristics about self-perceived function and psychological factors may assist in profiling chronic neck pain patients. The need for more intensive management of those with a traumatic onset compared with those with a non-traumatic onset should be examined further.

Does Structured Patient Education Improve the Recovery and Clinical Outcomes
of Patients with Neck Pain? A Systematic Review from the Ontario
Protocol for Traffic Injury Management (OPTIMa) Collaboration

Spine J. 2016 (Dec);   16 (12):   1524–1540

Results suggest that structured patient education alone cannot be expected to yield large benefits in clinical effectiveness compared with other conservative interventions (including spinal manipulation, massage, supervised exercise, and physiotherapy) for patients with WAD or NAD. Moreover, structured patient education may be of benefit during the recovery of patients with WAD when used as an adjunct therapy to physiotherapy or emergency room care. These benefits are small and short lived.

Are Manual Therapies, Passive Physical Modalities, or Acupuncture Effective
for the Management of Patients with Whiplash-associated Disorders or Neck Pain
and Associated Disorders? An Update of the Bone and Joint Decade Task Force on
Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders by the OPTIMa Collaboration

Spine J. 2016 (Dec);   16 (12):   1598-1630 ~ FULL TEXT

Our review adds new evidence to the Neck Pain Task Force and suggests that mobilization, manipulation, and clinical massage are effective interventions for the management of neck pain. It also suggests that electroacupuncture, strain-counterstrain, relaxation massage, and some passive physical modalities (heat, cold, diathermy, hydrotherapy, and ultrasound) are not effective and should not be used to manage neck pain.

The Treatment of Neck Pain-Associated Disorders and Whiplash-Associated Disorders:
A Clinical Practice Guideline

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2016 (Oct);   39 (8):   523–564 ~ FULL TEXT

The objective was to develop a clinical practice guideline on the management of neck pain-associated disorders (NADs) and whiplash-associated disorders (WADs).
This guideline replaces 2 prior chiropractic guidelines on NADs and WADs.

Cost-effectiveness of Spinal Manipulative Therapy, Supervised Exercise,
and Home Exercise for Older Adults with Chronic Neck Pain

Spine J. 2016 (Nov);   16 (11):   1292–1304

Total costs for spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) + home exercise and advice (HEA) were 5% lower than HEA (mean difference: –$111; 95% confidence interval [CI] –$1,354 to $899) and 47% lower than supervised rehabilitative exercise (SRE) + HEA (mean difference: –$1,932; 95% CI –$2,796 to –$1,097).   SMT+HEA also resulted in a greater reduction of neck pain over the year relative to HEA (0.57; 95% CI 0.23 to 0.92) and SRE+HEA (0.41; 95% CI 0.05 to 0.76). Differences in disability and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) favored SMT+HEA.

Manual and Instrument Applied Cervical Manipulation for Mechanical Neck Pain:
A Randomized Controlled Trial

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2016 (Jun);   35 (5):   319–329 ~ FULL TEXT

This study demonstrates that a single cervical manipulation is capable of producing immediate and short-term benefits for mechanical neck pain (MNP). The study also demonstrates that not all manipulative techniques have the same effect and that the differences may be mediated by neurological or biomechanical factors inherent to each technique.
There are more articles like this at our: Instrument Adjusting Page

Variations in Patterns of Utilization and Charges for the Care of Neck Pain
in North Carolina, 2000 to 2009: A Statewide Claims' Data Analysis

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2016 (May);   39 (4):   240–251 ~ FULL TEXT

Increases in utilization and charges were the highest among patterns involving MDs, PTs and referral providers.   These findings are consistent with previous studies showing that medical specialty, diagnostic imaging, and invasive procedures (eg, spine injections, surgery) [17, 19, 20, 21] are significant drivers of increasing spine care costs. When costs are viewed vertically as if in “silos” (eg, DC-only costs, MD-only costs), increasing utilization of one particular provider is seen as a net cost increase. However, when costs are viewed across the silos, as this study has done, an increase in utilization of one provider group can result in a net cost decrease given its effect on the patient population.   This is an opportunity to view costs laterally versus a confined, vertical analysis.
This is one of 3 of the Cost-Effectiveness Triumvirate articles.

Management of Neck Pain and Associated Disorders: A Clinical Practice Guideline
from the Ontario Protocol for Traffic Injury Management (OPTIMa) Collaboration

Eur Spine J. 2016 (Jul);   25 (7):   2000–2022 ~ FULL TEXT

This guideline is based on recent systematic reviews of high-quality studies. A multidisciplinary expert panel considered the evidence of effectiveness, safety, cost-effectiveness, societal and ethical values, and patient experiences (obtained from qualitative research) when formulating recommendations. Target audience includes clinicians; target population is adults with grades I-III NAD <6 months duration.

Importance of Psychological Factors for the Recovery From a First Episode
of Acute Non-specific Neck Pain - A Longitudinal Observational Study

Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 2016 (Mar 16);   24:   9 ~ FULL TEXT

Previous bio-psycho-social studies have posited that anxiety, depression and catastrophizing are associated with chronicity. However, whether they are merely “associated with” versus “contribute towards” is really still up in the air (JMHO).   To test whether these emotional elements are a natural side-effect of chronic pain as opposed to being causal, these researchers worked with 850 patients with acute non-specific neck pain with no history of previous neck or arm pain.

Does Cervical Spine Manipulation Reduce Pain in People with Degenerative
Cervical Radiculopathy? A Systematic Review of the Evidence, and a Meta-analysis

Clin Rehabil. 2016 (Feb);   30 (2):   145–155 ~ FULL TEXT

Three trials with 502 participants were included. Meta-analysis suggested that cervical spine manipulation (mean difference 1.28, 95% confidence interval 0.80 to 1.75; P < 0.00001; heterogeneity: Chi2 = 8.57, P = 0.01, I2 = 77%) improving visual analogue scale for pain showed superior immediate effects compared with cervical computer traction. The overall strength of evidence was judged to be moderate quality.

The Anatomy and Morphometry of Cervical Zygapophyseal Joint Meniscoids
Surg Radiol Anat. 2015 (Sep);   37 (7):   799–807 ~ FULL TEXT

Meniscoids were identified in 86% of zygapophyseal joints examined; 50% contained both ventral and dorsal meniscoids, 7% contained a ventral meniscoid only and 29% contained a dorsal meniscoid only. Meniscoids were classified as adipose (4%), fibrous (74%), or fibroadipose (22%) based upon histological composition. There were no significant associations between meniscoid size (surface area or protrusion length) and gender, position in joint, spinal level, or articular degeneration. Increased articular degeneration was associated with fibrous meniscoid classification.

Prognostic Factors for Recurrences in Neck Pain Patients
Up to 1 Year After Chiropractic Care

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2015 (Sep);   38 (7):   458–464 ~ FULL TEXT

The results of this study suggest that recurrence of neck pain within 1 year after chiropractic intervention in Swiss chiropractic patients presenting from varied onsets is low. This study found preliminary findings that older age and a previous episode of neck may be useful predictors of neck pain recurrence within 1 year.

The Rapid and Progressive Degeneration of the Cervical Multifidus in Whiplash:
An MRI Study of Fatty Infiltration

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2015 (Jun 15);   40 (12):   E694–700 ~ FULL TEXT

Thirty-six subjects with whiplash injury were enrolled at less than 1 week postinjury and classified at 3 months using percentage scores on the Neck Disability Index as recovered/mild (0%–28%) or severe (≥30%). A fat/water magnetic resonance imaging measure, patient self-report of pain-related disability, and post-traumatic stress disorder were collected at less than 1 week, 2 weeks, and 3 months postinjury. The effects of time and group (per Neck Disability Index) and the interaction of time by group on MFI were determined. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis was used to determine a cut-point for MFI at 2 weeks to predict outcome at 3 months.

Is Neck Pain Associated with Worse Health-related Quality of Life
6 Months Later? A Population-based Cohort

Spine J. 2015 (Apr 1);   15 (4):   675–684 ~ FULL TEXT

Our results indicate that neck pain can affect the future physical health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of individuals. This impact was worse in individuals with worsening or persistent neck pain. These results emphasize the importance for health-care providers and policy makers to manage neck pain with early effective interventions to minimize the long-term impact on physical HRQoL. Future research needs to examine the course of neck pain on HRQoL while controlling for the confounding effects of socioeconomic, lifestyle, and comorbidities. Further research is also needed to examine the mediating and confounding effects of depression on the association between neck pain and mental HRQoL.

Is There a Role for Neck Manipulation in Elderly Falls Prevention? An Overview
J Canadian Chiro Assoc 2015 (Mar);   59 (1):   53–63 ~ FULL TEXT

We conclude that chiropractors may have a role in falls prevention strategies in the subpopulation of the elderly that suffer from mechanical neck pain or dysfunction and non-specific dizziness. However, this role remains to be rigorously studied and properly defined.

Perceived Value of Spinal Manipulative Therapy and Exercise Among Seniors
With Chronic Neck Pain: A Mixed Methods Study

J Rehabil Med. 2014 (Nov);   46 (10):   1022–1028 ~ FULL TEXT

Participants placed high value on their relationships with health care team members, supervision, individualized care, and the exercises and information provided as treatment. Change in symptoms did not figure as prominently as social and process-related themes. Percpetions of age, activities, and co-morbities influenced some seniors' expectations of treatment results, and comorbidities impacted perceptions of their ability to participate in active care.   Relationship dynamics should be leveraged in clinical encounters to enhance patient satisfaction and perceived value of care.

