What is the role of spinal manipulation and mobilization in the treatment of cervical disc disease?

Updated: Apr 16, 2020
  • Author: Michael B Furman, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Dean H Hommer, MD  more...
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Answer

Spinal manipulation and mobilization may restore normal ROM and decrease pain; however, no clear therapeutic mechanism of action is known. Some believe that zygapophysial joint adjustment improves afferent signals from mechanoreceptors to peripheral and central nervous systems.

  • Normalization of afferent impulses improves muscle tone, decreases muscle guarding, and promotes more effective local tissue metabolism. These physiologic modifications subsequently improve ROM and pain reduction.

  • Studies document short-term improvement in the acutely injured patient and in those with cervicogenic headache and radiculopathy secondary to disc herniation.

  • No evidence exists that manipulation confers long-term benefit, improves chronic conditions, or alters the natural course of the disorder.


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