Cervical Disc Herniation Eased By Chiropractic

New research shows the chiropractic can produce clinically significant reductions in pain for patients with cervical disc herniation.

Often patients with neck pain experience tingling, numbness, and pain emanating from their neck down the arm. These symptoms are characteristic of cervical radiculopathy or radicular pain. Cervical radiculopathy results from compression of the nerve root in the cervical spine (the part of the spine in your neck), and can cause pain to travel down the nerve pathway in the arm.

Disc herniation is the second most common causes of cervical radiculopathy. Unfortunately, few medical studies have analyzed the effectiveness of conservative treatments for cervical disc herniation. A team of Swiss researchers sought to fill that gap in knowledge by observing the effects of chiropractic care on patients with disc herniation in a new study.

The study included 50 patients with cervical disc herniation confirmed on MRI scans and orthopedic tests. The patients were treated by chiropractors who used spinal adjustments applied directly to the affected area observed on the MRI scans. After two weeks of treatment more than half of patients had significantly improved. By the three month mark, 85.7% of patients had significant improvements in pain and disability. Additionally, none of the patients experienced adverse effects as result of treatment.

Patients with acute pain at the start of the study (with symptoms lasting under 4 weeks) had a greater chance of recovery compared to patients with subacute/chronic pain. However, the majority of patients with of subacute/chronic pain patients (76.5%) still experienced significant improvements.

"This is clinically important as the chronic patients are the ones who are usually the most costly in terms of health care cause and quality-of-life disruption," the researchers wrote.

These findings add to earlier research demonstrating the efficacy of chiropractic care for lumbar disc herniation and radiculopathy.


Peterson CK, et al. 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. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2013; doi 10.1016/j.jmpt.2013.07.002).