Spinal Manipulative Therapy and Exercise For Seniors with Chronic Neck Pain   NCT00269308
Spine J. 2014 (Sep 1);   14 (9):   1879–1889

A total of 241 participants were randomized, with 95% reporting primary outcome data at all time points. After 12 weeks of treatment, the SMT with home exercise group demonstrated a 10% greater decrease in pain compared with the HE-alone group, and 5% change over supervised plus home exercise. A decrease in pain favoring supervised plus home exercise (HE) over HE alone did not reach statistical significance. Compared with the HE group, both combination groups reported greater improvement at week 12 and more satisfaction at all time points. Multivariate longitudinal analysis incorporating primary and secondary patient-rated outcomes showed that the SMT with HE group was superior to the HE-alone group in both the short- and long-term. No serious adverse events were observed as a result of the study treatments. Spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) with home exercise resulted in greater pain reduction after 12 weeks of treatment compared with both supervised plus HE and HE alone. Supervised exercise sessions added little benefit to the HE-alone program.

A Modern Neuroscience Approach to Chronic Spinal Pain: Combining Pain
Neuroscience Education with Cognition-targeted Motor Control Training

Phys Ther. 2014 (May);   94 (5):   730–738 ~ FULL TEXT

Chronic spinal pain (CSP) is a severely disabling disorder, including nontraumatic chronic low back and neck pain, failed back surgery, and chronic whiplash-associated disorders. Much of the current therapy is focused on input mechanisms (treating peripheral elements such as muscles and joints) and output mechanisms (addressing motor control), while there is less attention to processing (central) mechanisms. In addition to the compelling evidence for impaired motor control of spinal muscles in patients with CSP, there is increasing evidence that central mechanisms (ie, hyperexcitability of the central nervous system and brain abnormalities) play a role in CSP. Hence, treatments for CSP should address not only peripheral dysfunctions but also the brain. Therefore, a modern neuroscience approach, comprising therapeutic pain neuroscience education followed by cognition-targeted motor control training, is proposed.

Short Term Treatment Versus Long Term Management of Neck and Back Disability in Older Adults
Utilizing Spinal Manipulative Therapy and Supervised Exercise: A Parallel-group
Randomized Clinical Trial Evaluating Relative Effectiveness and Harms

Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 2014 (May 23);   22:   21 ~ FULL TEXT

This is one of the first full-scale randomized clinical trials to compare short term treatment and long term management using SMT and exercise to treat spine-related disability in older adults. It builds on previous research by the investigative team showing improvement with three months of SMT and exercise in similar populations, which regressed to baseline values in long term follow up without further intervention 88. As back and neck pain in older adults are often chronic and among several co-morbidities [6, 8], we theorized that long term management may result in sustained improvement compared to short term treatment. Identifying the most favorable duration of treatment is a pragmatic question common to patients, clinicians, policy makers, and third-party payers alike. [25, 89] This is especially important to address in an older population, whose long term functional ability is essential to maintaining vitality and independence.

Spinal Manipulation and Exercise for Low Back Pain in Adolescents:
Study Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial
Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 2014 (May 23);   22:   21 ~ FULL TEXT

This is the first randomized clinical trial assessing the effectiveness of combining spinal manipulative therapy with exercise for adolescents with low back pain. The results of this study will provide important evidence on the role of these conservative treatments for the management of low back pain in adolescents.

Treatment Preferences Amongst Physical Therapists and Chiropractors
for the Management of Neck Pain: Results of an International Survey

Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 2014 (Mar 24);   22 (1):   11 ~ FULL TEXT

This survey indicates that exercise and manual therapy are core treatments provided by chiropractors and physical therapists. Future research should address gaps in evidence associated with variable practice patterns and knowledge translation to reduce usage of some interventions that have been shown to be ineffective.

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury After Motor Vehicle Collisions: What Are the Symptoms
and Who Treats Them? A Population-Based 1-Year Inception Cohort Study

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2014 (Mar);   95 (3 Suppl):   S286–294 ~ FULL TEXT

In this first population-based inception cohort study of individuals who have experienced a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) during a car collision, we found a high prevalence of multiple symptoms and pain at several body sites. In addition, care-seeking from multiple providers continued throughout the first year postinjury. Studies investigating how clusters of symptoms interact and affect prognosis are needed. Most urgently however, high-quality clinical trials investigating the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the many kinds of treatments given to these patients are needed.

Association Between Centralization and Directional Preference and Functional and
Pain Outcomes in Patients With Neck Pain

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2014 (Feb);   44 (2):   68–75 ~ FULL TEXT

Directional preference (DP) is a prevalent evaluation category that, when combined with treatments consisting of matched exercises and manual techniques, can be used to predict changes in function, but not pain, in patients with neck pain.
There are more articles like this at our: McKenzie Method page.

Exploring the Clinical Course of Neck Pain in Physical Therapy: A Longitudinal Study
Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2014 (Feb);   95 (2):   303–308 ~ FULL TEXT

The purpose of this exploratory study was to longitudinally describe the clinical course of mechanical neck pain during 1 month of usual-care outpatient physical therapy treatment. This was intended as a hypothesis-generating rather than confirmatory exercise and to provide guidance for future clinical trials of nonmedical neck pain management. We have shown that the trajectory, on average, in our sample of 50 subjects with mechanical neck pain of varying cause and duration, suggests an improvement of roughly 1.5 NDI points and 0.5 NRS points per week that adequately approximates a linear curve. In showing a mean linear trend over the course of 1 month, clinical trialists can be confident that a 1-month follow-up period is neither too short to identify measurable change, nor too long to risk missing early, rapid change.

Evidence-Based Guidelines for the Chiropractic Treatment of Adults With Neck Pain
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2014 (Jan);   37 (1):   42–63 ~ FULL TEXT

The studies included in this guideline indicate that cervical manipulation, mobilization, manual therapy, exercise, and massage can be recommended for the chiropractic treatment of nonspecific, mechanical neck pain. The strongest recommendations are typically made for the primary intervention in combination with another intervention, usually exercise and/or patient education. Owing to conflicting findings in the literature, no recommendation could be made for laser, TENS, or thoracic manipulation in the treatment of chronic neck pain or for the use of thoracic manipulation in the treatment of acute neck pain. There is a lack of evidence to support the use of laser, trigger point therapy, or traction for nonspecific, mechanical neck pain in adults.

The Course of Serum Inflammatory Biomarkers Following Whiplash Injury
and their Relationship to Sensory and Muscle Measures:
A Longitudinal Cohort Study

PLoS One. 2013 (Oct 17);   8 (10):   e77903 ~ FULL TEXT

In summary, the results demonstrate initially higher levels of serum C-reactive protein (CRP) following whiplash injury that persist in those with persistent moderate/severe pain and disability and show moderate associations with mechanical and cold hyperalgesia. In contrast serum levels of TNF-α are elevated in those with good or fair recovery and are negatively associated with amounts of fatty infiltrate in the cervical extensor muscles. Inflammatory biomarkers appear to be associated with the presentation of acute and chronic WAD.

Outcomes From Magnetic Resonance Imaging–Confirmed Symptomatic Cervical Disk
Herniation Patients Treated With High-Velocity, Low-Amplitude Spinal
Manipulative Therapy: A Prospective Cohort Study With 3-Month Follow-Up

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2013 (Oct);   36 (8):   461–467 ~ FULL TEXT

50 adult Swiss patients with neck pain and dermatomal arm pain; sensory, motor, or reflex changes corresponding to the involved nerve root; and at least 1 positive orthopaedic test for cervical radiculopathy were included. Magnetic resonance imaging-confirmed CDH linked with symptoms was required. At 2 weeks, 55.3% were "improved," 68.9% at 1 month and 85.7% at 3 months. Statistically significant decreases in neck pain, arm pain, and NDI scores were noted at 1 and 3 months compared with baseline scores (P < .0001).
Of the subacute/chronic patients, 76.2% were improved at 3 months.

Outcomes of Usual Chiropractic. The OUCH Randomized Controlled Trial of Adverse Events
Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2013 (Sep 15);   38 (20):   1723–1729 ~ FULL TEXT

Completed adverse questionnaires were returned by 94.5% of the participants after appointment 1 and 91.3% after appointment 2. Thirty-three percent of the sham group and 42% of the usual care group reported at least 1 adverse event.   Common adverse events were:

increased painsham 29%usual care 36%
muscle stiffnesssham 29%usual care 37%
headachesham 17%usual care   9%

The relative risk (RR) was not significant for adverse event occurrence (RR = 1.24; 95% CI: 0.85-1.81), occurrence of severe adverse events (RR = 1.9; 95% CI: 0.98-3.99), adverse event onset (RR = 0.16; 95% CI: 0.02-1.34), or adverse event duration (RR = 1.13; 95% CI: 0.59-2.18).   No serious adverse events were reported.   CONCLUSION:   A substantial proportion of adverse events after chiropractic treatment may result from natural history variation and nonspecific effects.
There are more articles like this in our Adverse Events page.

Comparison of Outcomes in Neck Pain Patients With and Without Dizziness Undergoing
Chiropractic Treatment: A Prospective Cohort Study With 6 month Follow-up

Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 2013 (Jan 7);   21:   3 ~ FULL TEXT

Neck pain patients with dizziness reported significantly higher pain and disability scores at baseline compared to patients without dizziness. A high proportion of patients in both groups reported clinically relevant improvement on the PGIC scale. At 6 months after start of chiropractic treatment there were no differences in any outcome measures between the two groups.

