The spine, often referred to as the “backbone”, is comprised of a complex system of bones, joints, ligaments and muscles. Besides supporting the weight of the upper body and facilitating movement, one of the spinal column’s most important functions is to house and protect the spinal cord. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerve fibers connected to the brain and brain stem. Its main function is to transmit information to the body’s peripheral nervous system. Without a properly functioning spinal cord, the brain and the body cannot communicate effectively. For this reason, patients sustaining spinal cord damage may face severe disability, paralysis or life-threatening complications. Motor function, sensory abilities and other important aspects of health can decline or even disappear if the spinal cord becomes damaged.
No high-quality evidence has proved the effectiveness of manipulative therapy in the treatment of cervical radiculopathy. However, limited evidence suggests that manipulation may provide short-term benefit in the treatment of neck pain, cervicogenic headaches, 3 , 17 and radicular symptoms. 18 Rare complications, such as worsening radiculopathy, myelopathy, and spinal cord injury, may occur. 3 , 19 Because of these risks and the lack of high-quality evidence to support its effectiveness, manipulative therapy cannot be recommended for the treatment of cervical radiculopathy.