Patients with nonspecific musculoskeletal disorders may vary in their responses to treatment. Fot that reason, a recent, large prospective study in JMPT set out to identify the predictors for improvement or worsening of symptoms when cervical spine manipulation was indicated.

Data was collected from 28,807 treatment consultations (19,722 patients) and 13,873 follow-up treatments. The presenting symptoms of “neck pain”, “shoulder, arm pain”, “reduced neck, shoulder, arm movement, or stiffness”, “headache”, and “upper, mid back pain” all emerged in the final model as significant predictors for immediate improvement. The presence of any 4 of these predictors raised the probability of an immediate improvement in presenting symptoms after treatment from 70% to approximately 95%.

This finding may enhance clinical decision making for selecting cervical manipulation for the treatment of patients with one or more of these listed complaints.

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