Algorithms for the Chiropractic Management of Acute and Chronic Spine-Related Pain
Topics in Integrative Health Care 2012 (Dec 31);   3 (4) ~ FULL TEXT

The complexity of clinical documentation and case management for health care providers has increased along with the rise of managed care. Keeping up with the policies of different insurers and third party administrators can be a daunting task. To address these issues for doctors of chiropractic (DCs) and policymakers, the Council for Chiropractic Guidelines and Practice Parameters (CCGPP) developed three consensus documents. Each of these documents was the outcome of a formal consensus process in which a multidisciplinary Delphi panel consisting of experts in chiropractic and low back pain treatment came to agreement on terminology and treatment parameters for the chiropractic management of spine-related musculoskeletal pain. [1–3]

The Association of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use and Health Care
Expenditures for Back and Neck Problems

Med Care. 2012 (Dec);   50 (12):   1029–1036 ~ FULL TEXT

While health care conversations increasingly mention chiropractic care as a viable option for back and neck pain – and research increasingly supports its utility from a clinical standpoint – this nationwide study of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)-related health care expenditures by 12,000-plus adults (ages 17 and older) with spinal conditions lends support to the suggestion that CAM in general, and chiropractic specifically, is also a cost-effective alternative to traditional medical care.

Predictors of Outcome in Neck Pain Patients Undergoing Chiropractic Care:
Comparison of Acute and Chronic Patients

Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 2012 (Aug 24);   20 (1):   27 ~ FULL TEXT

The most consistent predictor of clinically relevant improvement at both 1 and 3 months after the start of chiropractic treatment for both acute and chronic patients is if they report improvement early in the course of treatment. The co-existence of either radiculopathy or dizziness however do not imply poorer prognosis in these patients.

Clinical Decision Rules, Spinal Pain Classification and Prediction of Treatment Outcome:
A Discussion of Recent Reports in the Rehabilitation Literature

Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 2012 (Jun 22);   20   (1):   19 ~ FULL TEXT

Clinical decision rules are an increasingly common presence in the biomedical literature and represent one strategy of enhancing clinical-decision making with the goal of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare delivery. In the context of rehabilitation research, clinical decision rules have been predominantly aimed at classifying patients by predicting their treatment response to specific therapies. Traditionally, recommendations for developing clinical decision rules propose a multistep process (derivation, validation, impact analysis) using defined methodology. Research efforts aimed at developing a "diagnosis-based clinical decision rule" have departed from this convention. Recent publications in this line of research have used the modified terminology "diagnosis-based clinical decision guide." Modifications to terminology and methodology surrounding clinical decision rules can make it more difficult for clinicians to recognize the level of evidence associated with a decision rule and understand how this evidence should be implemented to inform patient care. We provide a brief overview of clinical decision rule development in the context of the rehabilitation literature and two specific papers recently published in Chiropractic and Manual Therapies.

Supervised Exercise With And Without Spinal Manipulation Performs Similarly And Better
Than Home Exercise For Chronic Neck Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2012 (May 15);   37 (11):   903–914

At 12 weeks, there was a significant difference in patient-rated pain between exercise therapy (ET) + spinal manipulation (SMT) and HEA (1.3 points, P < 0.001) and ET and home exercise and advice (HEA) (1.1 points, P = 0.001). Although there were smaller group differences in patient-rated pain at 52 weeks (ET + SMT vs. HEA, 0.2 points, P > 0.05; ET vs. HEA, 0.3 points, P > 0.05), linear mixed model analyses incorporating all time points yielded a significant advantage for the 2 supervised exercise groups (ET + SMT vs. HEA, P = 0.03; ET vs. HEA, P = 0.02). Similar results were observed for global perceived effect and satisfaction.

Advancements in the Management of Spine Disorders
Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2012 (Apr);   26 (2):   263–280 ~ FULL TEXT

Despite, or perhaps because of its impact, spinal disorders remain one of the most controversial and difficult conditions for clinicians, patients and policymakers to manage. This paper provides a brief summary of advances in the understanding of back and neck pain over the past decade as evidenced in the current literature. This paper includes the following sections: a classification of spinal disorders; the epidemiology of spine pain in the developed and developing world; key advancements in biological and biomechanical sciences in spine pain; the current status of potential methods for the prevention of back and neck pain; rheumatological and systemic disorders that impact the spine; and evidence-based surgical and non-surgical management of spine pain. The final section of this paper looks to the future and proposes actions and strategies that may be considered by the international Bone and Joint Decade (BJD), by providers, institutions and by policymakers so that we may better address the burden of spine disorders at global and local levels.

Pain in the Three Spinal Regions: The Same Disorder?
Data From a Population-based Sample of 34,902 Danish Adults

Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 2012 (Apr 5);   20:   11 ~ FULL TEXT

In all, 34,902 (74%) twin individuals representative of the general Danish population, aged 20 to 71, participated in a cross-sectional nation-wide survey. Identical questions from the Standardised Nordic Questionnaire for each of the three spinal regions were used for lumbar, mid-back and neck pain respectively: Pain past year, pain ever, radiating pain, and consequences of back pain (care-seeking, reduced physical activities, sick-leave, change of work/work duties and disability pension). The relative prevalence estimates of these variables were compared for the three spinal regions.

Cervical Radiculopathy: A Systematic Review on Treatment by Spinal Manipulation
and Measurement with the Neck Disability Index

J Canadian Chiropractic Assoc. 2012 (Mar);   56 (1):   18–28 ~ FULL TEXT

Cervical radiculopathy (CR), while less common than conditions with neck pain alone, can be a significant cause of neck pain and disability; thus the determination of adequate treatment options for patients is essential. Currently, inadequate scientific literature restricts specific conservative management recommendations for CR. Despite a paucity of evidence for high-velocity low-amplitude (HVLA) spinal manipulation in the treatment for CR, this strategy has been frequently labeled as contraindicated. Scientific support for appropriate outcome measures for CR is equally deficient. While more scientific data is needed to draw firm conclusions, the present review suggests that spinal manipulation may be cautiously considered as a therapeutic option for patients suffering from CR. With respect to outcome measures, the Neck Disability Index appears well-suited for spinal manipulative treatment of CR.

Spinal Manipulative Therapy and Its Role in the Prevention, Treatment and Management
of Chronic Pain

J Canadian Chiro Assoc 2012 (Mar);   56 (1):   5-7 ~ FULL TEXT

Chronic pain is a worldwide epidemic. It is characterized as “pain that persists beyond normal tissue healing time” [1] and is physiologically distinct from acute nociceptive pain. The current research estimates the prevalence of chronic pain in the general population to be anywhere from 10–55%, [2] predominantly affecting the adult population. Studies indicate that the prevalence of chronic pain in the over-60 age group is double that for younger adults. [3] Furthermore, over 80% of elderly (over 65) adults suffer from some form of painful chronic joint disease [4] and greater than 85% of the general population will experience some form of chronic myofascial pain during their lifetime. [5]

For Neck Pain, Chiropractic and Exercise Are Better Than Drugs
~ January 3, 2012

This new study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that chiropractic care or simple exercises done at home were better at reducing pain than taking medications like aspirin, ibuprofen or narcotics.

The Great Faceoff:
Chiropractic Goes Head-to-Head With NSAIDs and Acupuncture
The following commentary involves reviewing a brilliant series of 3 consecutive studies, comparing popular forms of treatment for chronic spinal pain, including NSAID use, acupuncture, and spinal adjusting for relief. The author reports that this is the first study of long-term efficacy of 3 distinct and standardized treatment regimens for patients with chronic spinal pain syndromes.

Spinal Manipulation, Medication, or Home Exercise With Advice
for Acute and Subacute Neck Pain: A Randomized Trial
Annals of Internal Medicine 2012 (Jan 3);   156 (1 Pt 1):   1–10 ~ FULL TEXT

Bronfort’s paper, published in the influential Annals of Internal Medicine, began with the hypothesis that “spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) is more effective than medication or home exercise with advice (HEA) for acute and subacute neck pain.” And indeed, when the dust settled, the neck-pain patients receiving spinal manipulation had achieved significantly more pain relief than those receiving medication. However, a third group that received a few instructional sessions of home exercise advice achieved results that were, for all practical purposes, equal to the manipulation group. Despite the fact that a New York Times article about this study was published under the headline “For Neck Pain, Chiropractic and Exercise Are Better Than Drugs” a closer analysis leads to a far more guarded set of conclusions.

Elevated Production of Inflammatory Mediators Including Nociceptive
Chemokines in Patients With Neck Pain: A Cross-Sectional Evaluation

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2011 (Oct);   34 (8):   498–505 ~ FULL TEXT

Production of inflammatory mediators was consistently elevated in NP patients in this study, both in vitro and in vivo, and activation of inflammatory pathways was accompanied by up-regulation of CC chemokine synthesis. This suggests that, in NP patients, CC chemokines may be involved in regulation of local inflammatory response through recruitment of immune cells to the inflamed tissue and exert pronociceptive effects.

Chiropractic Management for Veterans with Neck Pain: A Retrospective Study of Clinical Outcomes
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2011 (Oct);   34 (8):   533–538 ~ FULL TEXT

This study provides a retrospective review of clinical outcomes for a sample of veterans with neck pain within a VHA chiropractic clinic. Despite the levels of service-connected disability and comorbidity among this sample of veteran patients seeking care for neck pain, mean clinical outcomes were considered to be both statistically significant and clinically meaningful. Although retrospective design-based limitations are identified, this study serves as a foundation for further research and provides the most extensive account to date of chiropractic clinical outcomes for veteran patients with neck pain.

Application of a Diagnosis-Based Clinical Decision Guide in Patients with Neck Pain
Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 2011 (Aug 27);   19 (1):   19

The DBCDG can be applied in a busy private practice environment. Further studies are needed to investigate clinically relevant means to identify central pain hypersensitivity, oculomotor dysfunction, poor coping and depression, correlations and patterns among the diagnostic components of the DBCDG as well as interexaminer reliability, validity and efficacy of treatment based on the DBCDG.

