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Ease the tension in your neck through chiropractic

Can chiropractic adjustments help with your neck pain?

According to a recent systematic review and meta-analysis by Chiabi et al., Spinal Manipulative Therapy (SMT), or what chiropractors call cervical adjustments, are likely to help with neck pain.

Acute neck pain (up to 6 weeks) is common and affects up to 50% of the population in a 1 year time period. Current, evidence based treatment options are not great, and a wait-and-see approach often leaves patients in discomfort. But might spinal manipulative therapy help them recover more quickly?

The Chiabi et al review pooled a combination of studies to see if a pattern could be determined with larger sample sizes. In brief the researchers found, "SMT alone or in combination with other modalities was effective for patients with acute neck pain."

There were some limitations to the studies, including a small sample size, heterogenious nature of studies, pragmatic designs and evidence of publication bias, however, there is growing evidence that chiropractors can help with acute neck pain. Some of the difficulties involved in testing SMT rests in the inability to blind practitioners during a randomised control trial, which is the gold standard for scientific testing.

This review is an update on a Cochrane review in 2015. The Cochrane review found some limited evidence that spinal manipulative therapy was effective for neck pain, and that multiple sessions likely outperformed a single session. Furthermore, "multiple sessions of cervical SMT were more effective than medications in reducing pain and improving function at immediate- and long-term follow-up."

These systematic reviews with meta analysis add to the growing evidence base treatment options for acute neck pain, and are reason enough to consider treatment from a chiropractor who might provide mobilisation, manipulation, soft tissue treatment and exercise to help you alleviate your discomfort.


Hogg-Johnson S, van der Velde G, Carroll LJ, Holm LW, Cassidy JD, Guzman J, Côté P, Haldeman S, Ammendolia C, Carragee E, Hurwitz E, Nordin M, Peloso P; Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders. The burden and determinants of neck pain in the general population: results of the Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2008 Feb 15;33(4 Suppl):S39-51. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e31816454c8. PMID: 18204398.

Chaibi A, Stavem K, Russell MB. Spinal Manipulative Therapy for Acute Neck Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials. J Clin Med. 2021;10(21):5011. Published 2021 Oct 28. doi:10.3390/jcm10215011

Gross A, Langevin P, Burnie SJ, Bédard‐Brochu MS, Empey B, Dugas E, Faber‐Dobrescu M, Andres C, Graham N, Goldsmith CH, Brønfort G, Hoving JL, LeBlanc F. Manipulation and mobilisation for neck pain contrasted against an inactive control or another active treatment. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 9. Art. No.: CD004249. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004249.pub4. Accessed 28 March 2022.

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