I’ve always maintained that the work I do is pretty good at treating disc injury and now it seems, once again, I was largely right. In a study snappily called:
‘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’
the scientists looked at how a, admittedly, small sample responded to chiropractic spinal manipulation treatment for problems associated with disc herniation in their necks.
This injury leads to compression of the nerve where it leaves the spinal cord just at the neck of the spine with the C6 and C7 nerve roots being most commonly involved. It can cause severe pain, pins and needles (paresthesia) often down a dermatome and weakness of the muscles innervated by the nerve. Classically, this is caused by a disc herniation but a degenerative spondylosis (bone growth in response to wear and tear) can also cause the same pain. It is also can be caused by a combination of the two.
Now, this happens a fair bit. 83.2 out of every 100 000 people suffer from a painful compression of a cervical nerve root.
Usually, patients are treated with lifestyle changes, activity modifications, pain medications, physical therapy, epidural injections and sometimes spinal manipulative therapy (SMT). But currently, the research does not show sufficient evidence to advocate the use of manipulation as a therapeutic modality in individuals with the problem. In spite of this, many practitioners using their experience and best clinical judgement use SMT to help patients with this problem.
So, the purpose of the study was to investigate the clinical outcomes in patients suffering from cervical radiculopathy after a course of care using spinal manipulation.
Most of the patients in this study had MRI-proven cervical disc herniation and were treated with spinal manipulation. They reported clinically significant improvement at all selected data points, especially at the 3 months point.
The findings were:
- Two weeks after the first treatment, 55.3% of all patients reported that they had significantly improved. At this point, no one reported worsening of their symptoms.
- At 1 month after the first treatment, 68.9% of individuals were significantly improved, with only one patient reporting being slightly worse (one patient in the subacute/chronic group).
- By 3 months, this figure rose to 85.7% of patients noting significant improvement.
- In general, acute patients reported faster improvement compared to those who were included in the subacute or chronic group.
- However, 3 months after the first treatment, 76.2% of the subacute/chronic patients reported clinically relevant improvement, with none of these patients reporting they were worse.
- The acute patients reported statistically significant reductions in their neck and arm pain measured via NRS, as well as their NDI scores at all 3 data points.
It is important to note that even the subacute/chronic sufferers showed clinically significant improvement. This is an important result to report, as it is these patients that are often the most costly to the healthcare system and are having the most wretched time with this problem.
So, if you are suffering give us a call and let’s start to get you going again.