The Trials of Evidence:
Interpreting Research and the Case for Chiropractic
The Chiropractic Report ~ July 2011 ~ FULL TEXT

For the great majority of patients with both acute and chronic low-back pain, namely those without diagnostic red flags, spinal manipulation is recommended by evidence-informed guidelines from many authoritative sources – whether chiropractic (the UK Evidence Report from Bronfort, Haas et al. [1]), medical (the 2007 Joint Clinical Practice Guideline from the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society [2]) or interdisciplinary (the European Back Pain Guidelines [3]).

Neck and Back Pain in Children: Prevalence and Progression Over Time
Musculoskelet Disord. 2011 (May 16);   12:   98 ~ FULL TEXT

The following article appears to be the first study to track and review the progression of back pain in the same group of children, over a prolonged period, to see how (or if) it is a contributor to those same complains in adulthood. Of particular interest is Table 2, because it breaks down and tracks complaints of either neck, mid back, or low back pain in the same group of children at 3 different time periods: ages 9, 13 and 15 years old.

Predictors for Identifying Patients With Mechanical Neck Pain Who Are Likely to Achieve
Short-Term Success With Manipulative Interventions Directed at the
Cervical and Thoracic Spine

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2011 (Mar);   34 (3):   144–152 ~ FULL TEXT

The current study identified several prognostic clinical factors including pain intensity greater than 4.5 points, cervical extension less than 46°, hypomobility of T1 vertebra, a negative ULTT, and female sex that may potentially identify patients with mechanical neck pain who are likely to experience a rapid and positive response to the application of cervical and thoracic spine thrust manipulations.   If 4 of 5 variables were present (LR+, 1.9), the likelihood of success increased from 61.7% to 86.3%.

A Randomised Controlled Trial of Preventive Spinal Manipulation with and without
a Home Exercise Program For Patients with Chronic Neck Pain

BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2011 (Feb 8);   12:   41 ~ FULL TEXT

This study hypothesised that participants in the combined intervention group would have less pain and disability and better function than participants from the 2 other groups during the preventive phase of the trial. This hypothesis was not supported by the study results. Lack of a treatment specific effect is discussed in relation to the placebo and patient provider interactions in manual therapies. Further research is needed to delineate the specific and non-specific effects of treatment modalities to prevent unnecessary disability and to minimise morbidity related to NCNP. Additional investigation is also required to identify the best strategies for secondary and tertiary prevention of NCNP.

Consequences of Spinal Pain: Do Age and Gender Matter? A Danish Cross-sectional
Population-based Study of 34,902 Individuals 20-71 Years of Age

BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2011 (Feb 8);   12:   39 ~ FULL TEXT

Almost two-thirds of individuals with spinal pain did not report any consequence. Generally, consequences due to LBP were more frequently reported than those due to NP or MBP. Regardless of area of complaint, care seeking and reduced physical activities were the most commonly reported consequences, followed by sick-leave, change of work, and disability pension. There was a small mid-life peak for care-seeking and a slow general increase in reduced activities with increasing age. Increasing age was not associated with a higher reporting of sick-leave but the duration of the sick-leave increased somewhat with age. Disability pension due to spinal pain was reported exceedingly rare before the age of 50. Typically, women slightly more often than men reported some kind of consequences due to spinal pain.

Management of Neck Pain in Royal Australian Air Force Fast Jet Aircrew
Military Medicine 2011 (Jan);   176 (1):   106–109 ~ FULL TEXT

Eighty-two RAAF FJ aircrew responded to the survey. Ninety-five percent of the respondents experienced flight-related neck pain. The most commonly sought treatment modalities were on-base medical and physiotherapy services. Many respondents reported that currently provided on-base treatment and ancillary services such as chiropractic therapy are the most effective in alleviating symptoms.

The Cervical Flexion-Relaxation Ratio: Reproducibility and Comparison
Between Chronic Neck Pain Patients and Controls

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2010 (Nov 15);   35 (24):   2103–2108

The cervical extensor muscles exhibit a consistent flexion-relaxation (FFR) phenomenon in healthy control subjects and the measurement is highly reproducible when measured 4 weeks apart in both controls and chronic neck pain patients. The FRR in neck pain patients is significantly higher than in control subjects suggesting that this measure may be a useful marker of altered neuromuscular function.

Manipulation or Mobilisation For Neck Pain: A Cochrane Review
Man Ther. 2010 (Aug);   15 (4):   315–333

Moderate quality evidence showed cervical manipulation and mobilisation produced similar effects on pain, function and patient satisfaction at intermediate-term follow-up. Low quality evidence suggested cervical manipulation may provide greater short-term pain relief than a control (pSMD -0.90 (95%CI: -1.78 to -0.02)). Low quality evidence also supported thoracic manipulation for pain reduction (NNT 7; 46.6% treatment advantage) and increased function (NNT 5; 40.6% treatment advantage) in acute pain and immediate pain reduction in chronic neck pain (NNT 5; 29% treatment advantage). Optimal technique and dose need to be determined.

Assessment of Patients With Neck Pain: A Review of Definitions,
Selection Criteria, and Measurement Tools

Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 2010 (Jun);   9 (2):   49–59 ~ FULL TEXT

The introduction of evidence-based practice in the last years of the 20th century stimulated the development and research of an enormous number of instruments to assess many types of patient variables. [1] Now, more rehabilitation professionals are familiarizing themselves with the use of outcome measures in clinical practice and for research purposes. [2, 3] Outcomes assessment is primarily designed to establish baselines, to evaluate the effect of an intervention, to assist in goal setting, and to motivate patients to evaluate their treatment. [4, 5] When used in a clinical setting, it can enhance clinical decision making and improve quality of care. [6] Many patients with neck pain visit health care clinics seeking treatment of their problem, and health professionals aim to use the best available evidence for making decisions about therapy. The best evidence comes from randomized clinical trials, systematic reviews, and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. [7]

Altered Central Integration of Dual Somatosensory Input After Cervical Spine Manipulation
J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2010 (Mar);   33 (3):   178–188 ~ FULL TEXT

This study suggests that cervical spine manipulation may alter cortical integration of dual somatosensory input. These findings may help to elucidate the mechanisms responsible for the effective relief of pain and restoration of functional ability documented after spinal manipulation treatment.

Effectiveness of Manual Therapies: The UK Evidence Report
Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2010 (Feb 25);   18 (1):   3 ~ FULL TEXT

Spinal manipulation/mobilization is effective in adults for: acute, subacute, and chronic low back pain; migraine and cervicogenic headache; cervicogenic dizziness; manipulation/mobilization is effective for several extremity joint conditions; and thoracic manipulation/mobilization is effective for acute/subacute neck pain. The evidence is inconclusive for cervical manipulation/mobilization alone for neck pain of any duration, and for manipulation/mobilization for mid back pain, sciatica, tension-type headache, coccydynia, temporomandibular joint disorders, fibromyalgia, premenstrual syndrome, and pneumonia in older adults. Spinal manipulation is not effective for asthma and dysmenorrhea when compared to sham manipulation, or for Stage 1 hypertension when added to an antihypertensive diet. In children, the evidence is inconclusive regarding the effectiveness for otitis media and enuresis, and it is not effective for infantile colic and asthma when compared to sham manipulation.

Commentary on the United Kingdom Evidence Report
About the Effectiveness of Manual Therapies

Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2010 (Feb 25);   18 (1):   4 ~ FULL TEXT

This is an accompanying commentary on the article by Gert Bronfort and colleagues about the effectiveness of manual therapy. The two commentaries were provided independently and combined into this single article by the journal editors.

Do Chiropractic Physician Services for Treatment of Low-Back and Neck Pain Improve the Value
of Health Benefit Plans? An Evidence-Based Assessment of Incremental Impact
on Population Health and Total Health Care Spending

Mercer Health and Benefits LLC ~ October 12, 2009 ~ FULL TEXT

This report combined a rigorous analysis of direct and indirect costs with equally relevant (though often missing from such analyses) evidence concerning clinical effectiveness. In other words, Choudhry and Milstein started with the assumption that low cost is only a virtue if a product or service effectively delivers what it promises. Including both clinical effectiveness and cost in their analysis, they concluded that chiropractic care was far more valuable than medical treatment for neck and low back pain.

Rehabilitation Program for Traumatic Chronic Cervical Pain
Associated With Unsteadiness: A Single Case Study

Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2008 (Nov 17);   16 (1):   15 ~ FULL TEXT

This case report indicates that an 8-week rehabilitation program combining therapeutic exercises with spinal manipulative therapy may have had an effect on improvement of postural control in a trauma Chronic Neck Pain patient with unsteadiness. These results warrant further studies to investigate the relationships between pain amelioration, sensorimotor control of the cervical spine, muscle fitness and postural steadiness.

Recognizing the Value of Chiropractic for Chronic Pain
Dynamic Chiropractic 2008 (Sep 23);   26 (20):

The guidelines actually recommend manipulation for chronic, persistent low back or neck pain and cervicogenic headache. [2] This is significant because in the past, the guidelines failed to recommend manipulation, even when other treatment strategies (medication, etc.) were rated as less effective.

A Diagnosis-based Clinical Decision Rule For Spinal Pain Part 2: Review Of The Literature
Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2008 (Aug 11);   16:   7 ~ FULL TEXT

Accurate diagnosis or classification of patients with spinal pain has been identified as a research priority [1]. We presented in Part 1 the theoretical model of an approach to diagnosis in patients with spinal pain [2]. This approach incorporated the various factors that have been found, or in some cases theorized, to be of importance in the generation and perpetuation of neck or back pain into an organized scheme upon which a management strategy can be based. The authors termed this approach a diagnosis-based clinical decision rule (DBCDR). The DBCDR is not a clinical prediction rule. It is an attempt to identify aspects of the clinical picture in each patient that are relevant to the perpetuation of pain and disability so that these factors can be addressed with interventions designed to improve them. The purpose of this paper is to review the literature on the methods involved in the DBCDR regarding reliability and validity and to identify those areas in which the literature is currently lacking.

