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8/26/16 2:23 PM

Cervical pain is a common musculoskeletal complaint, with greater than 50% of the population experiencing cervical pain at some point in their lives. During a given year time span 30-50% of people are currently living with cervical pain. Cervical pain is a common reason for one to seek care with physical therapy. It is prudent to determine the most effective treatment approach based on the symptoms and examination findings for that patient presents with.  Manual therapy directed at both the cervical and thoracic spine has been shown to be an extremely effective approach for people with cervical pain.


A staple study looking at the utility of Manual therapy for neck pain was performed by Walker et al in 2008.4 The therapists performed manual therapy interventions that included thrust and non-thrust manipulation, soft tissue mobilization, muscle energy techniques, and manual stretching. Following the manual therapy procedures the patients received an exercise program that included range of motion activities, cervical stability training, and postural activities.


The results of the study showed large reductions in both pain and disability, but most importantly showed significantly greater reductions than the comparison treatment group.






  1. Childs et al. Clinical practice guidelines linked to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health from the Orthopedic Section of the APTA. JOSPT. 2008; 38:A1-A34.
  2. Cleland et al. Immediate effects of thoracic manipulation in patients with neck pain: a RCT. Manual Therapy. 2005; 10: 127-135.
  3. Brontfort et al. A randomized clinical trial of exercise and spinal manipulation for patients with chronic neck pain. Spine. 2001; 26: 788-797.
  4. Walker et al. The effectiveness of manual therapy and exercise for mechanical neck pain. Spine. 2008;33(22) 2371-2378.

Topics: pain, tips, shoulder pain, NECK PAIN