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Use of Thrust Cervical Spinal Manipulative Therapy for Complicated Neck Pain: A Cross-Sectional Survey of Asia-Pacific Chiropractors


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Structural and chiropractic

Cureus.2022 Dec 12;14(12):e32441.


E C Chu, R J Trager, W T Lee


Background Chiropractors often use manual thrust cervical spinal manipulative therapy (thrust-cSMT) to treat musculoskeletal neck conditions. We hypothesized <50% of surveyed Asia-Pacific chiropractors would report using thrust-cSMT given potential contraindications, and secondarily explored predictors of thrust-cSMT use. Materials and methods We designed, validated, achieved sufficient reliability, and disseminated a survey to explore thrust-cSMT use. The survey queried chiropractors' characteristics (e.g., years in practice, education level, time with patients, importance of subluxation), and use of thrust-cSMT for uncomplicated neck pain and vignettes describing vertebral artery disorders, Arnold-Chiari malformation, and anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). We performed logistic regression for each vignette with thrust-cSMT as the dependent variable and chiropractor characteristics as covariates. Results There were 241 respondents, having 12.8±10.9 years in practice, representing >15 countries. Less than 50% of chiropractors reported the use of thrust-cSMT for each vignette, including vertebral artery insufficiency (14%) and stenosis (17%), Arnold-Chiari type I (18%) and type II (5%), C5/6 ACDF (39%) and C3-6 ACDF (27%). Regressions identified significant predictors of increased or decreased use of thrust-cSMT including time spent with new patients, focus on subluxation, degree, group practice environment, use of thrust-cSMT on a healthy patient, and hours reading scientific literature (P<.05 for each). Conclusions This study was the first to chiropractors' use of thrust-cSMT for complicated neck pain and found that most Asia-Pacific chiropractors reported avoiding this treatment in the presence of a potential treatment contraindication. The use of thrust-cSMT in complicated neck pain may be related to practice characteristics. However, further research is needed to identify specific reasons why chiropractors use or avoid thrust-cSMT.

Publication Date: 

2022 Dec



Chu, CE., Trager, JR., Lee, TW. (2022) 'Use of Thrust Cervical Spinal Manipulative Therapy for Complicated Neck Pain: A Cross-Sectional Survey of Asia-Pacific Chiropractors', Cureus.2022 Dec 12;14(12):e32441.

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