Predictors For Immediate and Global Responses to Chiropractic Manipulation of the Cervical Spine
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2008 (Mar);   31 (3):   172–183 ~ FULL TEXT

This study is the first attempt to identify variables that can predict immediate outcomes in terms of improvement and worsening of presenting symptoms, and global improvement, after cervical spine manipulation. From the findings, it was possible to identify some predictors of immediate improvement in presenting symptoms after cervical spine manipulation. Patients presenting with symptoms of “reduced neck, shoulder, arm movement, stiffness,” “neck pain,” “upper, mid back pain,” “headache,” “shoulder, arm pain,” and/or “none or one presenting symptom only” are likely to report immediate improvement in these symptoms after treatment. Patients presenting with any 4 of these symptoms were shown to have the highest probability of immediate improvement. This finding may enhance clinical decision making for selecting cervical manipulation in the treatment of patients with one or more of these complaints. Although it was possible to identify a number of predictor variables for immediate worsening in presenting symptoms and global improvement after cervical spine manipulation, these failed to provide a robust predictive model for clinical application.

The Benefits Outweigh the Risks for Patients Undergoing Chiropractic Care for Neck Pain:
A Prospective, Multicenter, Cohort Study

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2007 (Jul);   30 (6):   408–418 ~ FULL TEXT

In contrast to clinical trials of prescription medication, researchers in the area of conservative care for musculoskeletal complaints have focused their attention on treatment effectiveness and, to a much lesser degree, on adverse events. This study, consisting of patients treated in a wide variety of chiropractic practices and settings, describes both positive and negative, and short- and long-term clinical outcomes for a relatively large study population with neck pain. Although many of the subjects (in this study) had chronic, recurrent neck pain and had undergone prior care for this complaint, many patients experienced benefit from the treatment (based upon diminished pain and disability, the percentage of patients recovered and percentage satisfied with care). Furthermore, many responded relatively quickly to treatment (48% were recovered at the fourth visit).

Conservative Management of Mechanical Neck Disorders: A Systematic Review
J Rheumatol 2007 (May);   34 (5):   1083–1102

In a review of 88 unique RCTs, the authors found that “Exercise combined with mobilization/manipulation, exercise alone, and intramuscular lidocaine for chronic MND; intravenous glucocorticoid for acute whiplash associated disorders; and low-level laser therapy demonstrated either intermediate or longterm benefits. Optimal dosage of effective techniques and prognostic indicators for responders to care should be explored in future research.”

Neck and Shoulder Pains in Relation to Physical Activity and Sedentary Activities in Adolescence
Spine 2007 (Apr 20);   32 (9):   1038–1044

Almost half of the girls and one third of the boys reported mild neck or occipital pain, or shoulder pain, and 3% of girls and 2% of boys reported severe neck or occipital pain, or shoulder pain during the past 6 months. High-level physical activity associated with an increased prevalence of both severe neck or occipital pain and severe shoulder pain in girls, but not in boys. Prolonged sitting was associated with a high prevalence of neck or occipital pain and shoulder pain in girls, and neck or occipital pain in boys. Of various sedentary activities, television watching and reading books associated with neck or occipital pain in girls, whereas playing or working with a computer associated with neck or occipital pain in boys. In girls, television watching also associated with mild shoulder pain.

Chronic Mechanical Neck Pain in Adults Treated by Manual Therapy:
A Systematic Review of Change Scores in Randomized Clinical Trials

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2007 (Mar);   30 (3):   215–227 ~ FULL TEXT

There is moderate- to high-quality evidence that subjects with chronic neck pain not due to whiplash and without arm pain and headaches show clinically important improvements from a course of spinal manipulation or mobilization at 6, 12, and up to 104 weeks posttreatment. The current evidence does not support a similar level of benefit from massage.

Cervical Spine Manipulation Alters Sensorimotor Integration:
A Somatosensory Evoked Potential Study

Clin Neurophysiol. 2007 (Feb);   118 (2):   391–402

Spinal manipulation of dysfunctional cervical joints can lead to transient cortical plastic changes, as demonstrated by attenuation of cortical somatosensory evoked responses.   This study suggests that cervical spine manipulation may alter cortical somatosensory processing and sensorimotor integration. These findings may help to elucidate the mechanisms responsible for the effective relief of pain and restoration of functional ability documented following spinal manipulation treatment.

Development of a Clinical Prediction Rule for Guiding Treatment of a Subgroup of Patients
With Neck Pain: Use of Thoracic Spine Manipulation, Exercise, and Patient Education

Phys Ther. 2007 (Jan);   87 (1):   9–23 ~ FULL TEXT

The clinical prediction rule (CPR) provides the ability to a priori identify patients with neck pain who are likely to experience early success with thoracic spine thrust manipulation. However, future studies are necessary to validate the rule.

The Impact of Psychosocial Factors on Neck Pain and Disability Outcomes
Among Primary Care Patients: Results from the UCLA Neck Pain Study

Disabil Rehabil 2006 (Nov 15);   28 (21):   1319–1329

Of 960 eligible patients, 336 were enrolled and 80% were followed up through 6 months. Coping strategies involving self-assurance resulted in better disability outcomes, whereas getting angry or frustrated resulted in worse pain and disability outcomes. Participants with high levels of social support from individuals were more likely to experience clinically meaningful reductions in pain and disability. No consistent relations of internal health locus of control, and physical and psychological job demands with improvements in pain and disability were detected.

Immediate Effects on Neck Pain and Active Range of Motion After a Single Cervical
High-velocity Low-amplitude Manipulation in Subjects Presenting with
Mechanical Neck Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2006 (Sep);   29 (7):   511–517 ~ FULL TEXT

A group of 70 patients with neck pain (25 males and 45 females, ages 20-55 years) participated in this study. The lateral gliding test was used to establish an intervertebral joint dysfunction at the C3 through C4 or C4 through C5 levels. The subjects were randomly divided into either an experimental group, which received an HVLA thrust, or a control group, which received manual mobilization. Results suggest that a single cervical HVLA manipulation is more effective in reducing neck pain at rest, and in increasing active cervical range of motion, than a control mobilization procedure in subjects suffering from mechanical neck pain.

Chronic Neck Pain And Whiplash: A Case-control Study of the Relationship
Between Acute Whiplash Injuries and Chronic Neck Pain

Pain Res Manag. 2006 (Summer);   11 (2):   79–83

Patients were defined as individuals with chronic neck pain, and controls as those with chronic back pain. The two groups were surveyed for cause of chronic pain as well as demographic information. The two groups were compared using an exposure-odds ratio. Forty-five per cent of the patients attributed their pain to a motor vehicle accident. An OR of 4.0 and 2.1 was calculated for men and women, respectively. Based on the results of the present study, it reasonable to infer that a significant proportion of individuals with chronic neck pain in the general population were originally injured in a motor vehicle accident.

Symptomatic Outcomes and Perceived Satisfaction Levels of Chiropractic Patients
with a Primary Diagnosis Involving Acute Neck Pain

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2006 (May);   29 (4):   288–296 ~ FULL TEXT

A total of 115 patients were contacted, of whom 94 became study participants, resulting in 60 women (64%) and 34 men. The mean age was 39.6 years (SD, 15.7). The mean number of visits was 24.5 (SD, 21.2). Pain levels improved significantly from a mean of 7.6 (median, 8.0) before treatment to 1.9 (median, 2.0) after treatment (P < .0001).   The overall patient satisfaction rate was 94%.

Return to Work After Two Years of Total Disability: A Case Report
J Occup Rehabil 2006 (Jun 3):   16 (2):   247–254

This paper describes the conservative management of a patient who was disabled from work for 2 years, using an integrated approach including chiropractic manipulation, pain education, restricted duty and clear communications among all parties involved. After 15 weeks, the patient returned to her previous occupation as a nurse, first part time, and subsequently full time.
There are more articles like this in our Case Studies Section.

Improvement After Chiropractic Care in Cervicocephalic Kinesthetic Sensibility
and Subjective Pain Intensity in Patients with Nontraumatic
Chronic Neck Pain

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2006 (Feb);   29 (2):   100–106 ~ FULL TEXT

There was no difference between the treatment patients and the control subjects at the beginning with regard to age, sex, subjective pain intensity, range of motion, and HRA. At the 5-week follow-up, the treatment patients showed significant reductions in pain and improvement of all HRA aspects measured whereas the control subjects did not show any reduction in pain and improvement in only one HRA aspect. The results of this study suggest that chiropractic care can be effective in influencing the complex process of proprioceptive sensibility and pain of cervical origin. Short, specific chiropractic treatment programs with proper patient information may alter the course of chronic cervical pain.

Chronic Spinal Pain:   Spinal Manipulation vs. Acupuncture vs. Meds
- A Brilliant Series of 3 Research Studies

   The Pilot Study   (1999)   

   Chronic Spinal Pain Syndromes: A Clinical Pilot Trial Comparing Acupuncture,
A Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug, and Spinal Manipulation

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1999 (Jul);   22 (6):   376-381 ~ FULL TEXT

Randomization was successful. After a median intervention period of 30 days, spinal manipulation was the only intervention that achieved statistically significant improvements (all expressed as percentages of the original scores) with (1) a reduction of 30.7% on the Oswestry scale, (2) an improvement of 25% on the neck disability index, and (3) reductions on the visual analogue scale of 50% for low back pain, 46% for upper back pain, and 33% for neck pain (all P<.001). Neither of the other interventions showed any significant improvement on any of the outcome measures.

   The Trial   (2003)   

   Chronic Spinal Pain: A Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing Medication,
Acupuncture, and Spinal Manipulation

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2003 (Jul 15);   28 (14):   1490-1502

Randomization proved to be successful. The highest proportion of early (asymptomatic status) recovery was found for manipulation (27.3%), followed by acupuncture (9.4%) and medication (5%). Manipulation achieved the best overall results, with improvements of 50% (P = 0.01) on the Oswestry scale, 38% (P = 0.08) on the NDI, 47% (P < 0.001) on the SF-36, and 50% (P < 0.01) on the VAS for back pain, 38% (P < 0.001) for lumbar standing flexion, 20% (P < 0.001) for lumbar sitting flexion, 25% (P = 0.1) for cervical sitting flexion, and 18% (P = 0.02) for cervical sitting extension. However, on the VAS for neck pain, acupuncture showed a better result than manipulation (50% vs 42%).

   The Long-term Follow-up   (2005)   

   Long-Term Follow-up of a Randomized Clinical Trial Assessing the Efficacy of Medication,
Acupuncture, and Spinal Manipulation for Chronic Mechanical Spinal Pain Syndromes

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2005 (Jan);   28 (1):   3-11 ~ FULL TEXT

The results of this “fastidious” approach were able to add some information regarding the efficacy of treatment regimens in patients with chronic spinal pain syndromes. Overall, patients who have chronic mechanical spinal pain syndromes and received spinal manipulation gained significant broad-based beneficial short-term and long-term outcomes. For patients receiving acupuncture, consistent improvements were also observed, although without reaching statistical significance (with a single exception). For patients receiving medication, the findings were less favorable. Larger studies are now clearly justified.

   End of the Trial Series   

Effects of a Managed Chiropractic Benefit on the Use of Specific Diagnostic and
Therapeutic Procedures in the Treatment of Low Back and Neck Pain

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2005 (Oct);   28 (8):   564–569 ~ FULL TEXT

For the treatment of low back and neck pain, the inclusion of a chiropractic benefit resulted in a significant reduction in the rates of surgery, advanced imaging, inpatient care, and plain-film radiographs. This effect was greater on a per-episode basis than on a per-patient basis.

Exercises for Mechanical Neck Disorders
Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2005 (Jul 20);   3:   CD004250

The evidence summarised in this systematic review indicates that specific exercises may be effective for the treatment of acute and chronic MND, with or without headache. To be of benefit, a stretching and strengthening exercise program should concentrate on the musculature of the cervical, shoulder-thoracic area, or both. A multimodal care approach of exercise, combined with mobilisation or manipulation for subacute and chronic MND with or without headache, reduced pain, improved function, and global perceived effect in the short and long term.

Cervicogenic Head and Neck Pain in the ENT Clinic
HNO 2005 (May 11)

It is discussed controversially whether cervicogenic pain in the head and/or neck is a pathogenic entity. The good results obtained with manual therapy in patients with head and neck pain contradict the refusal of the majority of the neurologists to accept the diagnosis "cervicogenic headache." Complaints about headache are frequently encountered in the general ENT clinic. The versatile picture of the cervicogenic headache is caused by the complex neural connections in the region of the upper cervical spine. The differential diagnosis of the cervicogenic headache is described.

Determining the Relationship Between Cervical Lordosis and Neck Complaints
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2005 (Mar);   28 (3):   187-193 ~ FULL TEXT

In a study of 277 lateral cervical x-rays, patients with lordosis of 20° or less were more likely to have cervicogenic symptoms (P < .001). The association between cervical pain and lordosis of 0° or less was significant (P < .0001). The odds that a patient with cervical pain had a lordosis of 0° or less was 18 times greater than for a patient with a noncervical complaint. Patients with cervical pain had less lordosis and this was consistent over all age ranges.
There are more articles like this in our: Spinal Alignment or Cervical Curve Page.

Chronic Pain in Persons With Neuromuscular Disease
Clin J Pain 2005 (Jan);   21 (1):   18–26 ~ FULL TEXT

In this paper, researchers in a medical school rehabilitation department were interested in finding out what treatments were most effective at reducing pain for neuromuscular diseases (like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and myotonic muscular dystrophies).
Chiropractic scored the highest pain relief rating (7.33 out of 10), scoring higher than the relief provided by either nerve blocks (6.75) or opioid analgesics (6.37). WOW!!!

A Clinical Model for the Diagnosis and Management of Patients With Cervical Spine Syndromes
Australasian Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2004 (Nov);   12 (2):   57–71 ~ FULL TEXT

Neck pain and related disorders are a group of conditions that are common and often disabling. It can be argued that the importance of these disorders is under-appreciated. Because of the prevalence of low back pain and its great cost to society, much clinical attention and research dollars are focused on the low back. But epidemiological research suggests that cervical related disorders are as common and may be more costly to society than low back disorders. [1-4]

Dose Response for Chiropractic Care of Chronic Cervicogenic Headache
and Associated Neck Pain: A Randomized Pilot Study

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2004 (Nov);   27 (9):   547—553 ~ FULL TEXT

Patients were randomly allocated to 1, 3, or 4 visits per week for 3 weeks. All patients received high-velocity low-amplitude spinal manipulation. Doctor of Chiropractics could apply up to 2 physical modalities at each visit from among heat and soft tissue therapy. They could also recommend modification of daily activities and rehabilitative exercises. A large clinical trial on the relationship between pain relief and the number of chiropractic treatments is feasible. Findings give preliminary support for the benefit of larger doses, 9 to 12 treatments, of chiropractic care for the treatment of cervicogenic headache.

Patients With Neck Pain Demonstrate Reduced Electromyographic Activity
of the Deep Cervical Flexor Muscles During Performance of the
Craniocervical Flexion Test

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2004 (Oct 1);   29 (19):   2108–2114 ~ FULL TEXT

There was a strong linear relation between the electromyographic amplitude of the deep cervical flexor muscles and the incremental stages of the craniocervical flexion test for control and individuals with neck pain (P = 0.002). However, the amplitude of deep cervical flexor electromyographic activity was less for the group with neck pain than controls, and this difference was significant for the higher increments of the task (P < 0.05). Although not significant, there was a strong trend for greater sternocleidomastoid and anterior scalene electromyographic activity for the group with neck pain.

Efficacy of Spinal Manipulation and Mobilization for Low Back Pain and Neck Pain:
A Systematic Review and Best Evidence Synthesis

Spine Journal (of the North American Spine Society) 2004 (May);   4 (3):   335–356

Our data synthesis suggests that recommendations can be made with some confidence regarding the use of SMT and/or MOB as a viable option for the treatment of both low back pain and neck pain. There have been few high-quality trials distinguishing between acute and chronic patients, and most are limited to shorter-term follow-up. Future trials should examine well-defined subgroups of patients, further address the value of SMT and MOB for acute patients, establish optimal number of treatment visits and consider the cost-effectiveness of care.

Impairment in the Cervical Flexors: A Comparison of Whiplash
and Insidious Onset Neck Pain Patients

Manual Therapy 2004 (May);   9 (2):   89–94

The results indicated that both the insidious onset neck pain and whiplash groups had higher measures of EMG signal amplitude (normalized root mean square) in the sternocleidomastoid during each stage of the test compared to the control subjects (all P<0.05) and had significantly greater shortfalls from the pressure targets in the test stages (P<0.05). No significant differences were evident between the neck pain groups in either parameter indicating that this physical impairment in the neck flexor synergy is common to neck pain of both whiplash and insidious origin.

Back and Neck Pain Exhibit Many Common Features in Old Age: A Population-based
Study of 4,486 Danish Twins 70-102 Years of Age

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2004 (Mar 1);   29 (5):   576–580 ~ FULL TEXT

Back pain and neck pain are common symptoms in old age. In the 70+ year age group, back pain alone affects roughly 15%, neck pain alone affects approximately 10%, and both back pain and neck pain affect about 10% on a monthly basis. The majority (>70%), however, experienced only one episode or none at all before any of the four interviews. Prevalence estimates for back pain, neck pain, and concurrent back and neck pain remain constant with increasing age both in a cross-sectional analysis and a longitudinal analysis. Back pain and neck pain are associated with many co-occurring health problems and with poorer self-rated health. Both back pain and neck pain sufferers had significantly lower scores on physical functioning tests, whereas cognitive scores were unaffected.

Chiropractic Management of Intractable Chronic Whiplash Syndrome
Clinical Chiropractic 2004 (Mar):   7 (1):   16—23

The management protocol in this case consisted of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy, soft tissue work and post-isometric relaxation (PIR) techniques to address biomechanical somatic dysfunction. In addition, active rehabilitation exercises, self-stretches and proprioceptive exercises were utilised to address postural and muscle imbalance. On the seventh treatment, the patient reported no neck pain, no headaches and unrestricted cervical spine range of motion. At 4 months follow-up, the patient continued to be free of headaches and neck stiffness and reported only mild, intermittent neck pain.

The Epidemiology of Neck Pain: What We Have Learned From Our Population–based Studies
J Can Chiropr Assoc 2003 (Dec);   47 (4):   284–290 ~ FULL TEXT

Neck pain is a public health problem. The incidence and prognosis of whiplash injuries are greatly influenced by compensation for pain and suffering, legal factors, injury severity and sociodemographic characteristics. Overall, neck pain is a multifaceted disabling problem that deserves more attention. When treating patients with neck pain, clinicians need to recognize that it is more than a physical problem and that its prognosis is influenced by broader determinants of health.

Vertical Posture and Head Stability in Patients With Chronic Neck Pain
J Rehabil Med. 2003 (Sep);   35 (5):   229–235 ~ FULL TEXT

Our experiments have confirmed earlier reports on increased postural sway and decreased ability to maintain more demanding standing posture in patients with chronic neck pain, and, in addition, showed major differences in vertical postural and head stability to perturbations. The differences between the patients with whiplash associated disorders (WAD) and those suffering from work-related pain (WRP) suggest that deficits in proprioception and motor control, rather than the chronic pain itself, may be the main factors defining the clinical picture in different chronic neck pain conditions. Consequently, qualitative and quantitative measures of postural performance and head stabilization could be used to increase the precision and efficiency of diagnosis and rehabilitation of chronic neck pain of different aetiology.

Development of Motor System Dysfunction Following Whiplash Injury
Pain. 2003 (May);   103 (1-2):   65–73

Dysfunction in the motor system is a feature of persistent whiplash associated disorders. Little is known about motor dysfunction in the early stages following injury and of its progress in those persons who recover and those who develop persistent symptoms. This study measured prospectively, motor system function (cervical range of movement (ROM), joint position error (JPE) and activity of the superficial neck flexors (EMG) during a test of cranio-cervical flexion) as well as a measure of fear of re-injury (TAMPA) in 66 whiplash subjects within 1 month of injury and then 2 and 3 months post injury. Subjects were classified at 3 months post injury using scores on the neck disability index: recovered (<8), mild pain and disability (10-28) or moderate/severe pain and disability (>30).

Cost Effectiveness of Physiotherapy, Manual Therapy, and General Practitioner Care
for Neck Pain: Economic Evaluation Alongside a Randomised Controlled Trial

British Medical Journal 2003 (Apr 26);   326 (7395):   911 ~ FULL TEXT

A hands-on approach to treating neck pain by manual therapy may help people get better faster and at a lower cost than more traditional treatments, according to this study.   After seven and 26 weeks, they found significant improvements in recovery rates in the manual therapy group compared to the other 2 groups. For example, at week seven, 68% of the manual therapy group had recovered from their neck pain vs. 51% in the physical therapy group and 36% in the medical care group.
You may also enjoy this WebMD review (Thursday, April 24, 2003) titled:
Manual Therapy Eases Neck Pain, Cheaply: Hands-On Approach Effective,
and More Cost-Effective, than Traditional Treatments

Hearing Loss, Otalgia and Neck Pain: A Case Report on Long-Term Chiropractic Care
That Helped to Improve Quality of Life

Chiropractic Journal of Australia 2002 (Dec); 32 (4):   119-130 ~ FULL TEXT

Observation over an extended period assists in understanding the progression of chronic disorders. This patient experienced substantially reduced symptoms with chiropractic care during the 7-year observation period. Of note is the repeated exacerbation of neck pain that often precedes exacerbation in ear symptoms, along with the relief of both following adjustment and an association between improved hearing and improved cervical alignment.
There are more articles like this in our: Case Studies Section.

Two-year Follow-up of a Randomized Clinical Trial of Spinal Manipulation
and Two Types of Exercise for Patients with Chronic Neck Pain

Spine 2002 (Nov 1);   27 (21):   2383–2389

The results of this study demonstrate an advantage of spinal manipulation combined with low-tech rehabilitative exercise and MedX rehabilitative exercise versus spinal manipulation alone over two years and are similar in magnitude to those observed after one-year follow-up. These results suggest that treatments including supervised rehabilitative exercise should be considered for chronic neck pain sufferers. Further studies are needed to examine the cost effectiveness of these therapies and how spinal manipulation compares to no treatment or minimal intervention.

Back, Neck, and Shoulder Pain in Finnish Adolescents:
National Cross Sectional Surveys

British Medical Journal 2002 (Oct 5);   325 (7367):   743–745 ~ FULL TEXT

To study changes in the prevalence of pain in the back or neck in adolescents between the years 1985 and 2001, the authors compared biennial nationwide postal surveys, between 1985-2001, and annual classroom surveys, from 1996-2001.   They found that pain in the neck, shoulder, and lower back is becoming more common in Finnish adolescents. This pain suggests a new disease burden of degenerative musculoskeletal disorders for future adults. Prevalence of pain in the back and neck was greater in the 1990s than in the 1980s and increased steadily from 1993 to 1997. Pain of the neck and shoulder and pain of the lower back was much more common in 1999 than in 1991 and in 2001 than in 1999. Pain was more common among girls and older groups: pain of the neck and shoulder affected 24% of girls and 12% of boys in 14 year olds, 38% of girls and 16% of boys in 16 year olds, and 43% of girls and 19% of boys in 18 year olds; pain in the lower back affected 8% of girls and 7% of boys in 14 year olds, 14% of girls and 11% of boys in 16 year olds, and 17% of boys and 13% of girls in 18 year olds.

Manual Therapy, Physical Therapy, or Continued Care by a General Practitioner
for Patients with Neck Pain. A Randomized, Controlled Trial

Annals of Internal Medicine 2002 (May 21);   136 (10):   713–722

Neck pain is a common problem, but the effectiveness of frequently applied conservative therapies has never been directly compared.   In this study, manual therapy was a favorable treatment option for patients with neck pain compared with physical therapy or continued care by a general practitioner.

Central Hypersensitivity In Chronic Pain After Whiplash Injury
Clin J Pain. 2001 (Dec);   17 (4):   306–315

The authors found a hypersensitivity to peripheral stimulation in whiplash patients. Hypersensitivity was observed after cutaneous and muscular stimulation, at both neck and lower limb. Because hypersensitivity was observed in healthy tissues, it resulted from alterations in the central processing of sensory stimuli (central hypersensitivity). Central hypersensitivity was not dependent on a nociceptive input arising from the painful and tender muscles.

A Pilot Randomized Clinical Trial on the Relative Effect of Instrumental (MFMA) Versus
Manual (HVLA) Manipulation in the Treatment of Cervical Spine Dysfunction

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2001 (May);   24 (4):   260–271 ~ FULL TEXT

The results of this clinical trial indicate that both instrumental (MFMA) manipulation and manual (HVLA) manipulation have beneficial effects associated with reducing pain and disability and improving cervical range of motion in this patient population. A randomized, controlled clinical trial in a similar patient base with a larger sample size is necessary to verify the clinical relevance of these findings.

Clinical Study on Manipulative Treatment of Derangement of the Atlantoaxial Joint
J Tradit Chin Med 1999 (Dec);   19 (4):   273–278

The derangement of the atlantoaxial joint is one of main cervical sources of dizziness and headache, which were based on the observation on the anatomy of the upper cervical vertebrae, analysis of X-ray film of the atlantoaxial joint, and the manipulative treatment in 35 patients with cervical spondylosis.

Spinal Pain Syndromes: Nociceptive, Neuropathic, and Psychologic Mechanisms
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1999 (Sep);   22 (7):   458–472 ~ FULL TEXT

Although the treatment of neuropathic pain is difficult, sufficient evidence in the literature demonstrates that the treatment of nociceptive pain should be multimodal and involve spinal manipulation, muscle lengthening/stretching, trigger point therapy, rehabilitation exercises, electrical modalities, a variety of nutritional factors, and mental/emotional support.

The Saskatchewan Health and Back Pain Survey. The Prevalence of Neck Pain
and Related Disability in Saskatchewan Adults

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1998 (Aug 1);   23 (15):   1689–1698

The age-standardized lifetime prevalence of neck pain is 66.7% (95% confidence interval, 63.8-69.5), and the point prevalence is 22.2% (95% confidence interval, 19.7-24.7). The age-standardized 6-month prevalence of low-intensity and low-disability neck pain is 39.7% (95% confidence interval, 36.7-42.7), whereas it is 10.1% (95% confidence interval, 8.2-11.9) for high-intensity and low-disability neck pain and 4.6% (95% confidence interval, 3.3-5.8) for significantly disabling neck pain. The prevalence of low-intensity and low-disability neck pain decreases with age. More women experience high-disability neck pain than men. Wave analysis suggests that the point prevalence and 6-month prevalence of high-intensity and low-disability neck pain are overestimated in this survey. This cross-sectional study shows that neck pain is highly prevalent in Saskatchewan and that it significantly disables 4.6% (95% confidence interval, 3.3-5.8) of the adult population.

Dysafferentation: A Novel Term to Describe the Neuropathophysiological Effects of
Joint Complex Dysfunction. A Look at Likely Mechanisms of Symptom Generation

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1998 (May);   21 (4):   267–280 ~ FULL TEXT

Joint complex dysfunction should be included in the differential diagnosis of pain and visceral symptoms because joint complex dysfunction can often generate symptoms which are similar to those produced by true visceral disease.
You may also enjoy this response from another chiropractic researcher.

The Chiropractic Outcome Study: Pain, Functional Ability and Satisfaction With Care
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1997 (May);   20 (4):   235–240

Based on these results, it seems that patients suffering from back and/or neck complaints experience chiropractic care as an effective means of resolving or ameliorating pain and functional impairments, thus reinforcing previous results showing the benefits of chiropractic treatment for back and neck pain.

The Effects of Spinal Manipulation on Cervical Kinesthesia in Patients
With Chronic Neck Pain: A Pilot Study

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1997 (Feb);   20 (2):   80–85

Subjects receiving manipulation demonstrated a mean reduction in visual analogue scores of 44%, along with a 41% improvement in mean scores for the head repositioning skill. In comparison, a 9% mean reduction in visual analogue scores and a 12% improvement in head repositioning scores was observed for the stretching group. The difference in the outcomes of the head repositioning skill scores was significant (p < or = .05).

Chronic Cervical Zygapophysial Joint Pain After Whiplash:
A Placebo–Controlled Prevalence Study

Spine 1996 (Aug 1);   21 (15):   1737–1744

The prevalence of cervical zygapophysial joint pain after whiplash has been studied by means of comparative local anesthetic blocks. The concern is that such blocks may be compromised by placebo responses and that prevalence estimates based on such blocks may exaggerate the importance of this condition. In this study, sixty-eight consecutive patients referred for chronic neck pain after whiplash were studied. Those who did not experience pain relief together with the patients with dominant neck pain proceeded to undergo placebo-controlled local anesthetic blocks. Two different local anesthetics and a placebo injection of normal saline were administered in random order and under double-blindfolded conditions. A positive diagnosis was made if the patient's pain was completely and reproducibly relieved by each local anesthetic but not by the placebo injection.   Overall, the prevalence of cervical zygapophysial joint pain (C2-C3 or below) was 60% (93% confidence interval, 46%, 73%).

A Risk Assessment of Cervical Manipulation vs. NSAIDs for the Treatment of Neck Pain
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1995 (Oct);   18 (8):   530–536

As for comparative safety, the best available evidence indicates that NSAID use poses a significantly greater risk of serious complications and death than the use of cervical manipulation for comparable conditions. In conclusion, the best evidence indicates that cervical manipulation for neck pain is much safer than the use of NSAIDs, by as much as a factor of several hundred times. There is no evidence that indicates NSAID use is any more effective than cervical manipulation for neck pain.

Validity of Five Common Manual Neck Pain-provoking Tests
Scand J Rehabil Med 1995 (Sep);   27 (3):   131–136

This study revealed that palpation for pain was the most reproducable and accurate assessment of reported neck pain. They state: "Palpation over the facet joints in the cervical spine was found to be the most appropriate screening test to corroborate the replies in self–reported questionnaires on dysfunctions of the neck."

The Prevalence of Chronic Cervical Zygapophysial Joint Pain After Whiplash
Spine Journal 1995 (Jan 1);   20 (1):   20–26

In a significant proportion of patients with whiplash, chronic, refractory neck pain develops. Provisional data suggest many of these patients have zygapophysial joint pain, but the diagnosis has been established by single, uncontrolled diagnostic block. In this study, fifty consecutive, referred patients with chronic neck pain after whiplash injury were studied using double-blind, controlled, diagnostic blocks of the cervical zygapophysial joints. On separate occasions, the joint was blocked with either lignocaine or bupivacaine in random order. A positive diagnosis was made only if both blocks relieved the patient's pain and bupivacaine provided longer relief.   In this population, cervical zygapophysial joint pain was the most common source of chronic neck pain after whiplash.

Contribution of Central Neuroplasticity to Pathological Pain:
Review of Clinical and Experimental Evidence

Pain 1993 (Mar);   52 (3):   259–285

Peripheral tissue damage or nerve injury often leads to pathological pain processes, such as spontaneous pain, hyperalgesia and allodynia, that persist for years or decades after all possible tissue healing has occurred. Although peripheral neural mechanisms, such as nociceptor sensitization and neuroma formation, contribute to these pathological pain processes, recent evidence indicates that changes in central neural function may also play a significant role.


Who Are Candidates for Neck Pain?

Onset of Neck Pain After a Motor Vehicle Accident: A Case-control Study
J Rheumatol 2005 (Aug);   32 (8):   1576—1583

In total, 26% of drivers reported post-accident neck pain. Women, younger individuals, and those with a history of neck pain were more likely to report neck pain following their accident. In addition, a number of accident related and psychosocial factors were independently associated with reporting post-accident neck pain: collision from behind; vehicle stationary at impact; collision severity; not being at fault; and monotonous work. Based on these 8 factors, the likelihood of having neck pain increased from 7% with < 2 risk factors to 62% with > 5.

Predictive Factors for Neck and Shoulder Pain: A Longitudinal Study in Young Adults
Spine 2004 (Aug 1);   29 (15):   1662-1669

A random sample of 826 high school students was investigated when they were 15 to 18 years old and again at 22 to 25 years of age. In 7 years, the prevalence of weekly neck and shoulder pain increased from 17% to 28%. Among those who were asymptomatic at baseline, 6-month incidence of occasional or weekly neck and shoulder pain was 59% 7 years later. In an adjusted model, psychosomatic symptoms remained an associated factor for prevalent neck and shoulder pain 7 years later for both females and males. In females, neck and shoulder pain in adolescence was associated with prevalent neck and shoulder pain in adulthood, and sports loading dynamically in the upper extremities was an associated factor for a low prevalence of neck and shoulder pain 7 years later. In separate analyses of incident neck and shoulder pain, psychosomatic stress symptoms predicted neck and shoulder pain in adulthood.

A Study on the Prevalence of and Risk Factors for Neck Pain Among
University Academic Staff in Hong Kong

J Occup Rehabil 2002 (Jun);   12 (2):   77–91

Among those with neck pain during computer processing, 60.3% had a forward head posture. However, a low correlation between psychosocial factors and neck pain was demonstrated (r = 0.343). Academic staff in tertiary institutions could be considered as a high-risk group of job-related neck pain.

Chiropractic Care of a Patient with Vertebral Subluxations
and Unsuccessful Surgery of the Cervical Spine

J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2001 (Sep);   24 (7):   477-482 ~ FULL TEXT

The chiropractic care of a patient with neck pain and left upper extremity radiculopathy after cervical diskectomy is presented. Marked resolution of the patient's symptoms was obtained concomitant with a reduction in subluxation findings at multiple levels despite the complicating history of an unsuccessful cervical spine surgery. This is the first report in the indexed literature of chiropractic care after an unsuccessful cervical spine surgery.

Back and Neck Problems Among Dentists and Dental Auxiliaries
J Contemp Dent Pract 2001 (Aug 15);   2 (3):   17-30

In the practice of dentistry, stress, tension, and postural practices can contribute to back and neck problems. Two hundred and four dentists and dental auxiliary (87 males and 117 females) in Riyadh city, Saudi Arabia were surveyed to determine the prevalence of postural problems. The candidates were interviewed and observed during practice. The data obtained showed that 111 (54.4%) of the subjects complained of neck pain and 150 (73.3%) complained of back pain.

A Randomized Clinical Trial of Exercise and Spinal Manipulation for Patients
with Chronic Neck Pain

Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 2001 (Apr 1);   26 (7):   788–797

For chronic neck pain, the use of strengthening exercise, whether in combination with spinal manipulation or in the form of a high-technology MedX program, appears to be more beneficial to patients with chronic neck pain than the use of spinal manipulation alone. The effect of low-technology exercise or spinal manipulative therapy alone, as compared with no treatment or placebo, and the optimal dose and relative cost effectiveness of these therapies, need to be evaluated in future studies.

Long-term Outcome After Whiplash Injury: A 2-year Follow-up Considering Features
of Injury Mechanism and Somatic, Radiologic, and Psychosocial Findings

Medicine (Baltimore) 1995 (Sep);   74 (5):   281–297

Previous studies, however, focused on somatic symptoms on the one hand or considered only psychological or neuropsychological variables on the other hand, often in loosely defined or selected groups of patients. No study so far has analyzed the long-term outcome in a nonselected group of patients using a clear injury definition considering patient history; somatic, radiologic, and neuropsychological findings; and features of the injury mechanisms assessed soon after trauma and during follow-up. With regard to baseline findings the following significant differences were found (on this cohort):   Symptomatic patients were older, had higher incidence of rotated or inclined head position at the time of impact, had higher prevalence of pretraumatic headache, showed higher intensity of initial neck pain and headache, complained of a greater number of symptoms, had a higher incidence of symptoms of radicular deficit and higher average scores on a multiple symptom analysis, and displayed more degenerative signs (osteoarthrosis) on X ray.

Whiplash Injury and Chronic Neck Pain
New England Journal of Medicine 1994 (Apr 14):   330 (15):   1083—1084

Whiplash injuries occur in more than 1 million people in the United States every year (1). Although the majority become asymptomatic in a matter of weeks to a few months, 20 to 40 percent have symptoms that are sometimes debilitating and persist for years. This so–called late whiplash syndrome has become one of the most controversial conditions in medicine. Some attribute the persistent symptoms to unresolved injury, whereas others attribute them to underlying psychological factors or the possibility of financial gain.

Incidence of Common Postural Abnormalities in the Cervical, Shoulder, and Thoracic
Regions and their Association with Pain in Two Age Groups of Healthy Subjects

Phys Ther 1992 (Jun);   72 (6):   425–431

Subjects with kyphosis and rounded shoulders had an increased incidence of interscapular pain, and those with a forward-head posture had an increased incidence of cervical, interscapular, and headache pain.


Chronic Neck Pain Commentary

Editorial Commentary:

A recent balanced article in the Feb 13, 2008 issue of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) revealed that between 1997 and 2005, the costs for “standard medical management” of spinal pain syndromes (both neck and back) increased by an inflation-adjusted 63%, while measured outcomes for physical functioning, work or school limitations, and social limitations among adults actually declined. During this same period, there was also an overall increase in the number of individuals who experienced neck or back pain (from 20.7% to 24.7%).

During this same time period, the inclusion of a chiropractic benefit within a large managed care program (observed over a 4-year period) resulted in significant savings, as well as a reduction in the rates of surgery, and unnecessary use of advanced imaging, inpatient care, and plain-film radiographs.

These 2 studies, along with many similar findings, make it apparent that chiropractic should be the FIRST choice of management for those with musculoskeletal complaints. You may want to refer to the Cost-Effectiveness Page or the Patient Satisfaction Page for more supportive information on this topic.

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